Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
In College Football, as in life, there are certain days that are singled out, circled on the calendar, and obsessed about more than the rest. Opening day, New Years Day, the National Championship game and, increasingly, National Signing Day. For you, me, and countless others National Signing Day has become, in effect, a national holiday. To get ready for NSD this is a refresher course for where the Bearcats stand heading into Wednesday
The brief five week tenure of Tommy Tuberville has been marked by little but controversy, and that's not even counting the incidents that occurred before he even took the job. Once he took the job things got really interesting, very quickly. Like every coach who is taking the reigns of a program six weeks away from signing day a judgement call has to be made about the recruits currently committed to the program. Do you keep the other guys recruits in the fold, or do you try to bring in your own guys. Tubs opted for the latter track, which is fine. But the way he went about it was, lets say, suboptimal.
The first commit of the Tuberville era was Mike Tyson, a linebacker from Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia. The second was Brent Stockstill, who inadvertently set off a fire storm of controversy. The recruitment, and subsequent commitment, of Stockstill was based on an assumption, that then current QB commitment Kyle Kempt from Massillon would follow Butch Jones to Tennessee. Depending on who you ask, Kempt either decommitted or had his offer pulled. I don't really know which, nor do I particularly care.
That story prompted a wave of stories leveling similarly ugly behavior by Tuberville and his staff. The Atlanta Journal Constitution found examples that share a similar shape with then UC commits Demetrius Monday of Atlanta and Jaleel Canty of Lansing. In all of the 15 players committed to Cincinnati when Tuberville took the job just four remain Bearcat commits. Tshumbi Johnson from Immokalee FL, Javon Harrison of Dayton and local products Ben Flick of Hamilton and Rasheen Jones of Northwest.
Of those that departed two followed Jones to Tennessee (A.J. Branisel and Dylan Wiesman); Kempt committed to Oregon State. Two found their way to the Mountain West (Dakota Cox and Nick D'Avanzo to New Mexico). Most found homes in the MAC (Jaleel Canty to Eastern Michigan; Demetrius Monday to Kent State; Marcus Levy and Isaiah Gourdine to Bowling Green; Mykel Traylor-Bennett and Austin Wolfe to Akron). Two running backs are still on the market, Robert Davis and Aregeros Turner.
All the while a steady stream of players who committed to Tubs at Texas Tech have found their way to Clifton. JUCO's Rodriguez Moore (RB), Jerrell Jordon (DE) and Terrell Hartsfield (DE) have all committed to the Bearcats after initially committing to Texas Tech. A possible coincidence that nicely fanned the flames of controversy. UC has also dipped into the JUCO ranks for another RB, Hosey Williams of ASA College in Brooklyn, (originally from Miami) considered to be among the top JUCO RB's in the country.
The one thing that Tuberville has been able to do, basically unnoticed by anyone, is get together a good class by mining Tuberville's deep base of knowledge in the south. He picked up RB Darius Tice, DB Aaron Brown and WR Mark Barr from perennial South Florida powers St. Thomas A
As it currently stands the Bearcats have 15 commitments as of this writing. There are still a couple of prospects out there who could wind up signing for the Bearcats. Turner and Davis both have the Bearcats in their final group, though few people expect either to be Clifton bound. The Bearcats did make the final group for several prospects. Tight End Travis Johnson from Tampa Jesuit is a very tentative Cincinnati lean according to those in the know. Wide Receiver Rodney Adams is down to UC and Toledo. JUCO WR Johnny Holton is down to UC and Iowa State. Those are the prospects to keep an eye on, but there are always surprises. Right Dennis Norfleeet?