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The Favorite Cincinnati Bearcat Football Player Since 1997 Tournament: Brian Kelly Region Round One

Voting is open until Tuesday, May 1 at 6 a.m.

Cincinnati v Louisville Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Its time to start the first round of this experiment we are conducting as a community to determine our favorite Cincinnati Bearcats football player of the last 20 years. We will kick things off today with the first round of the Brian Kelly region. In case you missed it/forgot, below is the bracket for this region. We’ll be back tomorrow to do the first round of the next region.

Mike Boone vs. John Goebel

Mike Boone just finished his Bearcat career. An explosive runner with a wide receiver background, Boone may not have lived up to the hype he built during his four seasons, but he rushed for 2,250 career yards and 24 touchdowns while averaging 5.4 yards per carry.

Goebel also was a running back and scored seven rushing touchdowns in 2008. He would only have three more the rest of his career. Really, 2008 was the big year for Goebel, as he tallied 607 of his 844 career yards.

Ladaris Vann vs. Munchie Legaux

Vann was the Bearcats’ top receiver in 2001, catching 73 passes for 902 yards and three touchdowns. He followed that up by leading the team once again in 2002 with 71 grabs for 844 yards and a career-high five touchdowns. He is tied for second all-time in career receptions at UC and fourth in receiving yards. He also holds the program record for consecutive games with a catch (46).

Legaux had an up-and-down career with the Bearcats, but when he was healthy, he was so much fun to watch. His best work came in 2012 when he rushed for 335 yards and four touchdowns and also threw for 1,716 yards and 13 scores.

Haruki Nakamura vs. Shaq Washington

This would have been a fun matchup to watch in actual football. Kamara was an All-Big East defensive back who was one of two Bearcats to be selected in the 2008 NFL Draft. Washington is the program’s all-time leading receiver in terms of receptions (240) and was the top receiver on the roster for three-straight seasons from 2013 to 2015.

Dan Giordano vs. Zach Collaros

Giordano was named an All-Big East defensive end in 2012 and is tied for 10th all-time in program history when it comes to sacks (16.5). He played from 2008-2012 and helped the Bearcats earn back-to-back Big East co-championships in 2011 and 2012.

Now in the CFL, Zach Collaros was a teammate of Giordano’s from 2008-2011 and he is in the top five among all-time passing leaders for the Bearcats. He is also the most accurate passer in program history, having completed 62.4 percent of his pass attempts.

Mike Tyson vs. Jeff Luc

Tyson was a jack-of-all-trades for the UC defense from 2013 to 2016. While he didn’t win any all-conference awards, he was an excellent playmaker who could finish tackles, create turnovers and play multiple positions.

Luc forced six fumbles in 2014, which was the second-best mark for a season by a Bearcat. He was named the team’s most valuable defensive player that year and an All-AAC performer. It was quite the rise for a guy that was on the scout team in 2012.

Ralph David Abernathy vs. Hosey Williams

While Abernathy was primarily a running back, he also made quite an impact as a kickoff returner. He was UC’s special teams player of the year in 2012 and an All-AAC first team member in 2013.

Williams and Abernathy were the two leading rushers for the Bearcats in 2013, but Williams was the superior runner, tallying 655 yards on 115 carries. He also was a part of the three-headed running back force the Bearcats had in 2015 with Boone and Tion Green.

Kahlil Lewis vs. Gino Guidugli

On one side you have Lewis, who just led the Bearcats in receiving yards (676), receptions (61) and touchdown catches (7) last season. On the other is Guidugli, who is currently a coach on UC’s staff and a member of the school’s hall of fame. Nobody in program history has thrown for as many yards (11,453) or touchdowns (78) as Guidugli, who splattered his name all over the record books during his playing career from 2001-2004.

Mike Windt vs. Mike Mickens

Windt was UC’s 2009 special teams player of the year and has carved out a nice career as a long snapper in the NFL. Mickens did not have as long a career in the professional ranks, but he had the more storied collegiate one, especially in 2007 when he was a second-team All-American at cornerback.


Those are the matchups for this round. You can vote below. Voting will be live until next Tuesday at 6 a.m., afterward we’ll reveal the matchups for the second round.