The dust has settled on the Class of 2006, and while University of Cincinnati Football is gearing up for their first Junior Day (Monday 2/6/06) it's time we start the process of breaking down the Class of 2006. Everyone has their own idea of who is an impact player and what players will bring the most to the field early, here is my take.
Surprise Signing Of Class
Freddie Lenix - Cleveland Glenville HS
Talk started about Lenix becoming a Bearcat during last years Ohio North / South All-Star game. Rumors were flying around Crew Stadium and Lenix was quick to say no truth was in them. But as time passed and it didn't seem like Freddie would move his numbers high enough to pass OSU standards, the Bearcats coaching staff keep their ears open and worked their relationship with Ted Ginn Sr. just in case Lenix would need a home. What type of player is Freddie Lenix? He's the type of player who can play on both sides of the field and star. What does Freddie Lenix bring to the field? Explosion!!! At the college level it's not just speed and size that makes the player, it explosion that makes a player better then the rest. The things Freddie will bring to the Bearcats are many. He's a winner, he's competitive and the desire to play hard on the field will push others around him. He is an impact player who will see all eyes on him during the spring. Is he the impact player of the class? Yes and No. The reason he's not my impact player is due to the need at other positions. But he being a Bearcat is a surprise and the reason he's the "Surprise" of the 2006 class.
Impact Player Offense
While it would be easy to have picked another player at a skill position, the biggest need for the Bearcats on the field of play for the upcoming season will be along the offensive line. By taking two JUCO players at the position, the staff is showing their concerns about the players on the roster. While I do feel there is some younger talent in the program, I still feel it's not to the level needed to play in the Big East in 2006 or play the tough schedule the Bearcats will face. The odds are against these two players making such an impact, but the staff has expressed they feel both of these players are ready to step in and become members of the line this year. Like Lenix, all eyes will be on both of these players to see if they will work out. If both of them can take a starting position by the end of the spring, then the chances taken by the staff will have paid off. Keep in mind the cost to recruit both of these players was expensive. But don't be surprised if only one becomes the Impact player on offense. The reason for me saying this is just the odds. There against both of them being impact players, but having watched film of both tells me at least one if not both will live up to their billing. Both are tough hard working young men who understand why they were brought into the program.
Impact Player Defense
Peter Carriere - Club Player Canada
What is known about Carriere is many "Big Time" programs wanted the defensive back in their class for 2005. National Champion USC was one of them. But with questions about him getting into school, several programs backed away. But don't think for a minute all of them did. As the number one defensive prospect in Canada, Carriere is considered a star in the making and possible Professional prospect already. His body is ready for the rigors of college football since he's already 20 years old. If Carriere can live up to the hype, the only problem the staff will have is when he leaves early for the league. While I could of named at least two other players for this spot, it's hard to pass on naming Carriere the defensive impact player. The question remains if he's in Cincinnati in the coming months or still up North working to gain NCAA Clearinghouse approval.
Stay tuned, I will have my total breakdown of the class with my famous grades. It seems like only a few months ago I was being ripped by many for giving the Class of 2005 a high mark. But as the season progressed I feel my grades hit the mark mighty nice. How will the 06 Class grade out? Stay tuned...