On Monday, the Cincinnati Bearcats released their depth chart for week 1. This is certainly subject to change prior to Thursday and will more than likely change several times throughout the entire season.
Noticeable absence among RBs
Tavion Thomas is noticeably missing from the running backs group. Thomas was third on the team with 499 yards rushing and second with 6 rushing touchdowns in 2018, splitting time with Charles McClelland behind Michael Warren. With Gerrid Doaks back, after leading the team in rushing in 2017 and missing all of 2018, Thomas was expected to be bumped down the depth chart slightly but omitted altogether? Yikes.
There were rumblings that he has been in coach Luke Fickell’s doghouse and this depth chart basically confirms those rumblings. Doaks and McClelland will likely see the bulk of the carries behind Warren on Thursday and #4 is Ryan Montgomery. Montgomery was the 59th ranked RB in the 2018 recruiting class and redshirted last season.
Right Tackle competition is ongoing
Lorenz Metz, the 6’9, 330 pound freshman from Germany is still competing with Vincent McConnell, who was a key part of Fickell’s first recruiting class in 2017. Regardless of who starts, the Bearcats have come a long way the last few years with legitimate depth on the Offensive Line, as opposed to have to plug in holes the way they did when Fickell first arrived.
Youth at WR
Senior Rashad Medaris will start in the slot. He is the Bearcats’ leading returning receiver with 472 yards and 3 touchdowns last season. Starting on the outside will be a pair of sophomores - Alec Pierce and Trent Cloud. Cloud caught 5 passes last year and Pierce has zero career catches, but has reportedly been the MVP on training camp.
The numbers twos include Thomas Geddis, the other senior WR and Jayshon Jackson will backup Medaris in the slot. Jackson saw extensive playing time as a true freshman last year catching two touchdowns and finishing fifth on the team with 23 receptions. He flashed a lot of potential early on.
Blue Smith, a transfer from Ohio State who was a highly ranked prospect in the 2018 class is not on the depth chart. He has been dealing with injuries throughout camp and is expected to ease his way into the lineup. It’s not alarming to see him left off as he will certainly be a big part of game plans in the future.
Depth at Linebacker
Cincinnati refers to their outside linebacker as a sniper and it’s a position that Jarrell White was expected to occupy in 2019, but Darrian Beavers, a transfer from UConn has made a really strong impression and the depth chart currently reads “Or”.
White was second on the team with 58 tackles last year, including 7 for a loss and also had one interception. On a historically awful defense, Beavers had 4 sacks for UConn last season.
Regardless of who starts, both men will play and the Bearcats are in really good shape with Bryant Wright and Perry Young manning the other two linebacker spots.
True freshman kick returner
Tre Tucker is currently listed as the top kick returner for Thursday. Tucker is a key member of the 2019 recruiting class and Fickell is no doubt looking for ways to get him on the field immediately as a freshman. With a very deep and talented WR group, it will be hard for Tucker to carve out a consistent role on offense so returning kicks gives him a way to flash his speed and also keep the other WRs fresh but not forcing them to return kicks.