The Cincinnati Bearcats had an excellent season offensively in 2015. The Bearcats were a top five offense and rolled teams with dominant passing and rushing attacks that struck when you least expected it. The Bearcats' offense was dominant thanks in part to a sturdy group of offensive linemen in the trenches. The team will be losing a few pieces of that front line, but do not be surprised when someone else steps up to quickly fill the void.
The Bearcats have 16 active offensive linemen on the roster heading into the 2016 season. Hopefully for Gunner Kiel and company, the offensive line builds off of last season and finds a way to be dominant in the trenches and better at pass blocking than last season. Here are some of the players to miss, to be hopeful for, and to be excited about heading into the 2016 football season.
Parker Ehinger- 2015: B+, 2016: N/A and Justin Murray- 2015: C+, 2016: N/A
These two will definitely be missed heading into next season. Having both played the tackle position on opposite sides, they managed to do a decent job in protecting Kiel from edge rushers. With Parker Ehinger being a potential NFL lineman, he obviously did a pretty phenomenal job on the outside this year.
Making the switch from guard to tackle was something that the Bearcats were confident he would be capable of doing and it managed to pay off. As for Murray, he had moments of solidarity and moments of shaky nonsense that was questionable. His leadership and extensive experience will be the most missed aspects of his tenure.
The offensive line will have three seniors among them heading into next season. Idarius Ray, Ryan Leahy, and Deyshawn Bond will all return to the line after starting for the Bearcats this past year. With extensive experience amongst them, the Bearcats will likely have no problem plugging a few new guys into the line that will likely be one of the best in the AAC.
With 16 active offensive linemen on the roster, the Bearcats have numerous potential candidates to replace their departing seniors. Some of the potential replacements include last year's backups, Korey Cunningham and Garrett Campbell.
Two linemen commits are coming into Cincinnati. One is a three-star and the other is a two-star. The early enrollee is Zach Bycznski, out of Berea, who is a 6'3" 290 pound prospect who tallied a three-star ranking after his senior year of high school.
The two-star named Kendall Calhoun from Pennsylvania who is 6'7" and is 290 pounds. He was just below being a three-star recruit, but his size is the upside that the Bearcats were looking for.
With solid talent coming in behind them and a loaded senior class along the offensive line, the Bearcats will have depth and talent that should keep them moving in the future.