Today the Monty Madris saga came to the expected conclusion, he signed with Michigan State. And that, it seems is that with the class of 2012. There is still the matter of Kenneth Bynum as nascent Cincinnati commitment who received a last minute offer from Tennessee and is taking a visit to Knoxville this weekend. But that is the only piece of the puzzle that has not fallen for the Bearcats. Time of a (belated) overview of the class of 2012.
Since Butch Jones has taken over the Bearcats program that biggest issue has been a general lack of depth in the roster. No where has that lack of depth and talent been more acute than on the defense. In the secondary and among the linebackers. Last years class started to address the issue, but this years group of recruits goes a long way to solving it.
11 of the 28 scholarships in this class are going to linebackers or defensive backs including 7 defensive backs. All of which is great news from where I am sitting.
Going Down South
One of the biggest differences in the recruiting of Brian Kelly and that of Butch Jones is just how adept Jones is at going far afield and locking down the best available prospects. Kelly for his part was limited to the greater Cincinnati area, parts of Ohio and Michigan.
In this class Jones still hit Ohio and Michigan for 11 members of the class. Which is slightly less than the 15 or 16 that Kelly would sign from those two bedrock states every year. Jones still recruits Ohio, Michigan and Indianapolis first, but more and more of the Bearcats signees are coming from the south every year.
10 members of the class of 2012 hail from the south including 7 from the state of Florida alone. Last years class also boasted 10 members from southern states with 6 from Florida and 4 from Georgia.
Arguably the biggest feature of the class of 2011 was the start of recruiting pipelines in areas where the Bearcats had very little impact previously. Jones nabbed 3 prospects from Atlanta in that class. Ralph Abernathy IV and Alex Chisum bore fruit immediately and Silverberry Mouhon is a guy that the coaches really love along the defensive line.
The other new area in that class was Tampa. 3 members of the 2011 class hailed from the Tampa area. Chris More, Chad Hannah and Stephen Weatherford all red shirted last season. The Bearcats again hit Tampa for Bennie Coney, who is widely expected to be the quarterback of the future.
For the class of 2012 the new look city was Memphis. The Bearcats went and got Alex Dale from the Memphis University School and Nate Cole from Mitchell High School. UC now has a presence in Memphis, and that was only enhanced when 10,000 UC fans descended on Beale Street for the Liberty Bowl.
Still Seeking A Foothold With Greater Catholic League Schools
A furor erupted during the course of the Monty Madaris saga. One that poses larger questions about where UC should be deploying resources. In the city the Bearcats have generally recruited well. In the past five classes UC has received LOI's from over a dozen high schools in the area.
But with the exception of LaSalle the big GCL programs and their coaches tend to have an anywhere but UC attitude. Which raises a simple question. Should Jones continue to waste resources on local kids at that school when the return from all the investment to date has been meger?
The simple fact of the matter is that UC enjoys a better reputation among high school coaches outside of the area than in it and the return on investment in terms of prospects signed seems to get higher the further you get from Cincinnati.