National Signing Day 2016: Cincinnati Bearcats Build Depth With New Crop Of Signees

Not half-a-day ago the Cincinnati Bearcats wrapped up their 20-player strong 2016 recruiting class on a wild National Signing Day that had it’s usual up and downs.

UC started out the day with 17 commitments and finished with 21 signees. They had a few nice stories, such as the signings of Curtis Brooks, Marquis Smith, Jerron Rollins, Tyquan Statham, and Thomas Geddis, all of whom committed and inked in the last 24 hours. Plus Cincinnati re-added safety Davin Pierce, who signed with the Bearcats ways back in 2014, was forced to spend two years at Blinn Junior College, and made the full circle back to Clifton. That was definitely one of the best stories of the day.

But Cincinnati had some misses.

The first was K’Von Wallace, a verbal since July of 2015. Your typical diamond in the rough Tommy Tuberville recruit, since committing to UC he picked up offers from the likes of Ohio State, Arizona, Michigan State, and Clemson. All this despite only having a handful upon verballing to Cincinnati in the Summer. Enticed by the prospect of playing in the AAC, Wallace flipped from UC and signed with Clemson.

The other was KJ Sails, the highly sought after cornerback from East Bay, Florida. He cut his final list to Cincinnati and North Carolina with a scheduled announcement today at 3:15. Sails walked out in front of the media wearing a UC hat on backwards, placed it in front of him next to the mics, and subsequently pulled out and put on a Tar Heels hat from underneath the table. You know, the mature way to choose North Carolina over Cincinnati.

Regardless, that’s two prospects Tuberville and crew were hoping would sign with UC and went elsewhere. And not just any schools, Power Five schools. I fully believe in my heart of hearts that if Cincinnati were in the Big 12 or ACC themselves, Wallace and Sails would have signed with the Bearcats, along with several others, and this class would have been elevated from good to great.

But as it stands UC’s 2016 crop of recruits ranks 7th out of 12 AAC schools, which is a bit of a downer.

Even so, it’s not like the 21 new Bearcats are a bunch of stiffs. Statham had offers from Iowa and NC State and both Rollins and James Wiggins had offers from Miami (FL) and Louisville. At the end of the day, this class was put together to build depth, not find players to start immediately next season. Cincinnati’s staff was looking for more Evan Mallorys than Bryce Jenkinsons and their pitches to recruits aligned with that.

These new recruits likely won’t see the field for a few years. A handful might play as true or redshirt freshman but in year four, Tuberville is looking for players who can develop in the system and contribute as upperclassmen. That’s the ideal situation for this staff to develop stability on Cincinnati’s roster.

Here’s the complete 2016 class.