The Bearcats got an absolutely huge bit of news on Friday night when Hunter Atkinson verbally committed to Cincinnati, per Ed Hooper at The Gainesville Times. Just days before National Signing Day, this is a massive coup for UC who have immediate needs at tight end. Atkinson is a high 3-star recruit from West Hall High School in Oakwood, Georgia and a 1st team all state selection. He could have very stayed near home but like many players from the Peach State recently, opted to head North to Cincinnati. Atkinson chose the Bearcats over the likes of Louisville, Purdue, Illinois, and Wake Forest among others.
2.5.2014 UPDATE: Atkinson has switched to Georgia in the 11th hour.
|Height - Weight||6'6", 250 lbs|
|High School||West Hall|
|247 Sports||*** - 89|
|Rivals||*** - 5.5|
The 6’6″, 250 lbs tight end is an easy target for quarterbacks to find over the middle of the field. Just a high school senior, Atkinson already has the frame that some college players don’t develop until their sophomore or junior years. But he has nice speed and agility to go along with that size so it’s no surprise that he lines up out wide for his team as well as near the line of scrimmage. It’s that versatility that makes him such a nightmare to gameplan against for defensive coordinators. Atkinson doesn’t run the crispest of routes but that would be asking too much of him. Tight ends typically have a very simplified route tree, anyway. Plus the kid appears to how to overpower or outrun most defenders when necessary. That and Atkinson’s ability to high point passes is only another weapon in his arsenal. Overall, this is an extremely good looking prospect.
Cincinnati is very inexperienced at the tight end position and by all means it seems like offensive coordinator Eddie Gran wants to run multiple tight end sets at UC. Even though he went with more of the spread midway throug hthe 2013 season, the pro-style offense is his bread and butter. At this point we don’t know which system Gran will move forward with at UC. Anyways, as far as Atkinson is concerned, I could see him redshirted his freshman year. UC has inexperienced tight ends but they will be further ahead of him when he hits campus this Summer. Additionally, even though Atkinson has impressive measurables he has room to grow. He could probably add on a good 10-15 lbs of muscle during his time at Cincinnati and sitting out his freshman year will go a long way to achieving that goal.