Expectations are through the roof this season for the Bearcats as they return their deepest and most talented roster, probably of all time. In this multi-part series, I’ll examine each of the position groups, expectations, potential break out stars, and weaknesses. This week we’ll examine the Running Backs led by Alabama transfer Jerome Ford.
— Coach Darren Paige (@RBCoachPaige) July 20, 2021
The Bearcats have been blessed in the Luke Fickell era having had plenty of stability at the Running Back position. Starting with a trio of current NFL players in Gerrid Doaks, Michael “The Truck” Warren II, and even Bearcat legend Mike Boone in 2017, the Bearcats have had a lot of carry over with the Running Back position. First year Running Back Coach has his hands full in his first season as a Bearcats Coach. Jerome Ford is the clear #1 guy, but behind him question marks abound.
This is how the #Bearcats started the second half 😳
— Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl (@CFAPeachBowl) January 1, 2021
Jerome Ford broke onto the scene in 2020 with 483 yards and 8 touchdowns at an 6.6 yards/carry average. Ford spent the previous two years at Alabama playing in only a handful of games, but having had 3 touchdowns for the Crimson Tide. Ford split time with current Miami Dolphin Gerrid Doaks in 2020, but looks to be the signature back in 2021. Ford has elite speed as seen in the clip from the Peach Bowl, in which he was outrunning Georgia’s defense. Ford’s biggest negative is his ball security, he puts the ball onto the turf a decent amount, but manages to come up with it everytime. If Ford can hold onto the ball, look for him to have an Isiah Pead type of season for the Bearcats.
Ford’s most experienced back-up, is Charles McClelland, a senior from Georgia. Chuck has had some knee injuries over the past two seasons having torn each of his ACLs. McLelland in 2018 rushed for 485 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2018. McClelland is a good change of pace back with good receiving skills. If Chuck can stay healthy this season, he should be able to rekindle some of the 2018 magic he had backing up Michael Warren.
Another Bearcat with experience rushing the ball is their primary punt returner Ryan Montgomery. Montgomery has focused on special teams, but could take a step forward in the backfield. Montgomery has proven to be a great pass catcher out of the back field as well. Joining Montgomery as Bearcats with career rushes is highly touted RB Ethan Wright. Wright was a 2 way player in high school and former Defensive Coordinator wanted him on defense. I look for Wright to breakout this season and play significant time behind Ford.
🚨 🆂🅸🅶🅽🅴🅳 🚨
— Cincinnati Football (@GoBearcatsFB) December 16, 2020
Incoming freshman Myles Montgomery, a highly touted RB from Florida, joins the Bearcats and could be a break out player for the team this season. Montgomery was so well regarded by the coaching staff that they were going to take Montgomery as well as Roger Bacon RB Corey Kiner, before he decided to take his talents to Baton Rouge. Montgomery is a do it all type of back who can rush the ball between the tackles, get outside and break away, and catch passes. Montgomery could be a wildcard for the Red Alert offense this season.
I would be a bit remiss if I didn’t take some time to highlight Michael Kopaygorodsky, a mostly special teams and mop up duty player from Mason highschool. Big Mike is loved by his teammates and will be a senior this season, maybe we’ll see another special senior moment this year from Kopaygorodsky.