Prove The Doubters Wrong Again

Cedric Tolbert was told his football career may be over when he was a high school junior. Having suffered a serious knee injury the Xenia High School star saw a major medical surgery give him a chance of playing his senior season and earn a college scholarship. The doubters were wrong then and the senior is looking to prove them wrong another time.

It's hard to believe Cedric Tolbert will be playing his final season as a member of the Bearcats football program.

The senior from Xenia, Ohio knows his journey prior to becoming a Bearcat had a few bumps in the road, and his career has seen him fight through a couple of injuries. But now he's on the final leg of his college journey and looking to close it at the highest level.

"The journey has been a long one but it's also been a fun one. I'm looking forward to making the most of this season and prove all the doubters wrong about me and our team."

For Tolbert heard the talk prior to coming to the Cincinnati campus but knew it was the right fit for a player working to regain his total health.

"The injury was a tough time with a lot of rehab, hard work and a lot of doubters. But I'm here proving the doubters wrong again and looking to have a great senior season. We have great coaches and a great core of cornerbacks (maybe the best in the country) and should be in a position to compete for a Big East Championship and BCS game."

Last season Tolbert watched as Haruki Nakamura roamed the Bearcats defense making big plays in big game. Now it's his turn and fans want to know if he's capable of replacing the now Baltimore Ravens draft pick.

"I'm not trying to replace Haruki; I think that would be an almost impossible feat to achieve. I'm just trying to be the best safety I can be for this team and do what is needed for our team to be successful."

One thing you can't take away from Tolbert is his love for the Red & Black.

"I love UC and love UC Football. Cincinnati football has a great tradition and that tradition continues to grow."

While he stresses his love of UC, he has a little different feeling about Camp Higher Ground.

"Coming to Higher Ground is not all fun but it allows us to come together as a team. We get to know the coaches and they get to know us as we learn about each other and learn the system. We grow together out here and it's become a great tradition for UC Football. Out here we get away from all the distractions we'd have on campus. Here we're allowed to just concentrate on the task at hand and that is football."

Cedric Tolbert knows players are on his heels and understands his role is more than just that of a player.

"First and foremost we have our team goals of winning a Big East Championship. I want to be the best player I can and if that means I play a lot and I get interceptions and make tackles that is great. But I want to be a leader and help the younger players with my experiences when they try to adjust to the college game."

This season may be the best time to have a player willing to make such a commitment as several young players are in the hunt at the safety position. What does Cedric try to install into the young guys?

"Coming out of high school we're all great athletes and the "Big Man On Campus". The main thing I try and teach them is not to get too down when your not playing and don't get too high if you are. There is a big learning curve and you've got to take the coaching and accept it and don't take it personal. If you always keep in mind to do what is best for the team it's better for everyone."

As Cedric prepares for his final season in a Bearcats uniform he knows the guys he came in with have achieved a lot. One of those players is long time opponent Mike Mickens. The pair had battled as youths and during their high school careers only to become best friends and college teammates.

"Mike and I have had some battles over the years but are best friends. It's kind of neat to bring all of your differences together and throw all the things that make you who you are into a melting pot and build a great team."

Going into the season Cedric Tolbert will look to add to the number of games played during his college career and the number of tackles made. But the Bearcats safety knows in the end it's not about the numbers that make a career but the chance to do something special winning the programs first Big East Championship and playing in a BCS bowl game proving the doubters wrong again.

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