Cincinnati Bearcats Recruiting: Top Targets, Positional Needs and Predictions

Alex Callos@@alexcallosCorrespondent IJanuary 23, 2012

Cincinnati Bearcats Recruiting: Top Targets, Positional Needs and Predictions

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    National signing day is now just over a week away. Cincinnati and head coach Butch Jones are looking to fill some holes and continue the program in the direction it is going.

    Losing as many seniors as Cincinnati did, there are certainly a lot of needs that need to be addressed.

    An excellent recruiting class is beginning to take shape for Cincinnati, and February 1 is a big day for a program that continues to get stronger.

    Here is a breakdown of what to expect come signing day next Wednesday.

Defensive Line

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    Cincinnati lost both starting defensive tackles to graduation this past year and returns three fifth-year seniors on the defensive line.

    Needless to say, they will need help on the defensive line after the 2012 season.

    The recruiting class does not exactly give them much stability. They have commitments from three defensive ends, none of which are rated very highly.

    The best of the group is Ryan Leahy from LaSalle High School in Cincinnati. He is rated the No. 41 defensive end in the country and will be weighed on heavily come 2013.

Offensive Line

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    Cincinnati loses three starters on the offensive line and does have a little depth, but will need to replace those three who played an integral part in the Bearcats' success the past three seasons. 

    The Bearcats have three commits, the most recent is local guard Caleb Stacy who de-commited from Michigan over the weekend and decided to stay home in Cincinnati.

    At 6'4" and 275 pounds, he already has the size to play guard in college.

    He is rated the No. 17 offensive guard in the country and is one of the Top 40 overall players in the state of Ohio.

Tight End

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    Cincinnati does not use the tight end as much since Butch Jones has arrived, but will need another one in the fold with the graduation of Adrien Robinson.

    They just got their man recently in DeShawn Dowdy.

    Dowdy is rated the No. 27 overall tight end according to and will be able to give Cincinnati a young tight end to go along with senior Travis Kelce and junior Blake Annen.

Top Target-Nathan Cole

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    Cole is a 3-star wide receiver, but is currently one of the top two or three recruits in the Bearcats' class.

    He is the No. 62 overall receiver in the country, but has recently started to sway in his opinion of Cincinnati.

    Cole has offers from numerous SEC schools including Alabama, Tennessee and Vanderbilt and is rumored to be visiting one of those schools this weekend.

    Whether or not he decides to change his mind may not be known until signing day, but this has to bring some worry to Butch Jones and the Cincinnati coaching staff.


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    While Cincinnati was hoping for a Top 25 class, it is looking more and more likely that they are not going to be able to accomplish that.

    The class is looking like it will finish around No. 30, and if Cole does not stay on board, that number could get a little lower.

    Adding Stacy was big, and Cincinnati will need to have to get a few more surprise commitments to get into the Top 25.

    With that being said, it will be the best class they have ever had.