The Idiot’s Guide to National Signing Day 2017


The Bearcats haven’t played a football game since November, but the coaching change and Top 15 basketball team have whisked us through December and January and we’ve arrived at National Signing Day.

I’ve always had a weird relationship with National Signing Day. On one hand, I love a good excuse to camp on Twitter all day and wait for good Bearcats news to trickle in. On the other hand, I’m not a football scout and don’t closely follow football recruiting. Unlike with basketball, there’s typically an annoying wait between NSD and the moment a coveted recruit finally makes an impact on the field. For that reason, I rarely get wrapped up in scouting reports and 40 times. I still want to know who the Bearcats are adding, so the first Wednesday in February is typically devoted to me learning a few useless facts about each signee. For the first time, I’ll be sharing it with you.

Without further ado, The Idiot’s Guide to National Signing Day. A guide for idiots. Made by an idiot.

This will update as the signings roll in. Keep checking back.



Jaelen Greene, running back

Sandy Creek | GA

  • Chose UC over Western Michigan, Marshall, and ECU
  • Graduating from the same high school as former Bearcat WR Alex Chisum and retired Lions WR Calvin Johnson
  • Runs a verified 4.38 40
  • Thing I will say at some point: “Folks, I call that touchdown Jill Stein because it’s a Greene Party in the end zone.”

(Dayton Daily News)

Cody Lamb, offensive tackle

Miamisburg | OH

  • Chose UC over Toledo, Marshall, Air Force, ECU, and UConn
  • One of WCPO’s 50 Area Players To Watch
  • From the same town as the guy who scored the NFL’s first TD
  • Thing Jon Gruden would say about him: “His name may be Lamb, but he sure doesn’t play like one!”

Blake Yager, offensive tackle

Iowa Western CC | IA

  • Chose UC over West Virginia, Western Michigan, and East Carolina
  • Apparently likes schools with directions in their name (should we question his committment to Cincinnati?!)
  • He’s 6'5" and 300lbs, which is bigger than me.
  • Just kidding about questioning you, Blake.

Desmond Ridder, quarterback

St. Xavier | KY

  • Graduating from St. Xavier, but not that St. Xavier.
  • Imagine how insufferable I would be if his last name were Riddler instead of Ridder and he made a big play. You guys dodged a bullet.
  • He’s a dual threat QB, which I’ve always felt like is a football cheat code. I mean, either be good at throwing or running. Choose one. Both? Okay.


Jarell White, defensive back

LaSalle | OH

  • Chose UC over Iowa, Pitt, Illinois, Kentucky, and Purdue
  • Highest-rated Cincinnati-area commit since 2009 (Chris Williams)
  • Played RB in high school and scored 37 total TDs on a team that won three-consecutive state titles
  • Graduating from the same high school as Mick Cronin and Brent Celek
  • His name is super close to Jaleel White, the actor who played Steve Urkel


Wil Huber, tight end

Franklin Central | IN

  • Chose UC over Air Force, Ohio, and Ball State
  • Has a 4.1 GPA
  • Hates losing so much that he only has one “L” in his first name

Javan Hawes, wide receiver

Sandy Creek | GA

  • Chose UC over Minnesota, Temple, ECU, and Purdue
  • Graduating from the same high school as former Bearcat WR Alex Chisum and retired Lions WR Calvin Johnson
  • Looks… eerily… like a young Oscar Robertson

(Ben Ennis)

Marquese Taylor, defensive back

Lovejoy | GA

  • Chose UC over California, Colorado State, and East Carolina
  • Sorry, still hung up on how cool Lovejoy sounds
  • Graduating from the same high school as former Georgia Tech standout running back Tashard Choice
  • His home town has an outlet mall listed under “Attractions”, so I’m thinking it’s not a super crazy place
  • The defensive backs in this recruiting class are absolutely absurd


Cole Smith, kicker

Middletown | OH

  • Graduating from the same high school as former Bearcats safety Zach Edwards
  • If a recruit is named Cole, you pretty much know he’s a kicker. If you catch my drift.
  • Probably the best Twitter game in this recruiting class.
  • I bet he could kick a 65-yard field goal, but I’m not gonna tell Fickell to let him try, because I got blocked by the last coach for doing that.


Vincent McConnell, offensive tackle

Massillon | OH

  • Chose UC over Toledo, Army, Syracuse, and Bowling Green
  • From the same town as Paul & Mike Brown, Bob Knight, and the inventor of the open-web steel joist
  • The photo I chose isn’t really the most flattering from a football perspective, but it’s the best I could find. Sorry.


RJ Potts, linebacker

Fishers | IN

  • Chose UC over Notre Dame, Nebraska, Mizzou, Indiana, and Purdue
  • Dad played fullback in the NFL
  • Highest-rated UC football commit since 2011 (Jameel Poteat)
  • Led his high school team in tackles as a freshman
  • From the same town (Fishers, IN) as UC sprinter Khalid Fuller
  • Reggie Miller owned a house in Fishers, IN before it was destroyed by an arsonist in May 1997

(Columbus Dispatch)

Darrick Forrest, defensive back

Walnut Ridge | OH

  • Chose UC over Ohio, Ball State, and Miami (OH)
  • He’s from Columbus and was primarily recruited by Luke Fickell, so I’m gonna trust he’s good
  • His high school’s nickname was the Scots. Interested to see how he performs on a team with an actual nickname.

(Tampa Bay Times)

Rashaad Stewart, defensive back

Clearwater Central Catholic | FL

  • Chose UC over Louisville, Vanderbilt, Marshall, and Boston College
  • Hulk Hogan’s daughter briefly went to this high school.
  • Clifton isn’t as warm as Clearwater. I hope he’s ready.


Kyle Bolden, linebacker

Colerain | OH

  • Chose UC over Maryland, Marshall, Western Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois
  • Graduating from the same high school as former UC WR Dominick Goodman
  • Looks poised to be UC’s next Travis Kelce 😍
  • Has the same name as Stevie Wonder’s guitarist, but probably has never played guitar with Stevie Wonder


Jabari Taylor, defensive lineman

Archbishop Hoban | OH

  • Chose UC over Akron
  • Graduating from Archbisop Hoban, where they have “Mum Day.” On the Friday of the week Hoban plays St. Vincent-St. Mary (LeBron’s HS) the students and teachers are silent from the time they enter the building until the afternoon pep rally.
  • Weighs more than LeBron.


Ben Hutch, defensive lineman

Hillsboro | TN

  • Chose UC over Louisville, Penn State, Ole Miss, Nebraska, Tennessee, Texas A&M, and Kentucky
  • Listed at 6’3” 315lbs — is huge.
  • Graduating from the same high school as director Harmony Korine, musician Brandon Heath, and the guitarist from Limp Bizkit.
  • The word “hutch” sometimes refers to that piece of furniture that’s like a set of cabinets with a desk in it. I’m not really sure. Anyways, I think Ben Hutch is bigger than that kind of hutch.


Trent Cloud, wide receiver

Bedford | OH

  • Chose UC over Wisconsin, Toledo, and Marshall
  • Graduating from the same high school as Halle Berry and former Bills WR Lee Evans
  • From the same high school as Bearcats defensive end Marquise Copeland
  • I can tell by his last name that he’s got soft hands. Great for a WR.


Lorenzo McCaskill, linebacker

Southfield | MI

  • Chose UC over Western Michigan, Toledo, and Purdue
  • From the same hometown as former Bearcat Connor Barwin
  • Graduating from the same high school as former Bearcat Leviticus Payne, which means the Bearcats have gotten two defensive players from Southfield: One “pain” and one “kill”. Great intangibles

Jakari Robinson, offensive lineman

Munford | AL

  • once speculated that he could be the best center in Alabama
  • UC is roughly 35x more populated than his hometown.
  • The Bearcats now have a Jakari and a Jabari in this recruiting class, which proves Cincinnati is untouchable when it comes to great names.

(Toledo Blade)

Michael Warren, running back

Toledo Central Catholic | OH

  • Chose UC over Minnesota, Iowa, Iowa State, Boston College, and Kentucky
  • Ohio Mr. Football 2016
  • Based on 247Sports’ rating of 92, he’s the highest-rated signing in this class (per that publication)
  • Graduating from the same high school as Gene Kranz — Apollo 13 flight director (the one Ed Harris played in the movie) and MLB umpire Jim Joyce


Noah Hamilin, defensive back

Clairton | PA

  • Chose UC over Temple, Iowa State, Toledo, and Boston College
  • In 2012, the Clairton Bears broke the Pennsylvania record for consecutive wins with 60. The streak lastest 66 games.
  • Seriously, the defensive backs UC got in this recruiting class are insane.

(Toledo Blade)

Coby Bryant, defensive back

Glenville | OH

  • Chose UC over Western Michigan, Marshall, and Buffalo
  • Younger brother of former Buckeye safety Christian Bryant
  • Graduating from the same high school as Steve Harvey, the creators of Superman, and Cardale Jones (the world’s best dinner party)
  • Has the best name in this recruiting class, and will help replace Mike Tyson in the secondary, which proves Cincinnati is untouchable when it comes to great names.