On Monday, the MLB trade deadline scorched the waves of the Twitterverse and the internet as a whole. The city of Cincinnati was at the forefront of one of those hot trades, as the Reds sent power-hitting outfielder Jay Bruce to the New York Mets in exchange for prospects Dilson Herrera and Max Wotell.
While the incredible boom in the transfer market has created a quasi free agent market in college athletics, there is still no direct trading system. However, what if there was? What if Tommy Tuberville could sling a promising recruit for a key piece or an established player for a redshirt freshman who won’t make an impact for a while? Well we are about to answer that question (to an extent).
First, let’s lay down a couple rules. We’ll say that UC can only trade with teams within its conference, so that means we’re limited to the American Athletic Conference (even if a Big 12 invite may be tantalizingly close to occurring). Also, all trades have to be a one-to-one, meaning if UC sends two players it must get two players in return and vice versa. Now, what types of trades might the Bearcats go offer in this alternative universe?
UC trades Deyshawn Bond to Temple for Haason Reddick
What’s in it for UC: There are plenty of things that need to be fixed on defense for the Bearcats, but getting better results from the pass rush is at the top of the list. UC had a total of 13 sacks in 2016, the fewest in the American Athletic Conference by a long shot. Add in the fact that Silverberry Mouhon gone, and its obvious the Bearcats are in desperate need of some aggressive and talented players on the defensive line. Reddick would certainly fill that role. The 6’1”, 225-pound defensive end had 5.0 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss last season and would give the Bearcats the presence at edge rusher they so desperately need.
Losing Bond would sting, but David Niehaus is a capable backup and with the talent that remains on the line with returning starters Ryan Leahy and Idarius Ray, UC could afford to part ways with Bond.
What’s in it for Temple: The Owls first 10-win season since 1979 was built on the back of its defense, a unit that lost some big pieces, including AAC Defensive Player of the Year Tyler Matakevich. In 2016, the offense may need to step up and carry the day and getting help on the front lines would be a big boost. Bond has been a second-team All-AAC honoree each of the last two seasons and would immediately help a team that tied with UConn and SMU for the most tackles for loss allowed in the AAC (96). Plus, the Owls are blessed with another strong defensive lineman in Praise Martin-Oguike (4.0 sacks, 9.0 TFL) so their pass rush wouldn’t drop off by too much.
UC trades Hayden Moore or Ross Trail to UCF for Shaquill Griffin
What’s in it for UC: While Zach Edwards, Tyrell Gilbert and Carter Jacobs give the Bearcats a great amount of depth at safety, there is much more to be desired at cornerback. Griffin is a lock-down type corner who makes plays on the ball. He only had two interceptions last season, but returned those for a combined 102 yards including a touchdown. He also ranked second in the conference in pass break ups (13) and passes defended (15).
What’s in it for UCF: A senior this season, Griffin will likely be playing for a team in the midst of the early stages of a rebuild, as the Knights have a new head coach and are coming off a year in which they failed to record a single win. It may be more important for UCF to tab its quarterback of the future than retain the services of a cornerback who won’t be around when the team is good again. That is doubly true considering UCF ranked 10th in the AAC in passing offense last season (187.2 YPG). Gunner Kiel may be a more proven quarterback, but injury concerns and the fact that he is in his final year of eligibility make him a less attractive prospect than Moore and Trail. Moore is a former three-star recruit with real playing experience and Trail is another three-star prospect and one of the best quarterback recruits UC has added in quite a while. We’ll let UCF take its pick.
UC trades Mike Boone to UConn for Noel Thomas
What’s in it for UC: Shaq Washington, Max Morrison, Chris Moore, Mekale McKay, Alex Chisum, Nate Cole and Johnny Holton. Those are the top seven receivers for the 2015 Cincinnati Bearcats. Only Cole is back in 2016, meaning UC, a team that makes its living throwing the ball, has to break in a number of new receivers. Getting Thomas would at least give the team a true No. 1 receiver. Thomas caught 54 passes for 719 yards and three touchdowns in 2015 playing for a UConn team that ranked second to last in the AAC in passing offense (185.5 YPG).
Also, Boone has been an explosive runner the last two seasons, amassing 1,399 yards and 18 touchdowns on 205 carries (6.8 YPC) combined in 2014 and 2015. Taking him off the roster would obviously be a big loss for UC, but Tion Green is still a strong back by himself and unless the Bearcats suddenly abandon their pass-heavy approach, a dynamic back is more of a luxury than a necessity.
What’s in it for UConn: It may seem like a move backward to give up your best receiver when you have so much trouble passing. However, UConn wasn’t a great rushing team either, averaging 124.8 yards per game, which ranked 10th in the conference. Even so, the Huskies relied more heavily on the run, rushing 477 times while throwing 342 times. Arkeel Newsome is the incumbent starter, and not a bad one at that, having rushed for 792 yards and six touchdowns last season. Having a backfield duo with the combined talents of Boone and Newsome could be a dangerous proposition for opposing defenses.