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Cincinnati Bearcats Football Recruiting: 2018 Running Back Targets

With Tion Green gone and Mike Boone a senior, there will be plenty of playing time available very soon.

NCAA Football: Brigham Young at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bearcats have not had a 1,000 yard rusher since 2012 when George Winn tallied 1,334 yards on 243 carries. Last year’s leading rushing was Tion Green, who finished with 743 yards to close out his senior season. Mike Boone, who had 388 yards last year but has certainly done better before, will be No. 1 on the depth chart. But who will be manning the position in the years to come?

Jaelen Greene and Michael Warren are two commitments for the 2017 class, but UC has set its sights on a number of other recruits for the 2018 class. Here’s a breakdown.

Tavion Thomas

Thomas very recently cut his list of schools down to seven and Cincinnati made the cut. So did West Virginia, Oklahoma, Alabama, Wisconsin, Louisville and USC. Not sure what the news about Bob Stoops will do for his decision, but having UC in contention is still a good thing. The three-star prospect from Dayton, Ohio is considered the No. 18 running back in the 2018 class and the No. 16 recruit in the state of Ohio. 247Sports thinks he’s going to end up a Mountaineer, but we obviously won’t know for sure for a bit.

Thomas was an absolute madman for the Dunbar Wolverines last season, piling up 1,606 yards and 17 touchdowns on only 137 carries. Averaging more than 11 yards per attempt, he ripped off four games with more than 100 yards rushing and had more than half of the team’s rushing touchdowns. That is a fine resume, to be sure, and that kind of playmaking would be akin to what Boone has shown off at times.

Kirby Bennett

Bennett is another three-star back, although a smaller one than Thomas. Standing at 5’10, but still weighing a respectable 212 pounds, Bennett is the No. 6 recruit in Nevada but the No. 41 running back in the 2018 class. 247Sports has him pegged for a career at UCLA, which is one of 46 total teams to have offered him.

In 2017, Bennett will play for high school Las Vegas football powerhouse Bishop Gorman, which went 15-0 last season and was ranked No. 1 in the Super 25. It’s a team that defeated its opponent 84-8 in the Class 4A Nevada State Title game. Bennett played in Allen, Texas for his junior year.

Andrew Cunningham

With 53 offers, Cunningham is a recruit with plenty of options. A three-star running back from Tampa, Florida, Cunningham is just over 6’0 tall and weighs at 215 pounds. He plays for Cambridge Christian School in Tampa and is considered the No. 156 recruit out of Florida by 247Sports as well as the No. 68 running back in the class. Louisville is a team he has warmed toward, according to 247Sports, but you’d have to wonder if he’d give a rising USF team the hometown discount.

In 2016, as a junior, Cunningham racked up 1,241 yards on only 118 carries. His 10.5-yards per carry average was buoyed by consistent 100-yard efforts, as he had five in 10 games, while scoring 17 touchdowns. He also did some solid work in the passing game, catching 14 passes for 205 yards and three more scores.

Ryan Montgomery

Kentucky appears to be a strong contender for Montgomery’s services, but that doesn’t mean the 11 other teams he has offers from are out of luck. The No. 46 recruit in the state of Ohio, Montgomery is a top 100 running back recruit for the 2018 class and hails from Franklin, Ohio. He only recently got an offer from UC. Since he did (April 6), he has also received offers from Iowa State, Michigan State, Ohio and Northwestern. He rushed for an impressive 1,935 yards and added 518 through the air last season. That kind of versatility would work well in UC’s new offense.

Brandon Doe

Cincinnati is one of eight teams to have offered Doe, a 5’10”, 172-pound back from Georgia. Doe has some growing to do, as he is a bit undersized to play in the college ranks just yet. Obviously, with a full season left before he will be enrolling, Doe has time to do so. If he can, he will be an even scarier back than he already is. He surpassed 2,000 yards rushing last season and had at least 100 yards in all 10 games he played for Cook County.

Destin Coates

Its only been a little more than a month that Coates has had his UC offer, but it is part of a list of 20 from the 5’10’, 190-pound back from Tallahassee, Florida. The Bearcats are currently contending with Mississippi State, East Carolina, Purdue and UCF, among others. He had a real nose for the end zone last season at James Rickards, scoring 19 rushing touchdowns while picking up 1,382 yards on the ground.

Lentivone Lesane

Another Florida target, Lesane is a lankier prospect than most, standing 6’1”, but weighing in at 189 pounds. With offers from Illinois, Syracuse, UCF, UCLA and Utah, as well as UC, he is probably not going to be making a decision anytime soon, especially considering the Bearcats only offered him on May 31.

Lawrence Papillon

At 5’9” and 183 pounds, Papillon is the most undersized of this group, but that hasn’t stopped four schools, including UC, from offering him. From Miami, Papillon has also gotten offers from Georgia State, Marshall and Oregon State, as well as some interest from Middle Tennessee.