"It was the hardest decision I've ever made in my life."
That's what one of UCF's newest defensive back signees, Rashard Causey, said when trying to figure out where he would play football for the next four years. He had 20 offers during this year's recruiting season but said he felt he had the best opportunity to grow at UCF.
Causey joins the Knights after playing his senior year at St.Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale. Prior to that, he played for the University School of Nova Southeastern University. Causey was able to win a state title with both schools, one in 2012 and one in 2014.
Having the opportunity to be called a state champion twice in four years, the defensive back knows all about competiton. George O'Leary said that the cornerback position definitely had a vacany that the team was looking to fill, but the spot will have to be worked for.
"We had to get help in the corner position with Jacoby [Glenn] leaving early. That was unexpected. And I thought we brought in two players that can help at those positions," O'Leary said. "There'll be competition, no question, in the spring."
For Causey, fighting for his spot doesn't shake him. He was ready for that before committing.
"The whole [UCF] secondary left, and no one has played a down yet so it's like a fair playing field right now. Everybody's competing for a starting spot," Causey said. "Competition is nothing to me [because] that's all that's down here [in South Florida]."
Causey, a Miami native, also knows former UCF wide receiver Rannell Hall, who is also from the city. He said knowing someone who came from the school where he'll spend his college career and seeing him move on to the road to the NFL inspires him.
"I want to be the next one," Causey said. "You know how everybody says 'Only certain players come out of UCF'? I want to be one of those players."
Causey and signee Tristan Payton have already developed a relationship after the two played in the Semper-Fidelis All-American Bowl back in January. In the end, he said despite formerly committing to Florida Atlantic University, going on a successful visit to Wisconsin and even receiving offers from UF and Miami, picking UCF as home was the best for him.
"The opportunity that was given to me at UCF," he said. "I couldn't say no."
Jazmyne Hankerson is the Sports Editor for the Central Florida Future. Find her on Twitter @AsToldByJLee or email her at email@example.com.