A few days ago saw the University of Cincinnati release its depth chart entering preseason practice. After taking several looks I came away knowing not to read much into this list. With a deep and talented class entering this fall and coaches still not set on certain positions, change will be the name of the game in the first weeks of camp.
So with that being said, I decided to look into my crystal ball and put my two cents into the 2005 version of the Bearcats true depth chart. Today we'll take a look at the wide receiver position.
UC DEPTH CHARTWIDE RECEIVER
JR - #84: BILL POLAND
SO - #14: EARNEST JACKSON
SR - #22: DERICK ROSS
SO - #81: ANTWUAN GIDDENS
JR - #80: CHARLIE VAMPLE
RS-FR - #87: CARLOS SIMPSON -No Photo
FR - #24: JARED MARTIN
FR - #2: DERRICK STEWART
TOP FOUR RECEIVERS
With eight players listed on the Bearcats roster, the wide receiver position is going to see its share of battles for the starting jobs. Heading into preseason camp I understand why Poland and Ross are listed with the number ones, but don't read too much into it.
Bill Poland will be the fans choice to start at one of the receivers positions. The Elder grad is a fan favorite with his hard work and surprising athletic ability. He's got great size and shows above average speed. He also understands what is needed to be a positive force in the Bearcats offense. But while fans want to see Bill excel, he's going to have a hard battle coming from Earnest Jackson early and often in camp.
Bill gives you a solid performer who's seen big-time game action, but I feel he's more of a role player who the coaching staff is loyal to. While he will get his share of catches, I look for Jackson to be more of a game breaker at this position.
All Earnest Jackson did in 2004 was earn playing time and become the Bearcats fourth-leading receiver in the process. Don't look for Jackson to shy away from the challenge of earning a starting position, he understands he's got to keep working and good things will happen for him.
With great size and athletic ability Jackson can and should be a big-time playmaker for the Bearcats in 2005. If solid play comes from the quarterback position Jackson could put up All-Big East type numbers.
In looking at the other receiver position you notice again a veteran listed ahead of a very talented underclassmen. Just as Bill Poland will be looking over his shoulder so will Derick Ross. The talented receiver saw his production decrease in 2004, but the coaching staff feels this could be his true breakout year. If not Antwan Giddens will be looking to take over and produce.
Ross has the tools and should see his production increase with the departure of Hanniba Thomas and George Murray who hauled in 94 passes in 2004.
That brings us to a great success story in Antwuan Giddens. The Inglewood, California native joined the Bearcats as a walk-on and earned his way onto the field as a true freshman. While he only caught one pass, he's shown the ability to be a major playmaker in the Bearcats offense.
With great size and athletic ability Giddens will be counted on to contribute in a major way during the 2005 season.
While that breaks down the top four at the receiver position, four other players will be looking to contribute and help the Bearcats to a successful season in 2005.
Charlie Vample has not seen the success he had at Reading High School, but don't be fooled the kid is looking to earn some playing time in 2005. But with a couple of top talented freshmen also entering the picture it may be hard for Vample to do more then earn time on special teams.
Carlos Simpson may not have the size of other Bearcat receivers, but don't be fooled. Simpson has shown the coaching staff he's got great athletic ability. This spring allowed Carlos to open many eyes and after being redshirted in 2004 much is expected of the Detroit native.
But while Vample and Simpson are both looking for playing time they won't be able to relax with two freshmen coming in looking for playing time.
COMING THIS FALL
Jared Martin was raised in a household full of football. The son of a coach, Martin knows things won't be easy for a freshman. But with great speed and athletic ability Martin is looking to earn playing time anywhere the coaches want to place him. While I do expect the staff to give Martin some hard looks for special teams play, I don't see him being a choice at receiver this fall. I also wouldn't be surprised to see him redshirted this fall.
As for his counterpart Derrick Stewart I know he's got the talent to play at the college level as a freshman. But we've heard different stories that academics will keep him from earning a spot on the field this fall. Stewart has great athletic ability and will become a player for the Bearcats before he leaves campus, but this two-way athlete could also be looked to fill a spot in the defensive backfield.
While the Bearcats will be looking to these eight players to bring in the majority of passes this fall, several things will have to be addressed before their play will allow the offense to use the pass to offset a strong running attack.
While we chose not to list tight ends or running back into the breakdown, both positions will have a great impact on how many passes the receivers will haul in. With an All-American and All-Big East candidate in Brent Celek, Bearcat quarterbacks know they have a solid player to pass to. Also look for Mike Daniels and Doug Jones to have big parts in the passing attack.
One thing is known for sure. Coach Treadwell will be looking for players willing to step up and make the most out of their chances in preseason camp. Those who do could find themselves in the Bearcats starting lineup for several years to come.
I look for Earnest Jackson to become the go-to receiver this year. He's got the tools but must keep a great work ethic and stay humble. I feel Derick Ross will return to his 2003 form and make the Bearcats stronger then most experts will be willing to give them credit for. I also look for Bill Poland to put up some better numbers and make a key catch that will help the Bearcats win a big game.
Stay tuned for more Depth Chart Breakdowns in the day's to come.