In his introductory press conference, Luke Fickell made it clear that his coaching staff would make the Greater Cincinnati area a priority in regards to recruiting. Most fans would agree that recruiting in the area has taken a nosedive in recent years as fewer and fewer prospects chose to play for the hometown team. On Tuesday, the commitment to local recruiting become even more evident as 4-star athlete Jarell White became the first local commitment for Coach Luke Fickell.
White attend powerhouse La Salle High School in Cincinnati, most recently playing both linebacker and running back during his senior season. As a linebacker he tallied 45 tackles, 1.5 sacks and 1 interception return for a touchdown and amassed 413 yards and 6 touchdowns as a running back. Over the past three seasons, White earned first team All-GCL honors at three different positions (running back, linebacker and defensive back) and played an integral part in La Salle’s run at three consecutive state championships. Ultimately, he chose UC over both Purdue and UK.
In his commitment ceremony, White noted that he did not begin to really consider UC until the hiring of Coach Fickell and Coach (Marcus) Freeman. He said that he received an offer from UC but did not have much interaction with the previous coaching staff. Once Fickell was hired, he reached out to Jarell to make sure he knew that he was the Bearcats’ number one priority. White said that he anticipates playing on the defensive side of the ball at wither a linebacker, similar to Mike Tyson or Leviticus Payne, or at safety. In addition, he said that he plans on recruiting other local recruits to UC now that he has committed.
This commitment is huge for this coaching staff in working to establish their presence in the greater Cincinnati area. Several other highly rated prospects have tweeted their congratulations to White, including 4-star class of 2018 defensive end Malik Vann and defensive tackle Aeneas Hawkins. Part of the recipe of success that UC experienced under Brian Kelly and Butch Jones was getting local players to stay home and play for the Bearcats. Tommy Tuberville strayed from the philosophy and we all saw the results. Maybe there is a correlation there, maybe there isn’t but the Bearcats landing Jarell White is a huge first step for the Luke Fickell era at UC.