In college sports, when it's time to bring in the new troops, you may see employees and even fans of the school use different tactics to try to lure in potential players. What you don't always see is recruits doing the recruiting. But that was exactly the case with UCF football class of 2015 signee Quintin Hampton.
The linebacker from Colquitt County High School was ranked as a three-star recruit. After Hampton decided UCF was the school for him and committed to the Knights, he tweeted and had conversations with a few different players in effort to bring them on with him. One of those players was defensive back Brandon Scott, who was also being suited by Arkansas. Hampton gives himself a little bit of credit for the eventual signing of Scott and offensive lineman Tyler Hudanick.
Hampton started his journey as a football player at the age of 5. George O'Leary said on National Signing Day that the team needed to fill some holes in the linebacker position and added that he thinks it, along with the wide receiver group, is the position that brought the most talent in this signing class. O'Leary also spoke specifically about Hampton on signing day and is hopeful for what he can bring to the team.
"He's solid, Quintin … we scouted him out of camp," O'Leary said. "Certain guys you say, 'Well that kid's probably going to be a leader' and he's probably one that's going to be."
Hampton was a senior captain for Colquitt and helped lead the team to capture the 2014 Class 6A Georgia High School State Championship title. He said that one of his greatest moments in his high school career was breaking the sack record for Colquitt, and the county, recording 19.5 in his junior season. Now, Hampton said he is hoping to step in and bring that same success and leadership to UCF. Knowing that O'Leary sees something in him further encourages and excites him.
"[O'Leary] told me in person when he came to my house on my home visit and when I went on my official, he told me he watched how people gravitated to me and how he already saw me as a leader," Hampton said. "It makes me feel really great knowing that the head coach already sees that in me and I'm still in high school."
Hampton said that on his visits he instantly clicked with fellow linebacker signees Neal Nelson and Cam Stewart. That connection helped him envision the next four years.
"I could see myself with those guys for the next four years because when I look at that program, these are the guys who are going to be my brothers, my family, for four years so you've got to be able to have a connection with them as well," Hampton said.
Schools such as the University of Florida and Vanderbilt were interested in Hampton. He picked up offers from South Alabama, Tennessee and even committed to Cincinnati. But after a month, Hampton said he realized Cincinnati wasn't the school for him. To him, UCF cared. From the concern that the coaches showed as soon as he got on campus, to the personal motivational speech Terrance Plummer gave him, Hampton said it felt right.
"Something about the campus and the atmosphere down there just made me fall in love with the school," he said. "Even when [the student body] was gone, it still felt like home and I fell in love with the campus. I knew I loved UCF way more than Cincinnati and I knew I'd be way better for UCF's program than Cincinnati, so I had to choose UCF at the end of the day."
Jazmyne Hankerson is the Sports Editor for the Central Florida Future. Find her on Twitter @AsToldByJLee or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.