August has rolled around and football is in the air. I don't know about the rest of you, but I can not wait for football season. Even though my cable company was bought out by Time Warner and they dropped the NFL Network and Red Zone channel and I'm probably going to spend all the Sundays crying, I still can not wait. The next man up on the Bearcats Blog countdown is probably a name you have read a lot if you are a Bengals fan. It's the man who made the most famous catch in the history of Cincinnati football, Armon Binns.
Armon Binns played 4 seasons as a Bearcat. In the history of UC football, only 8 receivers have eclipsed 1,000 yards in a season. Armon Binns was the last player to accomplish that feat. In two of the best offensive years in Bearcat history, Binns was a very reliable receiver. He did it the hard way, by earning his spot every year. It can be rare when we see progressions from year to year in this modern age, but Armon Binns did just that. And now he's in the NFL. Hard work pays off.
Armon had a very slow start to his UC career. He was a special teamer and a reserve planted on the end of the bench. He saw action his freshman season against Louisville. He made 1 catch for 9 yards in a loss. His sophomore season, he actually started a game. But all Binns had to show stat wise was 1 catch for 10 yards in a win over Miami. Binns would more than double his career total in catches and shatter his 19 yards in the first game of the 2009 season. In the win at Rutgers, Binns caught 5 passes for 41 yards. He stretched out the field the next week against Southeast Missouri State, catching 4 passes for 77 yards. Armon had a solid 6-61 game against Oregon State in the upset win. After a 2 catch, 17 yard performance in the Fresno State game UC held the ball 14 minutes, Binns would take off.
The Bearcats were playing Miami on October 3rd. UC was up 6-0 after a Jacob Ramsay TD and a missed extra point. Tony Pike threw a pass to Binns that went 35 yards. Now that sounds like a big play on the surface, but it was even bigger for Binns because it was his first career TD. UC went up 13-0 and won 37-13. Binns finished with a team high 83 yards on 5 catches that day. Binns would have another big day the following Thursday at USF. He had just 4 catches for 31 yards, but he made a huge impact by catching passes from 3 yards and 8 yards out for scores. The first TD gave UC a 10-7 lead, the second a 17-7 lead. Binns and the Bearcats torched Louisville the following week. Binns had 75 yards on 3 catches, including a 24 yard TD. The longest catch of Binns' career game on Halloween against Syracuse. He kicked off the scoring in that one by taking a Zach Collaros pass 81 yards. It was a huge chunk of the first 100 yard receiving day of Binns' career. He finished with 5 catches and 138 yards. That was a season high and the 3rd highest total for a game in his career.
What is the best way to follow up your first 100 yard receiving game? For Armon Binns, it was by getting his second. In the wild 47-45 win over UConn, Binns went off for 108 yards on 5 catches. He hauled one in from 41 yards out that put UC up 27-10. Binns kicked off the scoring the next week in a huge showdown with West Virginia. He caught a 10 yard pass from Tony Pike on Pike's first throw. He finished with 62 yards on 5 catches. Binns matched the 62 yards against Illinois, this time with 7 grabs. He caught another 10 yard TD pass from Tony Pike. It was a big one because it put UC up 42-20. Binns would not stop catching big touchdowns. He had 75 yards on 4 catches. Then he did this with 33 seconds left.
The 29 yard TD reception, followed by the extra point, gave UC the Big East title. It kept them undefeated. If not for late game heroics by Texas, it would have put UC in the national title game. Binns had 104 yards, his 3rd 100 yard receiving game of the season. Unfortunately for everyone, Binns was corralled with the rest of the team against Florida. He had 29 yards, his second lowest total of the season, on 5 catches. But Binns caught a TD early in the 4th quarter. He scored a TD in the last 9 games of the 2009 season. Incredible.
The breakout season for Armon Binns looked like this. 61 catches, 888 yards, 14.6 yards per catch and 11 touchdowns. He was 3rd in the Big East in receptions, 5th in yards, and led the Big East in Touchdowns. He was one of many receivers tied for 9th in the NCAA in TDs.
The 2010 season had high expectations for Binns. He was named to pretty much every preseason All-Big East team. There was a target on his back. He responded pretty well. Binns started the season with 7 catches for 55 yards against Fresno State. Armon had 3 catches for 59 yards against Indiana State in the home opener. One of his catches was a 16 yarder that gave the Bearcats their first home score of the season. He added a 29 yard TD reception in the 3rd quarter as UC pulled away from the Sycamores. Binns and the Bearcats had an off game 5 days later against NC State. Armon put up solid stats, 6-95, but 60 of those came on a reception very late in the game. He put up a season low 26 yards on 3 grabs as Oklahoma really focused on him. Things would get better.
The Bearcats very first play against Miami was a pass to Armon Binns. It went for 48 yards and a score. Later in the quarter, Binns caught a 32 yard pass from Collaros for his second score of the game. It was part of a 5 catch, 115 yard day for Binns, as UC destroyed Miami. The next two weeks would be incredible.
Cincinnati traveled to Louisville on a Friday night to play for the Keg of Nails. Binns caught a 10 yard TD in the first quarter that put UC up 14-7. The Cards scored 17 straight points to take the lead. Late in the first half, Binns caught a 31 yarder from Collaros to get the deficit to 3. Louisville would score a field goal early in the 4th quarter to trail 28-27. Collaros went back to pass, unleashed his right arm and hurled the ball down the field. Binns caught it and ran the rest of the way for a 62 yard score. That gave us the 35-27 margin. Armon had 8 catches for a career best 175 yards and a career best 3 TDs. It was incredible. That was almost upstaged the next week against South Florida. Binns caught a career high 12 passes for 158 yards. He had a 20 yard TD to cut a USF lead from 11 to 4. He had another late that made it 38-30 and set up UC for a last drive attempt. Binns scored 7 TDs in the 3 games. He had a quiet 3-28 in a loss to Syracuse with Chazz Anderson starting for Collaros. Collaros would come back, and so would Binns.
Against West Virginia, Binns had the second double digit reception game of the season and his career. He caught 10 passes for 115 yards. UC was slaughtered, but Binns had most of his numbers before the game was out of hand. The following week UC played host to Rutgers. Binns caught just 6 passes. They went for 31, 31, 10, 35, 22 and 10. That adds up to 139 yards. That's a career day for a lot of people, but it was just the 3rd highest total of the year for Binns. Armon kept it going the next week against UConn. He caught 9 passes for 107 yards and a TD. But UC lost 38-17. On a cold, snowy Senior Day, Binns once again had 3 catches for 29 yards.
Armon Binns earned All-Big East first team honors by catching 75 passes for 1,101 yards, 14.7 per reception and 10 TDs. He was first in the Big East in receptions, yards and TDs. For his career, Binns caught 138 passes for 2,008 yards and 21 TDs. For receivers in the 2000s in the league, Binns is 14th in catches, 18ths in yards and 5th in TDs. He's right up there with Mardy Gilyard and Dominick Goodman, who had 22.
Why He Made the List
Armon Binns had 2 of the best receiving years in Big East history and UC history. He matured into a big time player who could win a game for the Bearcats. He was a really incredible talent. The only question for his career is what if he had been given an opportunity a little earlier. Maybe he couldn't have taken advantage of it, but with what we know about Binns, I think he could have. He was a good player on an excellent team and an excellent player on an average team. We need more players like Armon Binns wearing Cincinnati uniforms.
What He's Doing Now
If you haven't read the part where I said he was in the NFL and on the Bengals like 3 times, you should know that he's in the NFL and on the Bengals by this sentence. He was on the practice squad a majority of last season. Things are looking good for him seeing significant action in this one.