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Cincinnati Bearcats Football Position Preview: Running Backs

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - Cincinnati v Georgia Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

1 If By Land

Aaaannnddd.... we’re back with another position preview for the Cincinnati Bearcats. If the quarterbacks weren't enough, no problem. There’s plenty more coming your way.

This time it’s the running backs, a group that does the dirty work while having a whole lot of fun along the journey,

Some of them are speedsters. Some of them are heavy hitters. And some of them are both.

The Bearcats have it all.

Swiftness? Yes. Resilience? Yes. Personality? Definite yes.

There’s certainly a lot to know about this core, and while the versatile Desmond Ridder would likely prefer to take off with it himself, he’s not the only one who serves as a force to be reckoned with on the ground.

RB1: Jerome Ford

There are two types of Jerome Ford: The one who runs up the middle for short yardage/heavy-hitting plays and the one who makes you completely forget about the first one by changing pace and rushing for enormous gains when given open space.

Both actually tend to be successful. Both get the job done. And both give it their all day-in and day-out.

A resident of Tampa, Florida, Ford tallied 483 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in his 2020 campaign. The former transfer from Alabama will replace the rough and tough Gerrid Doaks as the No. 1 overall RB on the Bearcats. Doaks, who was drafted by the Miami Dolphins, lead the team on the ground last year with 144 carries for 673 yards and seven touchdowns.

The two produced a similar mark on the field, but now with the NFL-bound star gone, the heavy lifting rests on Ford’s shoulders.

RB2: Ryan Montgomery

The first thing to know about Ryan Montgomery is that he’s not just a running back. His reputation actually reigns supreme on the special teams side of the football.

That’s not to say his main role isn’t as an RB. It is. He just likes to spread his talents all around the field.

Montgomery’s best efforts came in 2019, playing in every game and receiving the role of the main punt returner for the Bearcats. The 5-foot-11, 190 pound Franklin, Ohio, resident managed to finish third in the AAC for the amount of returns by a player, unsurprisingly earning a spot on the Football Writers Association of American Midseason Freshman All-America Watchlist.

He achieved a ranking as the 42nd highest rated recruit (according to 247 sports composite) in the Buckeye state during the 2018 recruiting cycle.

RB3: Charles McClelland

There are few people on the Bearcats roster who have faced as much adversity as the headstrong Charles McClelland.

McClelland, who is coming off of early season-ending injuries (ACL tears) in both 2019 and 2020, is entering 2021 as a redshirt junior. He did play a full season in his first year with the program in 2018, participating in thirteen games and finishing fourth on the team in total ground yardage with 63 carries for 495 yards and four TD’s.

Highlights show that the small halfback possesses the ability to explode with speed from the get-go for massive yardage plays. He’s less of a heavy hitter and more of a speedster.

The 2018 recruiting cycle saw the three-star prospect earn a ranking as the 97th best prospect in the state of Georgia. He reeled in offers from multiple elite programs such as Auburn and LSU.

RB4: Ethan Wright

Fun facts to know about Ethan Wright: He wants to be President of the United States. His pregame ritual consists of eating chicken alfredo and Subway on gameday. And his favorite player is Drew Brees.

On a more serious note, Wright joined the Bearcats roster in January of 2020 before Spring football began. The 6-foot-1 RB from Akron, Ohio, recorded a three-star recruit ranking from 247 sports in the 2019 recruiting cycle.

He hasn’t shown his talents on the field much, but reports suggest that’s he’s doing well at practice.

Others: Myles Montgomery and Michael Kopaygorodsky

In football, there are those who do play and those who stand on the sidelines (or don’t even suit up, for that matter). While Myles Montgomery and Michael Kopaygorodsky hopefully won’t trek down that dark path, their playing time will be limited compared to the rest.

At 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, Montgomery has the ability to serve as an all purpose-type back. He ranked as the 75th highest rated RB in the 2021 recruiting cycle, finishing as a three star recruit.

Kopaygorodsky, on the other hand, enters his senior season. A walk on, he made his Cincinnati debut in 2018. Almost all of his action thus far for the Bearcats has come on the special teams side of the football.

What’s Next

That raps up our running backs sneak peak for the Cincinnati Bearcats.

With the ground game now covered, fans of Down the Drive can look forward to more position previews (through the air) in the near future.