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Finding UC's Next Deep Threat

The receiving corps is not the deep well it was in 2015. Who is going to step up and keep UC's vertical passing game alive?

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

In an interview with, Chris Moore said "I can take the top off any defense, I'll make those big plays." Anyone that sat in Nippert Stadium, or in front of a TV playing a Cincinnati football game, can give plenty of supporting evidence to Moore's claim.

That's great news for the Baltimore Ravens, who are in need of a deep threat in their passing game after injuries to Steve Smith and rookie Breshad Perriman kept their passing attack in check a year ago. The Ravens' gain is quite literally Cincinnati's loss, as Moore will no longer be running deep routes for the Bearcats. Neither will Mekale McKay or Johnny Holton, who averaged 18.78 and 27.12 yards per reception, respectively, in 2015. Moore put up 21.75 yards per reception and found the end zone a team-high seven times despite having only 40 receptions.

That leaves UC quite a hole to fill. The American Athletic Conference's top passing team in 2015, the Bearcats also led or tied for the lead in passing plays of 20 yards (69...nice), 40 yards (18) and 50 yards (8). Of Moore's 40 total receptions, 14 went for 25 or more yards and 23 went for at least 15. So who is Gunner Kiel going to chuck bombs to now?

Kahlil Lewis

A 6-foot, 197-pound lanky pass-catcher, Lewis showed some 2 Fast 2 Furious speed in his freshman season, albeit it in extremely limited time. With just three receptions, he didn't have many chances to break off big plays, but his 41-yard reception against UCF showed the promise of the former 3-star prospect. Lewis was also a solid kickoff returner, so UC clearly believes in his ability to make the big play.

Tshumbi Johnson

A bit on the shorter side (5-11, 183 pounds), Johnson has been waiting a while to get his shot. He redshirted in 2013 then did not play at all in 2014. In 2015, he finally got a brief glimpse of the depth chart, playing in nine games. His career-long reception also came against UCF (38 yards) and powered his 16-yards per catch average.

Devin Gray

A juco-transfer, Gray stands at 6-foot and weighs in at 181 pounds. He played for Sierra College in Rocklin, California and averaged more than 100 yards and 16 yards per catch en route to a 2015 All-State and All-American honors.  He is a former 3-star prospect and could easily be given a shot to turn his burners on and run the fly route all over Nippert Stadium.

Tyrin Summers

A freshman who was brought in because of the scorch marks he littered all across Florida high school fields, Summers projects as a Haily Mary-snagging wideout and could also work into the return game. The scouting report on him says he has "excellent straight-line speed" which is just what you want from somebody that's just trying to run past every cornerback and safety in his way.

Malick Mbodj

There are a ton of freshmen receivers coming in and for good reason. Tommy Tuberville has to reload the unit. Not all will get a chance to play frequently but Summers and Mbodj have as good a shot as anybody to get early playing time. A 3-star recruit and the No. 9 receiver in Georgia according to 247Sports, Mbodj is 6-foot-4 and probably projects as more of a red zone threat as his highlight reel shows that he can get into the secondary and go up and catch the ball. However, if he can add in some YAC, then you're looking at a deep threat not to be trifled with.