Following a remarkable debut in the recruiting scene, Luke Fickell ended up putting together a relatively underwhelming class of 2019. While there was definitely more than meets the eye in that class, it wasn’t anything spectacular. However, Fickell and his staff have already taken some major steps in making the class of 2020 another impressive group of athletes.
So far, it appears that the focus has been establishing a solid group of offensive linemen, and more specifically, big offensive linemen, with the average size of the commits so far coming out to 6’5” and 295 pounds. Gavin Gerhardt, a three-star guard out of Xenia High School (OH) with offers from Kentucky and Indiana among others, is currently the highest rated commit for Cincinnati, and his commitment in November of 2018 was the first in the class of 2020 for the Bearcats. A few months later, Cincinnati landed it’s second offensive lineman and third overall commitment in Kobe McAllister, a three-star offensive tackle coming out of Heritage High School (GA).
The day after McAllister’s commitment, Luke Fickell landed yet another offensive line commitment with Illinois’ second highest rated offensive tackle, John Williams, a three-star recruit coming from Bolingbrook High School. These three alone would make a pretty solid recruiting class at this point, and Fickell has put a pretty clear emphasis on recruiting big offensive linemen, with the average height and weight being 6’5” and 295 pounds. If the Bearcats were to land Luke Kandra, a local recruit from Elder High School who is currently rated as the top guard prospect in Ohio, this group of offensive linemen could end up being one of the best in program history.
The remaining two commitments for Cincinnati come from another position group, that being defensive backs. Currently, Coach Fickell has commitments from CB Devin Neal and S Deshawn Pace, both of which are three-stars. Neal is currently listed as the top rated cornerback in Kentucky for the class of 2020, and is the eleventh overall prospect. Neal is also coming from Frederick Douglass High School in Lexington, Kentucky, which was home to Cincinnati’s highest rated overall prospect in the class of 2019, Cameron Jones. On the other side of things, Pace comes out of a hometown powerhouse turned Cincinnati pipeline in Colerain High School. In Fickell’s tenure alone, Colerain has given Cincinnati four prospects, including Pace, all of which have come on the defensive side of the ball.
Overall, Cincinnati’s recruiting for the class of 2020 has been some of the best the program has ever seen. The Bearcats currently rank 33rd nationally, and first among group of five schools. The great part of these early commitments is that there’s still nearly a year left in this cycle, and loads of talent remains. Keep an eye out for July 4th, when four of the top local prospects plan to announce their commitments. Out of those four, RB JuTahn McClain from Fairfield High School, S MiQuan Grace and WR DeMeer Blankumsee, both from Winton Woods High School, have not only received offers from Cincinnati, but are some of Fickell’s top targets. Recruiting has definitely been one of Coach Fickell’s stronger suits, and as this recruiting cycle progresses, we’ll see if he can continue the dominance he’s showed thus far.