Just a few years ago, the Cincinnati Bearcats were lousy with wide receiver talent. In 2015, they were trotting out a group that included Shaq Washington, Max Morrison, Chris Moore, Mekale McKay, Alex Chisum, Nate Cole and Johnny Holton. That is quite the list of wideouts. The position was so packed that talented players like McKay, Holton and Cole were relegated to the fourth, fifth and sixth options.
Graduation hit the Bearcats hard the following spring, however, as everyone but Cole went on to the next stage of their careers. For some, it was off to the NFL (Moore and Holton) and others have since gotten into coaching (Washington). As those six players moved on, the Bearcats found some more talent with guys like Kahlil Lewis and Devin Gray stepping up in big ways in 2016, but the talent pool had certainly become much more shallow.
Things got worse last year when Gray really regressed, but that was offset a bit by Lewis’ continued star power and the arrival of Thomas Geddis, although his production was still far below what that 2015 group was producing on average.
Now both Lewis, who is a senior, and Geddis (Gray has graduated) are going to anchor a group of receivers that is once again lacking depth in experience. In addition to holdovers who have flashed potential like Jerron Rollins, Javan Hawes and Rashad Medaris, this year’s crop features five true freshmen. That’s thanks to a 2018 recruiting class that was No. 1 in the American Athletic Conference. Part of that ranking came from the talent at wide receiver that was accumulated.
But the Bearcats and wide receivers coach Joker Phillips are not satisfied with that. Although the 2019 recruiting cycle is far from over, up until this week, UC had yet to pick up a commitment from a wideout. That changed when Tre Tucker picked the Bearcats.
Tucker is a three-star wideout and an in-state prospect, playing his high school ball in Cuyahoga Falls, just north of Akron. Tucker has a ton of speed and could wind up being an important player on special teams as well as on offense. He’s not going to out-size defensive backs at 5’10”, but if the speed is legit he might not need to have that skill in his tool belt.
There’s still a long way until National Signing Day. A commitment isn’t locked in stone, but Tucker’s illustrates that there is still talent to be found at wide receiver. Its talent the Bearcats really need.