January 14, 2008

A View From Shankpavilion-January

Every once in a while I like to give information/opinions on a variety of topics. Since I usually sit in the Herschede-Shank Pavilion of Nippert Stadium during Bearcat football games, the title of the piece seems appropriate.

-Cincinnati defensive end Anthony Hoke saved his best football for his senior season and became UC's season sack leader with 13. Hoke surpassed Antwan Peek's record of 12.5 in 2001, and Peek now plays for the Cleveland Browns. But even with such an outstanding year at DE, Hoke played middle linebacker in the Hula Bowl, an indication that NFL scouts don't project him as a rush end.

-Hoke's counterpart on the UC defensive front this year was Angelo Craig, and Angelo is the only Bearcat invited to the NFL combine at this time, a good indication that NFL scouts are seriously considering selecting him in the upcoming spring draft. Angelo is 6' 5" while Hoke stands only 6' 1". Still, most of Hoke's on-field numbers compare favorably or surpass Craig's. Hoke led the Bearcat defensive linemen in tackles, sacks, and tackles for loss, not bad considering the competition on that UC defensive line.

-Since the Hula Bowl doesn't keep official stats, no one will know for sure, but Bearcat football SID, Kelby Siler, had Haruki Nakamura with eight or nine tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery. Not a bad day for a guy that is often considered too slow and too small. If only the NFL could measure a player's heart.

-Digger Bujnoch has already graduated from the University of Cincinnati and is now trying to follow in his father's career footsteps by playing in the NFL. Digger, who is one of the nicest and most personable young men on the UC football team, will be working with a personal trainer to help him impress NFL scouts during senior days.

-Cincinnati graduate assistant, Adam Shorter, will be Ernest Jones' offensive line coach at Alcorn State. During Shorter's eight seasons of either playing or coaching at Cincinnati, he worked with six offensive line coaches. Here's the list and where they work now: Larry Zierlein (Pittsburgh Steelers), Stacy Searles (Georgia), Steve Shankweiler (East Carolina), Jeff Uhlenhake (Ohio State), Dan Roushar (Michigan State) and Jeff Quinn (Cincinnati). Searles and Roushar were the only ones to coach for two consecutive seasons at UC.

-Ben Mauk gets only one shot at petitioning the NCAA for an extra year of eligibility. There can be no appeals so everything needs to be presented as thoroughly as possible. If Ben is denied that extra year, some think he may still remain at UC as a grad assistant. I think he'll return to Kenton High School and start a teaching/coaching career with his father.

-Ex-Bearcat Trent Cole finished tied for 6th place in the NFL with 12.5 sacks this season. Denver's Elvis Dumervil (Louisville) at a listed 5' 11"/260 pounds tied for 10th place with 12 sacks. Dumervil's height doesn't fit the NFL's mold for a defensive lineman so I hope NFL teams will keep Elvis in mind when it comes time to draft a certain Bearcat defensive lineman (Byrd) after the 2008 season.

-Miles Smith visited Cincinnati this past weekend. He is a safety from Lake Forest High School in Chicago, Illinois and is the son of Chicago Bear head coach Lovie Smith. Miles has apparently been offered a spot as a preferred walk-on at UC. Miles was injured after his fourth game this season.

-My sources are indicating that D.J. Woods had a very good visit this past weekend in Cincinnati. He will be visiting Michigan next weekend and is expected to make a decision by the following Wednesday, January 23. I still think the Wolverines are the team to beat, but it's is sounding like this race is between Cincinnati and Michigan.

-I believe Tuesday, January 15 is the deadline for non-seniors filing for the NFL draft. Don't expect any Bearcats to file.

-I've posted previously that naming a new running back coach is a sticky subject with letter of intent day so close. Don't expect that spot to get filled at UC until after signing day on February 6th. In fact, it may not be until the middle of February until we hear anything solid.

-Derrick Stewart is no longer a candidate to rejoin the Bearcat football squad in 2008. I've been told that Derrick got shot in Youngstown and didn't finish the quarter at his Cincinnati branch campus. Curtis Young and Alex Daniels are still plugging away with their academics hoping they'll get eligible and receive a second chance at playing college football.

-Isaiah Pead and Corey Freeman have scheduled visits to Cincinnati this weekend, but we all know anything can happen until they arrive on campus. At this time, I know of no other players with UC offers expected to make a visit.

-I'm hearing that Zerbie Sanders (OT) has apparently committed to Louisville for those asking about his college future.

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