Earlier today, I reported that Justin Jenifer was going to make his decision in a matter of days. Well, he decided. Jenifer has chosen to play for Mick Cronin’s Bearcats. Jenifer is one of the premier point guards in the country and a top 100 recruit. He’s quick with the ball, decisive, and has great instincts. He received offers from Georgetown, Memphis, and Miami. He visited Cincinnati on June 5th and has made public his decision to play for UC.
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…
Nearly 100 writers, editors, broadcasters, and researchers at ESPN have undertaken the herculean task of ranking the top 100 college basketball coaches right now. Guess what? UC’s Mick Cronin was ranked as the 27th best coach. Not too bad.
Former UC coach, Bob Huggins, was ranked 30th. Notably, our crosstown rival’s head coach, Chris Mack, was ranked 43rd. More here.
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.
There’s not a thing I don’t appreciate about Mardy Gilyard. In college, he lived out of his car while he was getting back on his feet. He helped take the Bearcats to their first BCS Bowl game with his electric kick returns. Now, he is trying to make the Montreal Alouettes. Like you, I’m really pulling for him. He’s made a living off of overcoming adversity and finding his way. More from the local Canadian press here, eh.
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.
Sometimes life gives you lemons…racially divisive, xenophobic, and bizarre lemons. When that happens, what’s a former Bearcat to do?
Well friends, Nick Van Exel is making lemonade. Earlier this spring, the NBA inked an agreement with Van Exel’s clothing company “We R One.” The NBA and adidas are now teaming up to sell “We Are One” shirts in the wake of the Donald Sterling scandal. Three cheers to capitalism!