Just hours after First Coast defensive end Raashed Kennion switched from Cincinnati to Auburn under heavy pressure from the Tigers, the Bearcats replaced him with fellow edge rusher Kimoni Fitz. The defensive end out of Virginia is the most under-the radar prospect of the class to date. As of this post, even 247 Sports hasn’t created a profile for him. No matter. Given Tuberville’s recent history of gaining verbals from unknown prospects then seeing their recruitment explode, I think we can trust the staff on this one. As mentioned, Fitz hails from Virginia where Cincinnati has established a stronger presence since Robert Prunty was hired. The defensive end played for a 9 – 2 Wildcats team his junior year where Fitz recorded 80 tackles and 6.5 sacks. For his efforts the edge rusher was placed on his All-Region Second Team after the season. Hopefully he can build on that performance heading into his senior year.
|Height - Weight||6'3", 225 lbs|
|High School||Dan River|
|247 Sports||*** - 83|
|ESPN||*** - 73|
I was surprised, as I’m sure all of you were, to learn that Fitz also plays offensive tackle for the Wildcats. I wouldn’t read too much into that. Fitz is clearly one the best (if not the best) players on his team so his coaches are clearly trying to keep him on the field as much as possible. But his bread and butter is the defensive end position, which is where this evaluation will focus.
What blows me away about Fitz is his agility. The guy is a flatout lightning bolt off the snap. He stays low in his stance and uses his legs to explode upfield like a battle-hardened veteran. He doesn’t seem to utilize his strength because he doesn’t have to. That’s the sign of an extremely intelligent football player. Fitz displays impressive hands and moves getting around the offensive tackle even if he’s quick enough to stay with the crashing defensive end. He doesn’t waste steps either. Fitz recognizes the offensive play instantly, explodes out of his stance, makes one or two quick moves, and tackles the ball-carrier. Rinse and repeat. And even if he has to bullrush the blocker, Fitz seems to have no problem performing that role as well. Now he’s “only” 225 lbs, which is light for an end at the next level, but that doesn’t mean he can’t add that weight in college.
Depending on how you look at it, Fitz is either joining the Bearcats at exactly the wrong or right time. On the one hand, Cincinnati is basically hitting the reset button at defensive end this Fall. This is the one opportunity for young players who have gone unnoticed up until this point to show what they’re worth. But Fitz isn’t joining UC until the 2014 season when the Bearcats should have the position locked up. But that could be a good thing for him. He can take a redshirt as a freshman to add some weight and learn the system. As of now I think he’ll wind up at defensive end for the ‘Cats but could certainly see a move to linebacker in his future.