High School Football

Meet one of UCF’s #Knighteen signings, who tore his ACL and remained loyal

Southeast High’s Kam’Ron Green signed with UCF on Wednesday, the first of three early signing days for college football recruits. Green tore his ACL in February. The Knights never wavered from wanting Green and he stuck with his commitment.
Southeast High’s Kam’Ron Green signed with UCF on Wednesday, the first of three early signing days for college football recruits. Green tore his ACL in February. The Knights never wavered from wanting Green and he stuck with his commitment. Bradenton Herald file photo

There was no surprise who Kam’ron Green was signing with on Wednesday.

The clothes he wore to the National Signing Day ceremony inside Southeast High School’s media center gave it away.

Besides the UCF Knights gear he was wearing, there wasn’t a chance Green was going to flip to another school late in his recruitment process.

Loyalty is something Green’s parents, Kenny and Angela, instilled in him. That loyalty showed up from the Knights toward Green, too.

On Feb. 9, 2018, Green tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) along with his MCL, PCL and meniscus in his left knee during a high school basketball game at Palmetto.

“I had just got a block, I passed it down the court to my point guard,” Green recalled of the game. “And then pretty much what happened was they stole the ball ... it was just me and one more player, so it was up to me and I went up for the block. And when I came down, I landed on (the Palmetto player’s) foot and I kind of felt it give.”

Green saw other programs that showed interest prior to his injury, such as Miami, pull back and wait to see how he’d recover from the injury. That’s not how UCF handled Green’s recruitment.

He said he visited the school four times and each time the Knights treated him no different than any other player on campus.

“The coaches told me, ‘No matter what happens through the whole process, I’m going to have a college to go to,’ ” Green said. “That made me feel great.”

Green added, “It’s a family up there and that’s what I want.”

The family aspect was seen nationally after UCF star quarterback McKenzie Milton’s scary leg injury, which has required multiple surgeries, late in the season. UCF fans rallied with approximately 40,000 leis — a Hawaiian traditional garland — distributed to fans for the American Athletic Conference title game at Orlando’s Spectrum Stadium in support of Milton, a Hawaii native.

Green comes from a big family, too. He has four sisters (Jessica, Jasmine, Kiara and Ariel) and two brothers (Brandon and Kenny).

A defensive tackle, Green said he learned a lot about family during his recovery time. At first, the injury didn’t give him confidence he would return for his senior season. But with Southeast’s longtime trainer, John Karl, and determination with each passing workout, Green returned to the field at Sarasota’s Cardinal Mooney for a non-district game in early October.

“I gave a long speech before about everything,” Green said. “I told the younger kids, ‘Cherish all your moments, because you don’t know when it’s going to be taken from you.’ ”

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Southeast’s Kam’ron Green is flanked by his parents and Seminoles head coach Brett Timmons (standing) as he signs his letter-of-intent with UCF on Wednesday. Jason Dill jdill@bradenton.com

Green played the final month of the season on a pitch count with first-year head coach Brett Timmons, who spoke to the assembled crowd prior to Green signing to give praise to his previous coaches at the program such as former head coaches John Warren and Rashad West and former defensive coordinator Cody Montgomery, limiting Green to roughly 20 plays each game.

“I’m just watching him work, watching him go after it,” Timmons said. “He was ready. We had to give it to him. That was his driving goal, ‘I want to come back and help.’ ... He didn’t have to do it, but he was at every practice. ... That just shows the what kind of kid he is and what kind of commitment to the program he has.”

Timmons also said Southeast and Manatee are in talks to resume their rivalry with a tentative game scheduled for the 2019 Kickoff Classic. The teams last played in the 2016 regular season.

“His explosiveness, he had flashed as a freshman and sophomore, and then as a junior it really came on,” Montgomery said of Green.

Joining UCF also reunites Green with offensive lineman Sam Jackson. Green said he was teammates with Jackson in little league football with the Manatee Bulls. Jackson tore his ACL last season, before recovering this year and played at Lakewood Ranch.

“As soon as he tore his ... I told him on Twitter it’s going to be hard at first, but you can just push through it,” Green said.

Braden River senior quarterback Bryan Gagg also signed Wednesday, sticking with his commitment to East Carolina.

At Braden River, a school with the same nickname as ECU, Gagg led the Pirates to playoff berths in his two seasons as their quarterback following a transfer from Sarasota.

Gagg guided Braden River to narrow losses to rival Venice in second-round playoff matchups. According to MaxPreps, Gagg completed 65.1 percent of his passes for 4,472 yards with 49 touchdowns against 11 interceptions in two seasons at Braden River.

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Braden River quarterback Bryan Gagg signed his letter-of-intent with East Carolina on Wednesday. Bradenton Herald file photo

Despite ECU firing its head coach late in the 2018 season, Gagg didn’t waver from his commitment, just as Green remained committed to UCF.

“I told Coach [Heupel] once I committed, you don’t have to worry about me leaving,” Green said.

Now it’s official.

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Sports reporter Jason has covered high school, college and pro sports since joining the Bradenton Herald in 2010. He’s won Florida Press Club awards for sports feature and column writing. He currently writes college and pro sports stories for the McClatchy East Region real-time team.