Houston is set to deploy another quartet of athletic aggressive linebackers in 2017. The question will be how does Mark D'Onofrio use them? Under Todd Orlando the Cougars regularly deployed 30 to 40 pressure schemes per game. D'Onofrio, at Miami, was criticized for his passive approach. Maybe a year away from the game changes that. Regardless, he has some horses he can set loose.
Matthew Adams should be in line for a big 2017. The senior playmaker started eleven games of the Cougars last season. Lining up next to Adams inside is senior D'Juan Hines out of Spring Dekaney. He made seven starts and flashed a lot of athleticism when his number was called. Jordan Milburn is the heir apparent to Adams and Hines inside. The sophomore from Galveston Ball will be a key part of the rotation.
Outside the Cougars will go to junior Emeke Egbule from North Shore. Ebgule can run, cover, and make explosive plays. The key will be consistency down to down. On the other side Austin Robinson will get a chance to start. The transfer quarterback from UTSA saw action last season on special teams.
Leroy Godfrey and Ralph Harvey Jr. will back up on the outside. Godfrey is a big, athletic player who could be a good one but his sample size is too small to be definitive. The same can be said for Harvey Jr. who saw very limited action after transferring in from the JC ranks.