The early signing period deadline is just two days away as one of the best-recruiting classes since the Brian Kelley era are set to join Bearcats Nation on December 18th.
Cincinnati ended the regular season losing to the Memphis Tigers in the AAC Championship game. Despite losing out on an opportunity to play in a “New Year’s Six” Bowl game, this season was a successful one. Head coach Luke Fickell’s 2019 class was his lowest since taking over (247sports rank: 79, Rivals 77), but he was able to find some key contributors that were able to make an impact immediately.
Notable Contributors from 2019 class
Ahmad Gardner, CB: Gardner, A three-star rated corner from Detroit’s King High School was just recently named first-team all-conference. Gardner made a name for himself during the Bearcats game against back-to-back AAC champ Central Florida with an interception returned for a touchdown. On the year the freshman a total of three picks, two were returned for scores and six pass breakups. The true freshman earned Third-Team All-American by Pro Football Focus College.
Tre Tucker, RB/KR: Tucker, A three-star rated receiver from Akron, OH was a key contributor on offense and special teams. He finished the season with 658 total yards of scrimmage, as well as six special teams tackles. The fastest man in Ohio has a bright future as he will look for an expanded role in this offense going forward.
The Bearcats will take on Boston College January 2, in the Birmingham Bowl. The Bearcats look to end their season on a high note after two crushing losses to Memphis in two weeks, the ’19 class will have a year of experience under their belt, ushering in a new class of recruits.
2020 Class Outlook
This class has four local products that could have very easily picked bigger programs in bigger conferences but they chose UC. In a couple of days, Coach Fickell will have signed the number one class in the American Athletic Conference. If no one else flips between now and then the Bearcats will have the 52nd ranked (247sports), 51st (Rivals) ranked class respectively in the nation. Let’s dive a little into the potential recruits that are looking to help take this program to the next level.
Dual Threat, Evan Prater verbally committed to Cincinnati back in May. Prater was recently named Mr. Football in Ohio, the first in the area since 1992. Prater is 2018 state champion with a 40-2 record as a starter. Listed at 6’5, Wyoming product has a combination of arm talent and speed. He ended his senior season throwing for 1,816 yards and 21 touchdowns while rushing for 1,509 yards and 28 touchdowns. Prater will be Cincinnati’s highest-rated recruit and fun to watch in the future.
Outside Linebacker, Jaheim Thomas verbally committed in July. He could have picked any program in the country. He was recruited by the likes of Florida State, Michigan State, Ohio State to name a few but he decided to stay home. Thomas is another recruit that’s pretty high up there in terms of up there as a top-rated. He’s the third-ranked recruit in the state of Ohio and 171st ranked according to Rivals. The Princeton Linebacker was second on his team with 65 total tackles (42 solo) and 5.5 sacks. At 6’3 222 lbs., Thomas will be a force in Fickell’s defense. Outside Linebacker seems to be thin on the roster, look for Thomas to potentially start right away.
Safety, Deshawn Pace verbally committed in April. The safety had a huge season for Colerain high school playing both sides of the ball. Pace not only had five interceptions but he also had seven total touchdowns on offense and specials teams. The Greater Miami Conference Defensive Player of the Year will look to carry over his versatility over to the Bearcats in the years to come.