Lukas Moore --
Expectations are high for the Ohio Bobcats entering the 2019 season. They enter fall camp as unanimous favorites to win the MAC East, and as heavy favorites to win the whole conference for the first time since 1968. These expectations are placed on the Bobcats despite losing a staggering amount of offensive production.
Ohio is losing a total of 3,906 yards from scrimmage and 38 touchdowns, those numbers coming from AJ Ouellette, Papi White, Maleek Irons, and Andrew Meyer. Plus, All-Conference linemen Joe Lowery, Joe Anderson and Durrell Wood have all graduated. The question marks on offense are obvious for the Bobcats.
Those question marks do give an opportunity to a ton of talented Bobcats, some young and some experienced. But for the Bobcats to meet their high expectations these 'Cats will have to take advantage of their newfound opportunity. I decided to take a look at three Bobcats who I think have massive breakout potential in 2019.
Julian Ross - RS Sophomore - RB - 5'10 195
Ross is the "duh" name in this list of three. Ross was a breakout candidate last season after an electrifying freshman season. Ross averaged 31 yards per kick return and 4.3 yards per carry, and looked like a shoe-in to be the next guy after the Ouellette era came to an end. Ross will have that opportunity in 2019, but it is a crowded running back room and the margin of error is slim for Ross. Plus, it's unlikely the offensive line will be as dominant for Ross as it was for Ouellette.
But Ross certainly looks the part of a feature back. He has a good combination of size, speed, elusiveness, and physicality. Ross can also catch out of the backfield, which will be important if the Bobcats aren't able to pick up 6 yards a carry every game again. Ross has a chance to be the next great back at Ohio and his success could push the Bobcats offense back to the heights it reached in 2018.
Jerome Buckner - RS Freshman - WR - 5'7 164
Papi White will go down as one of the best pass catchers in Bobcat history, so it might be aggressive to say that Buckner is the next Papi, but they certainly share some qualities. The small but speedy slot receiver resembles White in size and stature. He showed flashes multiple times as a true freshman in a crowded receiver room before his season was cut short due to injury. His highlight play was a 60 yard catch and run touchdown against Buffalo, that play showed Buckner's speed which is what won him two track state titles while at Gahanna Lincoln.
His ability to make yards after the catch should be a major plus for Nathan Rourke. The Bobcat offensive line won't be horrible, but they won't protect Rourke like last year's group. Short throws leading to big yards will help Rourke stay clean in the pocket. Cam Odom is the number one option right now, he had 726 yards and 5 touchdowns last season, but Buckner has the potential for big numbers in this Ohio offense.
De'Montre Tuggle - Sophomore (Juco Transfer) - RB - 5'9 185
Tuggle might not have much guaranteed to him after transferring in from Kilgore Community College, but what he does have on lock is the "most fun name to say" award, at least in my book. But Tuggle is more than just a name, his tape from Kilgore speaks for itself.
Tuggle is quick, and can catch out of the backfield. He caught 16 passes for 320 yards and 5 touchdowns last season. Tuggle does have question marks. Can he break tackles at the FBS level? Can he block well enough to stay on the field? Is he better than the other talented backs in Ohio's locker rom? No one knows the answer to these questions until he earns his way onto the field. I just absolutely love Juco transfers at a program like Ohio, I mean look at Nathan Rourke. If Tuggle does break out, he certainly has an entertaining enough name to be well-known around Athens.