First there was Zach Collaros. Then there was Kevin Huber. Just yesterday there was Chad Plummer. Those were the first three players to make the Final Four of the Favorite Cincinnati Bearcat Football Player Since 1997 Tournament. Now the final contender in the final four can be revealed. The choice in the Butch Jones region was between wide receiver/kick return specialist Mardy Gilyard and tight end/defensive end/power forward Connor Barwin. The winner was Mr. Gilyard, who claimed 70.7 percent of the vote over Barwin, marking his fourth-straight win with a more than 50 percent margin of victory over his opponent.
Gilyard. Collaros. Huber. Plummer. Those are your final four. Next week we will unveil the matchups and begin the voting process. While you wait for that, enjoy these fun facts about Gilyard.
- Gilyard actually began his UC career as a cornerback. He had six solo tackles in 2005 during his freshman year while he was building his legend as a returner.
- While Armon Binns had the most iconic catch of UC’s Big East clinching victory in the regular season finale of 2009, Gilyard actually had more receiving yards (118) and that doesn’t even account for his 256 yards (and a touchdown) via kickoff. With 381 all-purpose yards, Gilyard set a single game school record that still stands.
- Only five Bearcats have ever recorded at least 1,100 receiving yards in a single season. Gilyard did it twice. He also is the only player in program history to reached the 1,200-yard mark, which he did in 2008. He is one of only four players in program history with at least 200 receptions as well.
- Speaking of single season records, Gilyard is the only Bearcat to ever amass more than 2,000 all-purpose yards and he did it twice. He’s also the only Bearcat to ever record 3,000 career receiving yards.
- Gilyard was drafted 99th overall by the St. Louis Rams in the 2010 NFL Draft. He was drafted nearly 100 spots before Antonio Brown and also got his name called before Geno Atkins and Kam Chancellor.
Gilyard has a treasure trove of incredible statistical accomplishments. If he makes it further on then there will be plenty of other fun facts to share that did make this list.