The Bearcats picked up somewhat of a surprise commitment in defensive back Linden Stephens, Bearcat Journal is reporting. He hails from Fork Union Military Academy, which is a prep school in Virginia that feeds numerous high-level talent to major college programs across the Eastern seaboard like Penn State, Virginia Tech, Maryland, and Clemson per the CBJ article. For Stephens, he didn’t have any scholarship offers other than Cincinnati but was garnering interest from Penn State. Given his 4.3 Forty time and the strong program he plays for I’d be curious to see if his recruitment took off during the last two months of this cycle. Stephens will be enrolling early at UC.
|Height - Weight||6'0", 185 lbs|
|High School||Fork Union Military|
BONUS HIGHLIGHTS: Stephen’s HUDL highlight reel from his season at Fork Union
Stephens plays both cornerback and safety for Fork Union. His biggest advantage is his size. At 6’0″, 185 lbs Stephens has the frame of a wide receiver, meaning when he matches up man-to-man with a wideout he isn’t overshadowed by their size. His long arms can bat away passes that shorter DBs wouldn’t be able to get to. Additionally, Stephens displays solid hip flexibility when he plays cornerback, which is a critical ability for the position. That will serve him well at the next level. One aspect which will require needed improvement is Stephens’ speed at which he breaks on the football.
Since Stephens will be able to join the team in January, he will have a leg up over other defensive backs in this class. With the Bearcats severely young at both cornerback and safety next season, there’s a possibility he could work his way onto the two deep as a true freshman. But more than likely Stephens will take a redshirt his freshman year to learn the system and add some bulk in the weight room. Where he ultimately winds up will be determined by his ability to fine tune his skills as a defensive back at Cincinnati.