Cincinnati Bearcats Football: 5 Freshmen Making Noise During Preseason
With preseason practice now fully underway, the youth on the Cincinnati football team has begun to take center stage.
Everybody knows about the experience on both sides of the ball, but so far, it is the freshmen who are making their mark.
Last week, Butch Jones singled out five true freshmen who have a chance to make solid contributions this coming season.
While some may not only be a product of talent, but also opportunity, all of these players are extremely talented and have a chance to have long, successful careers at Cincinnati.
Here are five true freshmen who fans will undoubtedly be hearing a lot from in the coming season.
Nick Temple, Linebacker
Nick Temple joins the Bearcats from Warren Central in Indianapolis. Warren Central has been a pipeline in recent years for Cincinnati.
Temple was rated one of the Top 40 outside linebackers in the 2011 class according to Rivals.com and while he is slightly undersized at 6'0" and 200 lbs, he is lightning quick.
Cincinnati had the worst defense in the Big East last season and even though everyone is returning, the move of Walter Stewart from linebacker to defensive end opens up a starting spot at the linebacker position.
Temple is right in the mix for that spot and even if he does not win the job, he will see immediate playing time for the Bearcats.
Trenier Orr, Defensive Back
Trenier Orr came to Cincinnati from the state of Florida and is an athlete who has the potential to play multiple positions.
For now, he has found a home at defensive back. Orr is 5'11" and 175 pounds. He runs a 4.5 40-yard dash and is in the mix for a starting role in nickel situations.
With the defensive backfield set for the most part, Orr has a great chance to see time on passing downs and step into a starting role later in the year or at the beginning of next season.
Dwight Jackson, Linebacker
Dwight Jackson is in a battle with fellow true freshman Nick Temple and redshirt freshman Corey Mason for a starting role at the outside linebacker position.
With incumbents J.K. Schaffer and Maalik Bomar holding down their respective linebacker positions, this is the only spot on the defensive side of the ball that is still in question.
Jackson was not highly recruited out of Miami. He is small in size at 6'1" and 205 pounds, similar to Temple.
Whether he wins a starting role or not, Jackson will certainly be in the two-deep rotation and see significant playing time this coming season at Cincinnati.
Jameel Poteat, Running Back
Jameel Poteat is without question the biggest recruit in the 2011 class for Cincinnati.
The running back out of Pennsylvania is rated one of the Top 15 running backs in the country according to Rivals.com.
Everyone knows current starter and senior leader Isaiah Pead will get the bulk of the carries, but with last year's backup Darrin Williams leaving the program due to injury problems and the graduation of John Goebel, Poteat has stepped into the reserve role quite nicely so far.
He is very talented and will be a workhorse for Cincinnati in the years to come.
Head coach Butch Jones fully expects Poteat to get a fair amount of carries to spell Isaiah Pead this coming season.
Shaquille Washington, Wide Receiver
Wide receiver has been a strong point for Cincinnati in recent years and 2011 will be no different.
The departure of Armon Binns and Vidal Hazelton to the NFL will be hard to replace, but three-year starter D.J. Woods returns along with junior college transfer Kenbrell Thompkins, who was forced to sit out last season.
The third wide receiver spot is up for grabs and Shaquille Washington is in the mix.
Washington was a quarterback in high school who carried the ball 17 straight times in a State Title victory last season.
He is only 5'9" and 159 pounds, but he is elusive and has big-play ability.
Whether he wins a starting role or not, Washington will see plenty of action this season—particularly on special teams.