Local Star Looks At Cincinnati

Spring practice is over. The focus is once again on recruiting. Bearcat Insider recently spoke with one of the more highly recruited local players about his interest in the Bearcats.

The University of Cincinnati has not had a great deal of luck when it comes to getting the better players from St. Xavier High School to stay in town and play for the Bearcats, but Brian Kelly's staff and particularly Kerry Coombs think there's no reason they can't attract some Bombers to their 2008 recruiting class. Fred Craig is one of the local stars they'd apparently like to get.

Craig is a 6' 1"/205 pound defensive back that is being recruited as both a safety and linebacker, and Fred has enough interest in the Bearcats to attend last week's Bearcat Bowl. He talked about the experience. "I was impressed. I liked how they split up the teams and were really getting after it. It was good to see the coaches again and touch base. I also like to see who else they're recruiting so overall it was a good night. That was my third time down there."

The Bearcats have offered Craig, but UC is certainly not alone. The list of suitors is growing quickly. Originally, Bearcat Insider had reported that only Cincinnati and West Virginia had made offers. A few days later we learned from Fred that Indiana and Akron had been added to the offer list, but after talking to Fred on Monday night, a couple more schools have entered into the competition. "The Air Force Academy has now offered me, and I just learned today that Vanderbilt wants me to come to their one day camp this summer, and an offer will be waiting for me."

Like all students at St. Xavier, Fred is a good student but still undecided on a major in college. "I'm kind of drawn to business, maybe a finance major, but I'm also keeping open the idea of doing something that would help me in law school later like political science. Those are the two roads I'm thinking of going down."

Some schools like West Virginia see Craig more as a linebacker, although even the Mountaineers aren't sure about the position switch. "I have the opportunity to try out for safety at pretty much every school. They said I could start out at safety, and they would move me from there depending on how much weight I'd gain and where I'd best fit in." Fred said the Bearcats seem to be interested in him as a safety.

As the offers continue to roll in almost daily, Fred's in no hurry to make a decision. "I'm going to try to take most of my visits. I want to get a good feel for which school is best for me. I don't want to rush my choice, and I want to make sure I'm making the right decision. I don't see myself making my choice before the season-I don't think."

Fred is well aware that choosing the Air Force Academy would be much more than a four or five year commitment, but he's honored to have an offer from the Falcons. "I never really thought about it until I got the offer from them. The more I think about it; the more I'm considering taking that road. It's very flattering to get an offer from a school like the Air Force Academy. I intend to make some sort of visit to try and find out more of what it's like there. I'm certainly considering it, but I'm not sure right now."

What advantages do the Bearcats have in landing this Bomber? "I think Cincinnati's a diamond in the rough. People don't really know that much about it, but I think the facilities and the new coach are going to draw a lot more people especially once more people learn more about how committed they are to winning a Big East championship. I think it's a program that is definitely on the rise."

The Craigs have a history of playing college sports. "Both my parents were collegiate athletes. My dad played lacrosse at Duke, and my mom was a swimmer at the University of Iowa. My grandfather went to Illinois and played basketball. I think they were Big Ten champs two or three of the years he was there."

The Bearcats are also recruiting Fred's teammate, Darius Ashley. There's a chance they could go to the same school. "He and I are really close friends so we talk about it a lot. We're entertaining the idea of going to the same place and keeping our options open."

As far as summer camps go, no plans other than a trip to Nashville are set in stone. "I'm going to Vanderbilt's camp for sure, and I think I might go to Northwestern as well. I haven't really decided on any others so I'm going to have to make my decisions pretty soon."

So are the Bearcats in the recruiting mix for getting his signature on a letter of intent in February? "Yes, I would say so."

Bearcat Insider will check back with Fred during the summer.


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