One of the few open positions on the entire team heading into the 2018 season is the WILL linebacker spot left vacant by Mike McCray, and defensive coordinator Don Brown made it sound like the battle is just getting started.
Brown admitted to reporters Wednesday that the guys competing for the position are redshirt sophomore Devin Gil, sophomore Josh Ross and redshirt freshman Drew Singleton.
“Those three guys are in that fist fight,” Brown said. “If you ask me today who’s the leader in the clubhouse, I would say there is none. If you ask me, I think Josh (Ross) and Devin Gil, probably slightly ahead of Drew (Singleton). So if that would be the case then we’d just let them both play and see who steps up and separates, or if they keep both playing well then just leave it alone.”
Brown also said Ross has seen some practice time at Devin Bush’s middle linebacker position to add some versatility to the group.
Another player who has been practicing at the MIKE? Redshirt freshman Jordan Anthony, who Brown exclaimed had his best day of practice Tuesday.
“If you ask me who had the best practice out of those guys (Tuesday), I would say Jordan Anthony came out of the closet and really had his best practice at MIKE, so that’s a good thing,” Brown said.
One guy I’m surprised wasn’t mentioned when who is heavily competing for the spot is junior Josh Uche.
Brown did comment on Uche to reporters Wednesday, saying the coaching staff is “able to play him in a number of different roles and move him around, so the place he makes the most explosive impact is when he pass rushes.”
Brown also called Uche an “adequate cover guy over the tight ends” and is “more of a complete player” that can be integrated in multiple spots on the defense to take the best advantage of his ability to pass rush.
Who wins the open job?
At the end of the day, I’m going with Ross. If you’ve read my recent work, you’d know I am very high on Ross’ potential. He was a BEAST on special teams last year and I absolutely love what Ross brings to the table. His strength combined with his speed will make for some jaw-dropping hits whenever he gets his chance.
I know Gil is probably the favorite to win the job right now because of his experience and skill-set, but I’ll take Ross to win this position battle in a slight upset.