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Cincinnati Bearcats Football Recruiting: 2018 Quarterback Targets

Hayden Moore and Ross Trail are for now. Recruits are forever.

Ben Bryant is one of several quarterback targets for the 2018 class.
Student Sports

Cincinnati quarterbacks combined for 3.042 yards, 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions on 57 percent passing in 2016. Not exactly inspiring stuff. Hayden Moore did the bulk of that work, with Gunner Kiel and Ross Trail lending their arms in support. Even with Kiel gone, the Bearcats still have ready candidates to start at quarterback in Moore and Trail. However, those two have yet to really wow us on the field, which means new head coach Luke Fickell may still be on the lookout for the next “franchise” quarterback.

Even with Torrance Gibson and Desmond Ridder (who has been reclassified as an athlete but committed as a dual-threat quarterback) on board for the 2017 class, Fickell still has targets for 2018 because, well, that’s how recruiting works. Here’s a rundown of QBs that the Bearcats have offered that have yet to commit.

Ben Bryant

Bryant is a pro-style quarterback from La Grange, Illinois and a pretty good one at that. He’s ranked the No. 12 recruit in the state of Illinois and the No. 29 pro-style QB recruit in the country. 247Sports is predicting that Bryant will end up becoming a Bearcat, but he is still mulling over offers from nine other schools, including Western Michigan and Wisconsin. Cincinnati made its offer to Bryant in mid-May and Ole Miss and West Virginia both sent theirs last week, so we are still probably a bit far off from final word from the 6’3”, 190-pound signal caller.

Zack Annexstad

Another three-star prospect, Annextad also projects as a pro-style quarterback, which might not be the exact fit for the offensive system that Fickell will hope to employ under offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock. However, that doesn’t disqualify anyone with that distinction from being a potentially influential player for the program. Annexstad is a bit bigger than Bryant (6’3”, 202 pounds), but he has been sitting on his offer for much longer, as UC sent one last September. He has two other offers on the docket from Southern Miss and Western Kentucky.

In 2016, Annexstad served as the second-stringer to senior Kellen Mond, who enrolled at Texas A&M back in January. Annexstad did OK with his limited playing time, completing 19-of-38 pass attempts for 197 yards, four touchdowns and a pair of interceptions.

Riley Smith

Smith has a ton of offers. Specifically, he has 26, including one from Cincinnati which he received on May 22. The No. 181 prospect from the state of Florida and the No. 50 pro style quarterback in the nation, Smith stands 6’4 and weights in at 200 pounds. His three-star talents are also being chased by Akron, Central Michigan, Buffalo, Western Kentucky and a number of other mid-major and lower level programs. He has at least gotten some interest from bigger names like Florida State and West Virginia.

In his junior season at Bartram Trail, which is just outside of Jacksonville, Smith threw for 1,122 yards and 11 touchdowns on 65.9 percent passing. He was also intercepted seven times, but that completion percentage is nice to see, even if he did share time with two other quarterbacks.

James Graham

Graham may be warming to Michigan, but he has still yet to make a formal commitment. With offers from the Wolverines, Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia (among others), the three-star prospect has plenty of options to choose from, with 18 total offers. Rated the No. 55 recruit in Georgia and the No. 21 dual-threat quarterback in the 2018 class, the Fitzgerald, Georgia native might be a better fit for UC because he fits the mold for Denbrock’s offense. As far as measurables, he stands 6’1” and weighs in at roughly 180 pounds.

Across seven games for the Fitzgerald Purple Hurricane, whose uniforms bear a striking resemblance to those of LSU, Graham threw for an astounding 15 touchdowns compared to three interceptions, tallying 947 yards on 52.7 percent passing as well. He also led the team in rushing, with 330 yards and five touchdowns.

Chance Amie

Another dual-threat signal caller, Amie comes from Tyler, Texas where he plays at Robert E. Lee. With more size than Graham (6’3”, 191 pounds), Amie could be more of a force as a runner. As you might expect, the No. 97 prospect in Texas is leaning toward an in-state school, specifically Houston, based on 247Sports projections. He has 13 other offers, including one from Cincinnati he got in early May. Amie is the No. 24 dual-threat quarterback in the 2018 class and has a three-star composite rating.