The quality grade is based on the caliber of athlete the Bearcats got for each position and the quantity grade is based on how the Bearcats did in meeting their needs.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: The Bearcats didn't leave the state in signing three defensive backs. Each player brings different tools to the table. This is another area that needed to be addressed and the Bearcat staff did just that. Losing Doug Monaghan, Daven Holly, Tedric Harwell, Jeremy Jackson and Jonathan Jackson mean playing time will be open for many from the class of 2004.
The main returning secondary players will be Antoine Horton and Dominic Ross. The junior will have to fight off players like Lamonte Nelms and Tyjuan Jones along with several others looking for playing time. The three 2005 recruits will be given the chance to earn playing time, but not be pushed to help this season.
Brad Jones: Jones has the size and speed needed to make an impact for the Bearcats defense. Coming from top high school program Canton McKinley, Jones has followed in the footsteps of former Bulldog and Ohio State defensive back Mike Doss. Jones will bring a great work ethic and the desire to succeed to Cincinnati. Jones is a solid tackler who should play safety in the Bearcat program. Grade: A
Mike Mickens: I have seen Mickens play since his sophomore year in high school. Each year he gets better and better. It's my opinion that Mickens has yet to play his top football. While he played safety during his senior year, Mickens will play a corner spot for the Bearcats. He's got great feet and hips and combines those traits with great speed. Mike is Ohio's Division One 300 meter hurdles champion. Look for Mickens to also play a key part on special teams. The biggest area that Mike needs to work on is his weight. He now stands around the 170 lb. range. Grade: A-
Cedric Tolbert: One of Ohio's top players. Tolbert has the size ready to play at the Division One level now. A two position player (running back/defensive back) Tolbert will be looked at first on the defensive side of the ball. I have seen Cedric play for Xenia for the past four seasons. Cedric suffered a major injury to his knee after his junior season and made a great recovery from a special surgery to repair. The knee showed no ill affects during his senior year as Cedric was the key that made the Xenia offense run. If the defensive side of the ball doesn't work out, Cedric could move back over to offense and be a top running back. Grade: A+
QUALITY GRADE A: The Bearcats got what they needed from this position. All three have a chance to be players in the future. Look for Jones at safety and Mickens and Tolbert to be corners. Jones had offers from Bowling Green and Toledo while Mickens had an offer from Bowling Green and interest from Purdue. Tolbert had Minnesota along with a few other Big Ten programs taking serious looks.
QUANTITY GRADE A: Because of the depth among the younger players this wasn't an area of need. But all three are top athletes that will replace the main losses from the 2004 team. All should be special team performers and I would look for all three to be key parts down the road. If I had to pick one to play as a freshman I would have to say Tolbert.