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National Signing Day Updates: Cincinnati Bearcats

Summary of the 2020 Cincinnati Bearcats football recruiting class.

NCAA Football: Cincinnati at Memphis Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday December 18th is college football’s National Signing Day. This has basically become a holiday for college football programs, who welcome anywhere from 15-30 new players.

Entering Wednesday morning, Cincinnati’s 2020 recruiting class ranks 52nd nationally and first among all group of five schools, an extremely impressive feat by Luke Fickell. When Fickell took the job in 2017, he made it his goal to recruit “the state of Cincinnati”. It was his priority to keep the local kids home and he has done that the last few years and has continued that trend in 2020.

Among Cincinnati’s 16 current commits, 10 of them are from Ohio, with 3 specifically from Cincinnati. 2 of those 10 are ranked among the 6 best players in Ohio and 4 are ranked in the top 25 Ohio players.

Evan Prater, QB

4-star QB from Cincinnati

247 Composite Rankings #225 Nationally, #9 Dual-thread QB, #3 Ohio

Chose Cincy over Louisville, Miami, Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Pitt, Purdue

Earlier this month, Prater was named Mr Ohio Football in 2019, making him the first winner from the Greater Cincinnati area since 1993.

As a starter at Wyoming High School, he compiled a 40-2 record, threw for 5,626 yards and ran for 4,057 yards. He combined for 140 touchdowns (72 passing, 68 rushing).

Prater joins a QB room that is getting pretty crowded. Desmond Ridder will be a junior in 2020 and Ben Bryant (2018 #1 QB in Illinois and #30 nationally) will be a sophomore. Cincinnati also got a commitment this week from Brady Lichtenburg, who gives Cincinnati the #1 ranked QB in Ohio for two straight recruiting classes.

Jaheim Thomas, LB

4-star OLB from Cincinnati

247Sports Composite Rankings - #343 Nationally, #25 LB, #6 Ohio

Chose Cincinnati over LSU, Tennessee, Michigan State, Louisville, Maryland, and Kentucky.

Like Prater above, Thomas is a 4-star prospect from the Cincinnati area and is one of the highest ranked prospects in UC history.

LB Jarrell White was one of Fickell’s first big time recruits in 2017, and he saw the field immediately as a freshman. With senior LBs Perry Young and Bryan Wright, it’s possible that Thomas sees action immediately in 2020.

Learn more about Thomas

Sammy Anderson, CB

3-star CB from Dayton

247Sports Composite Rankings - #725 Nationally, #57 CB, #21 Ohio

Chose Cincinnati over Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Iowa State

Anderson is the #1 ranked cornerback in Cincinnati, making 2020 the second straight year that the Bearcats nab the top CB in from the city (Justin Harris in 2019). Anderson joins a secondary that includes Harris, Ahmad Gardner, Coby Bryant, James Wiggins, Arquan Bush, and more.

Justin Wodtly, DT

3-star defensive tackle from Cleveland

247Sports Composite Rankings - #756 Nationally, #63 DT, #25 Ohio

Chose Cincinnati over Michigan State, Purdue, Minnesota

Wodtly is from Cleveland Heights, where Travis and Jason Kelce came to Cincinnati from. Cincinnati is young at defensive tackle, and did get good production from the spot in 2019. But Wodtly shouldn’t wait too long for his opportunity.

Learn more about Wodtly and his commitment to UC

Ethan Wright, Athlete

3-star athlete from Akron, Ohio

247Sports Composite Rankings - #962 Nationally, #60 Athlete, #33 Ohio

Chose Cincinnati over Duke, Minnesota, Iowa State, Indiana, Northwestern

Wright currently projects as a RB at the collegiate level, but the plans for him are still TBD. He was a finalist for Mr. Ohio Football (the award Evan Prater, above, won) and was named Gatorade Player of the Year in Ohio

Tyler Scott, athlete

3-star athlete from Barberton, Ohio

247Sports Composite Rankings - #1,075 Nationally, #72 Athlete, #42 Ohio

Chose Cincinnati over Nebraska, Indiana, Iowa State, Michigan State

Scott is a true “athlete”, who can play both offense and defense. Obviously, he will be locked into one side of the ball and one position and that likely won’t be determined until spring practices, at the earliest.

Learn more about Scott and the positional versatility he adds to the Bearcats’ roster

Daved Jones, ILB

3-star ILB from West Chester, Ohio

247Sports Composite Rankings - #1,137 Nationally, #51 ILB, #45 Ohio

Chose Cincinnati over Michigan State, Purdue, Kentucky, Nebraska

Future linebacker depth is a question mark for Cincinnati, especially with Bryan Wright’s pending departure to graduation. Jones could be a key piece to Fickell’s defense in the future.

Learn more about Jones, who will lead a new wave of Cincinnati linebackers into the future

Gavin Gerhardt, OG

3-star offensive guard from Xenia, Ohio

247Sports Composite Rankings - #1,153 Nationally, #72 OG, #46 Ohio

Chose Cincinnati over Indiana, Kentucky

6-foot-4, 279-pound was actually the first 2020 prospect to sign, back in February. It’s unlikely Gerhardt sees the field in 2019, but obviously offensive line is a serious position of need for the Bearcats so it won’t be too long before he is a big part of protecting the QB and creating holes for the RBs.

Kobe McAllister, OT

3-star offensive tackle from Ringgold, Georgia

247Sports Composite Rankings - #95 OT, #121 Georgia

Sterling Miles, DE

3-star defensive end from West Bloomfield, Michigan

247Sports Composite Rankings - #2,078 Nationally, #101 WDE, #43 Michigan

Chose Cincinnati over Minnesota, Washington State, Temple

Defensive line was a huge strength for Cincinnati in 2019. Coach Fickell and defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman like to employ several different looks and rotate guys in and out to keep everyone fresh and maximize their ability. It may not be in 2020, but Miles will certainly see the field quickly and should make a quick impact as a situational player.

Learn more about Miles

Payten Singletary, TE

3-star tight end from Thomasville, Georgia

247Sports Composite Rankings - #1,627 Nationally, #90, #160 Georgia

Chose Cincy over ECU, Marshall, Troy, Georgia St

Singletary joins a young and rather inexperienced tight end room. Josiah Deguara will be gone after 2019, leaving Bruno LaBelle, Wilson Huber (who may reportedly change positions), Leonard Taylor.

DeShawn Pace, S

3-star safety from Cincinnati (Colerain)

247Sports Composite Rankings - #1,492 Nationally, #123 safety, #61 Ohio

Chose Cincy over Kentucky (among others)

Pace was named Ohio’s co-defensive player of the year in 2019. It won’t be long before he sees the field.

Pace has gotten close to top recruits Evan Prater and Jaheim Thomas and all three have joined in on recruiting a top local prospect for 2021, RB Corey Kiner. The relationship between the three local guys is significant for Cincinnati, who continues to try and keep these kids home.

John Williams, OT

3-star offensive tackle from Bolingbrook, Illinois

247Sports Composite Rankings - #1,658 Nationally, #133 OT, #31 Illinois

Chose Cincy over Purdue and Kansas State

Williams is a monster, for his age or any age. He is 6’5, 310 pounds.

Todd Bumphis, S

3-star safety from Toledo

247Sports Composite Rankings - #1,675 Nationally, #124 Safety, #64 Ohio

Chose Cincy over Iowa State, Minnesota, Purdue

Bumphis made the Ohio Division 2 First Team Defense. The goal for Fickell is clearly to build the best secondary that they can. There is already a ton of youth and depth and Bumphis just continues to add to that strength.

Learn more about Bumphis

Jake Renfro, OC

3-star center from New Lenox, Illinois

247Sports Composite Rankings - #2,138 Nationally, #40 Center, #40 Illinois

In total, Renfro had 21 scholarship offers, including He had Big Ten offers from Illinois, Minnesota, Northwestern and Wisconsin from the Big Ten. He also had several offers from the Ivy League. He chose Cincinnati over Northern Illinois.

The coaching staff clearly recognized the weakness of their OL, signing 3 linemen in this recruiting class - guard, tackle, and center. Playing center runs in the family. Jake’s father, Rick Renfro, played center for Illinois and started in the 1984 Rose Bowl.

Learn more about Renfro

Norman Love, athlete

3-star athlete from Lake Wales, Florida

247Sports Composite Rankings - #2,204 Nationally, #178 Athlete, #297 Florida

Chose Cincy over Wake Forest, Rutgers, Toledo

Love, listed as an athlete, is expected to compete as a WR to compete for his career. That’s a big deal for Cincinnati, given the lack of production from WRs in 2019.

Stay tuned to this link all day with more details and videos on each of Cincinnati’s 2020 recruits, plus any additional names that join the list throughout the day.