No. 23 Cincinnati is starting redshirt senior Ben Bryant at quarterback against No. 19 Arkansas, it was announced Saturday.
Bryant began his career at Cincinnati, where he backed up Desmond Ridder for three seasons. He then transferred to Eastern Michigan, where he starred last year, and then transferred back to Cincinnati to compete for the starting job this season.
Bryant beat out Evan Prater, a redshirt sophomore who is one of the highest-regarded recruits in Cincinnati history. Prater was an ESPN 300 recruit in the class of 2020.
The choice of Bryant, who is 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, also projects a new style for Cincinnati. Offensive coordinator Gino Guidugli, who is in his second year as the Bearcats' playcaller, will be directing a game with a quarterback who is more of a true pocket passer.
Bryant threw for 3,121 yards at Eastern Michigan last year. He isn't a dual-threat quarterback, so the notion of designed run plays will essentially be removed from the Bearcat offense.
Expect the Bearcats to lean more into a smashmouth identity, which should include more 12 personnel. Cincinnati has one of the country's top tight end tandems in 6-7 Josh Whyle and 255-pound Leonard Taylor.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati starting center Jake Renfro is expected to miss the season with a knee injury suffered in camp, a source told ESPN on Saturday.
Renfro was first-team All-AAC last year and has started 19 games the last two years.