When you are a college coach during the regular season, you are fighting a war on two fronts. On one side, you are preparing weekly for games, doing actual coaching and dealing with the media. On the other end, you are still building the program up through recruiting. Luke Fickell seems to have found a good balance between the two, as just this week the Cincinnati Bearcats have received commitments from two more recruits. There was defensive back Jaylen Jackson earlier this week and now Ryan Montgomery.
Montgomery’s commitment not only gives UC a 19th commit for the 2018 class, but it shows that Fickell is going to continue to pillage the countryside of Ohio to fill the roster, something that has been lacking for years. That was clear far before Montgomery, but the fact that it has subsisted beyond the first month or two after Fickell’s hiring is excellent to see. At this point, it is an expectation that UC will be in the running for local recruits, rather than a surprise that it got one.
On top of continuing the local angle, Montgomery also supplies some added depth to the backfield in the future. Montgomery, who comes from Franklin, is a three-star recruit and listed as the No. 41 player in Ohio for the 2018 class and the No. 59 running back, all according to 247Sports. The Bearcats will be saying goodbye to Mike Boone at the end of this season, and they’ve already started to future proof for that eventuality. Gerrid Doaks, Michael Warren and Jaelen Greene have all played at least partially this season, with Doaks fitting in regularly since Boone has been hobbled quite a bit. Warren and Greene are both true freshmen and Doaks is a redshirt rookie, meaning the backfield is filled with young, talented players already.
Doaks leads the team in carries (47) and rushing yards (210) this season and Warren has picked up 115 yards on 21 carries as the third option. They have combined for three rushing touchdowns and 75.5 rushing yards per game, which might not jump off the page, but is a solid base for two guys who are in their first season of play.
With Montgomery, that group gets that much deeper and younger. Having a formidable backfield for the next four years will be a great aid to Fickell as he starts the task of turning strong recruiting into wins. Montgomery chose UC over Iowa State, Kentucky and many others and is yet another excellent building block for the future, which looks bright, especially in the backfield.