WEIGHT: 220 pounds
JERSEY NUMBER: 49
HOMETOWN: Weeki Wachee, Florida
HIGH SCHOOL: Weeki Wachee (Florida)
Donte Young didn’t begin his college football career at Lenoir-Rhyne, but the Florida native will be looking to end his collegiate stay on a positive note when the Bears take the field for the 2020 season this fall. After initially joining the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) in 2016, Young decided to transfer to Lenoir-Rhyne to continue his gridiron career.
After redshirting his first year and not seeing any action in 2017, Young has played in 24 of the Bears’ 28 games over the past two seasons. During that time, Lenoir-Rhyne has posted a 25-3 record and reached back-to-back regional title games.
Not only that, but the Bears have also ruled the South Atlantic Conference, winning all 15 of their conference contests in 2018 and 2019. Additionally, 20 of their victories over the last two years have been by double digits and they haven’t lost a regular-season game since falling 36-32 at West Alabama on Aug. 30, 2018.
Young has received limited playing time during those two seasons, but has made an impact when he has stepped on the field. After finishing with 16 total tackles (8 solo) and a forced fumble as a redshirt sophomore in 2018, he had 20 total tackles (13 solo) to go with 1.5 tackles per loss, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries as a redshirt junior last fall.
Young’s best performance a year ago came when Lenoir-Rhyne hosted St. Augustine’s in the season opener and earned a 68-7 victory over the Falcons. Young had eight tackles in the contest, including five solo tackles and a forced fumble. His eight tackles in the game ranked second on the team behind eventual SAC Defensive Player of the Year Jaquan Artis, and his five solo tackles were tied with Artis for first among Lenoir-Rhyne players.
Following the graduation of fellow linebackers Clayton Horn and Sherrod Williams, don’t be surprised if Young provides much greater contributions in 2020. He should be on track to play a larger role for the Bears under first-year head coach Mike Jacobs, who was hired by Lenoir-Rhyne last December after posting a 42-8 record in four seasons at Notre Dame College in Ohio.
Now a redshirt senior, Young is one of two senior linebackers for the Bears along with Preston Joseph, who was a key member of the squad’s defensive and special teams units in 2019. Therefore, it will be up to Young to serve as both a leader and a playmaker on the defensive side of the ball when Lenoir-Rhyne kicks off the 2020 campaign in less than two months.
Josh McKinney is the sports editor for the Hickory Daily Record.
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