120 Players To Know - MT LB Danny Carmichael
Middle Tennessee LB Danny Carmichael
Middle Tennessee LB Danny Carmichael
Posted Mar 19, 2009

Who are the players you need to know about? Maybe they've been under the radar, or maybe they're the future NFL stars who'll be a really big deal next April. Get to know the stars of 2009 as CFN profiles 120 Players You Need To Know over 120 days (one for each team) continuing with Middle Tennessee LB Danny Carmichael.

120 Players You Need To Know

Middle Tennessee LB Danny Carmichael

By Pete Fiutak 

Who is Danny Carmichael? ... Middle Tennessee has the potential to come up with a big season with a team loaded with veterans. None will be more important than Carmichael, the team’s leading tackler last year and an emerging all-star who’ll be the heart and soul of the defense.

A good contributor over his first two seasons, he became a leader and a strong all-around playmaker last season with a team-leading 89 tackles to go along with three sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss from his spot in the middle. While he doesn’t have elite athleticism, he’s a high-octane player who sets the tone for the defense with his toughness and his focus.

“Danny Carmichael is the heart and soul of our defense and we feel good about having him in the middle,” said Middle Tennessee head coach Rick Stockstill. “He brings toughness and experience to the unit as well as the entire defense.”

The defense was among the best in the Sun Belt last season, and now it has the potential to be special if it can take on an even nastier attitude while hoping for all the experience to turn into more production. It’ll be Carmichael who sets the tone.

“I think Danny is a guy on defense who sets the mindset in terms of how we will practice and play because of his intensity,” said Stockstill. “We will obviously rely heavily on Danny this season.”

Carmichael's best game so far was ... in last year’s 14-13 win over Florida Atlantic. In the key Sun Belt showdown, Carmichael made nine solo tackles, ten stops overall, with two tackles for loss and a sack with two broken up passes. He did a little of everything.  
Why you should care about Carmichael ... Middle Tennessee should be one of the leading contenders for the Sun Belt title. All the starters are back on offense, the defensive line is terrific, and the secondary is loaded. The linebacking corps is the main issue with two unproven starters on the outside and no developed depth whatsoever. Carmichael will have to do even more and will have to play at an all-star level early on until the rest of the corps comes around. If he’s not terrific, the run defense will have major problems early on with Clemson, Memphis, and Maryland in the first three games.

Carmichael’s pro potential... At best he’s a late pick, but he’ll spend time in an NFL camp if he can show in workouts that he has the quickness and the speed to match his intensity and hitting ability. He’s not a good enough athlete to work on the outside, but he’s big enough and a good enough tackler to sit in the middle of someone’s defense as a decent reserve.

Negatives about Carmichael ... He’s only a middle or inside linebacker. He’s a squatty 6-0 and 246 pounds with nice range, but not elite sideline-to-sideline speed that would translate to the next level. While he’s decent in pass protection, he’s not fluid at handling receivers coming out of the backfield.

A cool thing about Carmichael that you probably didn't know ... along with being the star linebacker for Woodcock High in Georgia, he was also a key fullback with seven touchdowns and 381 rushing yards.  

Career statistics
2006: 26 tackles, one sack, 3.5 tackles for loss

2007: 55 tackles, two sacks, five tackles for loss
2008: 89 tackles, three sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss, one interception

Statistics, information and photo provided by the Middle Tennessee sports information department.