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Cincinnati Bearcats Signing Day 2012 | Linebackers

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For the past two years one of the thinnest areas on the team has been at linebacker. This was an area that Brian Kelly never recruited particularly well. Kelly did land J.K. Schaffer and Maalik Bomar, but he also missed on a lot of guys. Some never panned out academically, some didn't work out on the field and one linebacker had to retire due to injury. As a result Jones has really loaded up on linebackers in the last two classes. Jones will have signed 8 linebackers, including 4 in this class alone. The only looming question mark with the linebackers is Ken Bynum who received an offer from Tennessee yesterday and doesn't anticipate signing today.

Joey Jones - 6'0" 190 - LB - Miami

Jones weighs in a little light at 190 but he makes up for that by playing with a ton of speed and aggression. The most impressive thing about Jones to me is the way in which he reads plays developing. His recognition is excellent and that allows him to pick his way through the trash and attack the ball carrier in rapid succession. You want to see a linebacker be able to avoid that stuff and make plays. Jones does. He was named third team all Miami and third team all state.

EyShawn McClain - 6'2" 220 - LB - Jacksonville

McClain is slightly less heralded than his Raines teammate Bynum. But his offer sheet is just as impressive. What it comes down to is this. McClain has a lot of innate ability, but he isn't terribly polished. Raw would probably be the optimal word.

Corey Griffin - 6'1" 205 - LB - Miami

You can think of Griffin and McClain in much the same terms. The difference is that it's harder to tell much about Griffin because he played as a hybrid OLB/DE for Coral Reef. As a pass rusher he shows excellent burst and a couple of good pass rush moves. But Coral Reef's coaches didn't as a lot of him in coverage. That's not to say that he doesn't have the ability to cover in a zone blitz scheme. Just that his learning curve might be steeper than most.