Luke Fickell has done an incredible job as head coach of the Cincinnati Bearcats and a big reason for that is how he and his staff have recruited. In his first year on campus, Fickell and company put together the No. 1 class in the American Athletic Conference and two years into his tenure, the Bearcats have already had an 11-win season and won a bowl game for the first time since 2012.
The 2019 season’s recruiting class has not been as widely heralded, ranking sixth in the AAC, according to 247 Sports. However, there is no reason to fear that Fickell and his staff were just a flash in the pan, especially with how the 2020 class has begun to take shape. With four commitments already, the Bearcats are currently the No. 1-ranked class in the AAC, according to 247 Sports, and the No. 42 class in the entire country, according to Rivals.com.
They really bolstered their ranks earlier this month with commitments from Kobe McAllister and John Williams. McAllister is a three-star offensive lineman from Ringgold, Georgia. He is projected as an offensive tackle and made his commitment to UC over Tulane, Appalachian State and Jacksonville State. Williams is another three-star offensive tackle. Hailing from Illinois, he is ranked the No. 23 prospect in the state by 247 Sports and had offers from Kansas State, Temple and Northern Illinois.
In addition to McAllister and Williams, the Bearcats received a commitment back in November from Gavin Gerhardt, a three-star offensive guard from Xenia, Ohio. Gerhardt may be the best player in UC’s class right now, as he is a top 100 offensive guard in the 2020 class, according to Rivals.com.
Ensuring that there are reinforcements on the way for the offensive line is an important strategy for the Bearcats. Chris Ferguson and Dino Boyd were the starting tackles this past season, but Boyd has graduated and although Ferguson is still on the roster as a graduate student, the Bearcats won’t be able to rely on him forever. The offensive line is further in need of help because 2018 starting left guard Kyle Trout has graduated. Even if McAllister, Williams and Gerhardt aren’t going to be able to help next fall, the fact that the Bearcats have so quickly addressed future needs is promising.
It’s not just the offensive line, of course, as the secondary will also get a boost from Devin Neal Jr., a three-star cornerback from Lexington, Kentucky, who is considered the 14th-best prospect in the state by by 247 and Rivals. More positional needs will be addressed in the next few months. There is still a lot of time between now and when the 2020 class will be finalized, but the Bearcats have gotten off to a great start both in adding talent and addressing team needs.