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The Signing Day fallout

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When the day was complete and all the signed letters of intent had been received, UC football coach Butch Jones could sit back, reflect on the past two months and then get back to work almost immediately.

 

"With the structure of getting our staff here, playing in the late bowl and having a couple dead periods of recruiting sandwiched in there, it made it extremely challenging," Jones said after today's recruiting rundown presser. "But I can't say enough in the job our staff did in assembling this class. We're very excited about the potential of it. (But) we're still going to continue to recruit for this class. There are some area needs that we would like to be filled. We're still looking to recruit this class and then we'll move onto the class of 2011."

 

But for the moment - and maybe only for this very moment - he could showcase to the assembled media the 22 members of the 2010 recruiting class, a mixture of Brian Kelly and Butch Jones recruits, and be proud of the work he and his assistant coaches accomplished in the first seven weeks of their tenure.

 

To illustrate that point, Jones pulled out his staff's itinerary from the first full week of January. On Jan. 6, the assistants that remained at Central Michigan helped coach the Chippewas to a victory against Troy in the GMAC Bowl. Of course, the game went to double overtime, which was a problem because the coaches had to catch a 6 a.m. flight to Cincinnati the next day. The new staff reached campus about noon on Jan. 7. The very next day, they were recruiting for UC.

 

"That's the whirlwind we've been through," Jones said. "This process was approached with meticulous attention to detail. It was finding the right individual that fits our profile, individuals who are representing the C. We made no promises, no guarantees. The only thing that was guaranteed was to compete for a top-10 football program on a daily basis. To re-recruit a class in a short period of time, that has a lot of challenges. We were forced to build relationships in a short period of time. We take great pride in the developmental business. We're going to teach our players to reach their potential."

 

More than a couple of the newest Bearcats, though, already have impressed people around the country with their talent. Guys like quarterback Munchie Legaux, who's ranked as the No. 12 dual threat quarterback by rivals.com and who committed to the Bearcats late Tuesday night after Legeaux's high school basketball game in New Orleans.

 

It was an especially key get late in the recruiting season because the Bearcats are in dire need quarterbacks - they only have three left in the system, junior Zach Collaros, junior Chazz Anderson, and sophomore Brendon Kay.

 

"He came up on his visit and fell in love with the place," Jones said. "He's an individual with high character. But we don't have to beg anybody to come to the University of Cincinnati. We're very attractive, especially for a young man who plays quarterback. Him also seeing us at the Sugar Bowl, he was able to understand our passion."

 

Legaux, while watching the Sugar Bowl, apparently was wearing a Florida Gators T-shirt. "We wanted to make sure we got that corrected," Jones said.

 

Another key element of this recruiting class was the former Central Michigan's staff familiarity with quarterback Cody Kater (from Montague, Mich.) and receiver Montrel Robinson (from Southfield, Mich.) - both of whom had attended CMU camps in previous years that were run by Jones and his staff. Those prior relationships helped ease the pain of losing former UC commits Luke Massa (to Notre Dame) and Dominique Brown (to Louisville).

 

"Recruiting is about relationships, and the relationships we had formed with Kater and Montrel, those are basically year-long relationships," Jones said. "There are so many things that go into a recruitment of a young man and the bonds that you form. Sometimes people look at these kids as property instead of as human beings. The relationship process was big with those two."

 

I also asked him if the coaches felt like they needed to make a big splash with this year's recruiting class so they could prove to the national recruits and pundits that they actually could recruit on a national level.

 

"No, I trust my coaches and I trust myself," Jones said. "It's all about the evaluating process. We don't get caught up in who's recruiting who or if he's a one-star or two-star or three-star recruit. The last time I checked we went to the Orange Bowl and the Sugar Bowl, and our recruiting classes have been middle to last in the Big East conference. We're just looking for the best players that fit our system and the best players we can develop."

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