From NOLA to Cincinnati with Michael Young, Jr.

Desmond Ridder’s favorite target last year with 29 catches for 332 yards and 3 TDs was none other than #8 Michael Young, Jr. Starting his career with the Irish in South Bend, Indiana, Young was highly-rated coming out of Louisiana, ranked a top-70 wideout by all major media outlets. He grew up with the likes of current Minnesota Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson.

During the SMU game last season, Young recounts a 3rd and short dig route. He was open. The pass slightly behind him, but admittedly an expected catch for the 1st down and continuation of the drive. The date was October 24, 2020. UC won the game handily, 42-13, to go 4-0 on the year. A perfectionist – that did not stop Michael Young from working even harder. And yes, this was his only drop of the season.

From October 24, 2020, he vowed never to drop a ball again.  After every practice, Young requires himself to catch 100 passes from the Jugs machine.  Sometimes other wide receivers will try to keep up after practice, aiming for 10, 20, or 30 catches.  No – this is not good enough.  Young requires 100, at a minimum.  Today was around 110 degrees on the field at HigherGround, at it was no different.  After his 100 catches, only then was his practice over.

The last player off the field, but the wait was worth it. Michael Young is a treat to interview. His energy and intellect are infectious. Already having earned an undergraduate degree in journalism, Young will earn a master’s degree in sports administration this year. He hopes to one day be a sports journalist or work in the front office of a football organization. Some way, somehow, Michael Young is going to be successful – going the extra distance, one rep at a time.

A fan of cheeseburgers and red beans and rice, the man can eat despite his 5’ 10” stature. Michael Jordan is his idol. Jimmy Neutron is his show. And Odell Beckham, Jr., a fellow New Orleans prodigy, is his favorite athlete.

Young loves playing under Coach Fickell’s big-energy approach. When asked who fans will be surprised by this year, he was quick to mention sophomore wideout #21 Tyler Scott. He is fast and has great hands, according to Young. Fans will also get to see #83 Blue Smith, who has unfortunately been injured and dinged up most of his career.

By Andy Smith

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