Football Enjoys Higher Ground 2022 Debut

David Cohen

Director / Strategic Brand Engagement

WEST HARRISON, Ind. – The Cincinnati football program kicked off its 24th Higher Ground fall camp on a mild, cloudy Friday morning, ceremoniously beginning its quest for a third-straight undefeated regular season.

Many familiar props returned to the fray, including the “six drum”, and new signage revealed itself above the team’s headquarters (Fe2or Iron Sharpens Iron) and the field (Just Be Us and Deserve Nothing, Earn Everything).

“Higher Ground really sets the tone for the whole year,” junior center Jake Renfro said. “It establishes our toughness, our mindset for the rest of the season and our competitive nature.”

Gino Guiduglientering his 10th training camp at Higher Ground and his first season as the Bearcats’ offensive coordinator and fifth overall, remarked on how despite losing nine NFL Draft picks, including quarterback Desmond Knightthe return of all five offensive line starters is a good starting point.

“We have to replace some key positions, but anytime you come back and you got five guys up front that you can lean on, count on and take some pressure off the new quarterback, it’s exciting,” he said. “Coach Fick is a big believer in this o-line during the program, and we got some guys up front and I can feel it. During a team meeting I challenged them like, you’re the best o-line in the entire conference , now let’s make a run at being the best o-line group in the country.”

Besides the much-discussed quarterback battle, there is also the return of Mackey Award watch list tight ends Leonard Taylor spirit Josh Whyleplus big-play receivers Three Tuckers spirit Tyler Scottand a plethora of running backs like Charles McClelland, Ryan Montgomery, Myles Montgomery and transfer Corey Kinerwho played at LSU after starring at Cincinnati’s Roger Bacon High School.

“They are all over the field, I mean it’s all over the field,” Guidugli said. “It’s the running backs, and we got a lot of talented receivers, and everyone wants to be the two or the three that walk on the field first. Running back is another big spot. Those guys are constantly getting evaluated, we got to get some guys back healthy to get themselves in the mix, the guys that are out there running for us right now are doing a good job.”

Van Fossen, a redshirt-senior, earned all 10 of his career starts last year alone, totaling 70 tackles (seven for loss), that included a career-high 11 against Tulsa. His three TFLs at South Florida matched a season-high for the Bearcats.

The next two-and-a-half weeks mark his fifth trip to Higher Ground.

“I think Higher Ground is a really special thing for us,” Van Fossen said. “Getting out here, there are no distractions or anything like that. Not a lot of people get to do this, and its something where we can really come together as a team and become one, so Week 1 when we go out there, we are all fighting together.

Cincinnati’s aforementioned offensive line familiarity begins with Renfro, voted the best at his position by AAC coaches. That unit allowed just 53 tackles-for-loss, which was seventh in the nation, while the Bearcats set school records for touchdowns (70) and points scored (516).



The Bearcats continue to be a national brand that sports media across the country enjoy featuring. Head coach Luke Fickell appeared live on ESPN SportsCenter and on Barstool Sports’ top-rated podcast, Pardon My Takeearlier this week to preview the start of camp.

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