Non-position specific categories
Linebacker Specific Categories
Shows good instincts for an inside linebacker and does a good job with play recognition. Excellent in run support and can usually read blockers to see where the ball carrier will be going. Solid ability to flow to the ball when the ball carrier runs to the outside. Good size for position and shows decent use of upper body strength on the field. Seems to enjoy contact and is usually one of, if not the first player to the ball. Watching the game, Spikes is almost always around the spot the ball carrier was tackled. Has slightly above average ability to clear through traffic when chasing the ball carrier. When play is diagnosed, Spikes can explode towards the ball carrier when running in between the tackles. Above average tackling and usually uses sound fundamentals. Does a decent job in zone coverage, but is limited in range. Aggressive player and an emotional leader.
Spikes production dropped in 2009, partially due to injury and a one game suspension after an on-field eye gouging incident. When he was on the field, Spikes didn’t seem to play at the level he did in 2008. Can play high at times and will struggle to get off the lead blocker. Straight line speed is below average. Has a hard time flipping his hips to cover larger areas of the field in coverage and man coverage is almost out of the question. Spikes isn’t a big hitter and can tackle too high at times. Gets sucked in on misdirection plays and tends to be over aggressive against the run. In 2009, looked slow to get to the outside against the run and had trouble getting to screen passes. Spikes also had more trouble getting off blocks, especially after a misdirection or play-action. Tape of 2008 games showed a much better player.
Spikes could have easily been a first round pick after his junior season, but decided to stay for 2009. That may have been a mistake on his part. Weaknesses in Spikes’ game were exposed in 2009 and his abilities against the pass are marginal at best right now. Spikes has a lot of work to do if he wants teams to look at him as a three down linebacker and could see a Rey Maualuga type drop on draft day. In fact, many aspects of Maualuga and Spikes’ games are similar, but Maualuga was a much better hitter and tackler than Spikes. Spikes could also be compared to Ohio State LB James Laurinaitis who also could have been a first round draft pick after his junior season, but was exposed during his senior season (and also chose to not attend the Senior Bowl, further affecting his stock). Spikes certainly has a good amount of experience in a very difficult conference and has shown the work ethic and desire to be a better player. He could make an immediate impact as a special teams player and a rotational linebacker for an NFL team. Spikes would benefit from playing as a true “mike” backer in a 4-3 defense as having two large defensive tackles in front of him would help keep blockers from latching on. However, he may work as an inside backer in a 3-4 system with the right team, but probably lacks the speed to remain effective in the position. Spikes decided not to run the 40 at the combine, only to run a 5.01 40 at his pro day, which hurts his draft stock immensely.
Spikes has started at Florida for three years, and saw action in nine games as a freshman.
Awards and Honors
2009: Butkus Award finalist. 2nd team AP All-American team.
2008: Bronko Nagurski Trophy finalist. Consensus first team All-American.
2007: First team All-SEC.
Anthropology major at Florida.
Missed three games in 2009 with a groin injury. Spikes also missed the 2008 season opener with a foot injury.
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