Well with camp about to start in the coming weeks, my head started turning for the Bearcats faithful as I had some downtime and I thought to myself which unit on the 2016 squad has the most unknowns/questions marks coming into the season. A lightbulb went off in my head so I thought I’d share my thoughts with you guys (let me know your thoughts in the message boards).
Well last season was an underachievement by everybody’s standards as UC went 7-6, seeing a record like that reminded me of the Rick Minter days where the fan base would be excited to have more than 6 wins. To be quite honest times have changed in Clifton, with the upgrades to Nippert, to the playing in a couple of BCS Bowl games, to having a steady diet of NFL players drafted or picked up via free agency. Times have changed, expectations have risen, with great power comes great responsibility (I think that’s a Spiderman quote) and right now the unit that will have a lot of pieces to pick up are the receivers.
A unit which had all of the headlines last season will be without Shaq Washington (schools career leader in receptions), Chris Moore (schools career leader in touchdowns), Max Morrison, Alex Chisum, Johnny Holton and Makale McKay. The only receiver on the roster with significant playing experience is Nate Cole, but you can tell by the bodies that were ahead of him it wasn’t in a lead role.
Now with the subtractions the Bearcats are not short on talent in this unit. Along with Cole, they have two big time transfers who are eligible to play this season in Avery Peterson (LSU) and Jamil Kamara (Virginia). In the spring Peterson made a few plays and I think with a strong camp before the season will have a chance to be one of the main targets. Khalil Lewis was very impressive at the end of his freshman season, Tshumbi Johnson had a nice spring game will be looking to use the momentum from that game in camp. Juco transfer Devin Gray will get the first shot to replace Shaq on special teams.
A few others may get reps, but the six guys I named in the previous paragraph barring injuries will decide who gets the majority of the playing time in this group. Overall this group is a question mark, but it’s only because of the inexperience, it’s not because of lack of talent. A question mark may turn into a great answer once the season starts if these guys are as hungry as I personally think they are!