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Season in Review: Perry Young

A big leap forward for the sophomore linebacker

NCAA Football: Cincinnati at South Florida Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Numbers

  • 101 tackles
  • 9.0 tackles for loss
  • 3 passes defended
  • 1 forced fumble/recovery

Perry Young is one of a number of Cincinnati Bearcats to undergo a positional change from when he first came to the program to today. Originally a defensive back, Young transitioned to linebacker and was one of the best the Bearcats had to offer in 2017. With 101 tackles, Young teamed with Jaylyin Minor to become the first Bearcats teammates since 2014 to both have 100 stops. When that last happened, Jeff Luc (133), Zach Edwards (121) and Nick Temple (113) all came together to reach the 100-tackle summit.

But Young didn’t just wait for ball carriers to come to him, he was excellent in pursuit and made negative plays more than any other player on the roster. His 9.0 tackles for loss led the team, even if he didn’t record a single sack. Through two seasons, he has 10.5 tackles for loss and 143 total stops, but he has yet to get a take a quarterback down behind the line of scrimmage. (Although as you can see from the picture above, he still got to lay some hits on QBs, just not for sacks.)

Young, who was the No. 152 safety for the 2016 recruiting class and a three-star prospect, has really blossomed with his move to linebacker and 2017 was the next (giant) step in that regard.

The Best of the Best

Aug. 31 vs. Austin Peay

Holy heck did Young dominate in the season opener. He tallied 17 total tackles, including three for loss and a forced fumble for good measure.

Sept 30 vs. Marshall

After that opener, Young spent a few weeks playing competently but not spectacularly. Then Marshall came to town and he was Darth Vader at the end of “Rogue One,” tallying 13 tackles and one for loss along with a fumble recovery.

Oct. 21 vs. SMU

Young matched his tackle total from the Marshall game and also threw in a half tackle for loss.

Nov. 4 at Tulane

This time he matched his season-high of 3.0 tackles for loss and had 10 stops overall.

For Next Year

Young will be front and center for the linebacking corps next year which means he has to keep on his upward trajectory and improve. We know he can tackle and can create negative plays, but much like the UC defense as a whole, Young can take the next step by becoming a better pass rusher. He may not be asked to blitz or stoke fear in opposing signal callers every play, but improvement in that regard would go a long way in making him an even better defender.