Dee Liner was only a freshman in high school when he received his first scholarship offer. The funny thing is, the Kentucky coaches who extended the offer to him during their football camp thought he was going into his senior year.
Of course, it’s easy to be mistaken when you’re talking to a freshman who was 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds.
Liner has grown an inch and gained 18 pounds since then. And the 6-foot-4, 258-pound Muscle Shoals (Ala.) junior has a lot more than just one scholarship offer. Considered one of the nation’s top recruits in the Class of 2013, the ESPNU Watch List member has committed to Auburn, last season’s BCS National Champion.
Liner is still confusing coaches, only this time with his name since it sounds like the spot on the field he plays on. But when he gets between the lines, there’s no confusing how talented he is.
This season, Liner was an unstoppable force, racking up 90 tackles, 11 sacks and four forced fumbles while leading the Trojans to the Class 5A state quarterfinals. Liner uses a combination of power (he can bench press 300 pounds, power clean 305 and squat 475) and quick feet to dominate offensive linemen.
Get Familiar with this stud defensive tackle with a unique name and a talented game.
ESPNHS: How often do people confuse your name?
Liner: (Laughs) I get it all the time. It’s funny because sometimes when people ask me my name, and I give it to them, they ask me again because they think I just gave them what position I play.
ESPNHS: What was it like getting your first scholarship offer as a freshman?
Liner: I honestly didn’t think I would get any D-I offers. It didn’t seem like I was going to get there. When I’d watch (college) defensive linemen on TV, I saw they were quick and could move, and I didn’t think I could do that. But I’ve put in a lot of work, and now I’m right up there with the nation’s top prospects. But I have to keep working hard because it can be taken away.
ESPNHS: What led you to choose Auburn so early? (Liner committed to the Tigers in the spring prior to his junior season.)
Liner: I’ve been an Auburn fan all my life. When I visited and got the offer, I just jumped right on it. It felt like home there. It kind of put pressure on me. More people were trying to get me to play for them after I committed to them.
ESPNHS: What do you like about playing on the defensive line?
Liner: I get to use my hands and get to the quarterback. I let the linebackers get noticed. I’ve had enough attention — I feel like they need it, too.
ESPNHS: What do you want to do if football doesn’t work out?
Liner: I want to try to be a coach or an engineer. I’ve been wanting to be a mechanical engineer for the longest time. I like what they do with electronics.
School: Muscle Shoals (Ala.)
POSITION: Defensive Tackle
TV Show: “Law & Order”
Movie: “Paranormal Activity”
Athlete: Cam Newton
Pro Team: Baltimore Ravens
School Subject: Math
Jon Mahoney covers football for ESPNHS.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org to let him know which high school football player he should Get Familiar with.