If the predictions are to be believed, the Cincinnati Bearcats are not going to have many all-conference talents or award winners in 2017. Its tough to be that upset about that. They went just 4-8 last season and performed miserably on offense. However, the defense did some good things. All of that can’t be attributed to Cortez Broughton, but some of it can be for sure. Plus, Broughton may be the best bet to get some sort of accolade for the Bearcats this season.
Broughton was a second-team All-American Athletic Conference player in 2016, playing a full season for the first time in his collegiate career. It was heartening to see that, as Broughton missed almost all of 2014 with an injury and then got into 11 games in 2015. Fully healthy, and with a major role on the depth chart, Broughton contributed an excellent season for the Bearcats. The defensive tackle recorded a career-high 42 tackles, including 5.0 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Those may not seem like game-changing numbers, but for a Bearcats team that still struggled to get pressure on opposing backfields, it was some of the best work to be had. It also marked a major boost in production for the 6’2”, 282 pound junior who had never before registered a sack and had only 1.5 tackles for loss in his first two seasons, with one obviously being cut very short.
The traditional stats like tackles for loss and sacks don’t tell the whole story of how well Broughton does when manning the front lines. Broughton also does an excellent job of ruining quarterback’s timing and even disrupting passes all together. He had two passes defended in 2015 and did even better in 2016, with three passes defended. In addition, he grabbed an interception, showing that he can impact the game no matter what the opposing offense chooses to do.
There’s always a chance the Bearcats will stun the world, rack up a ton of wins and a bunch of hardware, but its unlikely. However, its more than certain, health permitting, that Broughton will be one of the best players for the cause in 2017.