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What The Class Of 2014 Means For The Cincinnati Offense

This class for the Bearcats won't be judged for several years. That is true of almost all classes. This is a game played by grown ass men, and it is beyond the capabilities of all but the rarest of freshman. There wasn't a single player from the class of 2013 that played meaningful snaps for the Bearcats offense, that will probably change with the 2014, but the impact will come from the JUCO ranks.

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Quarterback was not a huge need in this class, that much was clear back in the spring when the Bearcats largely stayed out of competitions for top tier quarterbacks. That was probably a wise move. UC is a school that doesn't have an unlimited recruiting budget, so there is obviously a bit of rationing of resources. Given that the Bearcats have two highly touted guys already on the roster in Bennie Coney and Gunner Kiel, (both considered top 20 QB's in the class of 2012) and the winner of the job will be penciled in as a starter for the next three years that makes UC a slightly less desirable destination. Still, the Bearcats got a couple of guys to add depth to a position group that the 2013 Bearcats didn't have much.

Running Back

Given the depth that was coming back at this position group running back was never going to be a huge priority in this class. As the season progressed that initial position stayed the same. The top three at the end of the season, Hosey, Tion and RDA4 will be the top four at the beginning of the coming season as well. Mike Boone is a likely candidate for a red shirt, unless he can make waves in the return game where the Bearcats were downright abysmal in 2013. More likely Boone redshirts this season and competes with the guys coming in next year to back up Tion Green. The Bearcats have already offered 11 running backs in the class of 2015.

Tight End

The Bearcats will only have one senior tight end next year in Josh Russ, but he will likely sit behind Dowdy and Johnson on the depth chart, possibly Cogswell as well. UC made a run at Hunter Atkinson, who would have been a fantastic addition to this class, but he flipped to Georgia in the end. Atkinson would have been a great guy to have, but this group is still very good.


Every wide receiver who caught a pass last year beside Anthony McClung is back. As is Alex Chisum who red shirted last season. The depth and youth of this group is what made receiver a very low priority in this class. That is why there are a handful of guys who played receiver extensively in high school being started out at defensive back. Some of those guys could switch back to offense in time, but they aren't needed. Labady is similar to Mike Boone in that he is headed for a red shirt unless he can provide a lift to the sorry return game. Gladney will be given a chance to insert himself into the rotation this year, but it is no sure thing because of how ridiculously deep this group is next year.

Offensive Line

The Bearcats lost three very experienced interior linemen this year in Austen Bujnoch, Sam Longo and Andre Cureton. If you include Dan Sprauge who went down in camp, was ably replaced by Bond, and is not coming back for a sixth year its four. So it was obvious from the start that this is going to be a need in this class.

They kind of answered the bell with this class. They got three guys who project to the interior at guard,* all of whom are going to take a red shirt to develop and won't be counted on to contribute for a couple of years. That's fine, what Bond did this year is the exception, not the rule. It would have been nice to get at least one high school offensive tackle in the mix. But they missed on a couple of good ones (Josh Krok comes to mind) and didn't like their secondary options so didn't take a tackle this year. That means the Bearcats will probably take at least one JUCO OT next year, possibly two, and a couple of high school kids to boot.

* With Bond here for three more years Center won't be a true need for quite a while

All in all the 2014 class addressed most of the Bearcats needs on the offensive side of the ball. The biggest need they had was interior linemen and they got three quality bigs who will be ready when they are needed in a couple of seasons. That doesn't mean that they are done with interior linemen next year, just that they will be more selective, or rather that they will have the choice to be more selective.

Looking at the class of 2015 there are three obvious needs for that class, running back, offensive tackle and wide receiver. The process for the class of 2015 has already begun for this staff, there are 105 offers out to kids around the country.