Good news Bearcats fans, another athletic linebacker has been added to the 2015 recruiting class. Quintin Hampton, a 5’11” 225 lb. linebacker from Colquitt County High School in Georgia, has committed to the Bearcats. He was listed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as one of the 10 best linebackers in the state of Georgia. Though he attracted interest from some SEC schools, he has decided to call Cincinnati home. Kudos to the recruiting team for scoring an excellent student athlete (he maintains a 3.7 GPA) to the 2015 class.
It was a simple message, but one that should be received with much pleasure by Bearcats fans all over. Antonio Howard, a Rivals 3-Star DB commit to the class of 2015, has confirmed that he is still #BearcatBound. Howard has picked up offers from Miami, Penn State, WVU, Pitt, USF, and Syracuse. Most recently, Howard was offered by Mississippi State yesterday on June 8th.
Nevertheless, the 5’9.5″, 160 lb. speedster is still committed to the Cincinnati Bearcats, according to his twitter account @speedyhoward. When asked whether he was still coming to Cincinnati, Mr. Howard replied “#BearcatBound.”
I’m looking forward to watching this young man play. He joins a long list of Bearcats from the Sunshine State, Miami FLA pipeline. Let’s hope other recruits make “#BearcatBound” trend.
I cannot emphasize enough that the national media will be paying close attention to Gunner Kiel and the Cincinnati Bearcats this year. Even though the Bearcats are not coming off a BCS-Bowl-Game-caliber last season, there are high expectations in Clifton and around the country for the highly-touted Kiel.
As some of you may be aware, there is a supposed hierarchy of college football based largely upon tradition. Because of that supposed hierarchy, the nation is shocked when coaches like Tommy Tuberville and quarterbacks like Gunner Kiel choose Cincinnati. Well, what Cincinnati lacks in college football tradition, it makes up for in potential. Cincinnati is a hotbed of high school football, and home to a lot of Bengals fans. In other words, the city of Cincinnati knows football. And I suspect this city is hungry for a team with a winning attitude to take the field at Paul Brown Stadium this fall.
During the spring game, Kiel looked sharp, poised, and mature in the pocket. With all of the attention, will he be able to carry this team into national contention?
It’s not really worth much at this point, but the Bearcats are getting some best-of-the-not-power-conference treatment over at CBS. Jerry Palm (I promise no palm reading puns), who is a CBS-described “bowls expert” predicted that the Bearcats will play South Carolina in the Peach Bowl.
To evaluate whether you trust the data, please also consider that he is predicting that Arkansas State will play Wyoming in the New Orleans bowl. I doubt he knows the Sun Belt Conference like the palm (woops) of his hand…
Before you read on, let me offer a huge caveat – I do not put much stock into preseason accolades. Based on promise and potential alone, I was a preseason member of the national honor society in high school. Turns out, I skipped a lot of classes and didn’t put in much effort. Make sense?
Nevertheless,14 Bearcats were listed in Phil Steele’s publication of note as players deserving attention this fall. I love lists, and so does America! So, here goes something…
First Team PRESEASON AAC Honorees include:
OT Eric Lefeld (Coldwater, Ohio/Coldwater)
DE Silverberry Mouhon (Norcross, Ga./Norcross)
RB Hosey Williams (Miami, Fla./Southridge/ASA College)
Second Team PRESEASON AAC Honorees include:
C Deyshawn Bond (Indianapolis, Ind./Warren Central)
OL Parker Ehinger (Rockford, Mich./Rockford)
LB Jeff Luc (Port St. Lucie, Fla./Treasure Coast/Florida State)
LB Nick Temple (Indianapolis, Ind./Warren Central)
Third and Fourth Team PRESEASON AAC Honorees include:
DB Zach Edwards (Middletown, Ohio/Middletown)
DE Terrell Hartsfield (Raleigh, N.C./Rolesville/Copiah-Lincoln CC)
WR/PR Shaq Washington (Maple Hts., Ohio/Maple Hts.)
RB Ralph David Abernathy IV (Atlanta, Ga./Westminster School)
QB Gunner Kiel (Columbus, Ind./East/Notre Dame)
WR Mekale McKay (Louisville, Ky./Moore/Arkansas)
WR Chris Moore (Tampa, Fla./Thomas Jefferson)
Again, I’m not sure preseason lists mean much. Each of these young men is going to have to put in the time and effort, and show up on Saturdays. I suspect some of the preseason 3rd and 4th-teamers may just end up carrying the Bearcats this fall.
Our man, Gunner, was recently listed as one of the top 10 players under the most pressure for the 2014 season. As a recruit, he was rated as either the best, or second best, quarterback in his recruiting class. Do you know who was also considered the best quarterback of his class? You guessed it – Jameis Winston. Winston already has a Heisman and a National Championship. So, the eyes of the national media will undoubtedly be on Kiel as he attempts to make good on his promising talent. More here.
Arguably the two premier brands in college basketball and football illustrate the financial disparity in college sports. The Kentucky Wildcats, maybe the best brand in college basketball, just signed John Calipari to a 7 year, $52.5 million dollar deal. That’s some real walking around money. The Alabama Crimson Tide just signed Nick Saban (Lane Kiffin’s boss) to a deal through 2022 for $55.2 million.
Right now, Bearcats athletic dollars just don’t add up. In 2013, the Bearcats total revenue (for all of its programs) was $61.9 million, while its expenses were $59.5 million. By way of contrast, Alabama was “rolling” in the dough with $143.7 million in revenue, while its expenses were $116.6 million. More interesting factoids can be found on the USA Today’s chart.
In other words, if we want the Bearcats to sneak into one of the power conferences, the donor base is going to have to pony up ‘Bama dollars. By the way, have you ever driven through Alabama? It’s not the most affluent state in the union.
Yesterday, Gunner Kiel was listed as one of the top 10 quarterback transfers to watch this football season on this site. This isn’t the first time Gunner has appeared on anyone’s top ten list. In 2012, he was rated by many as the top quarterback prospect. Notably, two of the top 10 transfers, Gunner and Andrew Hendrix (both from Notre Dame) will face off against each other when Cincinnati plays Miami (OH) on September 20, 2014. It’s worth noting that Miami (again, OH) went 0 for 12 last season, so Hendrix will have his hands, and probably rib cage, full.
But, can Gunner take the Bearcats back to the BCS? Will he restore the shine to this burgeoning program? Fingers crossed…
The AAC recently announced its conference divisions for 2015. It looks like the Bearcats will play in the East Division, which is the tougher division by a mile. Here’s how the divisions look:
Under the planned division of teams, each team will play the other five teams within its division each year. Then, the other three games will rotate between three teams from the other division. This means that each team is guaranteed a home-and-home series with every other conference team within a four-year period.
More importantly, this division of teams will allow the conference to have a conference championship game. While that may not seem too critical at first blush, if some of the teams prove to be nationally competitive, it may allow the leader of the AAC (presumably, the Bearcats) to sneak into the playoff.
Or maybe UC will be invited to join the ACC or Big 12 before then. Here’s to dreaming…
Honestly, I don’t think this is that bold of a prediction. Louisville has left the conference. UCF has lost some ground with their ground game. Another blogger has gone so far as to articulate ten specific reasons the Bearcats will win.
While I tend to agree with Mr. Cox, I think the reasons are far more simple:
(1) Much of the top talent and teams have been extracted by conference realignment.
Which is fine. I’m not bitter. Like at all.
Pitt, Louisville, and Rutgers have gone on to greener pastures. I promise not to laugh too hard when the Panthers stumble and stammer their way through the ACC. If we’re honest, Rutgers couldn’t even compete in the former Big East (RIP underestimated conference), so they are bound to flop in the B1G.
Enjoy that northeast market B1G! I’m sure a ton of people will tune into that Rutgers / Northwestern match-up. Nothing draws ratings quite like watching a sub-par B1G team beat up on a woeful Rutgers squad. See bitter disclaimer above.
The Bearcats will have plenty of chances to prove their strength this year. Maybe you’ve heard that they play a certain team up north (See Ohio State’s schedule September 27, 2014).
(2) Tommy Tuberville
He is the class of the conference. He’s been around a lot of great teams and programs. It takes every good coach a little bit to get their feet beneath them. I trust him.
Get used to that name. He’s a beast. He will fill the seats. He will take us to great heights. He will compete for a Heisman.
Remember, you heard it here first.