One of the most striking improvements the Cincinnati Bearcats have made under the tutelage of Luke Fickell is their ability to create pressure. Prior to Fickell’s hiring, the Bearcats really struggled when it came to recording quarterback sacks and pushing back opposing offenses with tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Last season, the Bearcats reversed that trend and recorded 32 sacks and 83 tackles for loss. While those numbers fell within the middle portion of the American Athletic Conference, they were large leaps forward for the program. That was particularly true when it came to bringing down opposing signal callers, with those 32 sacks more than doubling the total of Fickell’s first season and outpacing the production of any team since 2014.
As the Bearcats move into 2019 and beyond, there is no doubt that being aggressive up front will continue to be a key and to do that they will need the right personnel. They obviously had that last season and even though Cortez Broughton, Kimoni Fitz and Marquise Copeland are all gone along with their 15 combined sacks from last year, there is still plenty of firepower on defense, with linebacker Bryan Wright (5.0 sacks), Michael Pitts (4.0 sacks) and Ethan Tucky (2.0 sacks) headlining the returning pass rushers.
However, at some point, the Bearcats will need to address the fact that they lost and will continue to lose a lot of talent on the defensive line, especially at defensive end, where they are rather weak in terms of experience, even if promising players like Malik Vann are ready to take the next step forward. With the roster more or less set for 2019, the Bearcats can help themselves in this area through recruiting for 2020 and that’s what they’ve done by adding a commitment from Sterling Miles.
Blessed to be in this position... ⚫️ pic.twitter.com/arZbhxCDOF— sterling miles (@sterlingmi_) June 21, 2019
With the 2020 class already prominently addressing the offensive line and secondary, the Bearcats have made their first addition for the defensive line. The West Bloomfield, Michigan native is a three-star recruit and ranked the No. 71 weak side defensive end in the 2020 class and and No. 33 recruit in his home state by 247 Sports. He should be able to fit into the rotation as it develops in 2020 and the seasons after that.
The days of watching the Bearcats fail to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks are over and Miles will help the team keep that trend going once he steps on campus in 2020.