UNC’s favorite running back with the name that sounds like an Italian mobster, Giovani Bernard, is going to don another color next year. It won’t be Carolina blue. It will be white, orange, and black. He’s suiting up for his rookie season with the Cincinnati Bengals. We, at Tar Heel nation, salute in him in his next journey—and wonder: how’s he going to do?
First and foremost, the Cincinnati Bengals are in a tough division. They are jockeying for position alongside the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, and reigning Super-Bowl-Champions, Baltimore Ravens. There will be no ‘let’s pay the rookies so they get experience’ kind of introduction for Gio. The Bengals look to make a name for themselves in that division right out of the gate.
Luckily for the rookie, he won’t be looked to as the saving grace of the franchise. NFL veteran, BenJarvus Green-Ellis will continue to be the focal point of both Cincinnati and opposing defenses. He’ll be receiving the bulk of the touches so that will leave the shifty Giovani Bernard with more surprise attacks.
Gio is only 5’10’’ but stocky, at 205 pounds. Able to hide behind larger offensive linemen, he is often hidden in a crowd. Bernard would be in the secondary before the defense could blink. In the NFL, some are comparing him to a Ray-Rice-type of running back. It’s a long way to go for the young man, but many who watched the run-back against NC State knows he doesn’t shy away from the big moment.
So how is he going to fare on a somewhat-mediocre, somewhat-improving team in a tough division? I think he’s going to be great. There are some calling him as a pre-season favorite for Rookie of the Year honors. Only time will tell, but we wish him all the luck.