TAMPA – For Ken Montgomery he’s always been serious about the game of football. All he knew growing up was football and sports period. Whether it was on the field or in his room reading Tiki Barber books, he always had the dream.

Montgomery, a rising junior at Hillsborough is penciled in as a starting corner with USF commit and Class of 2016 graduate Michael Hampton departing. At 6’2″, 165 lbs, Montgomery is a lengthy cornerback who is loaded with athleticism and aiming to be one of the best this season in Class 6A.

He also plays small forward for the Terriers basketball team. Montgomery says that playing basketball helps his overall IQ because he believes that the same thing that goes on the football field goes on the hardwood.

It certainly doesn’t hurt in terms of staying in shape and being a team player, that’s for sure.

His current focus right now is improving his overall strength. When asking him if he wants to be bigger than his current weight of 165 lbs, he responded by saying “heck yea.” His ideal goal is to be at 200 lbs.

“Being in the weight room that’s what I’m trying to work on,” Montgomery. “I have to get that down and put on weight.”

Although he never played defensive back until last spring, he enjoyed his sophomore season and said he gained a lot of knowledge. He suited up as a wide receiver as a freshman but never saw the field.

“I always played quarterback in little league so I didn’t know what I was doing. But I gained a lot of knowledge. Last year, with the plays I made those were plays that I didn’t really know what I was doing. It will be scary with the knowledge that I’m learning now.”

In seven games last season, he had 21 tackles, two interceptions and a pass breakup at cornerback. He caught seven passes for 89 yards (17.8 average) in a limited role at wideout. He’ll again be listed at both skill positions, but his focus is at cornerback where he’ll run with the first team full-time.

Wth six offers already out from Temple, Louisville, USC, USF, Iowa State and Toledo, Montgomery’s ideal landing spot is out on the west coast.

“California is a spot I want to be. It’s L.A., who doesn’t want to be in L.A.? It’s something new where I’d get to see what the world is like.”

Among the programs that have interest in him, UF, UCLA and Clemson rank near the top. His lone visit thus far was locally at USF, but he plans on making a trip to California this summer to check out UCLA and USC.

What are Montgomery’s biggest strengths in his game currently?

“My ability to attack the ball and quickness when coming down at a ball carrier.”

Biggest weaknesses?

“My speed and being able to learn plays.”

The Terriers went 4-6 this past season, but the defense performed at a high level allowing an average of 13.8 points per game. Unfortunately, the offense scored 130 points all year. Montgomery knows his group can always get better.

“We have to compete on both sides, not just defense.  We need to keep up the intensity and know more about each opponent every week.”

Being a leader on and off the field is something he takes pride in as he wants everyone to be on the same page.

He says his dad and former teammate Dwayne Lawson (rising sophomore quarterback at Virginia Tech) are his biggest role models in his life.

“They were the main ones that told me what I would be. They educated me about things outside of football.”

Playing for longtime head coach Earl Garcia, who is entering his 24th season at Hillsborough is something Montgomery thoroughly enjoys. Under Garcia’s command, the Terriers have made 19 region appearances highlighted by finishing as the state runner-up in 1996. 2015 marked the first time in his tenure that Hillsborough failed to make the playoffs.

“My dad, uncle, great uncle and grandad played for him. I’m just seeing the legacy. He’s a pretty cool dude. He knows everybody. He knows all about football. He educated me about everything I’ve learned in high school so far and he keeps my head on tight. He never beats around the bush with anything and he tells me straight up.”

With spring practice officially starting on Monday, Montgomery is very excited for spring evaluation because he wants college coaches to come see what a real big corner can do.

Hillsborough will have a scrimmage on May 14th with its spring game coming against King on the 28th.

He wants it to be known that he’s a student-athlete and school comes first no matter what.

“I have the ability to do anything the coaches ask me to do I’ll do 100 percent.”

Montgomery’s ultimate goal like many football players his age is to make it to the NFL.

“No matter what I do, I always want to be around football. If I make it to the NFL, I don’t want to be an average or a good player, I want to be a great player. If that doesn’t work I’ll be around football some type of way, even if it is sports broadcasting or coaching.”

With high hopes for his junior season, Montgomery is looking to get stronger and become a more polished cornerback. Like he said, he made plays simply with his overall athleticism this past season. Learning and becoming an all-around cornerback should be easy for a motivated and intelligent player like himself.

Watch out for Ken Montgomery. He has his mind on right and should help Hillsborough achieve great things defensively this season.

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Quick hitters

Favorite football players – NFL draftees Jalen Ramsey, Vernon Hargreaves
Playlist before games – Young Thug, I Love Makonnen, Future
Favorite TV show – The People v. O.J. Simpson: Crime Story
Favorite movie – Pineapple Express, Life
Fun fact that no one knows – “I love wearing Toms. I have like six pairs.”
Nickname from teammates or friends – ‘Oil Spill’, ‘Ken Smiley’

Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.

If you have any questions or comments feel free to write below or email Jake at jake.perper@hotmail.com.

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