Versatility is an important aspect of the Cincinnati Bearcats’ defensive personnel. There are a number of players that can shift between the secondary and linebacking group and some that go from linebacker to the defensive line.
Perhaps the player with the greatest versatility on the roster is Jarell White, who came to UC as a four-star recruit last year after playing a number of positions on both sides of the ball in high school. When he got to UC, White was given a role on defense, which slowly developed and expanded during his first year at the collegiate level. After playing in the first eight games as a backup, White pushed himself into the starting lineup for the last four games of 2017 and he should be there to stay for the remainder of his Bearcat career.
It was a pretty easy decision to make White a starter. Despite being a reserve in the first eight games, he still managed to finish the season eighth on the team in tackles (46) and 10th in tackles for loss (2.5). He created the bulk of that production down the stretch, putting together three-straight incredible games against Temple (10 tackles), East Carolina (eight tackles, one for loss) and UConn (career-high 11 tackles, half a sack) to close the campaign.
A Cincinnati native, White is not going to have to fight for a starting spot this season. He should be at the top of the depth chart from the beginning and that is an exciting proposition. With the amount of production he packed into those last four games a year ago, White could be a first-team All-American Athletic Conference linebacker by year’s end. Considering his four-star recruit background, its not surprising that he is going to challenge for such honors. Perhaps it is a little surprising (and extremely beneficial for the Bearcats) that he is reaching that potential already.