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Cincinnati Bearcats 2021 College Football Team Breakdown (Depth Chart, Schedule & Betting Preview)

Matt Gajewski



2021 Cincinnati Bearcats College Football season preview depth chart fantasy betting AAC season conference

No. 10 Cincinnati Bearcats

2020 Record: 9-1
Returning Starters: Offense No. 7, Defense No. 7
More Teams Alabama | Florida | LSU | Penn State | Texas | Iowa | Indiana | Miami | Wisconsin | USC | Oregon | North Carolina | Cincinnati | Iowa State | Notre Dame | Texas A&M | Georgia | Ohio State | Oklahoma | Clemson

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Key Metrics and Personnel

  • Head Coach — Luke Fickell (35-14)
  • Offensive Coordinator — Mike Denbrock
  • Defensive Coordinator — Mike Tressel
  • Points/Game — 35.6 (18th)
  • Plays/Game — 69.6 (88th)
  • Pass Rate — 45.69 (74th)
  • Yards/Att R — 5.4 (13th)
  • Yards/Att P — 7.9 (41st)
  • Yards/Att Allowed R — 3.2 (8th)
  • Yards Att Allowed P — 6.1 (9th)
  • Points Allowed/Game — 16.4 (7th)
  • Vegas Win Total – 10, Over -105, Under -115


Luke Fickell has coached Cincinnati since 2017. Mike Denbrock has also coordinated the offense since 2017. He was previously OC at Notre Dame. Mike Tressel is the new defensive coordinator for Cincinnati after coaching on the defensive side of the ball for Michigan State since 2007. This is with former defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman moving onto Notre Dame.

Recruiting Class: No. 44

Top Recruits:

  • Chamon Metayer — ATH — No. 371
  • Bryon Threats — ATH — No. 510
  • Myles Montgomery — RB — No. 75 RB
  • Will Pauling — WR — No. 164 WR
  • Drew Donley — WR — No. 175 WR
  • Brady Lichtenberg — QB — No. 79 QB


  • Devin Hightower (Michigan State — LB)
  • James Tunstall (Stony Brook — OT)
  • Jowon Briggs (Virginia — DT)

Daily Fantasy Players to Watch

QB Desmond Ridder, RB Jerome Ford, WR Alec Pierce

Cincinnati Bearcats Depth Charts

Offense: 7 Returning Starters

  • QB: Desmond Ridder, Evan Prater
  • RB: Jerome Ford, Charles McClelland
  • WR1: Alec Pierce, L’Christian Smith
  • WR2: Michael Young, Tyler Scott
  • WR3: Tre Tucker, Jadon Thompson
  • TE: Josh Whyle, Leonard Taylor
  • LT: James Tunstall, John Williams
  • LG: Jeremy Cooper, Colin Woodside
  • C: Jake Renfro, Jakari Robinson
  • RG: Vincent McConnell, Lorenz Metz
  • RT: Dylan O’Quinn, Kobe McAllister

Defense: 7 Returning Starters

  • Edge: Myjai Sanders
  • DT: Curtis Brooks
  • Edge: Jowon Briggs
  • LB: Darrian Beavers
  • LB: Joel Dublanko
  • LB: Ty Van Fossen
  • CB: Ahmad Gardner
  • CB: Coby Bryant
  • CB-N Arquon Bush
  • S: Ja’von Hicks
  • S: Bryan Cook
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Cincinnati Bearcats Breakdown

Cincinnati finished 9-1, with their lone loss coming to Georgia (24-21). They only had two single-digit wins all year against UCF (36-33) and Tulsa (27-24). They now return 7 starters on offense and another 7 on defense

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At quarterback Cincinnati returns Desmond Ridder. Ridder completed a career-high 66.2% of his passes for 8.2 yards per attempt. He threw for 2,296 yards, 19 touchdowns and six interceptions in a career best year. He also added 592 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. He has at least 583 yards in all three years as the starter. They lost Ben Bryant as backup and will move forward with Evan Prater and Jack Perry.

At running back they lost Gerrid Doaks to the NFL but return Jerome Ford. Ford rushed for 483 yards and eight touchdowns on 73 carries (6.6 yards per carry). He also added eight receptions for 51 yards. Charles McClelland will be the backup after rushing for 115 yards on 22 carries. Ryan Montgomery and freshman Myles Montgomery will provide depth.

At receiver, Cincinnati lost Jayson Jackson but returns their next three top receivers in Michael Young, Alec Pierce and Tre Tucker. Jordan Jones and Jadon Thompson give them solid depth here as well. Pierce missed four games last year and will return at full health.

At tight end they return Second-Team All-AAC player Josh Whyle returns. He led the team in receiving with 28 receptions, 353 yards and six touchdowns. Leonard Taylor will complement his after catching 16 passes for 191 yards and a score himself.

Cincinnati’s offensive line lost James Hudson, Darius Harper and Jakari Robinson. However, six returners have starting experience and they landed Stony Brook transfer James Tunstall. Cincinnati ranked 34th in pass blocking last year, but none of their returners received honors. The projected unit is James Tunstall (LT), Jeremy Cooper (LG), Jake Renfro (C), Vincent McConnel (RG) and Dylan O’Quinn (RT).

On defense, they lost Elijah Ponder, Ethan Tucky, Jarell White, Darrick Forrest and James Wiggins. They return First-Team All-AAC Myjai Sanders on the edge, with Virginia transfer Jowon Briggs complementing. Curtis Brooks and Marcus Brown are returning starters on the interior. Linebacker sees the return of Ty Van Fossen, Joel Dublanko and Second-Team All-AAC Darrian Beavers. In the defensive backfield, Ahmad Gardner returns after a First-Team All-AAC season. Coby Bryant was also First-Team All-AAC opposite him. Arquon Bush will play nickel. Ja’von Hicks and Bryan Cook return with starting experience at safety.

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Cincinnati 201 Football Schedule

  • Sept. 4 Miami (Ohio) 3:30 p.m. Home
  • Sept. 11 Murray State 3:30 p.m. Home
  • Sept. 18 Indiana 12:00 p.m. Away
  • Oct. 2 Notre Dame 2:30 p.m. Away
  • Oct. 8 Temple 7:00 p.m. Home
  • Oct. 16 Central Florida 1:00 p.m. Home
  • Oct. 23 Navy 12:00 p.m. Away
  • Oct. 30 Tulane 1:00 p.m. Away
  • Nov. 6 Tulsa 1:00 p.m. Home
  • Nov. 12 South Florida 6:00 p.m. Away
  • Nov. 20 SMU 12:00 p.m. Home
  • Nov. 26 East Carolina 12:00 p.m. Away

Cincinnati Football Betting Outlook

Cincinnati plays a tough schedule featuring games against Murray State, Miami Ohio, Indiana and Notre Dame. In conference play, they draw UFC, Temple, SMU and Tulsa at home. They travel to Tulane, Navy, USF and East Carolina. This is a tough schedule and another undefeated season heading into bowl season looks unlikely. They dodge Houston and Memphis.

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Matt Gajewski graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Economics. Matt has worked in the fantasy industry for the past four years, focusing on DFS and Sports Betting. Matt specializes in NFL, College Football, College Basketball, XFL, and MMA. With GPP victories across the major sports, Matt also qualified for the DraftKings 2020 Sports Betting Championship and won a seat to the College Basketball Tourney Mania final.

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