Gateway’s Patrick Body looks forward to joining College Football Playoff qualifier Cincinnati

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Wednesday, December 15, 2021 | 2:22 PM


Patrick Body is confident.

The Gateway senior feels Cincinnati can pull out a Cotton Bowl victory over No. 1 Alabama in one of the two College Football Playoff semifinals Dec. 31.

His rooting interest these days runs deeper than it ever has before. On Wednesday, the three-star defensive back finalized a commitment to the Bearcats he began with a verbal announcement in July.

Body was able to mark the occasion, the first day of the National Letter of Intent early signing period for Division I football, with a celebration at the high school with family, friends, coaches and his Gators teammates.

“This is a big day for me because it is something that I have worked to for a long time now,” Body said.

“It means a lot to have everyone come out and support me. For it to be such a great team and program overall I am becoming a part of, I am so happy that they’ve put their trust in me.”

When he made his verbal commitment, the 6-foot-2, 180-pound safety had weighed his options from a large grouping of offers that also included Pitt, West Virginia, Akron, Army, Ball State, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Illinois, Kent State, Liberty, Old Dominion, Rutgers, Temple, Toledo, UMass and William & Mary.

Body said he received a few additional inquires about his decision, but nothing rose to the level that caused him to reconsider his commitment to Cincinnati.

Cincinnati rolled through the American Athletic Conference and finished the regular season undefeated at 13-0 to earn the No. 4 spot for the playoff. Georgia and Michigan will play in the other semifinal.

The winners meet for the national title Jan. 10.

“It was really exciting to watch them play, do so well, and to see how successful they were becoming,” Body said.

“Just knowing that I will become a part of that and have a chance to continue that success, it means so much to me right now. They have a high standard there, and I know what responsibility I will have to keep up that standard of high-quality football.”

Gateway coach Don Holl said he is pleased for Body and the opportunity he has in front of him.

“This is one of the best days for these athletes,” Holl said. “I know we all love opening night of the season or playoff games, things like that. But days like this one, when we get a chance to celebrate all the hard work and the other invisible preparation out of the limelight, dreams become a reality. They get a chance to do something that can change the trajectory of their life.”

Holl said Cincinnati is getting a naturally competitive athlete.

“He has that great speed, great change of direction, and he can make a lot of plays,” Holl said. “We saw that so often at Gateway, and now, those at Cincinnati will get a chance to see it, too. Patrick has that swagger and confidence about him. He possesses all the right things that make him a winner.”

Body, who capped his season with Class 5A Big East first-team honors at defensive back, joins recent Gateway safeties including Derrick Davis (LSU), Jeremiah Josephs (Duquesne) and Jaquan Brisker (Penn State) to make Division I commitments.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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