Incoming! Finding A Place For The Incoming JUCO's

Jared Wickerham

The Bearcats will field an exceptionally young, and exceptionally talented defensive backfield in 2013. Still Tommy Tuberville and his staff went out and got a pair of Junior College defensive backs in Howard Wilder and Darren Doston but where will they fit in. Will they take valuable minutes and reps away from the young guys or will youth be served.

Matt Opper: The Bearcats signed four defensive backs in the last cycle, Howard Wilder, Darren Doston, Mike Tyson and Aaron Brown, and a couple of athletes who could very well end up at defensive back in Tshumbi Johnson and Javon Harrison. Of that group Wilder and Dotson seem to be the only one's who can make an impact this year. The Bearcats have to replace three starters at DB this year. But Aaryn Chenault and Deven Drane are back as starters. Adrian Witty is ready to step in at nickle back, even he has played a ton of Football for the Bearcats these last two years. Trenier Orr and Leviticus Payne also played alot last year, Orr appearing in 8 games, Payne in all 13. There is depth, but little proven production. So where do the JUCO's fit in?

Jeff Gentil: The JUCO's will probably fit in where all other JUCOs fit: above the freshmen but likely behind the other veterans. Wilder, however, does appear to have an advantage in the fact that he's a rather large defensive back at 5-foot-11. Doston has the luxury of participating in spring practice so he will come into camp running. The true freshman, Aaron Brown, also has good size at 5-foot-11 and hails from Miami, Florida (not Oxford thankfully). In my opinion, any time you can get a bigger defensive back out of Florida you're on the right path. We've already seen several position changes since camp started Monday. Do you anticipate losing or gaining any more DB's or have these changes already been determined before they take the field for the first practice?

MO: I wouldn't be shocked to see Tshumbi Johnson moved over to DB at some point, but by all accounts he has played pretty well as a receiver so he might just stick. I think that Mike Tyson's ultimate destiny is at linebacker, but that won't be this year, and might ultimately be decided by how UC recruits defensive backs. If they recruit the position well he could be moved, if not he could have a future as a super sized safety. I think the staff has an idea where they want everyone to end up in the end. But there are also promises made in recruiting. If you promise a guy that he will have the chance to play receiver, or running back, but think that his best position is on defense you have to at least give him a shot at receiver before gently nudging him in the general direction of defense.

JG: Back when I used to cover recruiting basically as my second job, it was funny to hear the player run down all the promises made to him in recruiting, then on the other side hear the truth as to what position they were ultimately going to play. But, you have to at least try them out and at least prove you kept your promise even if it was for only a week. I remember Travis Kelce was a basketball recruit who was lured to UC partly because he would stay a quarterback, but also because UC's basketball program, which was terrible at the time and needed bodies, would allow Kelce to be a walk-on. I keep looking in the basketball media guide to find Kelce's basketball stats, but can't seem to find them. Anyway, tangent aside...the staff obviously is going to do what's best for the program not necessarily what's best for the player. If moving your starting NFL-caliber tight end to defensive end (Connor Barwin) is best for the team (even though it raises some eyebrows), they're going to do it whether you like it or not.

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