Cincinnati Bearcats sophomore running back Tavion Thomas announced today on twitter that he will be transferring from Cincinnati.
Salty that it had to come to this .. but I will be transferring from the University of Cincinnati .. @tavionthomas937 ... I appreciate the love and support that y’all gave me while I was here . “5 out “— Tavion Thomas (@nextupp5) November 6, 2019
This news is definitely disappointing, but not at all surprising. It’s been a weird season for Thomas. Entering week 1, he was not listed on the depth chart. He would debut week 2, and in three straight games against Ohio State, Miami, and Marshall Thomas ran for 58, 65, and 70 yards, respectively and scored a touchdown against Marshall. He carried the ball at least 11 times in all 3 games.
He received just 2 carries against UCF and following the game it was revealed by coach Luke Fickell that he would be a redshirt candidate.
Fickell said that Tavion Thomas will probably be a redshirt candidate this season. Said that they are working to get him healthy both on and off the field. #Bearcats— Justin Williams (@Williams_Justin) October 15, 2019
It’s unclear what issues Thomas was dealing with on and off the field, and out of respect to the player, we will not speculate.
As a freshman behind Michael Warren II in 2018, Thomas ran for 499 yards and 6 TDs.
Coming into 2019, there was an expectation that this might be the Bearcats best running back room of all-time with Warren returning, plus Thomas and fellow sophomore Charles McClelland plus Gerrid Doaks.
Doaks led the team in rushing in 2017, before sitting out 2018 with an injury. He has 253 yards in 2019 and 3 rush TDs (all 3 scored against Tulsa), plus a receiving touchdown.
McClelland tore his ACL in training camp and is out for the 2019 season.
All three of Warren, Doaks, and McClelland are eligible to return in 2020. Warren will be back as a senior, assuming he does not forego his eligibility for the NFL Draft. Doaks will also be a senior in 2020. McClelland, who ran for 485 yards and 4 TDs last season, is expected to return healthy and will provide valuable depth behind Warren.
Other RBs on the 2019 roster include Ryan Montgomery. Freshman Tre Tucker is an athlete, who has taken snaps out of the backfield this year. Perhaps he could be a candidate for carries in the future. Don’t count out Fickell adding another freshman or two as well, even perhaps a transfer if he feels the depth chart needs an extra body.
While the departure of Thomas is disappointing, moving forward, the Bearcats have plenty of depth in 2019 and beyond as they continue to focus on being a run-oriented offense. This should not have a negative impact on Cincinnati’s run to an AAC Championship and potential Cotton Bowl appearance.