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3 Bold Predictions for Cincinnati

Just days away now until Cincinnati Bearcat Football kicks off, college football is officially back in Clifton. The past few seasons have been pretty sweet for Bearcat fans. Over the past 5 years, they’ve had an overall record of 53-11. There is ongoing hope that that success can be maintained this season, but reaching it will look very different. 

Luke Fickell made the jump off the Cincinnati ship this past off-season and new coach Scott Satterfield is going to lead the charge after four years of leading the Louisville Cardinals. He brings with him many new coaches and a whole lot of new players. Many of these guys will be relied on heavily to keep the program at the standard. This is especially the case with the move to the Big 12.

A new quarterback, a new offensive lineman, many new receivers, some new pieces at linebacker, and in the secondary, some guys are going to have to make statements this year and exceed expectations. Here are three bold predictions for the 2023 Cincinnati Bearcats that might need to happen to reach and shoot past expectations this year.

Bold Prediction #1: Emory Jones Rushes for a Career High 800+ Yards

Rushing quarterbacks thrive under Scott Satterfield. During his tenure as head coach at Louisville, Malik Cunningham was his quarterback every year. Cunningham rushed for over 480 yards each of those years, including over 1,000 yards in 2021. Also, there was never a year that he ran it less than 110 times. New Cincinnati quarterback Emory Jones undeniably had his best collegiate season in 2021 with Florida when he threw for 2,700 yards and ran it for over 750. Outside of that year, Jones hasn’t had a season where he had more than 60 carries. 

It seems like we’ll see a loose, confident version of the previously named high four-star prospect. His career has been a long and winding road but it appears he’s found a good spot in Cincinnati. It’s Jones’ last year of college football and he’s got a great opportunity to put up some excellent numbers in this offense.

Don’t bank on him having an identical year as Cunningham did in 2021. 2,900 passing yards and 19 touchdowns combined with over 1,000 rushing yards at a whopping 20 touchdowns on the ground is not a season you often see. However, that’s the potential a mobile quarterback has in this Satterfield offense. Playing to Jones’ strengths in his ability to run it might be just what to doctor ordered for him to have his best season yet. Jones could see 120+ carries this year and that brings up a chance for him to surpass the 800-yard mark. It’s a bold prediction but it’s certainly in the realm of possibilities for the new Cincinnati quarterback. 

Bold Prediction #2: Daniel Grzesiak Reaches Double-Digit Sacks

New defensive coordinator Bryan Brown is known for his aggressive style of play. Last season his Louisville Cardinal defense led the nation in total sacks. Two of his guys had at least nine sacks and three more had at least four and a half. No UC player had more than three last year. Daniel Grzesiak is a guy that this new coaching staff really wanted from the transfer portal this year. He comes from Utah State where he thrived and totaled 16 career sacks, over half of them coming last year. 

This Bearcat defensive front is fierce. There’s no doubt about it. Dontay CorleoneJowon Briggs, and Eric Phillips are going to demand a ton of attention inside. Interior offensive linemen are going to have their hands full every week and offensive tackles are going to have to be cognizant of that too. Grzesiak is going to have his chances to isolate tackles on the end of the line and it seems like he’s up to that task. He’s at his peak right now, getting better with every season of play. Eight and a half sacks last season, 10 isn’t too bold of a prediction, but it blows by Cincinnati sack totals from last year. Add an aggressive new DC to Grzesiak’s game, similar to Jones and this offense, it appears that he and Brown are a great marriage and a recipe for success.

Bold Prediction #3: Evan Prater Contributes in a Big Way

All Bearcat fans are well aware of Evan Prater and they have been for years now. Back in 2019, he committed to Cincinnati, deciding to stay home, and became the highest-rated recruit in school history. All fans also know that it hasn’t exactly panned out the way most wished. 

However, the past is the past here with Prater and the bottom line is that he’s a tremendous athlete. Coaches had to get him on the field one way or another. With Emory Jones coming in, after a temporary quarterback battle Prater made the switch to wide receiver. And all reports are that it’s been pretty seamless. 

Prater carving out some playing time in this wide receiver room is going to be tough, though. Xzavier HendersonDee Wiggins, and Braden Smith are all incoming transfers who have years of experience in huge games playing the position. In a press conference on Tuesday, Emory Jones said that both he and quarterback coach Pete Thomas think this is the best receiver group they’ve both been around. And that includes Prater. Jones also elaborated on Prater and how he’s been throughout camp saying, “I think he’ll make a lot of plays on Saturday”.

Expecting 700 yards on 50 catches this year would be a pretty major ask. Prater isn’t going to be relied on like that with the talent at the position. The former quarterback is listed as a backup on the depth chart right now, but seeing him get a couple hundred yards this year and play some meaningful snaps down the stretch is very much possible. All Cincinnati fans would love to see this bold prediction be a reality for Prater.

Photo Credit: Stephanie Scarbrough/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK


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