Before the college football transfer portal opened, 20 players announced their departures from the University of Cincinnati Bearcats squad coached by Scott Satterfield.
In full disclosure, these are not always voluntary decisions. One-on-one meetings were held after UC's first Big 12 experience ended at 3-9 (1-8 in the league). At a Tuesday press gathering, Satterfield talked about loyalty and tightening belts for 2024.
UC football transfers Cincinnati Bearcat football gets commit from IU dual-threat transfer QB Brendan Sorsby
UC football returnees Corey Kiner, starting O-line returning to UC Bearcat football for 2024
UC football player moves Deshawn Pace says leaving UC football team wasn't his decision
"We outgained six opponents by more than 100 yards, that tells you we're not that far off," Satterfield said. "We did not do the things that are good enough to seal games and it comes down to being disciplined. These games, a lot are decided in the fourth quarter. It's the team that's the most disciplined, off the field and on the field. When it's crunch time, those guys will make the plays."
Uncle Scott wants you
On Monday, Dec. 4 the portal did open with a few more Bearcats opting to leave. However, Satterfield's staff also extended offers to several players with Division I college experience. Wednesday, Indiana transfer quarterback Brendan Sorsby joined the fold.
Key 'Cats return
Proactively, some Bearcats stayed put, like defensive lineman Dontay Corleone and 1,047-yard rusher Corey Kiner. As soon as Kiner announced, UC's entire starting offensive line joined in giving the NCAA's 5th-ranked rushing offense a kick start.
"We're looking to add some (portal) players and certainly these guys will be involved in that process," Satterfield said. "Man, this is their team. They want to bring in quality individuals and that's what we're looking to do."
Supporting Satterfield at the press table was Corlone and punter Mason Fletcher. They were followed by Kiner with center Gavin Gerhardt and guard Luke Kandra. All announced their returns last week before the portal opened.
"These guys on the market could have landed at a lot of great places," Satterfield said. "There's a lot of avenues these guys could have taken. The fact they said, 'We're coming back. We want to see this program get to a great place and get back to a great place.' To be those kind of leaders says a lot about them individually."
— Cincinnati Men’s Hoops (@GoBearcatsMBB) December 3, 2023
"For me it's legacy," Corleone said. "I want to finish up on top, finish on a high note. I want to help Coach Satt, someone I can go and talk to about anything. I'm big on loyalty. Money's not the main point for me. I just want to learn how to be a professional. I'm a Bearcat. I'm excited to get to work. It's now my part to be around these transfer portal guys so I know if they're going to buy in or not. There's three things: taking coaching, wanting to buy in and holding yourself accountable. We're going to find people who want to buy in and if not, we don't want you."
"This is a place I want to be at and that people want to come to," Fletcher said. "They should want to come here. It's a really proud city and loves all their sports. There's no one else I'd want to play for. It was not difficult for me to come back. It sounds crazy with the transfer portal being what it is at the moment. This is the place where I want to be and where I want to finish off my career."
"Growing up in Cincinnati, I always looked up to the Bearcats," Kiner said. "One of my high school coaches, Solomon Tentman, played for the Bearcats. I knew that great things were going on. My journey took me elsewhere (LSU) then I saw all the great things happening here so I decided to come back and be a part of that. This city is known for winning, that's what we want to be a part of. We want to help get back to that and show the people we're all great people and we're all winners."
"I always wanted to stay and go one more round," Kandra said. "Us (offensive line) announcing at the same time was important for everyone knowing we're all on the same page having belief in Coach Satt and Coach (Nic) Cardwell."
"To go through this season was rough but I believe in this coaching staff," Gerhardt said. "Give me another year, we'll get things back under control and get things back going. It was important for us to get that out there and let the fan base know."
High school signing day at Fifth Third Arena
The Bearcats are set to sign 22 high school prospects and UC is holding a unique gathering the evening of Dec. 20.
Between 6 and 8 p.m. inside Fifth Third Arena, Satterfield and his assistants will preview the incoming recruiting class in a Signing Day Showcase.
"It's an opportunity to get our fans in front of our coaching staff to mingle with them," UC Associate AD/Marketing and Fan Development Stanley Frazier Jr. said.
Video and breakout rooms will be utilized to describe the signing class with rotating reels of the players featuring highlights and background information.
The new Cincinnati Football Playmakers Club via UC's NIL collective, Cincy Reigns, will also be an option offering exclusive access and perks to donors.
"This is open to everybody," Frazier said. "We just want to get as many people as possible to get in front of our coaches."
An RSVP is requested at gobearcats.com/signingday23.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Your 2024 Cincinnati Bearcat football team under assembly in late 2023