UC notebook: Football lands first 2023 commitment; Men's hoops team to host NIL showcase

Keith Jenkins
Cincinnati Enquirer

Luke Fickell and the University of Cincinnati football program landed their first commitment of the 2023 recruiting class on Wednesday.

Less than 12 hours after college coaching staffs were permitted to begin communicating directly with members of the 2023 class, Miamisburg High School offensive tackle A.J. Salley announced his commitment to the Bearcats.

The 6-foot-5-inch, 260-pound Salley chose Cincinnati over offers from Tennessee, Oregon, Iowa State and others.

Salley is a three-star recruit, according to 247Sports.com.

Cincinnati football tickets selling at record pace

Tickets for the No. 8/10-ranked (Associated Press/Coaches) Bearcats' Oct. 8 nationally televised home game against American Athletic Conference foe Temple are sold out.

In fact, more than a school-record 22,000 season tickets for the upcoming 2021 campaign have been sold, according to the school's athletic department. That eclipses the previous record of 18,836 set prior to the 2010 season.

Cincinnati Bearcats fans cheer on the team in the second quarter of a college football game against the Connecticut Huskies, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati.

More than 6,000 student season tickets have been sold, UC officials said. That is also a school record. Additional inventory for students this season has been created in sections 214 and 215 of the newly renovated Nippert Stadium.

"I'm super pumped," Cincinnati senior quarterback Desmond Ridder said. "I saw that the student section got sold out real quick, new high season-ticket holder record. That's huge. We're excited to see all those fans out there and walk down the steps and hear a roaring crowd. Bearcat Nation is going to be behind us the entire season. We're excited."

Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Desmond Ridder (9) celebrates the fans in attendance following the American Athletic Conference championship football game against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, at Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Bearcats won, 27-24.

UC will transition to digital ticketing for the 2021 football season. Ridder and the Bearcats are scheduled to open the season Saturday against in-state rival Miami University (3:30 p.m. on ESPN+).

More:Miami RedHawks: A look at the Cincinnati Bearcats' first opponent of the 2021 season

UC men's hoops team to host NIL showcase

Fans will have an opportunity to get their first look at new Cincinnati men's basketball coach Wes Miller's 2021-22 roster before the UC football team's season-opener.

Miller's Bearcats will host the Cincinnati Basketball Fan Fest at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Fifth Third Arena. 

The showcase, which will be run by Gregg Darbyshire and the G3 ProCamps Group, will feature a dunk contest, 3-point shooting event, shooting stars competition, open gym and more.

"Name, image and likeness is a great opportunity for student-athletes," ProCamps Vice President Greg Lazaroff told The Enquirer. "Whether it's running a youth camp or a clinic and really making a difference in the community, I think that we provide a really great option in the NIL space for student-athletes to take advantage of what's available to them."

More:Details of UC guard Jeremiah Davenport's NIL brand ambassador deal with The Job Center

The list of participants in the showcase includes nearly the entire UC men's basketball roster: Jeremiah Davenport, Ody Oguama, Rob Banks, Mike Saunders Jr., John Newman III, Mason Madsen, A.J. McGinnis, Hayden Koval, Jarrett Hensley, David DeJulius and Mika Adams-Woods.

"It's a great opportunity for people in the community to maybe get a different look at members of the team and just kind of see what they have to offer," Lazaroff said. "it's a fun day down in Clifton. There's a lot of events going on. It's a great chance to showcase the players and for them to interact with fans both on and off the court."

Admission to the showcase is free and doors open at 11 a.m.