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UNLV’s Javin White makes strong push at linebacker

When UNLV’s football coaches reviewed practice video throughout training camp, Javin White repeatedly jumped out to them.

He kept making plays, and the coaches knew they needed to find a spot for him.

Now maybe they have. White, who was competing with fellow sophomore Evan Austrie at safety, lined up at first team at strongside linebacker on Tuesday morning.

That doesn’t mean that White has moved ahead of sophomore Gabe McCoy, who has been running No. 1, but it does signal a competition is underway.

“We’re getting (White) as many reps as we can,” coach Tony Sanchez said. “We want to see him push Gabe a little bit. Gabe’s done well at times, and it’s not a criticism, but you want to see him show up and make more plays. Javin’s been doing that quite a bit.

“Now is that going to be a good fit? We’ve got a week to kind of play with it and get (White) going. He knows the defense inside and out. He’s a big, long and physical guy (6 feet 2 inches, 195 pounds), so we think it’s going to translate.”

UNLV marked the end of camp with a scrimmage Sunday at Rebel Park and two days later the beginning of preparation for the season opener. The Rebels play Howard on Sept. 2 at Sam Boyd Stadium.

The Rebels went into scout team work, and the roster is considerably clearer as the opener approaches.

Two local players look to make immediate impacts on defense — freshman linebacker Farrell Hester II and safety Greg Francis. Both are not even a year removed from Bishop Gorman High School.

Sanchez has spent much of camp raving about Hester, who has received some work with the starting unit. Hester lined up with the second-teamers on Tuesday.

Francis came on stronger later, and he also has received first-team repetitions. He went in with the second-teamers Tuesday next to fellow safety and Gorman graduate Dalton Baker, a junior.

“Francis is fighting to move up to that second team,” Sanchez said. “He was a week behind everybody with that (ankle) injury, but he’s really starting to catch up. He’s an athletic guy. He’s going to pass certain guys athletically, but he’s still young physically. So we’ll see where he is.”

Also in the secondary, junior Tim Hough of Desert Pines, sophomore Jericho Flowers and senior Robert Jackson rotated at the two cornerback spots. Junior Ty’Jason Roberts had received a lot of first-team work as the Rebels tried to find a fourth corner, and now is slotted in that place.

Contact Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.

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