In 2004 Andre Revels
was a key member of Cincinnati
(Ohio) Colerain's high powered football team. While Elder High School had laid the ground work for Southwestern Ohio teams winning the Division One State Championship, it was Colerain that proved public schools from the area were also capable of winning the "Big School" title again.
During his high school career Revels would help Colerain to an overall 39-3 record. The final year was 2004 and a perfect 15-0 mark. Now, Revels is using his past to help those around him understand perfection can happen but you've got to do certain things to achieve it.
"The first thing you have to remember and keep instilling into yourself is that you're not there yet. Since I have been on that journey before I have to keep reminding myself that I haven't complete this journey yet because you know how great it feels once you get to the promise land. You have to remain focus during this. But the great thing is you know what it takes, you know that you can't be out late, can't miss film study, and can't miss treatments. You just know what it takes to reach the goal."
While his state championship will always have a special place, the chance to do it at this level, at a school no one really gave a chance to do it at makes this journey one for the ages.
"The high school journey was very, very special, but this journey is even more special because you're doing it at a bigger level with the best from high schools across the country. You've just got to stay focused, it gets repetitive but you've just got to keep saying it, stay focused, stay focused, stay focused."
One thing about Andre's ride at Colerain was the togetherness the team shared on its journey. Now, at the college level it's not a group of guys from down the street but a group built from across the country each with their own special talents and backgrounds. How much different has this journey been?
"It's really very similar. If you came from Colerain you might have grown up on a different street or a different part of the neighborhood. Just because you're from a different part of the country it doesn't really matter. You wouldn't be here if you weren't here to win a championship. At Colerain we got this neighborhood and this neighborhood together and we were the Colerain Cardinals and we had our goals set to win a state championship. Now we've got this person from this state and this person from that state and we're the UC Bearcats and we've got our goals set to win this championship. It's really the same thing only on a larger scale."
One of the biggest changes from high school to college Andre is feeling now. While Dominick Goodman and Terrill Byrd shared in the Cardinals state title, Andre is the last one left out of the original group of Cardinals that signed in 2005. How has it been without his longtime teammates?
"Everything happens for a reason. They got their championship and we're all happy about that and we hope we'll pull this championship out this year."
With the season down to 4 games and the possibility of winning a second Big East Championship and play for a national championship a possibility, did Andre or his teammates think about any of this?
"Now, you know in the summer you think about what ifs. You think about, what if we do this. What if we work hard? What if we can get there? Now that this opportunity is right there you almost have to go in reverse and get further away from it by breaking down each one of these games and play everyone in succession without looking ahead at the light at the end of the tunnel. Because you're looking for that light you have a chance of passing something by and if you pass something you'll never reach the light."
As for looking back on the season?
"You really can't look back because your efforts are all forward. But if right now I sat here and thought about it there are a lot of things to look back at. You have week one when a lot of people were picking Rutgers to win the Big East. We go out there and get the job done. We get the job done with SEMO. We go out to Oregon State where no one had beaten them at home in a long time and get the job done with a big win. You can do that the whole season through, but it just doesn't matter right now. Once the season is over with and I've got my feet kicked up and I'm watching the Bearcats I can think about what we did this season."
Since the time Andre Revels issued his pledge to the University of Cincinnati so much has changed. While once getting 25,000 fans at a game was a feat, now sellout crowds will be on hand for his final days as a Bearcat. What does Andre remember most about the journey?
"I've thought about last season when Coach Kelly went out there and gave students pizza. I remember coming here for that first spring game after I signed my letter of intent and it was raining and there weren't 1,000 people in the stands and the ushers wouldn't let us guys who were coming in the next class on the field to stand on the sidelines. It was dismal, but now we've moved up and you've got to thank UC, the students and the city of Cincinnati for buying in, just like we all bought into Coach Kelly and his system. You now can see where he's taken us and this program and you just have to thank everyone who made it possible."
Andre knows soon his days will be over at the university and as a football player at the college level. While he refuses to look back he knows there are things he's going to miss and remember about the path he chose when others laughed. Those who've played with Andre will leave a legacy to be remembered as the Bearcats have blazed new trails on the college football scene.
"Right now I'm just really focused but there will be things I'm going to miss. It's definitely not going to be the practices (with a laugh), but time outside of here, outside the locker room where everyone is joking around or we're eating meals and telling stories. Those are the parts of football you're really going to miss. It's not about the games it's about the people you've been on the journey with during your time here that you'll remember most when you look back."
For Andre Revels and the other senior members of the Bearcats the clock is ticking. They know the target is on their back and each week the opposing team will bring their A-game. They also know no one ever thought they would be the team with a target on their backs playing for a second Big East Championship and a return to a BCS Bowl game.
Andre Revels is no stranger to what is happening with the Bearcats. He's lived it before and right now having a small case of Déjà vu from it. Bearcat Insider spoke with Revels after the Bearcats practiced on Tuesday.
Bearcats senior linebacker has been here before and not backing down.