Hytchye Makes Commitment

Saturday found several high school players around the country making big announcements about their college futures. Saturday night Cincinnati (Ohio) La Salle defensive back Jaleel Hytchye took the time to make his future plans known.

After taking his time during the recruiting process defensive back Jaleel Hytchye finally felt the trust and comfort needed to make his verbal commitment.

Saturday night found the 6-foot, 175-pound Hytchye out of Cincinnati (Ohio) La Salle High School use the backdrop of a basketball game to official make his pledge in front of classmates.

What programs made the final cut? Hytchye broke down each program and why he made the decision to give his pledge to one school.

BIG TEN NOT TO LIKING

While Hytchye loved the coaching staff and academics found at Northwestern he didn't feel it was the right fit for him.

"Northwestern was one of the first schools that started recruiting me back in April," said Hytchye. "They have a very good academic program and (assistant) coach (Randy) Bates and head coach (Pat) Fitzgerald have been outstanding to me and are really great people. However, when I visited the campus I didn't feel it was really me. While I liked the coaches a lot and like where the program is going, I just didn't feel I was a fit there and I didn't really want to play in the Big Ten Conference."

LITTLE TOO LATE

Despite the Cardinals success on the field they Hytchye felt they came too late to the race and was unsure of their future with the program.

"Louisville's coaches came in a little bit later and showed me a lot of love," said Hytchye. "But because they came in so late, I just wasn't comfortable with them enough to know how long they were going to be at the school or if I could put my trust fully in them. I'm going to be going somewhere for the next four or five years and need to feel comfortable with the coaching staff."

NO SPECIAL FEELING

Hytchye knew all about the Tennessee coaching staff under new head coach Butch Jones but was not ready to go fully with the former Cincinnati head coach.

"I know new Tennessee head coach Butch Jones is going to do big things down there," said Hytchye. "But I really didn't feel like that was my spot either or where I really wanted to go. I really liked the facilities and didn't even have to visit to know they have great facilities. But I felt Coach Jones and his staff was looking to go in a different direction with a lot more players and I wanted to go somewhere I felt special."

MOM LOVED PANTHERS

The one program who really made the early push and got Hytchye excited was Pittsburgh. Despite his mother's thoughts about the program, Hytchye knew another program was a better fit for his long term goals.

"It really came down between Pittsburgh and Kentucky," said Hytchye. "It was really hard at first as Pittsburgh showed me so much love. My mother really loved them and was really rooting for me to go there. However, I want the chance to be the best and play against the best players in the country to become an elite player and felt I could do that an hour and a half away from home.

WILDCATS ADD TO CLASS

Since taking over as the head coach at Kentucky, Mark Stoops has made great strides in recruiting Ohio hard. That work paid off this week.

"I've given my commitment to Kentucky and head coach Mark Stoops," said Hytchye. "I felt so comfortable with coach Stoops and use to follow his brother (Bob) who was one of my favorite coaches.

"In getting to know him I learned he was part of one of my favorite teams ever the 2001 Miami Hurricanes as a defensive backs coach. That program dominated and has so many players that came out of there that got drafted. Once I found out he was the defensive backs coach on that team I knew he's worked with some of the best to ever play the game who have taken their game to another level.

"Guys like Sean Taylor and Phillip Buchanon were guys that I idolized and he coached them. Everywhere he's gone he's put a defensive back in a good position to go high in the draft so he's put plenty of players in the league and his track record backs it up.

"At Florida State you could see how much he prided himself on playing great defense and I'm a defensive guy so that speaks for itself. I also felt he was being a genuine person and a person who is passionate about what he does. I'm a passionate person and that was important to me."

STARTING OWN TRADITIONS

"One thing different about Kentucky was starting your own traditions," said Hytchye. "Kentucky football, as least that I know about, has not had a dominating football team. So many people want it and now they've hired a coach who really wants it.

"I've totally bought into that and wanted to be part of that. Hopefully, we can do something no Kentucky team has ever done before with coach Stoops.

"I know coach Stoops has yet to hire a defensive backs coach but had a chance to sit down with (defensive coordinator) coach (D.J.) Eliot and you can tell he's a very bright coach and is going to be a great defensive coordinator. He lights up when he talks about certain things and got me excited and wanting to play for him. Plus coach Stoops background is to have successful defenses so I know he's going to hire a top level defensive backs coach.

BEST FOOTBALL IN BACK YARD

"While closeness to home didn't play a factor in my decision, it did help knowing I could play the best football in the country right here in my back yard," said Hytchye.


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