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2020 Transfer Portal Update: Cincinnati Bearcats

A look at who is coming and who is going via the transfer portal for Cincinnati in 2020 and beyond

NCAA Football: Military Bowl-Cincinnati vs Virginia Tech Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

The transfer portal has become an extremely hot and somewhat controversial topic on college football. You see stories every week about teams that have double-digit players transferring (23 players have left UConn, for example) or All-American talents looking to move from group of five schools to power conference schools.

Here’s a quick update on what is going on with the Bearcats and the transfer portal.


Malick Mbodj, WR

Mbodj became the latest player to enter the transfer portal. The would-be senior WR was 4th in the team with 23 receptions in 2019 and also 4th in receiving yards with 249 yards.

More on Mbodj and the transfer portal

Javan Hawes, WR

Hawes ends his career with 12 total catches, 102 yards and 1 touchdown. He did not see the field in 2019 and will be immediately eligible for whatever team he commits to for 2020 as a grad transfer senior. He was not expected to play a big role in 2020.

More on the news of Hawes becoming the 9th Bearcat to enter the portal

RJ Potts, LB

Potts was part of Luke Fickell’s first recruiting class in 2017. He was ranked as the 4th best player from Indiana.

He was recruited as a safety, but moved to linebacker. He redshirted in 2017 and played sparingly the last two seasons. In 2018, he played just 6 games, recording 11 total tackles. In 2019, he played 3 games, recording 7 total tackles. He played well against Miami this past season, recording half of a tackle for a loss and recovering a fumble.

Potts has committed to playing for Northern Colorado in 2020. Because they are an FCS team, he is eligible to play immediately. With two years of eligility remaining, it’s possible he transfers again before the 2021 season and returns to an FBS team, should his performance warrant that in 2020.

Tavion Thomas, RB

Thomas ran for 499 yards and 6 touchdowns as a freshman in 2018. He was expected to be a big part of the offense in 2019, but struggled both on and off the field. He played 4 games, running for 190 yards and 1 TD. Following the UCF game, coach Fickell announced Thomas would redshirt in 2019, before Thomas ultimately decided to transfer.

Thomas recently announced his decision to play for Independence (Kansas) Community College in 2020. If that school sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the famous school from the Netflix hit “Last Chance U”.

At the time, it was not a big blow to the 2019 season, given the presence of Gerrid Doaks behind starter Michael Warren. Doaks will return in 2020, but Warren recently declared for the NFL Draft. Thomas would have certainly been a useful piece in 2020, but Cincinnati will proceed with Doaks, Charles McClelland, Ryan Montgomery, Ethan Wright and eventually Jerome Ford (more below).

Yanez Rogers, WR

Rogers departure is not a surprise and it’s not a big loss, either. He caught one pass as a true freshman in 2018 and never saw the field in 2019.

Cincinnati’s wide receivers struggles in 2019, for various reasons. They do have a lot of talent and potential in the WR room, but most of it is unproven. Rogers certainly felt that he was too far down on the depth chart and it was best to leave.

Rogers will continue his career at Florida Atlantic University, playing for former Florida State head coach Willie Taggert.

Kyriq McDonald, S

In 2019, McDonald transferred to Cincinnati from Alabama. There was much excitement about his arrival. Even though he was low on the depth chart and hadn’t accomplished much, he was still a player at Alabama.

Unfortunately, McDonald played just one game as a Bearcat. An injury sidelined him week 1 against UCLA and he was active against Ohio State in week 2. He reportedly suffered a seizure on the field in the second half and would not return to action for the remainder of 2019.

Hopefully, more than anything, McDonald is healthy and cleared to play, if he wants to.

TJ Johnson, CB

Johnson began his career at Penn State in 2016, and after redshirting transferred to Cincinnati in 2017. He sat out 2017 and played 2 games in 2018. He had 1 tackle against UCLA and 1 against USF. That’s it. That’s the summary of his career highlights.

Johnson will begin 2020 on his third different school in five years.

Aulden Knight, KR/PR

Knight took to twitter to announce is decision to transfer earlier this month.

Bearcats primarily used Knight as a kick returner and punt returner. He averaged 5.0 yards per punt return and 22.0 yards per kick return and played in all 13 games.

Due to multiple injuries, he did not play in 2019.

Cole Kosco, QB

Kosco was part of Cincinnati’s 2019 recruiting class and redshirted this year. It became clear, that Kosco was not part of the Bearcats’ future plans with Desmond Ridder having 2 more years of eligibility, plus Ben Bryant and incoming Evan Prater behind them.


Jerome Ford, RB

Ford is a former 4-star RB, who began his career at Alabama. Ford has the potential to be a big part of the offense moving forward.

More on Ford’s future at UC and his career at Alabama

Noah Davis, TE

Davis transfers to UC from Michigan State and joins a very inexperienced and unproven tight end room. He will have a chance to compete for immediate playing time.

More on Davis