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The Bearcats are Coming

The Cincinnati Bearcats historic 3 year run with Luke Fickell shocked everyone.

Going a combined 22-2 across the past two seasons with the arm of Desmond Ridder and a suffocating defence led by Sauce Gardner and Coby Bryant was incredibly impressive. 

So where do they go from here? They lost their record setting QB and one of the best secondaries in college football… has Coach Fickell set the Bearcats up for continued success? Let’s take a look as they try to continue their dominance and start preparing for the Big 12! 

Starting with the offence and the player most are excited to see, Evan Prater. Prater is a former 4 star recruit and Cincinnati native out of Wyoming high school who dazzled scouts with his as he climbed to the number 6 dual threat quarterback in his recruiting class. To quote Andy Moore’s article that is live on right now:

 “With his distinctive hair and dual threat ability, Prater has earned a lot of Colin Kaepernick comparisons. He stands at 6’5” with a lean frame that perfectly suits his style of play. That style of play is very much the modern all around playmaking QB, incorporating RPO’s, QB runs and play action in abundance.” 

While he doesn’t have the rocket arm of his predecessor, Prater does have the advantage when it comes to athletic ability and the amount of time he’s had to learn the offence before jumping in. Offensive coordinator, Gino Guidugli, is going to have this offence tailored for Prater to do some damage, provided he beats out Eastern Michigan transfer, Ben Bryant. 

Prater won’t be alone out there though. The Bearcats recently added LSU transfer and fellow Cincinnati native, Corey Kiner, in the backfield who will complement senior back Ryan Mongomery and junior Charles McClelland perfectly. As for pass catchers, Jadon Thompson, Scott Tyler and Tre Tucker will be lining up with stand out tight end Josh Whyle. If Prater is even half as good as advertised, Cincy could very well give the playoffs another shot. 

On the other side of the ball Mike Tressel has a plethora of talent to replicate the dominating defence Cincy has fielded the past couple of years. Despite losing Gardner and Bryant, the Bearcats still have Taj Ward, Arquon Bush and Sammy Anderson in the secondary keeping opposing QB’s in check. Add into the mix Jabari Taylor and Malik Vann coming off the edge every single play, and this defence is truly formidable. 

Cincinnati will be opening their season against Arkansas and that could prove to be their toughest test, at least early on. 

Playoffs should be the goal this season, and with Cincy gearing up to finally play Power 5 football in 2023 an early win against Arkansas will prove they mean business. Provided Coach Fickell stays in Queen City that is, but given the amount of jobs he’s turned down it seems like Fickell will be with the Bearcats until his alma mater, Ohio State, comes calling. 

For more football content follow @KieranHorneCFB on twitter and over on Youtube for video versions of these articles.

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Introducing: Evan Prater, QB, Cincinnati

In the modern era of College Football it’s rare for a highly rated Quarterback to sit and wait for their chance for more than a year. It’s even more rare that they sit patiently and wait when they’re only given a tiny number of opportunities to step foot on the field.

Evan Prater is the exception. Now entering his third season in Cincinnati, the former four-star recruit should finally be handed the reins to the Bearcats’ offense. 

The reason that Prater has had to wait his turn is of course Desmond Ridder, the Bearcats’ all time passing touchdown leader, who was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in April. With Prater waiting in the wings, Ridder barely missed a snap over the course of his impressive college career, showcasing his durability and leadership.

Whilst there’s apparently a QB competition underway between Prater and Eastern Michigan transfer, Ben Bryant, it feels like the job is Prater’s to lose as the 2022 season edges closer. So what can we expect from the highest rated prospect in Cincinnati’s history?

With his distinctive hair and dual threat ability, Prater has earned a lot of Colin Kaepernick comparisons. He stands at 6’5” with a lean frame that perfectly suits his style of play. That style of play is very much the modern all round playmaking QB, incorporating RPOs, QB runs and play action in abundance. 

In his fleeting appearances for the Bearcats, Prater has very much been used as a rushing threat. Against Miami (Ohio), he scrambled, cut back on himself and leaped over an onrushing defensive back to go in for the score, he also used his quick footwork to freeze UCF’s linebackers on a six yard TD run against the Knights.

But as always, it’s Prater’s passing ability that will make or break his football career. On 11 career attempts he’s completed five passes for 38 yards and two touchdowns, he’s also thrown an interception. Looking back at high school highlights the run game is very much dominant, but when Prater does throw he shows good awareness in the pocket, an accurate arm on short routes and some nice touch passes down the field.

When the Bearcats confirm the Ohio native as the starter for 2022 it’ll be interesting to see how new Offensive Coordinator, Gino Guidugli, decides to use him. The easy way would be to embrace the run, but Prater will need to develop his arm talent if he’s to maximise his potential and jump onto the radar of NFL scouts. 

There’ll no doubt be a rocky moment or two as he develops, but with Prater’s huge potential and enticing playmaking ability, the next couple of seasons should be exciting for Bearcats’ fans. 

By Andy Moore – @ajmoore21