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2014 Cincinnati Recruiting Class Analysis

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 6, 2014


Cincinnati Bearcats 2014 ... Head Coach: Tommy Tuberville


Cincinnati Bearcats

2013 Record: 9-4
8/31 Purdue W 42-7
9/7 at Illinois L 45-17
9/14 Northwestern St W 66-9
9/21 at Miami Univ. W 14-0
9/28 OPEN DATE
10/5 at USF L 26-20
10/11 Temple W 38-20
10/19 Connecticut W 41-16
10/30 at Memphis W 34-21
11/2 OPEN DATE
11/9 SMU W 28-25
11/16 at Rutgers W 52-17
11/23 at Houston W 24-17
11/30 OPEN DATE
12/5 Louisville L 31-24 OT
Belk Bowl
12/28 Cincinnati W 39-16


Cincinnati | The 2014 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: Special teams. The Bearcats did a lot of things well in 2013, but special teams were not one of them. They ranked 121st nationally in net punting, yielding over 15 yards a return, while getting little or no spark out of their own return men. There’s an awful lot to like about Cincinnati in 2014, especially with the addition of Notre Dame transfer Gunner Kiel at quarterback. But, it’ll remain an incomplete program until it can tighten things up in all three phases of the game.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive line. The Bearcats loaded up on prospects for the line with JUCO transfer Hakeem Allonce working on the inside right away and Landon Brazile a potentially great pass rusher on the outside. There isn’t a lot of star power in the secondary, but Tyrell Gilbert is a good one. JUCO transfer Jarred Evans is going to push Gunner Kiel for the quarterback job right away, and scatback Franklin Labady will be a fun toy to play around with.

2013 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 46. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive backs. Last year Butch Jones went big on the secondary, and Tommy Tuberville did the same thing with JUCO transfers Howard Wilder and Darren Doston out of California ready to go at corner and Mike Tyson arguably the team's best pickup. JUCO transfer Jerrell Jordan will eventually be the team's best tackler, while quarterback Tyler Cogswell out of Florida and receiver Tshumbi Johnson out of Immokalee should be a big part of what Tuberville wants to do offensively.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 30. That Class Was Heavy On ... Secondary. After a few years of going after receivers and skill player, the Bearcats need to strengthen a secondary that’ll be fine for the next two years but needs prospects for 2014 and beyond. Offense won’t be ignored, with head coach Butch Jones going after as many top players for the passing game as possible. Small and speedy Dennis Norfleet could be an instant impact running backs used in a variety of ways. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 48. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. If head coach Butch Jones wants to bomb away, he has the class to do it. The defensive line got the biggest stars with Demetrius Alston, Silverberry Mouhon and Chad West three dangerous ends who can all get into the backfield. Throw in 300-pound Daniel Murray for the inside, and the line is set. Patrick Coyne should be the team’s star quarterback down the road, and Jameel Poteat is a speedy back who’ll be the focal point of the attack sooner than later. The big offensive push is at receiver with Shaquille Washington leading a loaded corps of seven prospects.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 52. That Class Was Heavy On ...
Receivers. Butch Jones had to try to keep Brian Kelly's recruits coming to Cincinnati. Only three receivers were signed, but they'll be the key to the class with Dyjuan Lewis, a 6-2 target with 4.4 speed, the likely No. 1 man in the near future. The line got the most help for the defense with five prospects signed and needing Josh Russ and Cameron Beard to grow into roles on the end by 2013. Safety Arryn Chenault is too good to not get an early look at playing time.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 51. That Class Was Heavy On ... tight ends. Can you say overkill? Cincinnati has signed four of the country’s top 100 tight ends, providing plenty of depth for Ben Guidugli and Kazeem Alli. From the program that turned Connor Barwin into the Big East’s sack leader a year ago, you can count on one or two of these tight ends, like Will Saddler and Mitch Kessel, to switch position at some point in their ‘Cat careers. 

Belk Bowl
North Carolina 39, Cincinnati 16
Basically … North Carolina jumped out early and never let the game get close, up 16-0 going into the second quarter with Romar Morris running for a two-yard score and T.J. Logan returning a kick for a score following a safety on a Kareem martin sack. The Tar Heel special teams also came through in the third quarter on a 86-yard punt return for a score from Ryan Switzer for a 29-3 lead before Cincinnati finally got into the end zone on a 15-yard Ralph Abernathy IV score. The two teams traded rushing scores with Morris giving UNC a 36-10 lead on a one-yard run and the Bearcats scoring on a Shaq Washington ten-yard run, but the outcome had been decided.

- North Carolina QB Marquise Williams completed 19-of-33 passes for 171 yards and a score and ran nine times for 46 yards.
- North Carolina RB T.J. Logan ran 15 times for 77 yards, caught a pass for four yards, and returned three kickoffs for 120 yards with a score.
- North Carolina WR Ryan Switzer caught three passes for 22 yards, ran once for eight yards and returned three punts for 83 yards and a touchdown.
- North Carolina DE/LB Norkeithus Otis made seven tackles with a sack and two tackles for loss.
- Cincinnati DB Darren Doston made ten tackles with three broken up passes.

Louisville 31, at Cincinnati 24 OT
Basically … Louisville was able to come through in overtime on a two-yard Dominique Brown touchdown run, and Cincinnati wasn’t able to answer, with a last gasp fourth down pass failing to connect. The Bearcats were able to force overtime on a 26-yard Tony Miliano field goal with seven seconds to play, just a few minutes after Teddy Bridgewater gave the Cardinals the lead with a hit third touchdown pass of the game – and the second to DeVante Parker – from four yards away. Bridgewater and Parker connected on a 36-yard score early in the first quarter, but the biggest moment came on a brilliant 22-yard pitch-and-catch to a leaping Damian Copeland midway through the fourth. Brendon Kay ran for two short scores for the Bearcats for a 14-10 lead going into the fourth, and Ralph Abernathy ran for a 15-yard score after the Copeland grab.
- Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater completed 23-of-37 passes for 255 yards and three touchdowns with a pick.
- Cincinnati QB Brendon Kay completed 22-of-40 passes for 304 yards and two picks, and he ran 11 times for 23 yards and two touchdowns.
- Louisville WR DeVante Parker caught nine passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns.
- Penalties: Louisville 7 for 60 yards – Cincinnati 2 for 18

Cincinnati 24, at Houston 17
Basically … In the rain and bad weather, Cincinnati got up 24-7 with two touchdown passes from Brandon Kay to Chris Moore from 40 and three yards out and he ran for a 14-yard score, and then the defense had to hold on. The Cougars forced three turnovers with Trevon Stewart returning a fumble for a score, and the offense came up with a 12-yard Deontay Greenberry touchdown catch in the second, but the O stumbled in the fourth.
- Cincinnati QB Brendon Kay completed 29-of-50 passes for 386 yards and two touchdowns with two picks, and he ran nine times for 38 yards and a touchdown.
- Cincinnati outgained Houston 573 yards to 278, but he turned it over three times to Houston two.
- Houston QB John O’Korn completed 13-of-30 passes for 171 yards and a score, and he ran for 11 yards on seven carries.
- Cincinnati had the ball for 36:32 to Houston’s 23:28

Cincinnati 52, at Rutgers 17
Basically … Cincinnati got four touchdown passes from Brendon Kay including first quarter strikes from 24 and 66 yards away to Mekale McKay. The two hooked up for a 34-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter for a 52-7 lead. Rutgers got a 16-yard touchdown catch from Brandon Coleman in the first, but didn’t get back on the board until late with ten points in the final five minutes.
- Cincinnati QB Brendon Kay completed 24-of-38 passes for 405 yards and four scores.
- Three Bearcat receivers – Mekale McKay, Shaq Washington and Anthony McClung each went over 100 yards receiving – and Chris Moore caught four passes for 75 yards and two scores.
- Rutgers QB Gary Nova completed 18-of-38 passes for 170 yards and a score with two picks.
- Cincinnati outgained Rutgers 619 yards to 357 with 507 yards coming through the air.

at Cincinnati 28, SMU 25
Basically … Brendon Kay threw two touchdown passes, hitting Chris Moore from 17 yards out and Mekale McKay from 62 yards away, as part of a 28-pount run in the middle of the game. And then it was on the Bearcat defense to hang on as Garrett Gilbert, who ran for a three-yard score to start out the scoring, tried to bring the Mustangs back with two fourth quarter touchdown passes to Darius Joseph to get within three, but the UC was able to run out the clock and hold on.
- Cincinnati QB Brendan Kay completed 27-of-32 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns with two picks.
- SMU QB Garrett Gilbert completed 38-of-47 passes for 403 yards and two touchdowns, and he ran for 14 yards and a score. Three Mustang receivers went for over 100 yards.
- SMU kicker Chase Hover missed two field goals, hitting just a 24-yarder.
- Cincinnati outgained SMU 462 yards to 451, but was -3 in turnover margin.

Cincinnati 34, at Memphis 21
Basically … Brendan Kay threw for 321 yards and a score and Tion Green added two short touchdown runs as Cincinnati got up 21-7 midway through the third quarter, but it was a fight to hang on. Memphis started out the scoring late in the first quarter on a seven-yard Tevin Jones catch, and pulled within six late in the fourth on a 31-yard run from Brandon Hayes, but the Bearcats close with Green’s second touchdown run putting it away.
- Cincinnati QB Brandon Kay completed 27-of-35 passes for 321 yards and a score with a pick.
- Cincinnati S Zach Edwards led all tacklers with 11 stops, a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery.
- Memphis QB Paxton Lynch completed 17-of-33 passes for 140 yards and two scores with a pick.
- The Tigers converted just 2-of-12 third down chances. Cincinnati converted 11-of-17 tries.

at Cincinnati 41, Connecticut 16
Basically … Brendon Kay threw four touchdown passes – with two to Chris Moore from eight and 27 yards out – and ran for another as Cincinnati throttled UConn. The Huskies could only manage a 26-yard Chad Christen field goal early as the Bearcats took a 34-3 lead into midway through the third quarter. Max DeLorenzo ran for a 12-yard touchdown for UConn and Marquise Vann returned a fumble for a score, but UC had the game well in hand.
- Brendon Kay is getting hot at just the right time. The UC quarterback completed 17-of-24 passes for 300 yards and four scores, and he ran for a touchdown. Helping the cause is wildcat runner Jordan Luallen, who led the team with 51 rushing yards while adding a little bit of a passing touch.
- Interim UConn head coach T.J. Weist wants to give Tim Boyle a shot to show what he can do, but the dropback passer is making too many young mistakes. He threw for 310 yards, and he wasn’t bad at times, but he also threw three picks. It would be nice if the O line and running game could help, but both were awful against the Bearcats.
- As if things weren’t bad enough for the Huskies, now they have to go to UCF and follow it up with Louisville. It’s going to take a minor miracle not to be 0-9 going into a winnable game at Temple.
- This is where Cincinnati has to roll. It might not have been a fun start to the season, but now the Bearcats are 5-2 with east games against Memphis and SMU up next. They’re going to end up in a bowl, and now it’s time to fight for the AAC title. However, they don’t play UCF – they’ll need a little help.

at Cincinnati 38, Temple 20
Basically … Cincinnati turned it on with 17 unanswered points with a short touchdown run from Tion Green and a four-yard scoring catch from Anthony McClung help put it away. Temple got two touchdown passes from P.J. Walker with a 35-yarder to Jalen Fitzpatrick and an 30-yarder to Clinton Granger, but the offense fell flat with no points in the second half.
- Considering what the Bearcats have been through after the death of Ben Flick, this was a much needed win after a rocky start. The team didn’t play focused last weekend, and this week it struggled to get going but turned it on late.
- P.J. Walker is going to be the new face of Temple football, and he did a decent job early on under the defensive pressure. He completed 12-of-22 passes for 200 yards and two scores with a pick, and he ran nine times for 47 yards, but the offense didn’t move in the second half.
- Brendon Kay had a safe and effective day, completing 31-of-37 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns, and Tion Green was a steadying force with 18 carries for 91 yards and two scores, but it was the defense that took over. The pass rush pressure on the short passing game turned out to be the difference in the second half.
- Tyler Matakevich tried to get around the ball on every play, doing a nice job for the Temple defense against the run with 15 tackles.

at South Florida 26, Cincinnati 20
Basically … USF took advantage of four Cincinnati turnovers and jumped out to a 26-6 lead on a blocked field goal for a score, a fumble return for a touchdown and four Marvin Kloss field goals. Cincinnati rallied back late with two Brandon Kay touchdown passes with a 15-yarder to Mekale McKay coming with just over two minutes to play, but USF got the onside kick.
- It all starts now. South Florida had a disastrous September, but 1-0 is all that matters. After all the problems and all the issues, the Bulls can start carving out a new season, even if the offense still isn’t doing much of anything. The defense and the Cincinnati mistakes helped the cause, but getting the first win in the Willie Taggart era is all that matters.
- Cincinnati can be forgiven for coming up with an uneven effort after spending the week dealing with the tragic loss of teammate Ben Flick, who died in a car accident. Don’t be shocked if it’s a completely different Bearcat team showing up over the next few weeks with Temple and Connecticut up next.
- How is USF going to make up for the problems on offense? The defense is going to be more aggressive. Mark Joyce came up with two picks helped by a decent pass rush and several plays behind the line keeping the UC running game under wraps.
- The Bearcats moved the ball, and they woke up late to make it a battle, but the four turnovers were devastating. Brandon Kay didn’t generate too much down the field, but he spread the ball around well. Drives didn’t start turning into consistent points until it was too late.

Cincinnati 14, at Miami University 0
Basically … Cincinnati was bad, Miami University was worse. The Bearcats finally got on the board with under five minutes to play on a one-yard Hosey Williams touchdown run, and Brendon Kay sealed it with a one-yard score with just over two minutes to play. Miami managed just four first downs and 87 yards of total offense, going 0-for-11 on third downs.
- To be fair UC QB Brendon Kay isn’t healthy with a bad knee, but ugh. The Bearcats tried to do everything possible not to win the game on offense, but Kay and the attack finally broke through late. He completed 23-of-37 passes for 171 yards and two picks.
- Miami’s offense came up with seven rushing yards. It’s a weekly problem now. No running game is one thing – MU is used to that – but there’s no passing attack to pick up the slack, Austin Boucher completed just 7-of-16 passes for 80 yards and two picks, mostly because he had absolutely no time to work.
- Cincinnati generated five sacks and was constantly behind the line. The Bearcats got production from everywhere, with Jordan Stepp leading the way with two sacks.
- Kent Kern made 15 tackles and seemed to be in on every stops. The RedHawk defense more than did its part – corner Dayonne Nunley was terrific – but the offense provided no help whatsoever.

at Cincinnati 66, Northwestern State 9, Sept. 14
Basically … Cincinnati did whatever it wanted with 669 yards of total offense. Brendon Kay threw four touchdown passes to four different receivers, and Hosey Williams ran for two short touchdowns. Northwestern State was down 28-0 before getting on the board with a De’Mard Llorens touchdown run.
- It was the perfect game and the perfect time to try getting Brendon Kay some work in the first game after the Munchie Legaux injury. Kay is a veteran and was more than ready, but still, it was a positive that he hit 13-of-15 passes for 275 yards and four scores. The three Bearcat quarterbacks completed 20-of-22 throws.
- There was no need for so many penalties. UC committed 13 for 131 yards. It was no big deal this week, and it won’t matter against Miami University next week, but it’s all about improving, and dumb mistakes are the only things that could cost the team until the Rutgers game in mid-November.

at Illinois 45, Cincinnati 17, Sept. 7
Basically … Illinois came out hot scoring the first 21 points of the game on two Nathan Scheelhaase touchdown passes and a 29-yard run from Ryan Lankford. Cincinnati hung around, helped by a one-yard Max Morrison touchdown catch from Munchie Legaux, but Scheelhaase struck again in the third with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Steve Hull. The Illini scored the final 17 points of the game to pull away.
- Cincinnati QB Munchie Legaux threw for 237 yards and led the team with 52 rushing yards, but he got banged up and left the field in the fourth quarter with a leg injury.
- Nathan Scheelhaase looks like a night-and-day quarterback. He threw for 312 yards and four touchdowns, and ran for 24 yards, but most importantly, he’s in command and he’s making all the right decisions.
- All of a sudden, Illinois appears to be a bit of a factor. If Cincinnati isn’t the second best team in the AAC behind Louisville, it’s third, and the Illini came up with a whopper of a performance. By far, this is the biggest win yet under Tim Beckman.
- On this day, there might not be a better battle of linebackers. Cincinnati’s Greg Blair came up with 14 tackles with a broken up pass, while Illinois’ Jonathan Brown was fantastic with 14 tackles and a tackle for loss.

at Cincinnati 42, Purdue 7, Aug. 31
Basically … Munchie Legaux showed why he needs to be the Cincinnati starting quarterback with an effective day running for a ten-yard score and hitting Blake Annen with a 15-yard touchdown pass. Purdue tied it at seven in the second quarter on a seven-yard Rob Henry run, but the Bearcats scored 35 unanswered points.
- Legaux had a good game, but the two picks were a bit of a concern. He ran well and moved the offense, but he had help. The Bearcats got production from everywhere on offense in a balanced day.
- That wasn’t exactly the performance Darrell Hazell’s Kent State team came up with last year. The Boilermakers were sloppy and ineffective with four turnovers, seven penalties, and way too many misfires. Rob Henry couldn’t come up with any big plays down the field, and the running game didn’t help him.
- Don’t discount the possibility that Cincinnati might be just that good. Everyone wants to talk about Louisville, but the Bearcats can play.
- Purdue’s defense couldn’t seem to come up with a meaningful stop. The time of possession was a negative because third and fourth downs were owned by UC.

Spring Analysis

Why To Get Excited … new head coach Tommy Tuberville inherits what might be the league’s best offensive lines. Not only are four starters back for another season, but two of them, LT Eric Lefeld and LG Austen Bujnoch, were members of last year’s All-Big East First Team. Now that QB Brendon Kay has been granted an additional year of eligibility, only three offensive starters must be replaced.

Why To Be Grouchy … the Bearcats remain a Big East holdover. As the league continually gets downgraded through realignment, Cincinnati has been unable to latch on to a stronger conference. The program has now won 10 or more games in five of the last six years, but absolutely no one off campus is aware of it.

The Number One Thing To Work On Is … developing new leaders on defense. LB Greg Blair was awarded a sixth year, and DT Camaron Beard is a riser up front , but the Cats lost a lot senior leaders to graduation. Last year’s 89th-ranked pass defense, in particular, will be without six veterans who exhausted their eligibility.

Team Concerns For 2013: New head coach Tommy Tuberville has the offensive pieces in place, but he needs to do some work on a defense that has to replace seven starters. The secondary struggled giving up 252 yards per outing, but it didn't give up a slew of big plays. Now it has to replace all four starters in the defensive backfield, while the linebacking corps has to replace two starters. Not having both starting defensive ends is a problem. Offensively, the front five will be great, but quarterback Brendon Kay, running back George Winn and tight end Travis Kelce have to be replaced.

Non-Conference Games: Purdue, at Illinois, Northwestern State, at Miami University
Realistic Best Case Record: 10-2
Worst Case Record: 6-6
Likely Finish: 9-3

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Purdue, Northwestern State, at Miami University, Temple, Connecticut, at Memphis, SMU, at Houston, Louisville

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Illinois, at USF, at Rutgers

Schedule Analysis: The Big East is going to be easier, but will that matter for a Bearcat team that has to deal with just enough tough dates to screw up a trip to the BCS? If it can beat Purdue and Illinois to kick off the season, it’ll be a 4-0 start with Northwestern State and a trip to Miami University to follow before a light stretch of conference games playing Temple and UConn before going to Memphis and hosting SMU. And then the fun kicks in gong to Rutgers and Houston in back-to-back weeks before closing out with a Big East championship-like game against Louisville.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive backs. Last year Butch Jones went big on the secondary, and Tommy Tuberville did the same thing with JUCO transfers Howard Wilder and Darren Doston out of California ready to go at corner and Mike Tyson arguably the team's best pickup. JUCO transfer Jerrell Jordan will eventually be the team's best tackler, while quarterback Tyler Cogswell out of Florida and receiver Tshumbi Johnson out of Immokalee should be a big part of what Tuberville wants to do offensively.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 30. That Class Was Heavy On ... Secondary. After a few years of going after receivers and skill player, the Bearcats need to strengthen a secondary that’ll be fine for the next two years but needs prospects for 2014 and beyond. Offense won’t be ignored, with head coach Butch Jones going after as many top players for the passing game as possible. Small and speedy Dennis Norfleet could be an instant impact running backs used in a variety of ways. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 48. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. If head coach Butch Jones wants to bomb away, he has the class to do it. The defensive line got the biggest stars with Demetrius Alston, Silverberry Mouhon and Chad West three dangerous ends who can all get into the backfield. Throw in 300-pound Daniel Murray for the inside, and the line is set. Patrick Coyne should be the team’s star quarterback down the road, and Jameel Poteat is a speedy back who’ll be the focal point of the attack sooner than later. The big offensive push is at receiver with Shaquille Washington leading a loaded corps of seven prospects.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 52. That Class Was Heavy On ...
Receivers. Butch Jones had to try to keep Brian Kelly's recruits coming to Cincinnati. Only three receivers were signed, but they'll be the key to the class with Dyjuan Lewis, a 6-2 target with 4.4 speed, the likely No. 1 man in the near future. The line got the most help for the defense with five prospects signed and needing Josh Russ and Cameron Beard to grow into roles on the end by 2013. Safety Arryn Chenault is too good to not get an early look at playing time.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 51. That Class Was Heavy On ... tight ends. Can you say overkill? Cincinnati has signed four of the country’s top 100 tight ends, providing plenty of depth for Ben Guidugli and Kazeem Alli. From the program that turned Connor Barwin into the Big East’s sack leader a year ago, you can count on one or two of these tight ends, like Will Saddler and Mitch Kessel, to switch position at some point in their ‘Cat careers. 



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