Promising Crestview High running back Micah Reed said he wants to show other recruits it's the right time to commit to UCF.
Reed (5-11, 182) became the first class of 2013 prospect to commit to UCF Monday. He had offers from Florida, Louisville, Indiana, Cincinnati, FIU, Purdue and Western Kentucky. A variety of other high-profile schools, including Alabama, Notre Dame and USC also were showing interest in Reed.
"I want to inspire other kids to commit to UCF because I want to train together and have a good class come with me," he said. "We can do big things together. I think we would all be good motivation for each other. We can help UCF take the next step."
UCF offensive line coach Brent Key was the primary recruiter pursuing Reed. Running backs coach Danny Barrett and head coach George O'Leary also contributed to Reed's recruitment.
Reed said he feels comfortable with the UCF coaching staff, likes the idea of playing college football close to his family in the Panhandle, loves the Knights' offense that features running backs and is excited about UCF's upcoming move to the Big East Conference.
"I really feel like their program was perfect for me," he said. "They offer a good education. I really like that. They have good facilities, the coaches are great and I'll have an opportunity to contribute. I just think it was the right fit."
While he continues to receive interest from other programs, Reed said he wanted to get the college decision out of the way early and pick a school where he felt comfortable before outside pressure had any impact on his college selection.
Reed said he paid close attention to UCF's history working with running backs and the Knights' current roster, noting that Latavius Murray and Brynn Harvey would be graduating at the end of the upcoming 2012 season.
"The coaches were telling me that, if I work hard, I could contribute as a freshman," Reed said.
He said he understands the Knights tend to run the ball often and can help running backs have successful careers.
"I noticed UCF's offense is great for running backs," he said. "I looked at Kevin Smith from the Lions. I think he was a really good running back, and I know he was a UCF Knight. That encouraged me and made me want to go there. I think he's a great running back and I've seen how hard he works. I want to show I can work hard too."
Reed said he knows the Knights will be joining the Big East in July 2013 just before the start of his freshman season. He said the conference change was a factor in his decision.
"I like the transition," he said. "It gives UCF a chance to compete with bigger schools and put their name more out there on the map. You have to give UCF credit for working hard. Now they're going to have a chance to really compete. I feel really happy about the move to the Big East."
Reed is one of many visitors expected to tour the campus during the Knights' Junior Day Saturday. He said his family is looking forward to checking out more of the school and learning about the academic programs.
He comes from a football-oriented family and has been playing the game since he was 9 years old. He has been playing the running back position since the eighth grade.
"My dad played football, my brothers all played football, my cousins played football," he said. "We all played. I loved it right away. I felt comfortable doing it, and I just want to continue to play the game."
While Reed has no shortage of football role models, he said he always enjoyed watching for Texas Longhorns star Ricky Williams play.
"I always look at him as a great back," Reed said. "He has been my all-time favorite ever since he won a Heisman at Texas. I've tried to model my game after him and he inspired me so much."
Reed said he feels comfortable with the speed he brings to the football field, although he spends his offseason running track and field to help him become a more elusive running back. Reed also wants to add more muscle to his frame.
"I want to focus on my power this year," he said. "I have power, but I feel like I can go for more yards after contact. Speed, I really don't have any problems with that. Power is pretty much where I need to keep pushing myself."
Reed hasn't made a final decision on whether to push to wrap up his high school classes in December and enroll at UCF early.
"I'm going to take some time to figure it out," he said. "Right now I just know I'm going to UCF."
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