3 DAYS LEFT
That's right, another Bearcat football class will be putting pen to paper on Wednesday and Bearcat Insider will have you covered. While we can't be all places we will be following a couple of New Bearcats when they sign their National Letter of Intents.
I will start the morning early when Huber Heights Wayne defensive back Mike Mickens will sign his UC NLI at 8:00 a.m.
Next I will be headed to Bearcat central and get the first official comments about the new Bearcat Class. So come Wednesday night Bearcat Insider will have your recruiting information.
Do I have to say anything else? I didn't think so. The Bearcats head to Louisville on Wednesday night for a first place C-USA battle with the Cardinals. This game could be for all the marbles in the conference, but it's too early to say. With Charlotte going down on Saturday to East Carolina, the Cards and Bearcats hold the upper hand for the conference title. Can the Bearcats wipe away the memories of their hard 69-66 loss to the Cardinals back on the 15th? If you're a Bearcat fan you know they will. The game will be on ESPN at 7:00 p.m. and as always on 700 WLW.
If the trip to the Bluegrass state wasn't hard enough, the Bearcats will then travel down to Charlotte, NC for another top C-USA test. Charlotte will be looking to get back at the Bearcats after being exposed 80-58 on the 19th. Again the Bearcat Network (ESPN) as well as 700 WLW will carry the game at 4:00 p.m.
CAN THE WOMEN GET ON TRACK?
I'm not here to rip on Coach Laurie Pirtle and her Lady Bearcats. It's been a tough year and one I'm sure she would like to have over. But look at the bright side. Eight of the thirteen on this year's roster are sophomores or freshmen. Of the other five only two are seniors and will not be back. The area of most concern is the team shooting. For the season the team is only shooting .376% and even worse is their 3-point percentage of .308%.
As of this writing the ladies have lost nine straight, but during that span they have played a few good games. Friday night's loss to St. Louis was by only 2 points and their loss to Louisville was by 1. While there have been a few games they didn't compete the way there expected to (North Dakota State), I feel Coach Pirtle and her staff have put the Bearcats in a good position and I look for a strong return by the team next season.
Who have been the MVP's for this season Bearcats basketball programs. When looking at the ladies side you have to say Anne Stephens has been the main clog for the team. With 20 blocks, 9 steals, 92 rebounds and a 10.8 average per game the junior from Mineral Wells, West Virginia has picked up where she left off last season.
On the men's side Jason Maxiell and Eric Hicks have been fighting it out. But at this time it looks like Maxiell would have to be the choice. With an average of 15.1 points per game and pulling down 160 rebounds Maxiell is the leader at this time. But Hicks is on his heels. Eric has more rebounds 167, and is averaging 13.0 points per game.
IS HE? OR IS HE NOT? THAT'S THE QUESTION
One player that was listed as a Bearcat verbal has raised questions about his Bearcat recruitment. Steve Burch has been listed a verbal, but on Saturday we removed that tag from the defensive linemen out of Dodge City.
We tried reaching his Juco coach and while we didn't get to speak with him on the phone he did respond to our e-mail with the following quote.
"I talked to Steve yesterday (Saturday) and he was on a visit to Kansas State. He is unsure what he is going to do at this point."
So at this time Steve Burch "Is Not" a Bearcat Football commitment.
What recruit that will sign on Wednesday will be a "Difference Maker"? Here's my early pick. Cedric Tolbert of Xenia High School. I have seen Tolbert play the past three years in person. He has the size and speed to play early. How committed is Tolbert? Consider he had a major injury after his junior year. Most players would have missed their senior season, but Tolbert had a special surgery and played even better than he did during his junior year.
Now don't get me wrong. There are many young players that will be given the chance to compete early and they will make their mark. But the move from High School to college is a major one in terms of academics and athletic ability. Other players I feel can make an impact are Terrill Byrd, Andre Revels and Curtis Smith.
Scout.com has issued a Team Ranking for all Division One teams. These numbers are based on their star system. As many of you know, I don't like the star system and again this proves my point why the system is flawed.
Cincinnati and the football rich state of Ohio haven't received the coverage it deserves when it comes to rankings. The players headed to UC in this class are some of the best in the state. With a current team ranking of 63 and average rating of 2.05, the numbers don't add up. Before starting Bearcat Insider, I followed high school football and recruiting. I can tell you not as a person involved with Bearcat Insider, but as a person who follows recruiting there's some real talent in this class. I can't speak about players from out of state, but those from Ohio I can.
Curtis Smith is listed a three star prospect, but he's a clear 4-star player. Andre Revels and Terrill Byrd have been given 2-star rankings while by their play they are 3-star or even 4-star players. How many of the Scout.com experts have seen these three players play in person? A big fat 0!
Why are they given the numbers they have been given? Smith was a 4-star until his verbal to the Bearcats. Because of that verbal he dropped a star. Byrd was given a 2-star because he's a UC verbal not because of his play on the field. Many experts including me question his height at the next level. While we will soon see what he does, he proved to me each week of this season he could hold up against bigger offensive linemen and still make plays. Do I expect him to have the sack numbers and tackle numbers he's posted at Colerain? No, his job will be to create piles so linebackers can make the play.
Andre Revels is also a 2-star prospect by Scout.com. I have seen tape of Andre since his junior season and saw him play several times during his senior year. All the kid does is make play after play. He will do the same for the Bearcats in the Big East.
I look at another Colerain player that will sign on Wednesday. Mister Simpson is headed to Michigan. While I can't say Mister's not a top prospect, he's not any better than Byrd or Revels. What is Mister Simpson's star ranking? 3-Star if you must know. While I don't like the star system (never will), it's what fans want and will continue to get.
Oh, as for were I feel this class should be ranked. It's a Top 50 recruiting class that when we look back after the next four years will have a Top 25-30 finish.
Well that is all for my second edition of Cat Scratch. I hope you liked it and look forward to it each time I sit down and scratch down what my mind is thinking about the Bearcats.