The Football class of 2011 was widely hailed as the best recruiting effort in school history. Most of the players that came to UC did so over other BCS schools. It was expected that many members of the class of 2011 would contribute to the team beyond special teams. As always there were a couple of surprises along the way.
RDA4 won the starting kick return job in camp and was pretty good in that capacity. Abernathy played like most freshmen do, inconsistently. He had some moments of genius, against Austin Peay on his first touch ever and later in the year against Syracuse.
But on the other side of the coin he had some struggles fielding the ball at times and was occasionally indecisive as a runner. Still he showed enough as a Freshman to make me think that he is going to be returning kicks and punts for the next three years.
80 Alex Chisum
It might be hyperbole but I really think that Chisum is going to be the next great Bearcat wide receiver. Alex played in all 12 games and got his first two starts of his career against West Virginia and UConn. Chis has caught 18 balls for 290 yards with 2 TD's with a game to play. He wasn't a major part of the rotation early in the year but he was fixture down the stretch. He ended the year with This is the best season by a Bearcats True Freshman Wide Receiver since Earnest Jackson caught 24 balls for 314 yards and 1 TD in 2004.
A lot was expected of Jameel Poteat. I myself will admit to having slightly unrealistic expectations of the young man (and really undervaluing the potential of George Winn). Poteat played in 9 games on the year, and he ran the ball for 108 yards and 1 TD. But Poteat didn't get a touch after the Miami game. Part of that was him picking up a concussion in the Louisville game that kept him out against USF. But the other part was that Isaiah Pead was sooooo good this year that the RB rotation was shortened to Isaiah Pead, Isaiah Pead, Isaiah Pead and George Winn if Isaiah Pead couldn't carry it at the moment. Poteat got squeezed out of the rotation a bit.
27 Akise Teague
The last of the three freshman running backs to get on the field this year. Teague is a guy who blew everyone away in the off season conditioning drills. But once camp started he injured his hamstring and was limited by that. He did play in two games, carrying the ball 8 times for 42 yards and 1 TD. But he never really got healthy. Teague is eligible to apply for a medical hardship, and I expect UC to pursue that in the off season.
It's kind of bittersweet to write this part of the post. Shaq was an early enrollee who came in with a ton of promise. But he had a tough time adjusting to the college game, and life away from home as well. He has left the program and is likely to transfer somewhere closer to his Maple Heights home. Shaq departs playing in 5 games and catching 3 balls for 14 yards.