CINCINNATI — University of Cincinnati junior linebacker Deshawn Pace, junior center Jake Renfro and senior punt returner/running back Ryan Montgomery were named preseason All-American football players on Friday.
The three players were selected by Phil Steele in the annual season preview magazine. UC had 17 preseason American Athletic Conference selections.
Pace, a Colerain High School graduate. was a preseason second-team selection following a 2021 season where he totaled 94 tackles and tallied a team-high four interceptions en route to honorable mention All-American Athletic Conference honors.
Renfro garnered preseason third-team mention after anchoring Cincinnati’s record-breaking offense in 2021 and earning All-AAC first team honors.
Montgomery, a Franklin High School graduate, snagged preseason fourth-team accolades after averaging 11.5 yards per punt return to rank second in the AAC and 10th in the nation.
Pace, Renfro and Montgomery joined transfer wide receiver Nick Mardner (Hawai’i), senior tackle Dylan O’Quinn and senior defensive end Jabari Taylor as preseason first-team All-AAC picks from Steele, as well.
Senior offensive linemen Jeremy Cooper and James Tunstall were joined by junior defensive tackle Jowon Briggs (Walnut Hills) and transfer linebacker Ivan Pace (Miami University/Colerain), Deshawn's brother, on the preseason all-conference second team.
Senior tight end Josh Whyle (La Salle), senior guard Lorenz Metz, senior linebacker Wilson Huber and senior defensive back Arquon Bush were named to the preseason third team along with specialists, sophomore punter Mason Fletcher, junior long snapper Cayson Pfeiffer and senior kick returner Tre Tucker.
Tucker was also named to the preseason fourth team at wide receiver.
UC (13-1 in 2021) opens the season Sept. 3 at Arkansas (3:30 p.m. ET kickoff). The Bearcats return home to Nippert Stadium to welcome Kennesaw State at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 10.
Phil Steele Preseason All-Americans
LB Deshawn Pace (second team)
C Jake Renfro (third team)
PR Ryan Montgomery (fourth team)
Phil Steele Preseason All-AAC Team
WR Nick Mardner
C Jake Renfro
OT Dylan O’Quinn
DE Jabari Taylor
LB Deshawn Pace
PR Ryan Montgomery
OG Jeremy Cooper
OT James Tunstall
DT Jowon Briggs
LB Ivan Pace
TE Josh Whyle
OG Lorenz Metz
LB Wilson Huber
DB Arquon Bush
P Mason Fletcher
KR Tre Tucker
LS Cayson Pfeiffer
WR Tre Tucker