Well I am back from my self imposed vacation, and just in time for the start of fall camp. Still there is one area that I would like to touch on before we move onto discussing the coming Football season full bore, namely Butch Jones's efforts on the recruiting front. As Chris pointed out in his post about the three Michigan kids who committed this is the biggest class that has ever been assembled at UC to this point. Right now the class is 18 deep. There is speculation out there that the 2012 class will come in short of a full pull, somewhere in the neighborhood of 22 kids. I don't see that. UC is still under the 85 man scholarship limit because at least 4 scholarship players have left the team this off season, possibly more. I think it is far more likely that UC bumps the 25 man limit for this class.
With 18 guys in this class Butch Jones has ticked a lot of boxes off his list. He has his QB in Bennie Coney, two more running backs with Dennis Norfleet and Deionte Buckley. When you factor in Jeremy Graves at Wide Receiver this class looks just about wrapped up for offensive skill position guys. Now if a guy like Alton Howard wants to be a Bearcat they would take him in a heartbeat, but they will be very selective taking commits from offensive skill guys.
The offensive guys will get the headlines, particularly Coney and Norfleet, but this class is heavy on defense. Fully two thirds of the class are projected to play on the defensive side of the ball including three defensive linemen (Josh Posley, Jonathan Burt and Ryan Leahy), two linebackers (Errol Clarke and Lester Liston) and a whopping seven defensive backs (Vincent Miller, Alex Dale, Drake Bruns, Andre Jones, Leviticus Payne, Kevin Brown and Marcus Foster). Now obviously there will be some movement for all of these guys from their current positions. Vinny Miller can play Wide Receiver as well, though I think DB is his best fit, Kevin Brown is already big for a Safety and I think that in time he will slide down to outside linebacker, Ryan Leahy could slide down to DT ect. But this is the class right now.
There are still two position groups that need work for this class to be as good as possible. Depth at linebacker and at Offensive Line is still perilously thin. As chronicled elsewhere these are the two position groups that took the biggest hits from the infamous class of 2009. Butch Jones has done a pretty good job going out and getting guys to shore up these spots. But they are still positions that need work.
UC currently has two offensive line commits from Deyshawn Bond and Kyle Williamson. But quite a few of UC's top targets have committed at this point and the board is looking a little dead. Ideally UC should pick up a couple more O-Line prospects to close out this class up front. One Center/Guard and one Tackle would be great.
The other spot is linebacker. Securing commitments from two in two weeks puts the position on better footing. But UC needs a couple more to truly feel secure with the position. The indication is that Lester Liston is not a lock to qualify academically so adding at least two more linebackers is imperative. UC is rumored to be in great shape with Jacksonville Raines Linebacking Duo Ey'Shawn McClain and Kenneth Bynum. Adding those two would come pretty close to wrapping up this class for linebackers.
The Final Word
This is shaping up to be one of the best classes in UC history. All that is needed at this point is to keep hammering away at lineman and linebackers. A few quality linemen and backers would push this class over the top.