Senior captain Solomon McGinty is transition from the Spur safety position to linebacker after starting 10 games in 2016. He was 4th on the team with 52 tackles while adding 5.5 tackles for a loss, 1 sack, and 2 interceptions. Anytime somebody with those accolades switch positions, it’s not being done so he can sit on the bench. So, despite missing all

Roster Breakdown
LB #20 Solomon McGinty Senior 6’2″ 220 Navasota, TX
LB #5 Lucas Irons R-Junior 6’0″ 215 Fort Lauderdale, FL
LB #4 Jaylyn McKinney R-Sophomore 6’0″ 225 Lake Wales, FL
LB #48 David King R-Junior 6’1″ 230 Stuart Drafts, VA
LB #17 Solomon Ajayi Junior 6’1″ 230 Frisco, TX
LB #7 Kedrick Bradley Junior 6’1″ 230 Chattanooga, TN
LB #47 Remington Green Freshman 6’0″ 220 King George, VA
LB #9 Amarii Jenkins Freshman 6’0″ 195 Ocala, FL
LB #45 Ty Maust Freshman 6’1″ 200 Daleville, VA

of the spring and being limited through the first two weeks of training camp, Solomon is now at 100% and ready to go for the 2017 season.

“Yeah, it’s coming back,” McGinty said of being in game shape. “I’m just taking it one day at a time. I’m trying not to make it about me. It’s 2 weeks left in camp, and I’m just trying to ┬ámake sure my guys know it’s 1-0 each day. We want to be 1-0 each Saturday.”

Linebacker coach Josh Bookbinder is thrilled to have a guy with McGinty’s experience in his room to help him replace the graduated Dexter Robbins and Nick Newman. “I enjoy having him in my room,” Bookbinder said. “He’s obviously a play-maker. He’s played a lot of football being a junior college guy. He’s played in some big games and came here and did a nice job last year.”

Still, McGinty is switching positions and has missed a lot of reps while nursing an injury. Bookbinder isn’t concerned. “Schematically, they do a lot of the same stuff. We ask the Spur to do a little more in some instances than the backer, but it’s going to be really similar to what he was doing. Actually, he will probably be closer to the box a higher percentage of the time than he was which I feel like the closer he gets to the box, the more his instincts show up.”

Lucas Irons

After Solomon, there are 3 other linebackers with game experience on the roster, Lucas Irons, Jaylyn McKinney, and David King. Irons is the most experienced, having played in 19 games, including 1 start, and recording 27 tackles in 2016 as a reserve. McKinney played in all 11 games in 2016 and had 20 tackles. King had 4 tackles in 11 games as a reserve last season.

McKinney says his game experience last year has helped prepare him for 2017 and beyond. “Being thrown in the mix, in the games last year, I got a feel for how fast the game goes. It’s one thing to watch film, it’s another thing to get out on the field and do your assignment, make the right call, fit the right gap, cover the right person in coverage. It’s one of those things where film can only teach you so much, but you actually have to get out on the field, get in the mix, get in the game speed to be able to keep up and know what you’re doing.”

The Flames also brought in two junior college transfers at linebacker, Kedrick Bradley and Solomon Ajayi. Coach Bookbinder has been impressed with their early play. “Both of them have come in and really impressed beyond expectations. Kedrick Bradley, a kid originally from Tennessee and then went out to Ventura, he’s come in and done a really nice job, he’ll fit in. Then, also Solomon Ajayi, originally from Frisco, Texas and went out to Bakersfield. He’s got a chance to be really, really special.”

Jaylyn McKinney

With so much depth ahead of them, Coach Gill says that one of the junior college transfers could redshirt in 2017. “(We’ll) probably redshirt 1 of the 2. Probably, right now, leaning a little bit more towards Bradley playing and Ajayi not playing, but we will continue to evaluate.”

Remington Green and Amarii Jenkins are both true freshman who have shown glimpses of their potential. “Remington probably is more physically ready coming out of high school,” Bookbinder said. “He’s done a nice job. Amarii has some really special tools and can really run. He’s moving down from safety, so he’ll need to put on some weight, but he’s a kid that is really intelligent and will do a great job.”

“I think our linebacking corp could be as good as we’ve had,” Coach Gill said. “We probably have 3 or 4 guys that we feel pretty solid about. I can’t say that we’ve felt that, at this point in time of the season, to say we’ve had that many guys at linebacker.”