Welcome back to the first round of the the Favorite Cincinnati Bearcat Football Player Since 1997 Tournament. We have already unveiled and gotten the voting going in the first two regions of the bracket, starting with the Brian Kelly region on Tuesday and the Mark Dantonio region yesterday. Now we reach the Rick Minter region. Granted, its not as flashy as the first two, but Minter still led the Bearcats to their first bowl game appearance and six winning seasons (seven at .500). Here’s a look at the region.
Tyrell Gilbert vs. Nick Davila
Davila is a folk hero for Cincinnati because of his play in the team’s upset win over No. 7 Rutgers in 2006. He threw for 277 yards and a touchdown on 11-of-15 passing as the Bearcats won 30-11. He threw for 1,057 yards during that season and only 1,401 in his career, which was mostly spent backing up Dustin Grutza.
Gilbert is still on the roster for the Bearcats. The safety is entering his senior year and as a Cincinnati native, he has the local angle going for him. He had his best season in 2015 (50 tackles, 7 passes defended), but has been a consistently effective force in every year since as well.
Greg Blair vs. Trent Cole
Most people know Cole more for his work in the NFL, but he was a fine defensive lineman from 2002 to 2004 with the Bearcats. He is second in all-time tackles for loss at UC and was an All-Conference USA first teamer in 2004.
Blair is tied with Jeff Luc (also in this tournament) and Frank Callicott for the most tackles in a single game (19) and was named UC’s best linebacker in 2012 and 2013, while earning all-conference honors as well.
Deyshawn Bond vs. Anthony Hoke
Offensive lineman don’t get the glory that their position player counterparts do, but UC has had some good ones in the last 20 years. Bond was one of the best, earning a third-team All-American nod from Phil Steele in 2016.
Hoke had three sacks in a game twice during his career and holds the single-season record for the statistic (13.0), accomplishing that feat in 2007. He was named an All-Big East second teamer for his trouble.
Rod Moore vs. Ricardo Mathews
Moore had 618 yards and five touchdowns on a team-high 143 carries in 2014. It was a standout senior season for Moore, who had only carried the ball four times before that year.
Mathews was also a one-year wonder, earning second-team All-Big East honors in 2009. He led the team in 12.5 tackles for loss that season, but had a total of 12 tackles in the year before that.
Nick Temple vs. Jonathan Ruffin
Ruffin is second in all-time scoring at UC (315 points). His name further litters the program’s record book at an alarming rate, plus he won the Lou Groza Award in 2000 when he was a consensus All-American.
One of UC’s best linebackers in 2014, Temple finished with 113 tackles and 10.5 for loss that season. He accumulated 281 stops during his career, including 32.0 for loss and 11.0 sacks.
Isaiah Pead vs. Zach Edwards
Pead is third on the all-time rushing list at UC (3,288 yards) and was the first player since Reggie Taylor to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. He averaged six yards per carry in his career and scored 27 rushing touchdowns.
Edwards was a tackling machine at safety. He had at least 93 in each of his last three seasons, including a career-high of 122 in 2014 when he also secured two interceptions. He had eight picks overall, 15.0 tackles for loss and 26 passes defended.
Chad Plummer vs. Ryan Leahy
Plummer was UC’s starting quarterback from 1996 to 1998. He threw for 3,246 yards in his career, but only 19 touchdowns, while being intercepted 24 times. However, he was a threat on the ground, especially in 1997 when he tallied 606 yards and seven scores on the ground. He was also the starter for the team’s first bowl game. In 1998, Plummer was turned into a wideout and he was great there too, catching 61 passes for 852 yards.
Leahy was a sturdy offensive lineman who just recently left UC, finishing his career after the 2016 season. He was a second-team All-AAC selection in 2015.
Tinker Keck vs. Jaylyin Minor
Keck was not in the original bracket, but a groundswell of support forced him into the field. Its a good thing the community corrected my mistake, because Keck was an incredible playmaker for the Bearcats. He is one of two UC players to return two punts for a touchdown in a single game.
Minor just led the Bearcats in tackles last season (125), finishing his career with 189 total stops, including nine for loss.
There you have it. Now to the voting booth with you.