When Malik Vann announced his top six on Apr. 11, speculation began as to where the talented defensive end would land for his college career. The four-star prospect listed (in alphabetical order) Alabama, Cincinnati, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Wisconsin as his top choices and, given the amount of pedigree on the list, it was virtually impossible to go wrong.
However, Vann stunned the college football recruiting world on Tuesday, as he went with the least “popular” of the options in choosing Cincinnati.
The 270-pound defensive end from Fairfield (Ohio) is staying close to home and that seems to be the discernible edge that the Bearcats could provide. Still, Michigan State appeared to be a massive favorite (at least according to 247Sports’ Crystal Ball projections) just a few days ago and, with Alabama in the mix, Nick Saban is always a threat.
With that said, this is a massive addition for Luke Fickell and his staff, as Vann ranks as the No. 12 strong-side defensive end in the country and as a top-300 overall recruit. This pick-up zooms Cincinnati into the top 30 nationally when it comes to team rankings with a five-member class and, while it certainly would not be shocking if Vann flipped later in the process, fans of the Bearcats can be (very) excited about this one.