Recently, we’ve started putting together our plan for the 2018 football season preview here at Down the Drive. In examining the roster for those plans, its tough not to notice that the Cincinnati Bearcats have some areas of weakness on defense, specifically in the secondary. Tyrell Gilbert, Malik Clements and even Chris Murphy give solid depth at safety, but the cornerback spots are going to feature a number of players with little experience, if any. Marquis Smith, Christian Angulo and Coby Bryant highlight the players with the most returning experience.
With such a green group of secondary options, the Bearcats are going to need to make this an area on which to focus their improvement efforts. That edict clearly came down the chain of command to the recruiting side of the world, as the program got five commitments for the 2019 class during the last few days, with four of the players able to play in the secondary, either at corner or safety.
Ahmad Gardner and Jacob Dingle got the party started on Saturday. Gardner is a three-star cornerback from Detroit. He’s ranked the No. 45 recruit in Michigan and the No. 181 cornerback in the class. He had offers from 15 other schools, but Mike Mickens — whom 247 Sports lists as the primary recruiter for Gardner’s services — must have done enough to persuade him to become a Bearcat.
As for Dingle, he is also a three-star recruit, playing his high school ball Louisville, Kentucky. He is ranked the No. 20 recruit in the state and the No. 137 safety in the class. Interestingly enough, he did not have any offers from any Kentucky programs, but did garner eight total.
Justin Harris and Jeremiah Ross made their commitments on Sunday to join Gardner and Dingle. Both players are from Ohio, with Harris calling Dayton home and Ross residing even closer in West Chester. Harris, a cornerback, is projected to be the better of the two, with three-star status and a spot as the No. 28 prospect in the state. Ross, a safety, is also a three-star guy but considered the No. 58 overall recruit in Ohio. Harris had 13 offers and Ross received five total.
Aside from their work on the secondary, the Bearcats also got a reinforcement on the offensive line. Jimi McAdams, a three-star offensive guard from Cleveland committed on Friday, picking UC over Akron, Ball State, Bowling Green, Buffalo and a few others.
UC now has eight commitments for its 2019 class, as it attempts to build on the massive success of its American Athletic Conference-leading class from 2018. The five players we just met join three-star quarterback Cameron Jones, three-star outside linebacker Brody Ingle and two-star tight end Eric Phillips.