This is the second in our "Impact Player" series, taking a closer look at some of the state's top returning players as we draw closer to the MIAA football season. To see all of our Impact Players, CLICK HERE.
After an unprecedented three-year run for Everett in which the Crimson Tide went 36-1 with three straight MIAA Super Bowl titles, made three straight finishes at No. 1 in ESPN Boston's statewide poll, and produced nearly a dozen Division 1 scholarship athletes, the question bears asking: Are we headed for a down year in Crimsonland?
There is no question the Tide will be thinner on the offensive line, which graduated four starters -- including ESPN Boston Lineman of the Year John Montelus, who is at Notre Dame. And there is no doubt there is serious skill talent to replace, between Jakarrie Washington, Jalen Felix, Kenny Calaj and jack-of-all-trades Gilly De Souza.
An uncharacteristically young Tide squad will hit the turf at Everett Memorial Stadium this fall, but there is exceptional talent at the top of this thin senior class. And it starts with defensive back Lubern Figaro, who is expected to be the heart of the secondary this fall as they aim for a four-peat in the first year of a true state championship.
Player: Lubern Figaro
Hometown: Everett, Mass.
Listed Height/Weight: 6-foot-1, 180 pounds
Scouts Inc. Rank: 5 - Mass.; 146 - Region; 93 - Position
Considering: Boston College, Syracuse, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Vanderbilt
Key 2012 stat: Alternating between strong safety and nickelback, Figaro registered five sacks.
Workout stat: Times in the 4.5 range in the 40-yard dash.
Opposing Coaches: "That kid is pretty good. He was like their nickel back, I think he’s good and I think he has bigger upside than the other guys because he has better length. ... I think he'll be more of a free safety at the next level maybe, I don’t know if with his frame if he has the thickness to get down in the box -- but don't get me wrong, I think he's very good. I hope he plays corner against us, so we can work against everyone else, because if they put him at free safety he can run sideline to sideline and cover a lot of ground. He's faster than I remember, he's that much better of a player, I think he’s legit. ... He seems to have really good field awareness, reading receivers from two to one and the running back to his side out of the backfield. He never seems to be in a bad position."
Scouts Inc.: "Figaro plays both the strong safety/in the box and outside linebacker positions and has the size, strength and playing speed for the defensive safety spot at the BCS level. His high cut frame appears capable of adding bulk over time provided athleticism and speed continue to improve. This guy is a tough customer who demonstrates strong wrap tackling ability. ... From a variety of alignments this prospect demonstrates quick key and diagnosis reaction skills when defending against the run and pass and is quick off the mark, showing good inside run blitz timing. He doesn't get out of position and takes proper angles to the football. Isn't the type who sits back waiting for plays to come his way. Instead, he attacks the football aggressively. ... This prospect is a downhill run defender with the quickness needed to avoid blockers and make plays in tight spaces and from on and off alignments. His ability to move through traffic, avoid trash and play to the sideline is impressive. He displays the strong wrap tackling skills which don't allow leaky yards after contact."
Bottom Line: Figaro was largely overshadowed last fall, riding side-saddle to the likes of Jakarrie Washington (Wisconsin), Jalen Felix (Eastern Arizona JC) and Gilly De Souza (UMass-Lowell soccer) in one of the state's best secondaries as the Crimson Tide earned an MIAA Super Bowl three-peat. But clearly the college scouts believe there is high potential with Figaro, who fielded a dozen scholarship offers before cutting it down to five last month. A physical downhill player, Figaro will be a tough defender to gameplan for due to his versatility. And while there are holes to fill seemingly everywhere on the defensive side of the ball, Figaro's ability from both the slot and centerfield instantly makes Everett one of the state's most feared pass defenses once again.