In a few weeks, Coach Mark Dantonio will start the race to replace one of UC's All-Time great quarterbacks. While the fall will see Craig Carey and Dominick Goodman come to campus, both players will have much to learn before being ready to battle for playing time. Bearcat Insider will take a look at this key position and some of the players looking to earn the job at this position.
In part 1 of a 2 part article, we look at four quarterbacks already in the system. I want to thank all four of these players for taking the time and talking about themselves.
I'll start my look with the newest quarterback in the mix. Nick Davila heads into UC having been named a Two-Time Junior College All-American. The southpaw signal caller posted great numbers during his two years at Chaffey Junior College.
Davila, who passed for 5,774 yards and 46 touchdowns the past two seasons, is looking to earn major playing time. With two seasons at Chaffey under his belt, many have Davila penciled into the lineup already.
But while the battle for playing time will take place on the field, we look and Nick's chances and also spoke with him about fitting into the Bearcats system, and the move from California.
6'3 - 195 LBS.
ALTA LOMA, CALIFORNIA
Look at the tools Nick Davila brings to the table. He's been groomed to play the position since his childhood. With family members who also were top quarterbacks, Davila expects to be the man. He won't say it, but you can sense he's got the confidence to play the position.
While I only saw Nick throw for thirty minutes or so, I saw a player with a nice arm, smooth delivery and a quick release. Talk from the receivers who stayed to work with the QB's was about catching balls from a lefty. The ball has a different rotation and look coming out of his hand. As the morning went on you could see receivers getting used to catching his withthrows.
I spoke with Nick after he finished his throwing and he had these comments.
BCI: How does it feel to be in Cincinnati?
ND: It feels great. I like the family unity around Cincinnati, it's a little cold but I'm starting to like it a lot more and I've put about 15 pounds on.
BCI: What was the deciding factor in picking UC?
ND: I'd have to say coming out here and seeing the family unity from the players and coaches. They have some real good coaches here and I had a reel good feeling inside my heart about UC. I went with my heart in picking UC and becoming part of the Bearcat family.
BCI: What are your goals this spring?
ND: My goals this spring are to succeed and learn the offense to the best of my ability. I hope to compete for the starting job. I want to take that job and put the team on my shoulders while showing them that I'm a leader. I'm going to do the best of my ability and soul.
BCI: How are the receivers getting used to catching a southpaw?
ND: There getting use to it, but it takes time. As long as they get use to the different kind of spin.
BCI: In watching film I noticed you have a soft touch. Is that something that comes natural or something you have worked hard to achieve?
ND: I think it just comes natural to me. I grew up watching quarterbacks; I have an uncle that was a quarterback and another uncle who was a quarterback at Hawaii. I was always throwing the football since a young age. I would throw footballs threw tires and into trashcans or around the living room. I was just always throwing the football. And one thing I have is a pretty good touch. I have to thank my uncle, he's a quarterback coach and has always been with me since I was like 10 or 13, even at birthday parties or anytime we got together I was throwing the football.
That was all the time Nick had before heading off to class. One thing for sure is Bearcat fans will be watching how Nick progresses towards earning the quarterback position.
The next quarterback I spoke with during my visit is one who saw a strange path to the campus of Cincinnati. Tony Pike was last seen throwing a football for Reading High School. The gunslinger with all the physical tools to succeed at the college level saw his football recruiting come to a halt before the Bearcats offered him a Gray Shirt. Tony accepted the offer and not only is Bearcat coaches happy that he did, so is Tony.
6'5 - 190 LBS.
While watching Tony throw I saw many of the same things I saw from him during his high school career. But the biggest difference is his strength. Tony looks stronger than he ever has, and he still throws a nice tight spiral. As I said over a year ago, the Bearcats got a steal in taking Tony Pike.
Tony spoke with Bearcat Insider before heading off to class. Here are his comments.
BCI: How's it felt to get back on the football field?
TP: If feels pretty good since I kind of sat out a year. It was a long time coming, so if feels really good to get out here and throw the football around.
BCI: What have you been doing in that time?
TP: I came in about 185, so I was lifting and just trying to put some weight on. I was also going out by myself throwing with some receivers from high school.
BCI: What is your main goal for the spring?
TP: My main goal with us losing so many seniors is to work and get some reps at quarterback.
BCI: Coming out of high school many colleges overlooked your talent during the recruiting process. But just watching you today, it seems you're fitting in very nice here. What's this trip been like?
TP: I didn't think I was even going to get recruited here. If not for the new coaches I know I wouldn't be here. I was what some call a late bloomer they say. But I hope everything works out here.
BCI: What do you feel are your strengths and weakness right now?
TP: My weakness is weight and muscle. I need to increase my strength. The other area of weakness is I need to get quicker feet. My strength is my arm. I have a very strong arm and I'm pretty accurate.
Both quarterbacks bring different strengths and weakness to the field. While Pike has been off the field for over a year, Davila has been preparing for two seasons at the JUCO level. Pike shows a very strong arm and I have always been a big fan of his. Nick has that laid back California feel to him. He has a nice snap from the ear and delivers a soft ball. Both players will be looking to make their mark when spring ball starts in a few weeks.
We'll have more on the possible Bearcat quarterback in part 2 of this story.