Bearcats Nation Football Recruit Projections Revisited

facebooktwitterreddit

Like Bearcats Nation on Facebook. Follow BN on Twitter.

The class of 2012 is complete. The next thing to do is methodically dissect each and every new Bearcat until it just becomes too painful to do so anymore. Luckily, as each one committed I did most of the leg work upfront to save me the time of having to watch their highlight tapes all at once. But there’s one area of each player’s profile that I’d like to take another stab at and it’s their outlook for their freshman season in red and black. I’ll dig a little deeper into this later but in 2012 the depth concerns of 2010 and to a lesser extent 2011 will be a thing of the past. UC won’t be as reliant on true freshman contributing right away so a majority of the 30ish signees will redshirt. Let’s take a look position-by-position:

Quarterback

Will See the Field: Bennie Coney/Trenton Norvell

Redshirted: The other guy who doesn’t get snaps on gameday.

The Bearcats signed two quarterbacks yesterday who are among the highest rated signal callers to ever come to UC. Both enrolled early and got an early start on learning the complicated Jones/Bajakian offense. It’s too early to tell just where they will end up this fall as they are both neck-and-neck in the race as far as I’m concerned. With Zach Collaros graduating, Munchie Legaux is the frontrunner to start in 2012 but behind him will be a compilation of younger players fighting for that spot. All three of RS-Freshman Patrick Coyne along with Coney and Norvell are the ideal quarterbacks for this offense and will each have a legitimate shot at earning the backup QB role.

Runningback

Will See the Field: Aaron Harris, Deionte Buckley

Redshirted: E.J. Junior*, Ti’on Green

It’ll be runningback by committee in 2012 as the coaching staff will look for someone to replace the amazingness of Isaiah Pead. Both Aaron Harris and Deionte Buckley will have their chances next year because the former has a ton of experience at the JUCO level and the latter enrolled early. Really it’s a crapshoot as to who will get the majority of snaps but George Winn is likely to be the leader at this point.

Wide Receiver

Will See the Field: Nate Cole/Jeremy Graves

Redshirted: Shakim Alonzo, Leviticus Payne**, The one of Graves/Cole not to play.

Having these three players sit out a year says more about the current group of wideouts at UC than about their talents. In 2012, the Bearcats will have one of the deepest, best wide receiving corps in the Big East. Starting will be Alex Chisum, Anthony McClung, and Kenbrell Thompkins. Behind them will be Dyjuan Lewis and Chris Moore. It’s safe to say that no one is climbing over Chisum/Thompkins/Lewis on the outside but there may be opportunities for Cole or Graves to see some time in the slot in 4-WR sets.

Tight End

Will See the Field: None

Redshirted: DeShawn Dowdy

I think Dowdy’s going to be a solid receiver in the future and as valuable as tight ends are in the spread offense, especially over the middle of the field, the Bearcats will have some pretty solid depth there in 2012. Travis Kelce will likely be the starter in any set that involves a single tight end and Blake Annen will be backing him up. Matt Staubach and Josh Russ have experience in the program and will be ahead of Dowdy despite him enrolling early.

Offensive Line

Will See the Field: Hopefully None

Redshirted: Kyle Williamson, Caleb Stacey, Deyshawn Bond, Ryan Leahy

This is one area where I’m sticking to my guns with their projections as freshman. All of the offensive linemen will be redshirted (or at least should). As I’ve mentioned, it makes sense to let these guys have a year to get used to the speed at the college level as OL is one of the most difficult positions to adjust to when moving up from high school. It also helps that there will should be better depth along the offensive front despite losing Hoffman, Martinez, and Davis. Hopefully, pending injuries to guys on the two-deep, these four young men will be able to slowly adjust in their redshirt year and be allowed to add depth in 2013.

Defensive Line

Will See the Field: Alex Pace

Redshirted: Josh Posley, Jonathan Burt

Basically, all of the defensive ends in this class will redshirt. UC already has players entrenched on the two-deep there in Walter Stewart, Dan Giordano, and Brandon Mills. Sophomore Brad Harrah will likely stand opposite Mills as a backup and freshmen from the 2011 class such as Chad West, Chad Hannah, and Silverberry Mouhon are already ahead of the defensive ends in the 2012 class. There just aren’t enough reps to go around. On the interior, Camaron Beard and Jordan Stepp will be likely starters with Brandon Mitchell rotating in. The wildcard might be Alex Pace. Dude is the size of a mack truck and dominated offensive lines while in a very good Glenville High School program. I’m going to pencil him in as a possibility to burn his redshirt in his freshman year.

Linebacker

Will See the Field: Errol Clarke

Redshirted: Corey Griffin, Ey’Shawn McClain, Joey Jones, Kenneth Bynum (if he signs)

Hallelujah, Coach Jones finally brought in some linebackers! While thin and young, there is some experience there in Maalik Bomar, Dwight Jackson, Nick Temple, Solomon Tentman, and Clemente Cassius. The numbers of players ahead of the true freshman on the depth chart makes it extremely unlikely that they will see the field in their first year. The one possibility is Errol Clarke who is an early enrollee. While coming to campus in January doesn’t necessarily equate to playing time in the fall, the Bearcats aren’t exactly swimming in veterans at this position. Being 6 months ahead of his fellow linebackers should help Clarke get on the two-deep in some capacity or at least on special teams.

Safety/Nickleback

Will See the Field: Marcus Foster

Redshirted: Zach Edwards*, Kevin Brown, Dylan Coombs

Drew Frey will lock down the strong safety position with Chris Williams/Rueben Johnson battling for the nickelback spot. Arryn Chenault will continue to backup Frey at SS and Pat Lambert/Malcolm Murray will probably go head-to-head for the starting free safety spot. Like the defensive line, there just aren’t enough reps to go around and most of the projected safeties in the 2012 class will redshirt. The exception is Marcus Foster who has exceptional ball skills and is a big-bodied safety. He might slip into the mix at free safety or nickleback and burn his redshirt that way.

Cornerback

Will See the Field: None

Redshirted: Alex Dale, Leviticus Payne**, Andre Jones***

Lots of depth returning at cornerback this fall. It will be one of the deepest CB units on Cincinnati since 2008 with Deven Drane, Cameron Cheatham, and Dominque Battle all returning. Add in Trenier Orr, Adrian Witty, and Demitri Beal and there is added depth behind those rotating starters. Therefore I’m not sure any of the three true freshman corners will be able to jump these players who have experience in this system.

* Greyshirted

** Coach Jones claimed yesterday that Leviticus Payne was coming in as a slot receiver. While he did catch the ball some on offense in high school I fully expected him to be a cornerback from day 1. Again, it’s way too early to say where some of these players wind up.

*** Butch also mentioned that Andre Jones would be tried out at cornerback as a freshman but with his size I wonder if he moves over to safety or nickleback come fall.

—–

So when you add it up the final tally comes to:

  • 7-8 true freshman playing in 2012
  • 20-22 redshirts/greyshirts

This isn’t too surprising as in 2011 the Bearcats played 10 true freshman and there should be more depth in 2012. Thus, there is less need to play true freshman next season and a majority will redshirt. This also makes sense considering Coach Jones and crew brought in players to add depth where there are a good deal of contributors still on the depth chart like defensive line, cornerback, and wide receiver. But there are certainly opportunities for guys like Bennie Coney, Trenton Norvell, and Alex Pace to burn their redshirts. Furthermore, we’ll get a better idea of the future depth chart come Bearcat Bowl in April as the 9 early enrollees take the field in live action for the first time. At that time we’ll see which of the EE’s have truly progressed in their first few months of UC’s program.