The star of the Miami RedHawks’ defense won’t require a long road trip when arriving at his new transfer destination.
After announcing entrance into the transfer portal on Dec. 24, Miami (OH) outside linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. revealed his destination Monday evening. The 2021 First Team All-MAC selection is headed roughly 40 miles down the road to play for the reigning AAC champion Cincinnati Bearcats.
Hey Bearcat nation, I’m coming home! @GoBearcatsFB pic.twitter.com/aCNU5IhixH— IVAN PACE JR (@ivan_pacejr) January 3, 2022
Pace registered a MAC-best 125 tackles for the RedHawks this year and he currently ranks 15th in the category with two games left in the entire season. The sophomore established himself as an invasive defender in opposing backfields, and his 13 tackles for loss also stands among the top 10 in the MAC. Pace produced four sacks, one interception, and one forced fumble this fall in a résumé which warranted his first-ever All-MAC designation.
In his sendoff performance at Miami, Pace generated a team-high nine tackles in the Frisco Football Classic against North Texas to hand his team its first bowl win since 2010. Pace was also a member of another accomplished unit in Oxford — the 2019 MAC championship squad. During that season, the outside linebacker tied an FBS record which still persists to this day. In a Nov. 20 matchup against Akron, Pace recorded six sacks to tie former Western Michigan linebacker Ameer Ismail and former Louisville defensive end Elvis Dumervil for most in a single game.
At Cincinnati, Ivan will be teammates with his younger brother Deshawn, who was an All-AAC honorable mention at outside linebacker for the 13-1 Bearcats. Deshawn tallied 95 tackles (fourth on the roster), 9.5 tackles for loss, and secured a team-high four interceptions for a Cincinnati team which ranks fifth nationally in scoring defense. The defensive standard at Cincinnati has been through the roof under Luke Fickell, and Ivan will be joining a team which has boasted top 10 scoring defenses three times in the last four seasons.
Ivan, a Cincinnati native, played the Bearcats twice during his tenure at Miami. Both matchups occurred in his future home of Nippert Stadium. This past September, Pace accumulated five tackles and one tackle for loss in a 49-14 loss to Cincinnati — the Bearcats’ 15th consecutive victory in the rivalry series.
Ivan is slated to meet his former team at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati on Sept. 17 as the Bearcats battle the RedHawks for the Victory Bell.