The voice on the other end of the phone was excited to take the call. After introducing myself, the newest Bearcat football recruit stated "I want to be a Bearcat!" What other words would a person like myself want to hear?
I've spoken with many kids who have become Bearcats over the years; with the most excited one being Andre Revels, until today. Bearcat fans let me introduce you to the newest Bearcat, defensive back Jason Whitehead.
The 6'1 185 lb. corner/safety prospect wasted little time in sharing his joy of being a member of the University of Cincinnati football program. When asked about his recruiting process, Jason was quick to state Clemson, Tulsa, UConn and South Florida as the schools who were recruiting him the hardest besides UC.
The Bearcats countered with Coach Tim Hinton in mid September and Jason became excited to hear about everything Coach Dantonio and his staff is building on the campus in Clifton.
"I really hit it off with Coach Hinton. He told it to me straight and I wanted to see what it was like. One thing I wanted the chance to do was to be able to try and compete for a starting position at corner or safety next year; if I do what I need to do I'll get that chance."
I learned very quick Jason has played with some very talented players. When asked if other players have left his high school program for college football, Jason was quick naming several players who've gone on to Florida, Clemson and other major programs in the south.
Not shy to talk, Jason explained he was a one-way player in high school and will stay that way in college. "I've played corner and safety in high school and will be on defense in college also."
When asked what his strengths are, Jason told Bearcat Insider he's very easy to coach, energetic, smart on and off the field and very mobile and physical." As for what he needs to work on, "I've got to expand my overall ability as a football player."
Taking his official visit during December, Jason saw some new sights that excited him about Cincinnati. "I've never seen snow before in my life. I didn't find Cincinnati to be much different then Jacksonville other then it's a little colder and you get some snow."
When asked to expand on his official visit Jason was quick to point out he felt he built a bond with defensive back coach Harlon Barnett and defensive back Antoine Horton who was his host. "I got real tight with Coach Barnett. The chance of coming in and playing early along with all the new buildings and weight room was very impressive to me. I enjoyed the people I had the chance to meet and the overall atmosphere of UC. I also was tight with my host Antoine Horton."
While signing day is less then a month away, Jason said he couldn't wait to sign on the dotted line to make it official. As to when he will report, Jason said he's looking at a mid-June report date at this time. "I'm not sure yet, but I'm looking at June 19th right now to report." When told that Mike Mickens and a few other of the true freshman who played this year did the same thing, Jason quickly responded "I'm really looking at June 19th. whatever I have to do to get on the field."
For a person who has never left Florida until just a few months ago, Jason said he's all set to get on with his college career. "I want to expand my horizons as a person and get away from home so I can concentrate on my school work and football. "
Off the field Jason said he enjoys spending time with his young son (5 months old) and do all the normal things guys his age like to do.
As for his education and being ready, Jason said he received a 19 on his ACT and is ready to go with his GPA.
One thing I always try to do is find out what players like away from the field. I asked Jason what his favorite food was and soon learned he didn't have one item, but a whole meal. "Fried Chicken, mac & cheese, baked beans & rice with hot sauce. I've got to have my hot sauce."
So there you have one of the newest Bearcats verbal commitments. A young man whose excited about being part of everything new and exciting around UC Football and who will come in and be a player ready to compete. It was exciting to speak with Jason about his Bearcat future. If he plays with the energy he speaks with, Big East teams better look out.
I would like to thank Jason for taking the time and talking with Bearcat Insider about his verbal commitment to Cincinnati and about himself. We look forward to meeting him very soon.