Offensive lineman Zach Bycznski is the latest verbal commitment for the Cincinnati Bearcats' 2016 class following the commitment of Liam O'Sullivan yesterday and running back Jeremy Larkin's commitment Sunday.
Excited to announce that I will be continuing my academic and athletic career at the University of Cincinnati!!!! pic.twitter.com/qFCBhNeLNs— Zach Bycznski (@zach_bycznski77) June 18, 2015
The three-star recruit and Berea, Ohio native is widely considered one of the top Ohio recruits in the 2016 class at 6-foot-3, 290 lbs. According to 247Sports, Bycznski is the 46th ranked recruit in the state and 8th ranked center in the nation with a score of 85. Bycznski's composite score - determined by compiling rankings from different recruiting databases across the web - is an 83, the 10th best center in the country and the 49th player in Ohio. Rivals has Bycznski rated as their 30th player in the state and 35th overall guard with a 5.6 score. ESPN gives him a Scout Grade of 75 and also has him classified as an offensive guard (14th in state, 29th at position).
Bycznski has received considerable attention throughout the recruiting process, receiving offers from Akron, Illinois, Maryland, Miami (OH), Minnesota and Toledo in addition to Cincinnati's offer. Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State and Pittsburgh have been snooping around, but haven't offered the Ohio recruit.
On the Field
The first thing you notice when watching the film on Bycznski is that he looks like a lineman with the wide body, the powerful arms and low center of gravity. He initiates contact well whether it is at the line of scrimmage by firing off the ball quickly and with power or at the second level stonewalling linebackers and defensive backs. He finishes plays with a bit of the "mean streak" you want to see with offensive lineman, picking up and/or driving the defender out of the play. Bycznski looks and plays like a polished interior lineman who brings the contact to the defender. This is a player who will likely sit early on to help curb the college football learning curve, but he should be a factor for the Bearcats over the next couple seasons.
In the video below, you will see video from his freshman year as a guard and his sophomore year as a center (I couldn't find anything more recent) and he appears highly capable of playing either or both at the college level. That ability to play either position is tremendously valuable and should get him on the field sooner. You need versatility on the offensive line.
Bycznski isn't your traditional "exciting" prospect (poor offensive lineman never get the love), but this is a huge pickup that speaks to the skill of Tommy Tuberville's staff in recruiting and should be celebrated by Cincinnati fans. This is a player who plays with focused aggression and already looks the part. He is versatile, skilled and seems to have a bit of that mean streak. This is another big-time win for Cincinnati, in what is shaping into a great 2016 recruiting class. It sounds like Bycznski is "100% a Bearcat", which is a promising sign as Cincinnati hopes to sign him officially next February.
New Cincinnati pledge Zach Bycznski on his commitment: "There’s nothing else that I want to see. I’m 100% a Bearcat."— Sam Kwiatkowski (@SKwiatkowski247) June 18, 2015