BCI Confidence Rating: Linebackers

As the Bearcats get ready to head into preseason camp Bearcat Insider gets ready for its fifth year of watching the team get ready for another exciting season of Big East football. So how much confidence do we have in the linebackers?

Pressing Question: Who will be here in the end? If there is one position that could see transition it's here. Andre Revels, Craig Carey and Marcus Waugh are all seniors. They will be given every chance to be on the field a lot. But there are young players behind them who will be pushing for their chance and if there are any struggles by any of the three moves could be made.

Breakdown: The main man at the linebacker position is senior Andre Revles. The Colerain product has been a solid member of the program and enjoyed a very good junior season. Bigger things are expected of Revels this fall and he'll have to stay healthy to see that happen.

Marcus Waugh has been a great program guy willing to do what the staff has asked him to do. Fullback, offensive line and linebacker have been stops for the Toledo native during his career. It's good to see him back as a backer because he'll give you everything he's got.

Carey is a great athlete and if things go great could be the hot name this fall that Connor Barwin became last season. But the Elder product must put everything together and really want to push for such a level.

J.K. Schaffer is going to have a chance to be a star in this defense and the sophomore could explode upon the scene this fall if he does what he's capable of doing. We've been telling people since Schaffer pledged to the Bearcats he was a major steal.

Robby Armstrong and Collin McCafferty have worked their tails off since hitting campus. While McCafferty will still be a main part of the Bearcats special teams he has continues to improve. Armstrong really started to show signs during camp last season and should continue to push for time on the field.

There were several moves during the spring and one included moving Demetrius Jones to linebacker. In the spring it looked as if Jones had accepted his role and was willing to work for playing time. It will be interesting to see if this continues or if he regresses from the move.

Younger players will be looked to fill roles and push the veterans for playing time. Alex Delisi is now a veteran and has the physical skills to play the game at this level. The question now is has he put everything together and placed himself into a position to show his talents.

Other players to watch will be Ricardo Thompson and freshman Maalik Bomar.

Because of the defensive scheme change there could be a few different names show up during the early part of camp. In this breakdown we've left the guys who will be drop-back defensive ends listed with the defensive line.

The Big If: Can Andre Revels reach the level many have expected of him since coming out of high school? This is not a knock of Andre Revels at all but having watching this kid at Colerain I fully expected him to be a major star on the defense. In some ways he's doing what he's always done by playing the game hard and leaving it on the field. Last season was no fluke as Revels shared time with others and still posted some good numbers. If healthy Andre Revels can lead the team in tackles. If he's not at the top or very near then I feel there could be some problems here.

Our Call:This group has a solid base but must learn how the younger players respond. It's now time for some of the younger players to earn their keep and make serious contributions to the program. J.K Schaffer is a star in the making and I really feel there are a couple of younger players who are in the same mold. Will one get a chance to show their skills this fall? While we fully expect to see a couple of these players the strength of the team is the core players who have experience on the big stage. Despite there being some younger talent there are questions about depth that is ready to go to battle.

Confidence Rating: Bearcat Insider likes the core group of linebackers but is looking to see who steps up to take their place on the field. Andre Revels is as solid as they come and should be the on-field leader of the group and one of the most vocal players on the defense. There are questions that will have to be answered so at this time we'll give this group a solid 6.5 rating.

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