Hartsfield an on-field leader
It’s no secret that 2008 Terps linebacker commit Demetrius Hartsfield possesses the physical talents required of a DI linebacker prospect. His performance at Maryland’s summer camp proved as much.
But according to Daniel Finn, the head coach at Southeast Raleigh (N.C.) High School, Hartsfield’s senior year showed him to be more than just a physical specimen.
“He knows how to make the adjustments out there,” Finn said. “He gets everybody lined up. It’s basically like having another coach out there. He spent a lot of time learning the signals. He’s very football smart.”
That football intelligence paid off for Hartsfield from a statistical standpoint. During Southeast Raleigh’s 8-4 season, Hartsfield recorded 124 tackles, 10 sacks and two fumble recoveries from the inside linebacker position. At tight end, Hartsfield hauled in four passes, including one touchdown.
Finn wasn’t surprised that Hartsfield had such great success as a senior. But his senior year went beyond the numbers, according to Finn.
“[His performance was] exactly what I expected,” Finn said. “He was a good leader for us. He kind of led our whole team. He played hard and basically shut down the middle of the offense. He forced everything outside. We weren’t worried about people running inside on us. He did really well this year.”
Hartsfield’s individual achievements can be attributed to the labor put in throughout the summer, and really since the end of his junior year. Finn and the SRHS coaching staff worked Hartsfield hard, and he responded in a big way.
“We worked on his speed and flexibility,” Finn said. “We didn’t think we moved very well in space so we concentrated on that. We got his 40 time down to about a 4.67, it used to be 4.8 or 4.9. He got his weight up. He was 205, now he’s weighing about 225. He really put time in the weight room and got physically ready to play.”
Hartsfield plans to enroll at College Park for the winter semester, joining the Terps in time for spring practice. Finn thinks the head start will benefit Hartsfield in learning the defensive system.
“I expect once he learns the system and the terminology that he’ll fit in pretty well,” Finn said. “Our defensive coordinator played college football and he helped [Demetrius] learn his terminology. I think once he starts feeling comfortable with the terminology, he’ll be fine. I think mentally and physically he can handle it.”
Hartsfield committed to the Terps in June, really before his recruiting process took off. In Finn’s opinion, the early commitment was a great move, and ultimately the perfect fit for his star linebacker.
“I know Maryland’s sending linebackers to the NFL and that’s one of the things Demetrius was looking at,” Finn said. “He’s got family up there and I think that’ll help him being away from his mom. It’s not that far a drive from Raleigh. I think Maryland’s getting ready to come back on the upswing. I think they’re going to be really, really good these next couple of years.
“I really think he’s ready to go. I think he’s going to fit right in up there. Once he learns everything he’s going to be fine. He’s got good support from his family. I think he’s going to jump right in and have a heck of a career.”