One of the needs that was circled on the board in the Bearcats war room for this class was the Secondary. The defensive depth in general still needed to be addressed in a big way with this class, and it has been, but the biggest need of all might be in the secondary still where the talent level is still down compared to where it was three or four years ago. Jones has done a good job going after defensive backs in this class
Leviticus Payne - 5'9" 176 - DB - Detroit
Payne is bound to be a corner from day one. He has good size to be a field corner which is where UC will most likely wind up playing him. He is good on the jam against receivers has pretty good ball skills and has a general knack for making plays in coverage, be it man to man or in a zone. As an added bonus for a corner back he is willing and able to make tackles in the open field. Like all of these guys he will probably take a red shirt this coming season.
Alex Dale - 5'10 170 - DB - Memphis
The other true corner in this class. Dale has the versatility to play either corner spot but long term is probably better suited at the field. Two things stand out to me about Dale. 1) He is a ball hawk. He has an innate ability to discern the flight of the ball and attack it at the best moment. 2) his Football IQ is very high. Check out the second play on the highlights below. He leaves his zone responsibility gets in trail position on a slant route catches a ball throw badly behind the intended receiver and races 98 yards for a score. And he wasn't even supposed to be there.
Drake Bruns - 6'0 190 - DB - Highlands
Bruns was the best defensive player for Highlands, and has been for the past couple of years. The last two seasons he has played safety and I think that is going to be where he winds up for UC as well. He could well start out at corner and move inside. The best thing about Bruns is his range. He covers a lot of ground which is imperative with a zone scheme like the one the Bearcats have used.
Andre Jones - 6'1" 195 - DB - Colerain
Jones is probably the most physically imposing DB coming into this class. He is a legit 6'1" and weighs 200 pounds. After a year in a strength and conditioning program he will be closer to 210 or 215. Jones played for Colerain and he did a lot of different things in that scheme. They played him in the box, as a single high safety, in cover two looks and even matched up man on man in the slot. Like everyone else in the defensive backfield Jones will take a red shirt year in 2012.
Zach Edwards - 6'1" 180 - DB - Middletown
A greyshirt commitment like his teammate E.J. Junior Edwards comes into the Bearcats program a converted Wide Recevier. For most of his career he was the main target in the Middies wide open spread offense. But this year Troy Everhart took over in Middletown installed his patented flex bone and found he didn't have need for an explosive receiver, but he did have need for a safety and so that's where Edwards played down the stretch.