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Season in Review: Josiah Deguara

The Bearcats are making changes on offense and one of them is highlighting the tight end more often. Deguara has been the beneficiary and driving force behind the adjustment.

East Carolina v Cincinnati Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

The Numbers

  • 38 receptions
  • 468 yards
  • 5 touchdowns
  • 12.3 yards per reception
  • 36.0 yards per game

Football has a lot of old adages and cliches. One that gets bandied about quite a bit is that young quarterbacks rely on tight ends as a security blanket. It would be unfair to say that’s the only reason Josiah Deguara had such a solid 2018 for the Cincinnati Bearcats, but it certainly played a role. Deguara clearly built chemistry with redshirt freshman signal caller Desmond Ridder, as the junior tight end was a constant target and key part of the offensive game plan very early on.

Deguara’s role did not diminish all that much as the season went on either. He finished the season ranked second on the team in receptions (38) and receiving touchdowns (five), while finishing third in receiving yards (468). During the first five weeks, he was particularly excellent, as he amassed 18 catches for 247 yards and three touchdowns. No other pass-catcher had 200 yards at the point in the year.

Looking at those numbers, you might not be all that impressed, but Deguara was more effective than any Cincinnati tight end in quite some time. In fact, he’s the first Bearcat tight end since Travis Kelce in 2012 to surpass even 200 yards in a season. That might not win him any awards, but it is certainly an impressive accomplishment.

The Best of the Best

Sept. 8 at Miami-Ohio

Deguara’s final numbers didn’t look all that stellar. He had 34 yards and a touchdown on four catches. However, in a game in which the weather was less than accommodating, the Bearcats only had 45 total passing yards and six completions. The large majority of those went to Deguara.

Sept. 22 vs. Ohio University

After going down 21-0, the Bearcats rallied back to collect a signature win against the Bobcats. Deguara had just one catch in the first three quarters, but he made clutch catch after clutch catch in the final frame, finishing the day with six receptions for 69 yards, including a huge 11-yard grab that set-up the deciding touchdown.

Sept. 29 at UConn

This wasn’t nearly as epic a win, as the Bearcats crushed UConn 49-7. Deguara did some of that crushing with a career-high 112 yards and a touchdown via five receptions.

Nov. 23 vs. East Carolina

In another rout for the Bearcats, Deguara had five receptions for 64 yards and a touchdown.

For Next Year

The Bearcats will be losing top receiver Kahlil Lewis to graduation this spring, which means Deguara will be the top returning pass catcher. Other wideouts will step up, but Deguara needs to keep being a constant force in the passing game. He has progressed each of his first three years and there’s every reason to believe he will do so as a senior. That could mean great things for UC’s offense and bad things for Travis Kelce’s stranglehold on the title of best Bearcat tight end of the last decade, if not all time.