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July 18, 2014

Hampton wants to help UCF reach the top

Moultrie (Ga.) Colquitt County linebacker Quintin Hampton joined UCF's 2015 recruiting class on Friday, a little more than a month since earning an offer following a standout camp performance.

Hampton said he likely would have committed at that point in early June, if only he hadn't pledged to Cincinnati a few days before.

"That's why I waited," Hampton said. "I actually committed to Cincinnati a couple days before I went down there for the UCF camp. I had been to the Cincinnati camp and committed after their camp was over with. I didn't know I was going to UCF until my coach told me the day before I was supposed to leave. So I went down there and performed really well. I talked to Coach Tyson Summers afterwards and we toured around campus, along with Coach (Keegan) Kennedy. About a day later they told me I had an offer.

"I didn't want to look like I was unstable. People would have been like, 'Didn't you just commit to Cincinnati and now you've decommitted?' I just had to take a few weeks and let everything settle down. What really drove it home is that my parents were planning to move to the Cincinnati area with me, but now that's not happening. They're going to stay in Moultrie and let my sister finish her high school career. With UCF, I'm three to four hours from home vs. what would have been 11 or 12 hours away at Cincinnati. My family can travel on the same day of the game and get home that night."

With UCF on his mind, Hampton says the decision was essentially made on Wednesday when he returned for an unofficial visit. He called the coaches on Friday morning to make it final.

"I told them (on Wednesday) that I really enjoyed the visit and I would get back to them," Hampton said. "I think they knew then which way I was going, just from the way I reacted to the trip just sitting there in Coach George O'Leary's office. He got a pretty good indication I would be a Knight."

He spoke again with O'Leary and Summers when he made the call to commit on Friday.

"They were really excited about it," Hampton said. "I had a good talk with both, and they both talked to my dad. My mom wasn't able to get in contact today, but she did come down on the visit with me. They treated her very well. They're really excited I was on board with them. I told them I was 100 percent committed. My family is really excited too. We sat down together and talked it all out. They thought it was the best decision for me. We prayed on it. This is definitely what we wanted."

Hampton said he just felt UCF was the better overall fit.

"One of the main factors was distance," Hampton said. "I won't be too far away from home. The atmosphere is a lot better than it was in Ohio. I've always wanted to play at a school in Florida. That was my dream when I was younger. I didn't know which school, but it was a dream. Now I have the opportunity to do that."

Another factor in the Knights' favor is that he'll be reunited with teammate Jamiyus Pittman, a freshman defensive lineman that just enrolled this summer.

"I called him after the visit and we talked for a little bit that night," Hampton said. "He was just telling me good things about it and everything I'm going to have to get ready for. He knew I was going to commit, even though I didn't tell him officially. But he knew where I was. He was excited about it. I'm really happy. He's like my brother. It's going to be good to play next to him, side-by-side. This is the same guy I won a bunch of games with in high school and we're going to win a bunch of games together at UCF."

Pittman won't be the only familiar face. Hampton said he was already friends with several other South Georgia Knights in the freshman class, including offensive lineman Wyatt Miller, quarterback Tyler Harris and defensive back Chris Williams.

Hampton, who is looking to major in mechnical engineering, tallied 132 tackles, 19.5 sacks and 32 tackles for loss as a junior and could be in line to take over at middle linebacker for Terrance Plummer who graduates following the season.

"They told me they're not going to promise playing time, but they will promise me a degree," Hampton said. "That's the most important thing and what I'm going to college for. They see me in a middle linebacker or outside linebacker role. I'm athletic enough to do both. They graded me on some rankings, with five being the highest, and they said I had fives and fours which is what they consider a gold-star player. That means I have a chance to make an impact as a true freshman on defense and special teams."

Hampton says he was impressed by the Fiesta Bowl Championship season in 2013, but his goals for UCF go even higher.

"I don't want to be just in the top 10," he said. "I want to be able to lead the team to No. 1 and be national championship contenders. Get rings, trophies, everything. I want to help UCF become a top program and stay that way."

This pledge comes two days following the commitment of Stockbridge (Ga.) defensive end Titus Davis as UCF's class now stands at seven. Four of those players hail from the Peach State.

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