Its been a busy on the 'crootin trail. Aside from the usual Terry dying of dysentery, there has been a a flurry of news related to the future rosters of Cincinnati's basketball and football programs. Most have been related to potential recruits, but there was one firm piece of news which occurred late last Friday when Jaelen Greene announced his commitment to the Bearcats.
Greene's announcement may have flown under the radar a bit, and not just because it came when most people were
breaking speed limits driving at a safe speed in order to beat traffic on their way home, or to a place near open water, for the weekend. No, Greene's announcement came right as Cincinnati was getting set to hold its first camp for prospective football recruits. There was the so called "Under the Lights" camps, which were held on June 3 and June 4 for players entering grades 9-12 as well as soon-to-be JUCO sophomores.
Among the attendees were Ty Rocconi (a two-star safety from Mobile, Alabama) and Aidan Robbins as well as quarterback prospects Blake Bacevich and Chase Wolf.
While UC coaches and potential Cincinnati players were hard at work, so was ESPN, as the worldwide leader churned out updates to its basketball recruiting rankings for the 2017, 2018 and 2019 classes. UC is targeting nine players in ESPN's top 100 for 2017 and two in the top 60 for 2018. However, no UC targets for 2019 made their way into the top 25 ranking.
Even in the face of camps and rankings, the U.S. Postal Service was still hard at work for UC, as a number of offers were delivered during the last seven days.
A few local kids were in the mix this week as Aeneas Hawkins and Brenden Bates, both of Archbishop Moeller, got offers. Hawkins is a defensive tackle and the son of former Bearcat and NFL safety Artrell Hawkins. Artrell played for the Bearcats in the mid-to-late 90s and played for 10 years in the NFL, including his first five with the Cincinnati Bengals. His son plays defense as well, but in a different spot, as he will hopefully be eating up offensive linemen for the Bearcats as part of the 2018 recruiting class. In order for that to happen, the 6-foot-3 defensive tackle would have to choose UC over teams like Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame and Tennessee, among others, who have all sent offers as well.
Bates, also a 2018 class prospect, has not brought in nearly as many offers as Hawkins, with Kentucky the only other school to have sent one on besides UC. The 6-foot-5 tight end attended camp at Kentucky earlier this week and also made an unofficial visit to Florida State on March 30, according to 247Sports.
Tyrone Chambers is another local prospect who received an offer. He may not be right-in-your-back-yard local like Hawkins and Bates, but Cleveland isn't all that far away. If Chambers chooses Cincinnati he will be playing sooner than either Bates or Hawkins as he is a 2017 class member. A three-star offensive tackle recruit, Chambers stands at an imposing 6-foot-5 with a 325-pound frame. 247Sports says he is warming to both UC and Purdue while holding offers from eight other schools as well.
Sticking to the offensive line, Devontae Dobbs is another player who could be manning the trenches for the Bearcats in the future. Despite being a 2019 class recruit, Dobbs is already 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds. UC is not the only program to have jumped into the running early, with Bowling Green, Iowa State, Kentucky and Toledo all sending offers as well.
While Dobbs and Chambers are potential protectors on offense, a number of other recruits who received offers this week will be offensive playmakers. Terez Traynor, who comes from Louisville, Kentucky, is a 6-foot-3 signal caller who runs a 4.79 40-yard dash. The offer from UC was the first for the 2018 prospect.
A trio of pass-catchers could be pulling in passes from Traynor someday, with Randy Fields, Cameron Brown, JaVonta Payton and Jordan Ulmer all getting in on the offer action. Its not a guarantee that Ulmer would play receiver, as he has played free safety for Belleville High School in Michigan as well. He is entering his senior year and would be a 2017 class add.
Fields comes from Elkton, Maryland and is a 6-foot-3, 185-pound pure receiver for the 2018 class. He made an unofficial visit to West Virginia in November but has received less interest than others in his class. You can include Brown in that group, as he has three total offers, with UC's joining ones from Iowa State and Missouri. Brown is a 6-foot-1 receiver from Saint Louis.
Finally, Payton is a bit more than a wide receiver, as he has played quarterback and running back as well. For Hillsboro High School in Nashville, he accounted for 637 total yards and six touchdowns during the 2015-16 season. UC is a bit late to the Payton party, as he has already received nine other offers and, according to 247Sports, is leaning toward Tennessee. Ah well, predictions are meant to go wrong.