The Morning After: National Signing Day

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With time to digest the National Signing Day haul of the Bearcats we don't really know what we don't know, you know?

NSD is one of the oddest days on the sports calendar. You are celebrating something that you don't really know if there is a reason to celebrate.

What we do know is, by the numbers that are as close to measuring sticks as are available in this field, the Bearcats did well. ranks UC 41st overall and third in the Big East behind Louisville and Rutgers with Jameel Poteat as the lone four-star recruit. ranks UC 47th and also third in the Big East behind Louisville and Rutgers.

Brian Bennett at ESPN gave them a C, which was sixth in the league. (FWIW)

This was the first time UC has cracked Scout's top 50 and first time its been rated better than fifth in its own league.

In the grand scheme of things, all the stats I just gave you are worth less than the fax paper they the NLIs came in on.

Butch Jones was sure to point that out Wednesday.

"Recruiting is not an exact science," he said. "The real rankings should occur one to two years from now."

--- This was a deep class that was heavy at WR and DL. Six players from each position were signed.

Here's a breakdown of the class thanks to the fine UC football SID Ryan Koslen.

Signees: 24

HS players: 22

JuCo: 2

Early Enrollees: 3

State champions: 6 (Alex Chisum, Dwight Jackson, Chris Moore, Carroll Phillips, Akise Teague, Shaq Washington)

Four-star recruits: 2 (Jameel Poteat, Malcolm Murray)

Three-star recruits: 21

Cincinnati: 4 (Rod Coleman, Pat Coyne, Brandon Mitchell, Justin Murray)

Mr. Football Award winners: 2 (Akise Teague, Nick Temple)

BY STATE: California 2, Florida 6, Georgia 4, Indiana 1, MIchigan 1, New Jersey 1, Ohio 8, Pennsylvania 1.

BY POSITION: DB 2, DL 6, LB 2, OL 3, QB 2, RB 3, WR 6.

--- What appears to be the big fish in the class is RB Jameel Poteat. He comes from Bishop McDevitt HS in Pennsylvania which also produced LeSean McCoy and Ricky Watters. It has always been Pitt country and was as well for Poteat. However, when Dave Wannstedt was let go, Poteat reopened his recruitment.

Despite his committment, Jones said he never crossed Poteat off his list.

"He was never crossed off. As the recruitment of him occured very, very early in the summer. He took a trip here with his parents. He fell in love with the place. It was a tough decision for him. We just always had that relationship. Jahmile Addae did a tremendous job continuing that relationship. We kept talking. We knew he had something in his heart for Cincinnati."

While rankings of players mean very little, the number of schools that were after Poteat and the fact he was highly regarded and chose Cincinnati was a huge boost for this program.

"He's No. 76 on the top 100 in the country. The amount of offers, over 30-some odd offers and he chooses the University of Cincinnati, It hink that is a great illustration for players to come is that we are going to attract the best of the best."

Poteat will slip in behind senior Isaiah Pead this year. How many carries he will garner is unknown, but considering the success a number of freshman running backs enjoyed last year, not giving him an opportunity would be foolish.

Michael Dyer played a huge role in winning the national title for Auburn, South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore carried for 1,197 yards on the way to the SEC title game and Ronnie Hillman gained 1,532 yard for San Diego State.

The bottom line is Pead gained 1,029 yards last season and will pass the torch at the end of the season. Pead's success was a significant reason Poteat ended up with the Bearcats.

"We had the stigma that we weren't going to run the football," Jones said. "Then Isaiah Pead ends up being a thousand-yard rusher. We proved to individuals that we want to run the football."

--- The most immediate position of need was linebacker. The lack of depth at the position last year forced the Bearcats into some tough formations and pushed the starters reps to the limit.

The advantage with this class is both linebacker commits will be on campus for spring practice. Nick Temple (5-11, 214) and Dwight Jackson (6-1, 205) will be able to early enroll and get some early work.

When addressing those two Jones added, "we may not be done, either."

--- With so many kids switching school choices and decommitting UC was able to hold its class almost completely in tact on NSD. In fact, it was able to hold on almost all year on players who held their verbal committments.

In this day and age, that's the exception much more than the rule.

"It's the most unusual recruiting year I've ever been a part of," Jones said.

--- Jason Williams filled in for Bill Koch and talked about the "experts" showing UC some love this year.   

--- If you didn't have time to monitor all the action on Wednesday, you can go back to see Tommy G's coverage which spanned all day. His interviews with Butch Jones, Jon Jancek, Kerry Coombs, Dave Lawson and the press conference are all archived along with highlight videos of all the recruits.

--- After you enjoy Tommy's work, check out the story about the man who has become a jack-of-all-trades for UC athletics.

--- The recruiting season puts a lot of press on families, travel budgets and stress levels. For Jones, there may have been no more pressure than that placed on his stomach.

"I think I've added 30 pounds," he said.

Jones would go to Boi Na Braza Brazillian Steakhouse every Friday and Montgomery Inn every Saturday. Then the big Sunday Funky's catered breakfast to cap off every weekend.

This is completley unverified, but I'm going to guess there are no vegans in 2011 recruiting class.  

--- At the media availability Butch Jones showed the highlight videos and made a few comments about each recruit. I'll run down the list and give you a quite quote of what was said about each player:

RB Ralph David Abernathy IV (5-7, 160, Atlanta)

Jones: "He will add another dimension in terms of improving team speed on offense."

DL Demetrius Alston (6-4, 215, Norcross, Ga.)

Jones: "He's very, very explosive. He will be adding an edge presence for the defense."

WR Alex Chisum (6-3, 184, Fayetteville, Ga.)

Jones: "He had a key catch on fourth down in the Georgia Dome to secure a state championship victory."

WR Rodriguez Coleman (6-3, 180, LaSalle)

Jones: "Very good quickness, very good size."

QB Patrick Coyne (6-1, 230, Badin)

Jones: "He was the ring leader of this recruting class. he has a live arm, strong, mobile and plays quarterback with a LB mentality."

OL Parker Ehinger (6-7, listed  at 265, Rockford, Mich)

Jones: "I've coached three kids from Rockford and all three play in the NFL. He is now up to 295 pounds."

DL Chad Hannah (6-5, 215, Tampa, Fla.)

Jones: "He was a Signing Day surprise. We thought he was going to an ACC school. He said he can't get Cincinnati off his mind. He's only played football for two years, which is good so he won't have any bad habits."

LB Dwight Jackson (6-1, 205, Miami, Fla)

Jones: "We needed more run and hit guys. he definitely is a run and hit guy."

WR Damon Julian (6-3, 215, Pierce College)

Jones: "He's a very physical kid and actually was Reuben Johnson's high school teammate in New Jersey."

DL Brandon Mitchell (6-2, 300, Withrow)

Jones: "He's the sleeper of the class. I expect big things from this young man."

WR Chris Moore (6-0, 166, Tampa, Fla)

Jones: "He has Armon Binns-type skills in terms of playing the ball in the air."

WR Max Morrison (6-1, 165, Kenton)

Jones: "Ben Mauk's father was his head coach in high school."

DL Silverberry Mouhon (6-3, 220, Norcross, Ga.)

Jones: "He has tremendous size potential."

OL Daniel Murray (6-3, 295, San Diego)

Jones: "He was in our camp. That shows the importance of getting players on campus during the summer."

OL Justin Murray (6-5, 254, Sycamore)

Jones: "He's very athletic. He can run and has the frame to be very large."

DB Malcolm Murray (6-1, 205, Glendale, Calif/JuCo)

Jones: "He's a junior college player and is currently on campus."

DB Trenier Orr (5-11, 175, Winter Garden, Fla.)

Jones: "I like his break and drive, he has good contact skills."

DL Carroll Phillips (6-1, 215, Miami)

Jones: "I rank him right in there with Brandon (Mitchell as a sleeper). He can really add an edge presence to our defense."

RB Jameel Poteat (5-11, 200, Harrisburg, Pa.)

Jones: "Good size, very good explosiveness. We all know about him."

RB Akise Teague (5-8, 178, Youngstown)

Jones: "He has good make you miss, but can run with power as well."

LB Nick Temple (5-11, 214, Indianapolis)

Jones: "He was Mr. Football at Inside Linebacker. Their school has a great tradition and history."

WR Shaq Washington (5-9, 160, Maple Heights)

Jones: "He is explosive, we had him in our summer camp."

QB Stephen Weatherford (6-2, 205, Odessa, Fla)

Jones: "He's accurate, has good feet and is mobile."

DL Chad West (6-6, 210, Perry)

Jones: "He was an early commit for us."

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