The following was written by Bearcats Blog recruiting ace Stuart Gilchrist. Follow him on twitter, @StewieGilchrist.
Where We Stand:
The coaching staff addressed several areas of need this year, most notably the offensive line positions with the addition of Luke Callahan, Nathaniel Devers, John Kurtz and Ryan Stout. After next season the Bearcats lose Cory Keebler, Eric Lefeld, Kevin Schloemer, Tyreek Burwell and Dominic Mainello so getting commitments from offensive lineman was crucial. Most of our offensive lineman have an average weight of 285lbs so all four commitments will need to hit the weight room and bulk up. It wouldn’t surprise me to see some if not all of these players redshirt their first year.
At the quarterback position there is the additions of Jarred Evans, a junior college quarterback and Hayden Moore from Clay, Alabama. With the future of Munchie Legaux in question, that leaves the Bearcats with Gunner Kiel, Bennie Coney and Michael Colosimo as the only healthy returning quarterbacks. Both recruits have enrolled early and will be in Clifton for spring practice, which could pay huge dividends going forward. Also, while many would assume that Gunner Kiel will be the starting quarterback next year, expect Jarred Evans to come and compete with Kiel and Coney for that coveted starting position.
While the Bearcats received commitments from several players that played wide receiver in high school, at this time there are only 3 players that will be added at the position for this class. For a long period of time, Casey Gladney was the highest rated recruit in the Class of 2014 and he will definitely have an impact once he arrives on campus. Connor Krizancic could be one of the more underrated players that committed to the Bearcats due to him playing quarterback this year. Look for him to possibly play in some wildcat packages much like what Shaq Washington did this year. Mike Boone is small but he makes up for it with his speed and some have even said he plays the game like Bearcat great Mardy Gilyard.
The player that has been committed to Cincinnati for the longest period of time, Franklin Labady, is the long running back commit in this class. He is about the height of Ralph David Abernathy IV but is more solidly built. He has good speed and with Hosey Williams, Ralph David Abernathy IV, Tion Green and Lindsay Crook all making up the running back core next year, we may see Labady hit the field as a true freshman.
While the coaching staff would like to add a bigger running back to this class, it seems very unlikely that will happen. Look for running back to be a point of emphasis in recruiting for the Class of 2015. There is no telling how well Lindsay Crook will do at the running back position and the Bearcats really cannot afford to have any injuries next year at this position.
As far as offense, Tommy Tuberville and staff would like to add one more offensive lineman in this class and would most likely be looking in the JUCO ranks for prospects. Look for Raul Martinez, the #10 JUCO offensive guard rated by 247Sports to be the player that the staff pursues from this point forward. Also, Steve Ishmael, a wide receiver from Miami and the #93 WR in the country visited the Bearcats on the weekend of January 25th but Syracuse is seen as the leader for his recruitment.
The next installment will focus on the defense commitments and who the staff may add on the defensive side of the ball. Keep a lookout for that article before National Signing Day on Wednesday, February 5th.