Arguably the biggest problem with the defense as a whole during the 2010 season was the startling lack of depth across the board, but among the linebackers in particular. J.K. Schaffer and Maalik Bomar had to play an almost obscene number of plays every single game. Jones and his staff set out to rectify that issue with recruiting. UC didn't sign that many linebackers, just 3 of them in fact. But they all made an impact in 2011.
43 Nick Temple
I was really high on Temple when he committed to the Bearcats back in June of 2010. I figured that he would join the rotation at linebacker and play on special teams for a year before moving into a starting roll for 2012. That's not how it played out. Temple appeared in all 12 games, and started 7. Temple had his freshman moments to be sure, but his ability to cover slot receivers in the flats effectively and play the run really freed up Schaffer and Bomar to blitz a little bit more often. On the year Temple had 27 tackles, and 2 for loss which isn't huge production. But he is the first True Freshman to start a game at linebacker since Cory Smith started 9 games in 2005.
Jackson like Temple was an early enrollee who was on campus for spring practice. That extra bit of time really helped aid his transition from defensive end which he played for Miami Central to linebacker. Jackson developed into a valuable member of the rotation as the season went along. He appeared in 9 games notching 14 tackles, 1.5 for loss and a forced fumble against West Virginia.
A late addition to the 2011 class as a linebacker Casseus appeared in the Austin Peay and Akron games and notched 8 tackles and 2 TFL.