A junior, after transferring from Fork Union Military Academy in 2014, cornerback Linden Stephens has shown some flashes in his two years in Cincinnati. He played in all games both years, and in his first season, recorded his first career interception in a game at USF.
This year, Stephens continued to show progress, finishing with 33 tackles, and two interceptions. One of the interceptions came in one of Cincinnati's finest performances, a 52-7 drubbing of the UCF Knights. Late in the first quarter, with the Bearcats already up 14-0 and the Knights driving, Stephens picked off a pass and returned it 14 yards, a turnover that the Bearcats would immediately cash in on. It would probably be Stephens' best performance of the season. However, he posted another impressive performance in a gritty win over East Carolina, a game in which he recorded six tackles.
Stephens recorded his other interception of the season in a loss to South Florida. After an interception by the Bearcats, Stephens attempted to take the momentum back with a pick of his own, but unfortunately, the Bearcats committed another turnover on the very next drive, a pick returned for a touchdown.
Unfortunately, Stephens did not end his season well, getting embarrassed by San Diego State running back Chase Price near the end of the first quarter in a 42-7 loss. Stephens didn't have a perfect season, but the cornerback showed some promise over the course of the year. Of course, more will be expected of him next year.
Stephens is the son of Mac Stephens, former linebacker for the Minnesota Vikings and New York Jets. Maybe his football blood will serve him well as he works to improve his game next year.