Insiders Pre-Camp Look - Linebackers

With a veteran group returning things look to be solid for the Bearcats at linebacker as they prepare to enter camp. Will that feeling remain as the season nears. Let's take a look

Two seniors and a junior all with major playing experience are ready to man the three linebacker spots making the Bearcats strong in the middle of the defense as they enter camp.

While it's hard to believe Corey Smith is entering his senior season as a Bearcat. The New Jersey native has enjoyed a nice career despite suffering injuries along the way. A healthy senior campaign could find Smith earning All-American honors for his play.

Ryan Manalac may not like talking with the press, but the Pickerington, Ohio native has made use of his talents and showed why recruiting isn't an exact science. With a take no prisoner's mentality, Manalac could have played during any era for the Red & Black.

Andre Revels showed signs last season of what should be expected from the Cincinnati Colerain product. Always known for his high motor and vocal expressions, Revels will go from sharing time with Manalac to taking over the other outside spot. He'll be challenged by senior Delbert Ferguson looking to continue his climb on the depth chart before his career is over.

Revels will bring his "A" game having worked hard this summer by dropping a few pounds to make him quicker than in the past.

Others are hoping to see some time on the field this fall as well. Redshirt freshman Alex Delisi showed signs in the spring of what is ahead and the more he understands of the defensive scheme the sooner he'll fight to get more playing time.

The Michigan native has the size and athletic ability you love in a middle linebacker and this fall should provide him with enough playing time to get his teeth wet setting himself up as a future starter.

Tony Cornett knows his number could be called at anytime for linebacker or defensive end. This fall he'll start off backing up Smith knowing this is the last go around and his time on the field is golden.

Several players look to earn playing time as Obadiah Cheatham continues to show progress as does Collin McCafferty and Robby Armstrong. McCafferty has earned praise from the coaching staff for his play on special teams while Armstrong started to show why the Bearcats recruited him hard.

Freshmen like J.K. Schaffer hope to be given a chance to show what they've got but should see the season from the sidelines if all goes well.

One player no one knows what the Bearcats are getting is Junior College transfer Austin Cook out of Morgan Park High School and Joliet JC in Illinois.

The backers look ready and poised for a great season in making Cincinnati one of the top defensive teams in the conference and college football.

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