Luke Fickell and Cincinnati crush it on the recruiting route

Cincinnati signed the 247Sports recruiting class of the country’s top five group in the 2020 cycle. They’re tracking it again in 2021 and are back on that rankings.

For Luke Fickell and his staff, 2022 may be the best job yet.

On Friday night, Derrick Shepard, a four-star defensive device from 247Sports Composite, announced its plans to play for the Bearcats, Michigan State, Nebraska, Northwest, Pittsburgh, Purdue and Virginia. With Shepard in the fold, this Cincinnati class will climb two more places to 8th on the 247Sports team rankings at the start of this 2022 cycle.

Fickell and his staff have made a habit of slapping Power Five schools for state recruits with the newest 6-foot-3,295-pound Shepard. He’s number 22 nationally on the defensive and number 10 overall in the state of Ohio.

“They are really on the rise and I think it starts with the coaching staff,” Shepard told 247Sports.

“The coaching team is a good group and they work together to get the prospects and make them compete.”

And they are definitely off to a good start. Cincinnati have won 11 games in each of the last two seasons. This year they are currently 8-0 in the most recent College Football Playoff poll. With the way they have recruited these trends, they should continue.

Shepard certainly plans to do his part to keep it going.

“The potential of the program is insane,” said Shepard. “They consistently bring great players and love to compete.”

Cincinnati finished the country’s # 41 class in 2020 and holds 44th place in that cycle. The 2022 class is well on its way to being historic.

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