With the rate at which Luke Fickell and John Brannen have been adding to their respective rosters for Cincinnati Bearcats football and basketball, you can never really relax or take a breath. In the last week, Fickell lost a commitment from Angelo Grose, but then added two players for the 2020 class in defensive back Deshawn Jones and wide receiver/athlete Norman Love. Not to be outdone, Brannen and the Bearcats men’s basketball program received a commitment from point guard Mike Saunders. Let’s get to know these future Bearcats.
Starting on the football side with Jones, it seemed like the Bearcats had already gotten a boost to the secondary from Grose’s commitment. Unfortunately, Grose has taken a step back, changing the trajectory of the 2020 class in the process. However, that trajectory hasn’t been entirely thrown of course thanks to Jones’s decision. Jones joins with Devin Neal and and Deshawn Pace as secondary prospects who have selected UC and help make up the No. 1 2020 recruiting class in the American Athletic Conference, according to 247 Sports. Hailing from Akron, Ohio, Jones is ranked as a three-star prospect by both Rivals and 247 Sports. He turned down more than 10 other offers to play for the Bearcats.
Love could play wide receiver at the collegiate level, but since he is listed as an athlete by 247 Sports, its possible that his future will be spent playing elsewhere. In all fairness, the same could be said of Jones who Rivals has listed as an athlete, but considering the timing of his commitment, it would seem logical that the Bearcats see him as a future defensive back. At roughly 6-feet tall, Love is a three-star recruit who calls Lake Wales, Florida home, but didn’t seem to get a ton of interest from programs in his home state based on the other offers he has received.
On the basketball court, Brannen has done a pretty solid job of preparing his new team for next season, but that doesn’t mean he has tunnel vision. By landing a point guard like Saunders, Brannen is building out his 2020 recruiting class, which is currently ranked 23rd in the country by 247 Sports. It’s unlikely that it will stay that high, but Saunders is a top 200 player so he is certainly a more than solid addition. The Indiana-native, who most recently played at Wasatch Academy in Utah, is ranked the fourth-best 2020 recruit out of Indiana by 247 Sports and he is among the top 40 point guards in the class as well. How very fortunate considering the Bearcats’ needs at that position even after adding guys like Chris McNeal, Mika Adams-Woods and Jaevin Cumberland.
The 2020 seasons are still a long ways off, but the Bearcats are gearing up to make it quite a year in terms of recruiting. Just make sure to keep your eyes open or you might miss something.