But assistant coach Donavan Baucum believes the group can be a strength of the team.
"It's not a big group of players, but I think it's a pretty good group," he said. "All of them are good kids."
Currently listed as starters will be a pair of sophomores – Wayne County's Marion Chapman (6-1, 218) at the ‘will' slot and Liberty's Damien Wilson (6-3, 230) at the ‘mike" position. Wilson is a transfer from Alcorn State University.
"Chapman started several games last year after Jerrell Gandy got hurt, so he has some experience," said Baucum, who is in his third year with the Bobcats. "Damien played quite a bit at Alcorn last year, so those guys bring a lot of experience to the table."
Backing up Chapman will be Southeast Lauderdale freshman Lakelvin Newell (5-9, 230), while Laurel sophomore Anthony McGilberry (6-3, 200) will spell Wilson.
"McGilberry played a good bit last year on special teams and a good bit at the end of games, so he does have a little bit of experience," Baucum said. "Newell, like all freshmen, is trying to learn the system and get things down. But I think he is a guy that can help us once he can understand his reads and know what he needs to be doing. He can definitely help us."
But Wilson and Chapman will be counted on to provide leadership. Wilson had significant playing time last year with Alcorn State and Chapman had 22 tackles and a forced fumble as a freshman for JCJC.
"Damien got here in June and physically is exactly what you want in a linebacker," he said. "He is fast, runs to the ball hard and is always playing wide open. Chapman played well last year and we expect him to do some good things for us.
"The thing about those guys is that they need to make sure the other players are lined up correctly and communicate that to the rest of the guys. I look for both of those players to be good leaders for the team."
Baucum added that his group has been excellent to work with during preseason workouts.
"I can't ask for anything better," he said. "They have done everything they have been asked to do."
The Bobcats will open the 2012 season under first-year head coach Ray Perkins at 7 p.m. on Aug. 30 against the Holmes Community College Bulldogs at Bobcat Stadium/Sim Cooley Field.
The game will be telecast on www.jcjc.tv with Mark Easley and Ed Smith on the call. The game will also air on WLAU-FM, 99.3.
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