On February 2, 2011, three members of the McNicholas Class of 2011 signed with the University of Cincinnati football team. Matt Staubach, Eric Ernst, and Rob Rice all signed to play for UC as preferred walk-ons.
According to the Cincinnati.com article UC for McNick trio, Staubach, rushed for over a thousand yards, ran for 22 touchdowns, and was the Enquirer’s Division II Player of the Year for 2010- 2011 season. As quarterback, Staubuach also passed for over 800 yards and nine touchdowns during his final season at McNick.
Ernst, McNick’s former punter, averaged 40.5 yards worth of punts and had a season-long punt of 65 yards. Ernst also punted the ball within the opponent’s twenty yard line 10 times during the season’s campaign.
“I was very surprised that all 3 of us ended up committing to UC. I knew that all three of us were looking to extend our careers into college, and it was interesting enough that we all decided on UC as our final choice,” Ernst said. “It took a lot of hard work and practice to get to this level, and I am very appreciative for the opportunity.”
Rice, a running back, rushed for over 900 yards during the season with five total touchdowns. On Sept. 17, 2010, Rice rushed for 214 yards and three touchdowns against Archbishop Fenwick.
As of now Staubach and Ernst hold spots on the 105-man roster for home games. Staubach’s position has changed from quarterback to tight-end, while Ernst is still at punter. Rice is currently a redshirted freshman.
“When they first offered me the spot I was incredibly happy but when I came to the decision to go with them, I couldn’t wait to get started,” Staubach said. “I already felt good coming off of our season but being able to know that I still had a football career after the season was great.”
This McNick trio helped lead the Rockets to a 10-3 season with a trip to the playoffs for the first time in a half a decade. The Rockets even held their own with multiple wins in the playoffs. A prime example is the 34 to 14 victory over against Eaton High School to make it to the State Semifinals.
“Ever since I was a little kid I have wanted to play UC football and by getting this opportunity to play has been a dream that I am now living,” Rice said. ”This doesn’t really make my last season more memorable because the people on last year’s team is what made last year memorable.”