Cincinnati Bearcats News: Six Football Players accept invitations to play in Reese’s Senior Bowl

November 29, 2021

CINCINNATI – The No. 3/4-ranked Cincinnati football team, fresh off a second-straight undefeated regular season, has tied a school record with six Bearcats accepting invitations to the Reese’s Senior Bowl, which will be held on Feb. 5, 2022 in Mobile, Ala.

Quarterback Desmond Ridder, wide receiver Alec Pierce, defensive end Myjai Sanders, safety Bryan Cook, cornerback Coby Bryant and linebacker Darrian Beavers all earned spots in the prestigious game. The group matches the 2008 team for the school’s most representatives (Mike Mickens, DeAngelo Smith, Connor Barwin, Trevor Canfield, Kevin Huber, Brandon Underwood). UC now has 46 all-time Senior Bowl members.

Cincinnati (12-0, 8-0 AAC) is one of just two teams, joining No. 1 Georgia, to rank in the nation’s Top 10 in scoring offense (39.6, 8th) and scoring defense (15.8, 3rd).

Below are career highlights for each of UC’s 2022 Senior Bowl attendees.

Desmond Ridder (QB, Louisville, Ky.)

  • Finalist for Johnny Unitas Golden Arm finalist, semifinalist for Maxwell and Walter Camp Awards
  • PFF’s AAC Offensive Player of the Year; also named league’s Player of the Year last season
  • No. 1 in school history for passing touchdowns (84) and total yards (12,072) and tops in AAC annals with 113 total touchdowns and in total offense
  • Only active quarterback with 9,000 passing and 2,000 rush yards for his career
  • Winningest active quarterback in college; one of three all-time to record 43-plus wins (Kellen Moore and Colt McCoy)
  • Thrown for 3,000 yards on 66 percent passing with 27 touchdowns in 2021; also team’s second-leading rusher with 352 yards and six scores

Alec Pierce (WR, Glen Ellyn, Ill.)

  • Leads the Bearcats in catches (48), yards (802) and touchdowns (6) for an average of 16.7 yards per catch in 2021
  • Had 100-yard plus receiving games against Notre Dame (6-144), Tulsa (5-113) and East Carolina (8-136) this season
  • Has 12 catches for 20-plus yards this season, including four for 40 or more
  • Earned “Gorilla Glue Toughest Player” honors from the Rich Eisen Show following the Notre Dame win

Myjai Sanders (DL, Jacksonville, Fla.)

  • Has 5.5 TFL, two sacks and a team-high 10 quarterback hurries despite double-teams and chips from offensive lines
  • Instrumental behind UC ranking second nationally in defensive pass efficiency (95.88) and eighth in total defense (303.2 ypg).
  • Semifinalist for Bednarik Award last season, also earned First-Team All-AAC honors

Bryan Cook (DB, Cincinnati, Ohio)

  • Fourth on team with 76 tackles (47 solo), his 4.5 TFL leads UC DBs
  • Second on team with seven PBUs while recording an interception at Indiana
  • Had 26 tackles last season and two in 2019 upon transferring from Howard
  • Recorded career-high 14 tackles in Tulsa win

Coby Bryant (DB, Cleveland, Ohio)

  • Finalist for Jim Thorpe Award
  • Named Lott Trophy Impact Player of the Week following win at Notre Dame
  • Combined with Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner to form the best cornerback tandem in the country
  • Intercepted three passes, including a 74-yard touchdown return against UCF, to go with team-high three forced fumbles
  • His 11 passes defended rank 16th nationally 

Darrian Beavers (LB, Cincinnati, Ohio)

  • Dick Butkus Award finalist
  • Second on Bearcats with 82 tackles and 9.5 TFLs
  • Has also forced and recovered two fumbles to go with two pass breakups and an interception
  • UC’s second-leading tackler as a junior with 58 stops


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