Franklin High School senior Ryan Montgomery gave a verbal commitment Wednesday to continue his football career at the University of Cincinnati.
Montgomery, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound running back, ranks 41st in Ohio in the Class of 2018, according to 247sports.com.
He ran for 740 yards and 13 touchdowns during the Wildcats’ 6-1 start, but Montgomery’s prep career is over after he tore a knee ligament last Friday night in a 55-27 win at Waynesville.
“It’s still kind of hard on me right now,” he said Wednesday afternoon. “I finally let Cincinnati know. They knew I was gonna commit before I even got hurt.”
He had no concerns about the Bearcats backing off upon learning about his injury.
“They’re good people,” he said of head coach Luke Fickell and his staff, including running backs coach Gino Guidugli. “They’re more worried about me as a person than if I was going to be healthy. I was never very worried about that. Some schools didn’t give me a very good message before I committed. They wanted to talk to doctors and all that, but Coach Fickell and Gino are pretty optimistic.”
As a junior, Montgomery rushed for 1,935 yards and 34 touchdowns and was named the Journal-News Offensive Player of the Year.
“UC is a great fit for Ryan,” Franklin coach Brad Childers said, “(because of Montgomery’s) ability to run the ball and catch the ball out of the backfield. Coach Fickell, Coach Gino, Coach (Marcus) Freeman, they have ... really changed the culture there.”
Montgomery becomes the 19th member of the 2018 recruiting class ranked No. 1 in the AAC.
Fairfield’s Malik Vann also is a UC recruit along with three Cincinnatians: Josh Whyle of La Salle, Ja’von Hicks of Colerain and Blake Bacevich of St. Xavier.
“It just kind of felt like home from the beginning,” Montgomery said. “I felt like I was a priority. They made me feel like that. We pretty much communicated as much as we were allowed.”
While the previous UC coaching staff had not been in touch, Montgomery said Freeman, a Wayne grad who played at Ohio State, opened a line of communication last spring.
Montgomery also considered Michigan State, Iowa State and Northwestern before settling on the Bearcats, who are 2-3 in Fickell’s first season.
“He’s really stressing he wants hometown guys,” Montgomery said. “He thinks the guys from this area are gonna be the ones to do it. This is his first recruiting class, so he wants it to be special. He’s saying he was at Ohio State so he knows special, and he wants to bring that to Cincinnati.”
He plans to graduate early and start school in January at UC, where he will be able to use the facilities for rehab.
Knee surgery is scheduled for next week.
As for college, Montgomery intends to major in criminal justice and law administration.
“To me it’s just all the things going on in the criminal field,” he said when asked about that choice. “I just want to be able to make a change, you know. I think if I get behind the scenes I want to be a guy that could possible make a change.”