breaking news

Wright State president: ‘Avoiding fiscal watch is by no means a certainty’

Fairfield’s Vann on committing to UC: ‘It just felt right’


Malik Vann’s lengthy recruiting road has stopped in Clifton.

The Fairfield High School junior defensive end is excited and relieved after verbally committing to the University of Cincinnati football program and new head coach Luke Fickell.

“It’s a huge weight off my back,” Vann said Wednesday afternoon after taking the ACT. “It was a hard decision, but at the end of the day, I could only pick one school, and I felt like UC would be the best fit for me. It just felt right.”

Vann announced his decision Tuesday, but the blue-chip recruit said he told Fickell just before the Bearcats’ spring game last Friday.

The 6-foot-3, 270-pound Vann said UC and Michigan State were his top two schools in a group of finalists that included Alabama, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Oklahoma.

»RELATED: Top programs vying for area players

“I’ve been all over, so distance was never really an issue,” said Vann, who plans to major in criminal justice at UC and would like to work for the FBI someday.

“It was just a chance to play for my home city and rebuild something vs. going somewhere that’s already established. It’s a chance to give my city something back that’s been lost the past few years and do it with the people who already live here.”

Fairfield coach Jason Krause feels strongly that Vann made a wise decision.

“He had some really big offers, and I think kids can get carried away with some things,” Krause said. “I think Malik looked at the entire picture, which is what you want kids to do. Your feeling. Your fit. The relationship that you’ve built with the coaches recruiting you. Your comfortability. The opportunities for you to play. The major he wanted.

“It’s tough for kids to go through this process, especially when you’ve got so many offers. I commend his mother. They made a lot of visits over the last few months, being in the car, catching a plane. She did a really good job of offering him those opportunities to make this decision in the right manner.”

Cincinnati is coming off a 4-8 season under Tommy Tuberville, who resigned in early December after four years at the helm. Fickell was named head coach Dec. 10.

Vann got his first scholarship offer from UC as a freshman, but he wasn’t seriously considering Cincinnati before Fickell arrived.

“I just loved Fickell,” Vann said. “I love the attitude and intensity and energy he brings to UC. I’ll definitely get behind a leader like that.”

Fickell has brought immediate optimism to the Bearcat program and is attracting high-level recruits.

Vann said his feeling about UC was bolstered by the recent commitments of guys like Blake Bacevich of St. Xavier, Josh Whyle of La Salle and Ty Van Fossen of Columbus DeSales. He’s also become close with La Salle’s Jarell White, who signed in February.

Krause is happy to see Cincinnati targeting local players.

“With me being a guy that’s from this area and being here during those times when Butch Jones and Brian Kelly and those guys were recruiting our area pretty heavily, it wasn’t really working that way the last few years,” Krause said. “One of the things Coach Fickell has brought is his intent to recruit within a hundred-mile radius very heavily, especially schools in the suburbs of Cincinnati.”

Vann has played football since the age of 5. He’s been in the Fairfield school system since the seventh grade, having spent time in the Northwest and North College Hill districts.

He is planning to graduate from Fairfield in December and start classes at UC in January. Vann said redshirting will be up to the coaches, but added, “It’s not in my plan.”

“I’m happy to get this out of my way and focus on my senior season,” Vann said. “The recruiting process was fun in the beginning, but toward the end of it, it was a headache. I just got to a point where I was like, ‘All right. I’ve seen it all. I’ve talked to everybody. Let’s just make a decision.’ ”

Krause said the following schools also made offers to Vann: Duke, Florida State, Iowa, Iowa State, Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, Miami, Miami (Fla.), Minnesota, Notre Dame, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rutgers, Toledo and West Virginia.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Penn State recruiting: What position will Nittany Lions prioritize next?
Penn State recruiting: What position will Nittany Lions prioritize next?

Have Penn State football recruiting questions? Land of 10’s Tyler Donohue will answer a Recruiting Question of the Day every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. You can ask him your questions on  Twitter or on  Facebook. Find our previous questions and answers  here. Let&rsquo...
Duke Olges commits to Northwestern football: Wildcats nab in-state DL
Duke Olges commits to Northwestern football: Wildcats nab in-state DL

Tennessee recruiting: Where the Vols’ class stands
Tennessee recruiting: Where the Vols’ class stands

Tennessee added a commitment from linebacker Lakia Henry on Saturday as the Vols’ hot recruiting May continues. Henry is the eighth commitment of the 2019 class for the Vols. Coach Jeremy Pruitt has come in and turn the college football world’s head with his recruiting efforts. With that in mind, here is where things stand for...
Ranking Iowa’s football traveling trophies from oink to moo
Ranking Iowa’s football traveling trophies from oink to moo

We are tackling the best question supplied by Iowa fans each day. If you’d like to submit a question, tweet to Scott Dochterman here. Look for our Iowa Question of the Day every Monday through Friday. Go here to see all of our previous answers. ANSWER: This is a no-brainer. Not only is...
Choosing Michigan’s ‘trap game’ on 2018 schedule
Choosing Michigan’s ‘trap game’ on 2018 schedule

During the week, Land of 10 reporters following the Wolverines answer questions on the minds of Michigan fans. Submit a question or suggest a topic by sending a tweet  here to Rachel Lenzi or here to Kevin Goheen. Check back Monday through Friday as we answer the Michigan Question of the Day....
More Stories