Shawn Smith, one of the most high profile ballers in the south gave a verbal commitment to UCF on Monday. A junior at the Providence School, Smith could be considered the highest recruit that Central Florida has ever landed, being one of the top shooting guards in his class. The 6-4 shooting guard told the Orlando Sentinel that him and Knights head coach Donnie Jones have “built a really good relationship.”

The Jacksonville, FL, native reportedly visited Ole Miss, Florida State, West Virginia, and Florida. But after taking visits to UCF practice in December and watching coach Jones in action, he was sold on who he wanted to play for at the next level.

“I loved the campus and what they had to offer,” Smith told the Orlando Sentinel. “Coach Jones, when I watched them practice, he was the best coach I’ve ever seen. He just knows how to coach the game and help his players get better. I’ve been recruited by a lot of big schools and been on a lot of visits, but UCF was the best.”

Smith also hinted that the program was on the rise to national notoriety with a possible move to the Big East.

“Oh yeah, we’re taking the program to another level because they’re moving to the Big East,” Smith said. “I don’t know if that’s in one or two years. But I do know that we’re going to be ready to compete with everyone. … I think all the other recruits who have committed are seeing what I’m seeing. Everyone wants to be part of making UCF one of the best teams in the country.”

Smith is the first to commit to the Knights’ 2012 recruiting class. For the 2011 class, Central Florida will be welcoming Smith’s high school teammate Wayne Martin, a 6-7 forward, along with Michael Chandler, a 6-10 center of Lawrence North HS in Indiana, Rod Days, a 6-6 forward of The Sagemont School in Florida, and Kasey Wilson, a 6-6 of North Port HS in Florida.