Tag Archives: Kenbrell Thompkins

Kenbrell Thompkins Out For 2010

So Kenbrell is out for this year. That is simultaniously a shame and not that big a deal. It is a shame because Bearcat fans will have to wait another year to see this kind of talent don the revered #1 shirt.

But it isn’t a big deal for one main reason. While there are plenty of questions and concerns about the UC team going into the fall, depth at receiver was not one of them. Armon Binns, Vidal Hazelton and DJ Woods already comprise what is arguably the best receiving trio in the country. The more interesting thing for me is that sitting out this year won’t cost Kenbrell the usual mandatory year for a tramsfer. Thompkins would have been nice to have in the fold for this season, but having him for two years starting in 2011 is a nice consolation prize at the end of a very strange process.

Football Recruiting: The Class of 2010, Skill Player Edition

Same drill as before, this time with the skill players. I define skill players as Quarterbacks, Running Backs, Wide Receivers, Defensive Backs and Athletes, of which there are none according to the signing day announcement made by Butch Jones himself..

Deven Drane – DB – 5’11’ 180 – Plantation, Florida – Plantation – 40; 4.5

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Drane will be playing on the corner for the Bearcats. He has the build to be a boundary corner and I think that is where he will wind up playing. He has adequate height for a corner at 5’11’ but has the ideal build for the position. Plays with very high hips which is not ideal for a DB, but he does have fantastic ball skills. Hails from Broward County in Florida, where they play a very high level of Football. UC took 5 defensive backs in this class and it is hard to guess where in the secondary each will wind up. Drane is one of the most versatile and can play either corner position or free safety. Is a willing and able tackler in run support.

Jorian Hudson – DB – 6’3″ 175 – Cincinnati – Roger Bacon – 40; 4.5

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Hudson is a big rangy athlete. He could potentially play at corner but I think he is better suited at safety because of his size. By the time he is done at UC he could move down to linebacker as well. He has the frame to play at 225 to 230 if the coaches wish to put him in that position. He is not nearly as polished as his team mate Solomon Tentman is but there is a ton of upside based on sheer athletic ability. It will be up the coaches to find a home for him though.

Demitri Beal – DB – 5’10” 170 – Hollywood, Florida – Chaminade Madonna – 40; N/A

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I really do not know much about Beal. He doesn’t have videos posted on either rivals or scout. There is nothing to be found on youtube either. His physical numbers look good, but there is only so much info that can be gleaned from numbers on paper. I don’t want to make a judgment on a kid I haven’t seen so until he gets on campus so I can watch one of the practices before they head to higher ground, or read a practice report at the very least I will leave the matter alone.

Adrian Witty – DB – 5’9″ 175 – Deerfield Beach, Florida – Deerfield Beach – 40; N/A

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Witty is an interesting story,similar in some respects to Rueben Johnson last year. Witty was a member of the 2009 class for Michigan. Most Wolverine fans regarded him as something of a throw in. The proverbial offer one kid so that he can convince his better more talented friend to come here too situation. In this case the more coveted prospect was Denard Robinson, the sans shoelaces speedster. Witty is a good player in his own right, but he was injured for his Junior year of high school, by far the most important year for any recruit. He was an academic casualty of the NCAA Clearinghouse in the fall, but he passed muster in January with the NCAA, but was unable to gain admission to Michigan. He is listed as a safety on scout, but he will almost certainly be a corner here. I think that he is a very talented kid, but will be a special teams player for the first few years in Clifton before he get a chance to start. He is also a hell of dresser in case you were interested. As a former Michigan signee mgoblog has more info on Witty than I do.

Arryn Chenault – DB – 6’1″ 190 – Fairfield, Ohio – Fairfield – 40; 4.51

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Chenault was the best DB prospect in the area last year. He was one of the guys that I thought were imperative to hang onto during the coaching change. Illinois, Michigan State and Indiana took very strong runs at him when Kelly departed for Notre Dame. I think that of the defensive backs in this class Chenault is the only one that you can just pencil in at a position, Free Safety in his case, and just leave him there for the remaining 4 years. Ohio Varsity has him as the number 4 ranked safety in the state this past year. He reminds me of Dominic Ross. Physical player, very good at tracking down ball carriers, quick to identify and disrupt routes in man coverage, plays the ball very well in the air. The most likely Freshman to make an impact in the secondary this season. Video here.

Montrel Robinson – WR – 6’0″ 190 – Lanthrup Village, Michigan – Southfield-Lanthrup – 40; 4.5

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Robinson is one of the few recruits who followed Butch Jones over from Central Michigan. That act in and of itself tends to result in slight groans from fans. However I do think that Robinson has BCS athletic ability. He can compete for playing time down the line at one of the outside receiver positions. In high school he played in a flexbone offense. As such his opportunities to show his ability as a pass catcher were few and far between. They lined Robinson up at the following positions at various points in time; B-Back (FB), Wingback, Tight End, WR, Slot and finally as a wildcat QB. He was clearly the best athlete on his team and they moved him around to take advantage of that. However it is going to take him some time to learn the position. I could be wrong but I think it will be very difficult for him to crack to two deep before his Junior year. Best candidate for a red shirt year among the receivers.

Anthony McClung – WR – 6’0″ 160 – Indianapolis, Indiana – Pike – 40; 4.4

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Very, very, very quick player. As we all know by now Butch Jones is a purveyor of the spread offense, and every spread offense needs a Wes Welker. McClung has the potential to do just that. Is a smallish, exceedingly quick receiver who runs good routes and has good hands. Also in this offense Jones likes to get his receivers involved in the running game and McClung looks well suited to do just that, despite weighing in at just 160 pounds. He does need to put some weight on, but I wouldn’t expect him to exceed 180 pounds at any point in his time at UC. For some added value he can also be a threat in the return game. McClung had Louisville and West Virginia make runs at him, but Jones got Anthony in the end. A sneaky good get.

Dyjuan Lewis – WR – 6’2″ 187 – Indianapolis, Indiana – Pike – 40; 4.5

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Arguably the best recruit in program history. For starters he is a phenomenal athlete, he can do just about anything he wants on the Football field.Prototypical downfield threat, but also adept working underneath coverage on drags and what not. Dyjuan is faster than he is quick, but still runs good routes and gets in and out of breaks easily. Very smooth runner, a true two stepper. Good with the ball in his hands, doesn’t avoid contact running after the catch. Physical player, good stalk blocker on the perimeter. Great body control on jump balls honed from playing basketball, more on that latter. Has a chance to come in and compete for the 4th WR position right away. Although with the depth this team has at WR I wouldn’t mind using a red shirt year on him with Armon Binns and Vidal Hazelton both graduating after this year opening up a ton of balls to be caught in 2011.

For a more personal view of just how explosive an athlete Lewis is watch this. And this. And this. Dyjuan is number 1 in the horrendous imitation of the terrible Wizards alternate jersey.

Kenbrell Thompkins – WR – 6’2″ 185 – Torrance, California – El Camino Community College – 40; 4.4

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The top JUCO WR in this class. In this cycle he signed with Tennessee and planned to enroll in January but when Lane Kiffen took the job with The Men of Troy Thompkins reevaluated his situation and opened it back up picking UC in March. Thompkins is another explosive athlete in this wide receiver group. He is probably the best of the bunch in terms of athleticism. I have not made my admiration of Thompkins much of a secret. As a receiver Thompkins has it all, great hands, good speed, he runs good routes, is elusive in the open field. Can’t ask for much more than that. I can ask for Tennessee to release him from his LOI so he can gain eligability for the fall. But that is a wait and see situation.

Cody Kater – QB – 6’4″ 195 – Montague, Michigan – Montague – 40; N/A

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Very cerebral player. Does not have an abundance of physical gifts but maximizes what he does have. Butch Jones has shown his penchant for using his quarterbacks as power runners in a spread attack. He did it quite often with Dan LeFevour at Central Michigan, odds are quite good that he will do it quite a bit this year with Zach Collaros. Kater is perfectly suited for that role. He is a solid 200 pounds right now and has the potential to play at 230 or 240 pounds. The level of competition he faced as not the greatest so that is of some cause for concern. Another thing I don’t like is his throwing motion, which is almost a 3/4 delivery and I think is a major contributing factor to the lack of velocity on his throws. Cody seems to throw every ball with touch, even when trying to force a ball into a tight window. He can defiantly contribute to a BCS program, but he is going to need a couple of years to mature, and an overhaul of his throwing motion.

Benton “Munchie” Legaux – QB – 6’4″ 185 – New Orleans, Louisiana – Edna Karr – 40; 4.7

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This was hands down the most out of nowhere development in the last week or so before signing day. For most of the recruiting process Munchie Legaux was a commit to the University of Colorado. He was in attendance at the Sugar Bowl and that is where his interest in UC first began to develop, so it’s good to know that the crowd at the Sugar Bowl had a positive effect on something. Butch Jones made contact with him shortly after officially taking the reigns, and eventually got him to come to Clifton. I like him quite a bit as a player. While Cody Kater will draw comparisons to Dan LeFevour because of the similar builds coming out of high school. The nearest analog I can find for Munchie is Dennis Dixon when he was coming out of San Leandro California. Dixon was a much more coveted prospect than Legaux was, but the playing styles are quite similar.

Zach Mettenberger Linked To UC.

Well it looks like UC is becoming one of the go to destinations for players looking for a place to land upon transferring out of another program. Earlier this year Darrell Scott formerly of Colorado and now of parts unknown took a visit to UC about the same time as Kenbrell Thompkins. There was a nice little article to prove the point on cincinnati.com but they apparently can’t be bothered to keep links active for more than a month. My bet is because the 35 cents it would cost to buy the 100k of RAM to store the story is to rich for their blood. Anyway trust me on that, point Darrell Scott visited. Kenbrell Thompkins is technically a transfer because he signed his LOI to Tennessee, even though he didn’t attend classes in Knoxville. Vidal Hazelton is another transfer who is set to make an impact this fall. I won’t go through the list of transfers who have had success the past few years coming to Cincinnati but it is a fairly lengthy list.

The newest transfer that is being linked to UC is Zach Mettenberger. In most cases of a player transferring there are some issues with off the field behavior that usually leads to a suspension or dismissal from the team for the nefarious catchall of “violation of team rules.” That is the case for Mettenberger as well. He was a strong candidate to win the Dawgs starting QB job prior to his dismissal.  Mettenberger was arrested for underage consumption at the beginning of March. Throw in a hint of sexual battery and Mettenberger was assured of a change in environment. He is an extremely talented player, the 11th best pro style QB in the 2009 class. The question is whether this is a few bad decisions made by an extremely young kid or the first signs of repetitive bad behavior. UC and Louisville appear to be the favorites to land Mettenberger.

One of the more highly recruited quarterbacks as a senior at Oconee County (Ga.) High School in 2008, Mettenberger is expected to visit Cincinnati and Louisville later this month, according to people close to the situation. After sitting out one season under NCAA transfer rules, Mettenberger would have three years of NCAA eligibility remaining.

ESPN

The kid does come with baggage. No denying that fact but I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing him in the Red and Black for a couple of reasons. I think that everyone deserves a second chance speaking as someone who has made numerous mistakes in college, but as someone who will be graduating in June after spending the last two years correcting mistakes I made for the first four years of college. The second point is that this program, and more importantly this team has shown a tremendous capacity for accepting transfers with sketchy issues in their past and making them better players.

Who’s Gonna Be The Next Antonio Brown

Like nearly every UC fan I am trying to get a handle on just what the offense of Butch Jones and Mike Bajakian will look like with the personnel that UC has. It is not enough for me to know that it is going to be a spread offense. Anyone who watches the game with an eye for detail can tell you instantly that there is a big difference between Oregon and Texas Tech. Both are nominally spread offenses, but there is a big difference between the Ducks and the Red Raiders. Oregon spreads defenses to create seams for the running game, Texas Tech spreads defenses to leverage open windows in zone coverages. There is a continuum on which any spread team will fall with the extremes of Oregon and vintage (aka Rich Rodriguez) West Virginia Mountaineers on the run heavy end and the Air Raid system on the pass heavy end. Under Brian Kelly UC skewed pretty substantially towards the pass heavy end of the continuum. On the face of it Jones seems to be positioned in the middle, perhaps slightly towards being a more run based team. The numbers from Central Michigan bear out his predilication towards a balanced offense

Central Michigan Play Selection

Rush Attempts      Pass Attempts       Total Plays

2007       519                             557                            1076

2008       484                              480                           964

2009       518                              478                           996

When you look at the balance that Jones and company displayed in Mount Pleasant it becomes abundantly clear that UC is going to run the ball more often this year than they did under Brian Kelly. In three years under Brian Kelly the most rushing attempts  UC had in a year was in 2007 when Kelly inherited a team with three big physical backs that were perfectly suited for the  power running game of Don Treadwell and Mark Dantonio. Behind Butler Benton, Greg Moore, Bradley Glathaar and a young Jacob Ramsey UC had 477 rushing attempts. In 2008 the rushing attempts were down to 455. Last year with Tony Pike and a bevvy of talented receivers the attempts plummeted to 361. Comparing the numbers from the Kelly era to what Jones was doing with Central Michigan it is a very safe assumption to think that Isiah Pead and Zach Collaros are going to get more touches per game running the Football than they did under Kelly.

The interesting thing about Central Michigan’s scheme the last couple of years was how involved Antonio Brown was in the running game. He logged 74 rushing attempts over the past three seasons, with a peak of 44 attempts for 350 yards and 3 scores in 2009 which was good for 4th on the team. This raises a couple of interesting questions relevant to Cincinnati.

First and foremost did Brown get that many touches in the run game because there was a dearth of game ready backs in the Chips stable? The numbers relative to previous seasons don’t tend to bear that out. With the exception of the 2007 team, which had an unusually deep backfield for a MAC squad. It seems that the idea behind getting Browninvolved in the running game was just a strategy to get one of the most explosive players in the MAC more touches.

I am hardly an expert on all things Central Michigan, but I watch a ton of Football during the course of the season, and I almost always consume the midweek ESPN games. As a result over the past couple of years I have watched quite a few CMU games. One thing that I noticed when comparing the Central team of last year to previous outfits was that they had taken to using some of the tactics that Florida has made Florida such an offensive power the past few years. From a formation perspective they do some of the same things, such as going empty with the TE, using an H-Back for blocking, and using motion to change personel.

A couple of things to note before you accuse me of saying that CMU ran the same scheme as Florida. They didn’t, not at all, they share some similar formations on occasion, both staffs like to get their WR’s involved in the running game, and both are proponents of using motion to shift personnel groupings. Jones and company aren’t fully committed to the Florida style of offense to the same degree. In fact they stopped well short of creating the Percy Position and utilizing Antonio Brown in that role. However Jones and Bajakian did make a concerted effort to involve the receivers in the running game, and I think that they will do the same thing here at UC.

The question becomes who on the roster is going to assume the role that Antonio Brown held for this staff previously? When looking at the roster and the incoming recruiting class there are about 3 guys that I think can handle that role for this team. I am not going to go into a great deal of detail on each but here we go. The top of the list is DJ Woods I think he has the short area quickness and physicality to get it done, having experience returning punts will be helpful. Danny Milligan is probably the next guy in the list for me. He played running back for St. X his senior year and played the position pretty well. Next in line is Kenbrell Thompkins, because, well he is nasty, and finding multiple ways to get him touches seems like a smart idea to me. Keep an eye out for the 2:25 mark.

To me those are the best options to reprise the role that Antonio Brown, but that is just my opinion. So then, who is the best player on the roster to replicate some of the feats of this man for the Bearcats?