- 36 total tackles
- 8 quarterback hits/hurries
- 7.0 tackles for loss
- 4.0 sacks
- 2 pass breakups
- 1 forced fumble
- 1 fumble recovery
The Cincinnati Bearcats have made a habit of producing defensive stars quickly. Considering the team’s identity is built primarily on that side of the ball, its not really a surprise. One of UC’s most recently emerged stars is Myjai Sanders, a defensive end from Jacksonville, Florida.
Sanders played in 10 games in 2018, but didn’t accumulate much in the statistics department. He righted that wrong in 2019 as one of the most productive and effective pass rushers on the team. Sanders may have lined up on the edge, but he lived in opposing backfields. He had eight quarterback hits/hurries and seven tackles for loss, including four sacks. He ranked second on the team in that last category and also managed to produce 36 total tackles, which tied with Darrian Beavers for eighth on the roster. To reach that total, Sanders had a relatively even split across solo (19) and assisted (17) tackles.
Clearly Sanders made an impact on the passing game by causing quarterbacks to get rid of the ball more quickly or, when Sanders found his target, to miss out on throwing the ball entirely. However, he also managed to break up two passes as well. In addition, he had a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
One of the most striking aspects of Sanders’ 2019 season was his consistency. He had at least one tackle for loss in five games and at least three tackles eight times. In this way, he was a reliable fixture in the starting lineup for 14 games.
The Best of the Best
Sept. 7, 2019 at Ohio State
The Bearcats didn’t have a good day, but Sanders did, posting four tackles, including one for loss.
Oct. 12, 2019 at Houston
Sanders registered his first career sack against the Cougars. He also had four total tackles and a pass breakup.
Oct. 19, 2019 vs. Tulsa
The Golden Hurricane had no answer for Sanders, who erupted for six total tackles, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a quarterback hit/hurry.
Dec. 7, 2019 at Memphis
Sanders played well in both meetings with the Tigers, but this was the better of the two performances. He tallied his fourth sack of the season in addition to three total tackles.
For Next Year
UC fans should get used to seeing Sanders dominate on the defensive line. He will be in his junior season when football returns and with the talent he displayed last season, he is already playing like a multi-year veteran.
The next step for Sanders will be boosting up his already solid production and pushing himself into the all-conference conversation. Asking for a double digit sack total may be a bit ambitious, but it is not out of the question. A more manageable but still encouraging leap would be something in the neighborhood of eight sacks, 10 to 12 tackles for loss and maybe 40 to 50 total stops. Of course, individual numbers won’t be the only way his contributions will be measured, but if he can reach these heights, UC’s already stout defense will be all the better.