Offensive recruits dominate as UC builds 'for future'
Minter bolsters wide-open attack
BY SCOTT MacGREGOR The Cincinnati Enquirer
The UC football program got itself 20 new recruits and one new coach Wednesday.
Two local offensive linemen Beechwood's 6-foot-3, 280-pound Matt Mercer and Moeller's 6-2, 290-pound Jon Perron highlighted the class of recruits who signed letters of intent with the Bearcats.
The coach is Phil Earley, who will replace Jimbo Fisher as offensive coordinator. Earley spent the last three seasons as offensive coordinator at Idaho; Fisher left UC in December to take the same post at LSU.
Earley caught UC coach Rick Minter's eye after Idaho beat Bearcat conference foe Southern Miss 42-35 in the 1998 Humanitarian Bowl, racking up more than 500 yards on offense. He comes out of a system I've always liked, Minter said. He comes out of the Dennis Erickson mold.
Minter said the Bearcats will continue to run their wide-open spread offense. All I want to do is find a way to score one more touchdown a game, Minter said.
The recruiting class is heavy on offense, with 12 of the 20 playing on that side of the ball. The two junior-college players in the group receiver Robert Drewery and quarterback Adam Hoover, both from California could challenge for playing time immediately.
Minter said tight end Clint Stickdorn (6-8, 270) of Baltimore, Ohio, is the high school recruit most likely to earn quick playing time, given UC's need at that spot.
Recruiting high school players was a priority this year. Last year, the Bearcats snagged eight junior-college players in a class of 14. This class is more for the future, Minter said. Heading into 2000, we'll have a veteran team (18 starters return). That's different for us.
The Bearcats didn't get everybody they wanted, but Minter said UC's upset of Wisconsin last season helped, despite a disappointing 3-8 overall finish.
I think in the Midwest we fared better because of our performance on the field, he said.