The Cincinnati Bearcats had a linebacker accrue 100 tackles last year and lead the American Athletic Conference in the category. Unfortunately, Jaylyin Minor won’t be able to do it again since he graduated.
That’s OK, though, because the Bearcats still have Perry Young. During his sophomore season, Young really burst onto the scene, racking up 101 tackles, which ranked seventh in the AAC. With Young and Minor at the height of their powers, UC was one of two teams in the conference to have two players with at least 100 tackles. The other was Tulsa, which got 113 stops from McKinley Whitfield and 106 from Cooper Edmiston.
Enough about Tulsa. We’re here to talk about Young, who is easily the leader of the linebackers now that Minor has graduated. Young didn’t come to UC with the same accolades as some of his teammates, but he has overcome his ranking somewhere between a two and three-star recruit to be arguably the best linebacker on the team.
As if that wasn’t impressive enough, Young has developed and expanded his skill set. Much like Tyrell Gilbert has and RJ Potts hopes to, Young has been able to make the transition from safety to linebacker. He was a defensive back as a freshmen and was solid, completing 42 tackles, including 1.5 for loss. He showed in that time that he is adept at bringing down ball carriers. That made for a perfect resume for linebacker, where the Bearcats needed some help last year.
Obviously, Young did more than help and he did more than just get some run-of-the-mill tackles. On a team with few standout playmakers on defense, especially in terms of creating pressure, Young molded himself into one of the best. He took to linebacker so well and used an increased mandate to be aggressive to tally nine tackles for loss, which was more than any other player on the Bearcats’ roster. He still stuck to his defensive back roots as well, with a career-high three pass deflections.
But let’s get back to those tackles because there were a whole lot of them. Young started off extremely strong in 2017, putting together 17 stops against Austin Peay in the season opener. It was the first of five double-digit tackle showings during the campaign, which included a three-game stretch of such games at the end of October into November against SMU, Tulane and Temple.
Young was the Robin to Minor’s Batman last year in the linebacking group. He will don the cowl this year and its pretty much a certainty that he will once again bring the noise when it comes to tackling, both in front of and behind the line of scrimmage.