Top 10 Bearcats #6: Greg Blair

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh native brought his Cincinnati career to an end with another great season manning the middle of the Bearcats defense. His production was down slightly from a season ago, but Blair still exerted an enormous influence on the Bearcats defense in 2013.

2008 was the last time that the Bearcats had a middle linebacker finish a season with less than 100 tackles. In the intervening years the Bearcats lead linebacker has hit the century. J.K. Schaffer did so three times, and Blair did it in his only two seasons of eligibility.

His story is improbable, and the route that he took to Cincinnati was far from direct. Blair became the heart and soul of this team, and he is a surefire bet to be plying his trade on Sunday's after this coming NFL draft. He has the size and power to be a high level run stuffer at the next level. But he isn't a stiff in coverage by any means. That combination of size and skill will make him highly sought after by general managers.

But this isn't about Blair's fortunes at the next level. The most impressive thing about Blair's play this season was that he still managed to excel in a new system. A system that didn't ask him to do much of the things he did under John Jancek's scheme. The Bearcats didn't blitz all that often, they played a ton of coverage and asked all their linebackers to play in space much more than the outgoing regime did. That's not exactly Blair's bag, but he still figured things out by mid September and was his usual excellent self down the stretch. His final line for the year.

  • 106 total tackles
  • 7 tackles for loss
  • 1 sack
  • 5 QB hurries
  • 3 passes defended
  • 1 fumble forced
  • 1 fumble recovered

Alright Jeff Luc, you are the next middle linebacker, you know the standard. Time to go to work.

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