- 42 tackles
- 5.0 tackles for loss
- 2.5 sacks
- 1 interceptions
- 2 passes defended
Among defensive linemen, there may not have been anyone better than Cortez Broughton on the Cincinnati Bearcats last season. You may argue that says more about the weakness of the line than the strength, but Broughton was a solid defensive tackle who helped anchor the defense.
The 6’2”, 297-pound sophomore earned second-team All-American Athletic Conference honors for his work in 12 games, marking the second-straight season he has played in 12 contests after enduring a season-ending injury in 2014. Broughton had 28 tackles, including 1.5 for loss in 2015, but he really stepped up his game this past season.
First, he set a career-high in tackles with 42 stops, including 21 of the solo variety. But Broughton’s ability to bring down ball carriers after the line of scrimmage was not as valuable as his skill at pushing through the offensive lineman in front of him and creating a negative play for the opposing offense. He had 5.0 tackles for loss, which ranked fifth on the team, while recording 2.5 sacks, which ranked second. UC wasn’t a particularly awesome pass rushing team (19.0 sacks, 10th in the AAC), so Broughton’s contributions were extremely valuable, even if there could have been more.
In addition to being a disruptive force up the middle, Broughton has shown an ability to affect the passing game in another way, as he has excellent hands and attacks balls that get flung to close to the line. He had two passes defended in 2016, matching his total from 2015, and he even collected an interception along the way.
The Best of the Best
Sept. 24 vs. Miami (Ohio)
UC got out to a 3-1 start, which has largely been forgotten, but this win was the third of the season and Broughton helped a ton, recording four tackles and an interception.
Oct. 1 vs. USF
Although the Bearcats didn’t win this one, Broughton recorded a season-high five tackles.
Oct. 29 at Temple
Yet another loss featured some strong play from Broughton, who had four tackles and a sack.
Nov. 12 at UCF
There’s a trend developing here isn’t there? UC lost and Broughton played fairly well, tallying four tackles and a sack.
For Next Year
Like the rest of the defense, Broughton will be working with a new coaching staff which will no doubt be pushing for more aggression and pressure, especially from the defensive line. Broughton will be a centerpiece of those efforts and based on what he showed last year, he has the potential to be a devastating defender. Taking another step forward like he did in 2016 will help deliver on that potential.