A Closer Look at a Recruiting Race

After talking to Clay Belton and getting his criteria for choosing a school, I wanted to look where UC may stand with this young man.

Academics- A+

Clay said academics would be his #1 priority, and he wants to major in engineering. UC should grade out very well here since its engineering school is considered one of the very best in the country. Plus, UC does an excellent job of graduating its players.

Staff- B

I think a great deal of the Bearcat staff overall, but losing Coach Enos prevents its getting an "A". Coach Warner may be an excellent, experienced coach, but his resume doesn't show many guys going to the next level, something Clay mentioned as a goal.

Offense- B

Clay comes from a high school offense that throws the ball 90% of the time and expressed a desire to play in a college offense that throws at least 50% of the time. Once again, UC may be the best place since the Bearcats threw the ball over 50% of the time last season. Clay mentioned he likes the shotgun, and UC has used the shotgun, but I don't see it being the primary formation for Coach Dantonio. However, I think that's a plus for Clay because he needs to get comfortable with getting under center.

Looking at the last two seasons under Coach Dantonio, here are some facts supplied to us from UC but different from those on its official website. In 2005 with a 4-7 record and inexperienced quarterback and O-line, the Bearcat offense passed the ball 56% of the time and ran the ball 44% of the time. However, keep in mind that the Bearcats were behind late in several games and were trying to catch up.

In 2004 with a 7-5 record and experienced quarterback and O-line, the Bearcats passed 46% of the time and rushed 54% of the plays. These percentages may not impress Clay, but UC was often ahead at the end of games and was trying to run the clock.

Next, let's look at UC's opponents over the last two seasons to get some perspective. In 2005, our opponents passed 41% of the time and ran 59% of their plays according to UC's official website, understandable since UC was pretty far behind in a number of games. In 2004, Bearcat opponents passed 45% of the time and ran 55% of the plays despite the Bearcats' winning seven of those contests.

Finally, let's look at Bowling Green since they too have offered Clay. With Omar Jacobs at QB (9 of 11 games), Bowling Green threw only 50% of the time and actually seven times fewer than rushing attempts. Anyone surprised? Bowling Green's opponents rushed the ball 60% of the time and threw only 40% according to their official website. According to these numbers, it looks like many collegiate offenses are looking to run first and then pass.

If this recruiting race were to come down to only Bowling Green and Cincinnati, I like the Bearcats' chances.

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