You don’t get labeled a “freak” without earning such a title, and we’re here today to say Cincinnati WR Alec Pierce more than earned that title during his time at Cincinnati. As he embarks on his last slate of action as a Bearcat, we look back at Pierce’s college football career in the Queen City.
Who is Alec Pierce?
Simply put: Pierce is a big-play threat. A monster over the middle. Pierce is a physically-dominant playmaker. A well-rounded, athletic receiver.
Okay, fine, maybe that’s not so simple — but that’s who Pierce is. The son of former Northwestern star athletes, Pierce’s parents played volleyball and football for the Wildcats.
Pierce was destined for major collegiate athletics greatness at birth. And yet, he’s exceeded expectations since high school.
Pierce will continue to exceed those expectations as he has on the field this season. Despite just a three-star rating coming out of high school and offers from the mid-major teams in the FBS, Pierce has climbed to rank 15th all-time in receiving yards in Cincinnati history. He’s broken out in 2021 with 867 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns.
Where does Alec Pierce shine brightest?
Keeping with the simple motif here, quite simply, Pierce shines everywhere. Whether it’s on the field or off, Pierce is special.
He broke the Cincinnati record with a 675-pound deadlift. Pierce graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering and a 3.5 GPA. He became Cincinnati’s first CoSIDA Academic All-American First-Team honoree since 1997.
Oh, and he dominates at the catch point over a variety of defenders. And the big man from Glenbard West High School is fast-fast. His 4.45-second 40-yard dash and 4.14-second shuttle time indicate that, but his play on the field seems even faster.
Pierce’s best attribute may be his catch-point skills as he capitalizes on his athleticism to sky over defenders for receptions. His instincts are just as sharp and he’s honed his route-running over the course of his career at Cincinnati. Yet, he wasn’t always this dominant with the Bearcats.
Team-first attitude pays dividends for Pierce
It wasn’t until his sophomore season that Pierce hauled in his first touchdown. And it wasn’t until his senior year that he truly broke out. A late bloomer is one thing, but Pierce’s teammates at Cincinnati sure knew who he was well before the nation did.
Ingratiating himself with the coaching staff and his teammates, Pierce put the team first when he first stepped on campus. He played in 11 games as a true freshman but hauled in 0 receptions. How, you ask? Again, it’s simple: Pierce was adequately labeled as a special-teams demon, recording 6 tackles on special teams.
When the team needed a practice-squad linebacker for the 2018 Military Bowl, guess who switched to linebacker? Pierce did, as the former two-way player in high school fit right in to help his team.
It was those team-first moments that paved the way for his eventual breakout year in 2021. And it certainly was worth it. Pierce is set to become an NFL Draft pick in a few months.
That is, of course, after Cincinnati completes its run through the College Football Playoff.