ANTWUAN GIDDENS & EXPECTATIONS

In January of 2003, Antwuan Giddens was on top of the world. He and his two buddies from Venice Senior High School in California had just committed to play football at the University of Louisville.

Those buddies included Eddie Miller (QB) and B.J. Vickers (WR). Vickers was a 4 star recruit, and Miller and Giddens were rated as 3 stars. The Louisville Cardinals and Bobby Petrino thought they had hit the recruiting jackpot, but none of these high school stars stuck around long enough to pay off.

The three California players had package scholarship offers from both Louisville and Mississippi State. They were also recruited by California, Arizona, Oregon State and many others, just not as a package. After choosing Louisville as their school, they expected to help each other into the Cardinals' record book. Instead, each left Louisville and went his separate way.

UCLA listed Eddie Miller as a walk-on quarterback last season, but Antwuan thought Miller was presently at Santa Monica Junior College. B.J. Vickers recently signed to play at University of Arizona. Of course, Bearcat fans know Antwuan Giddens is in Clifton, but none of the three high school stars has measured up to his expectations, yet.

Antwuan appeared in 10 games last year but caught only one pass. That pass was a 22 yard touchdown pass against Memphis. Giddens was able to find the end zone one more time last year when he scooped up a blocked punt in the Fort Worth Bowl and gave the Bearcats a lead they would never lose against Marshall.

This spring Antwuan has shown some flashes of what made him such a hot recruit out of high school, but BCI asked him how he even got to UC. "I signed with Louisville and things didn't work out with grades. I had to sit out. Coach Minter was at Cincinnati and basically told me if I made 39 units, I could put the pads on here."

As a high school senior, Antwuan caught 53 passes for 1,082 yards and 9 touchdowns. He was listed at 6'5" and 190 pounds. Living up to these physical expectations has been tough since Antwuan stands only 6'2", but he has finally reached the 190 pound mark. He's not a physical receiver but his height, speed and reach makes him a match-up problem for many cornerbacks.

When asked about playing in the colder weather in Ohio, Antwuan shrugged it off. "You have to bundle up and play through it."

Surprisingly, Californians make up the 4th largest group on the Bearcat team with Giddens, Nick Davila and Kevin Lovell. Of UC's 100 players listed on the spring prospectus including David Wess, 63 are from Ohio, 10 are from Michigan, 7 are from Kentucky, and California and Florida have 3 each.

Since Antwuan originally signed a letter of intent at Louisville, I thought it was only natural that he'd pick the Cardinals as the big game on next year's schedule, but he gave a more diplomatic answer. "Every game is a big game, but I'll probably put a little more emphasis on the Louisville game."

With receivers like Earnest Jackson, Bill Poland, and Derick Ross, getting playing time isn't always easy, but Antwuan is continuing to refine his game and trying to live up to those lofty expectations.

 


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