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Returning Player Refresher: Cortez Broughton

Broughton and Alex Pace combine to give UC a formidable duo on the interior defensive line.

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

In 2014, Cortez Broughton was a promising freshman defensive tackle who played in two games before the ugly storm of injury ruined things. The former two-star recruit was forced to take a medical redshirt and wait until 2015 to get back on the field.

Any worries about a recurrence of his injury were wiped away by season’s end, as Broughton played in 12 games and started 11. Along with Alex Pace, he makes up a formidable duo on the interior of the defensive line for the Cincinnati Bearcats. Standing at 6’2" and weighing in at 297 pounds, Broughton has a similarly sturdy frame to Pace and fewer miles on the odometer.

Even with Pace and Broughton in the trenches, UC was still pretty pitiful against the run last season, ranking 90th in the country in rush defense (191.6 ypg). However, Broughton was always an active defender, getting his hands on ball carriers more often than most of the rest of defensive line group. He finished with 28 total tackles. That was one more than Pace and trailed only Silverberry Mouhon among defensive linemen.

Unfortunately, Broughton did not make much of his living in the backfield, recording only 2.0 tackles for loss and not a single sack. Let this serve as the latest (and likely not the last) reminder that Broughton and everyone else at UC absolutely must get after the quarterback and create more negative plays in 2016.

But enough about that. Broughton’s two best games of the 2015 campaign came against Miami-Ohio and Tulsa, as he registered a season-high five tackles in each contest. Unfortunately, those elevated tackle numbers may have had more to do with the fact that the RedHawks and the Golden Hurricane both found great success running the ball, tallying a combined 433 yards on the ground.

In the spring game, Broughton once again showed that he has excellent strength and skill as a tackler, dropping six ball carriers. His energy and ability to stop those who enter his space will be a key to UC’s attempts at defensive improvement.