Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Cincy recruiting class includes 7 JUCOs
CINCINNATI -- Tommy Tuberville's first recruiting class at Cincinnati comes with an emphasis on playing now.
The Bearcats' new coach had seven junior college transfers among his recruiting class of 22 players on Wednesday, more than he usually gets. Tuberville tried to fill openings at cornerback and safety -- the Bearcats' biggest area of need -- with more experienced players.
He thinks they'll be in good shape if they can fill those holes quickly.
"We've got a chance to have a good football team next year if we can plug in some guys who can play immediately," Tuberville said.
Tuberville had little more than a month to get his recruiting class together since leaving Texas Tech. He was hired on Dec. 8, a day after Butch Jones took the job at Tennessee. Tuberville has been through the quick-change routine at his other coaching jobs, giving him a little practice at it.
"It doesn't get any easier," he said. "It was kind of hectic."
Tuberville was on campus but didn't coach the Bearcats in their 48-34 win over Duke in the Belk Bowl. He watched the practices leading up to the bowl game and took stock of what they would need to have a chance for another Big East title. The Bearcats have won or shared four of the last five championships.
He takes over a program with a lot of uncertainty. The Bearcats have tried to leave the Big East, which is in flux with all the conference realignment moves, but the Atlantic Coast Conference chose rival Louisville instead. The Bearcats are still open to changing conferences.
Tuberville expected the conference uncertainty to work against him in recruiting, but found it not to be a problem.
"I heard nothing about that," he said.
Tuberville hoped to get more players from the Cincinnati area, but his limited recruiting time worked against it. Five of the 22 players are from southwest Ohio.
The recruiting class includes five defensive backs, four defensive linemen, three tight ends, two offensive linemen, two running backs, two receivers, two players without a designated position and one quarterback -- left-handed high school passer Brent Stockstill from Tennessee. His father, Rick, is the head coach at Middle Tennessee State and a former Florida State quarterback.
Stockstill led Siegel High to a 13-1 mark last season. He completed 173 of 265 passes for 2,690 yards and 32 touchdowns. He also ran 108 times for 653 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Starting quarterback Brendon Kay returns for one more season in 2013, giving Tuberville an experienced leader on offense.
Five of the recruits have already graduated from high school and enrolled at Cincinnati, making them eligible for spring football. That group includes 6-foot-2, 195-pound defensive back Darren Doston from the College of the Sequoias. Howard Wilder from Pierce College is another defensive back with college experience who could contend for a spot right away.
Tuberville emphasized height in his defensive line recruits -- three of them are 6-foot-3, another 6-foot-5.
The Bearcats have won or shared their Big East titles without getting many highly ranked recruits under previous coaches Brian Kelly and Jones. Tuberville doesn't put much stock in the rankings.
"It doesn't take great players to win a championship," he said. "It takes a lot of good players that play together as a team."
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