Cincinnati Bearcats Football: 5 Players Who Have Been Pleasant Surprises
With only one third of their season behind them, it's never too early to mention some individual Cincinnati Bearcats who have stepped up and surprised both coaches and fans.
While some big name guys have done what they are supposed to do, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, others have stepped up out of nowhere to take on a larger-than-expected role.
Whether it was on offense or defense, Cincinnati has had its fair share of surprises, and most of them have been pleasant ones.
Here are five players who have been better than advertised so far this season:
When Isaiah Pead left for the NFL, there were many questions surrounding the running back position.
Those have certainly been answered.
Winn has gotten the bulk of the carries for Cincinnati and has definitely not disappointed. He rushed for 446 yards and four touchdowns in the first four games, while averaging over six yards an attempt.
Look for much more from Winn throughout the season.
When it comes to waiting for his turn, senior linebacker Greg Blair has done just that and has developed into a leader on the defensive side of the ball for Cincinnati.
The senior has been a beast and has come up large in the biggest games of the season.
He totaled 10 tackles, along with an interception in the season opener against Pittsburgh and 13 tackles in a victory over Virginia Tech.
Blair also had an interception and six tackles last weekend in a dominating Bearcats win against Miami (OH).
No player has burst onto the scene more this season for Cincinnati than senior wide receiver Damon Julian.
The junior-college transfer did not see much action last season, but this year, he has come up with the biggest catches on the team.
While he only has 11 grabs for 184 yards and two touchdowns, Julian came down with the game-winner in the closing seconds against Virginia Tech when he caught a 39-yard touchdown pass to give Cincinnati the victory.
He continues to develop and will likely find himself more and more in the offensive game plan as the season progresses.
Cincinnati has never been a football powerhouse, but when it does produce talented players, a lot of times it is along the defensive line.
The latest is John Williams, a senior defensive tackle transfer from Central Michigan that has stepped into the starting role and filled in quite nicely.
Those were not easy shoes to fill, as he is helping to replace Derek Wolfe and John Hughes who were selected in the second and third round of the NFL draft respectively.
He is a run stopper who also has the ability to get into the backfield and harass the quarterback.
Certainly doing more than Cincinnati expected him to do heading into the season.
Ralph David Abernathy IV
Known as "RDA IV" and "Cuatro," Ralph David Abernathy IV is the most explosive player on the Cincinnati roster.
If he was in the SEC, he would be considered one of the fastest players in the country.
The kid can flat out run away from people. He has turned into an explosive kick returner and this season as a sophomore, he has translated that to the offensive side of the ball.
Abernathy is second on the team with 194 receiving yards on 10 catches, and has also rushed for 96 yards on 23 carries.
He has three touchdowns, all through the air, including a 76-yard catch and run against Virginia Tech in the fourth quarter.
Look for him to develop into one of the more well-known players in the Big East over the next two-plus years.
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