The opening of the Tommy Tuberville era is less than three months away when the Bearcats host Purdue on Aug. 31. An influx of recruits and return of familiar stars leave an excitement of what UC can accomplish in The American.
With mass change in coaching staff comes unknown quantities up and down the roster. After holding a long conversation with Tommy Tuberville I churned out a list of the 10 players whose development will be most crucial to crossing the 10-win mark for the sixth time in seven years.
This won't be about pointing out the top players on the roster, though some stars will make the list, this will be about pointing out those who must take a step forward and spike production in order for this team to be successful. We'll run one player a day every day for the next two work weeks, counting down to No. 1.
Today at No. 4:
Position: Wide receiver
Year: Junior (JuCo transfer)
Weight: 190 pounds
2012 Stats: 23 receptions for 548 yards (23.8 yards per catch) and eight touchdowns (at College of DuPage JC in Chicago).
The Opportunity: The Bearcats need someone to step up as a home-run hitter to work the outside receiver spots. With Anthony McClung and RDAIV working the slots and underneath routes, keeping the safeties deep will be a key. Who will take over that spot? Any number of players could be listed here: Alex Chisum, Chris Moore, Braxton Lane, Jeremy Graves, etc. Holton holds this spot because his rare speed provides an unique opportunity few on this list possess. He runs sub-4.4 and is as raw a project as you'll see at the receiver position. He was plucked out of a flag football game during his freshman year at DuPage. He flipped that into 23.8 (!) yards per catch as the top deep threat in JC. .
Why development is crucial: Anybody who saw Brendon Kay last year knows his ability with the deep ball lives at the top of his list of strengths. If Holton can use his track star speed to consistently work behind defenses it could create a deadly combo. Add in RDA and McClung doing damage underneath and defenses much pick their poison. Adjusting to Division I college football doesn't typically happen overnight for transfers, but speed translates. At least, that's what Tommy Tuberville hopes. .
Tommy T's Take: "He can really fly. He played well in junior college. It's not like he's going to be behind, he's only 15 days behind. I think Johnny is going to give us an opportunity to get it deep."
I want to hear from you! Agree, disagree, befuddled? Shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or hit me up on Twitter (@pauldehnerjr) with your thoughts on this list or anything else Bearcats football.