Florida has become a battle field for recruits. Jimbo Fisher and Jim McElwain, already preside over prominent football programs. Adding Charlie Strong, Lane Kiffin, and all the other out-of-state programs that scour Florida for talent, only makes things more difficult. Especially for a program such as UCF. But the Knights and Scott Frost charged on this recruiting season and secured 23 solid commits.
At Wide Receiver, UCF locked in Emmanuel Greene from IMG Academy who had offers from Florida, Florida State, Clemson, Tennessee and Ohio State. Former USC commit, Marlon Williams, committed to UCF over Georgia Tech.
Tight End, Gabriel Davis committed and stated “I know they want success at that school, and I know they’re going to turn the program around. So, that really is what stuck me with UCF, and that’s why I’ve been with them since the summer.” Also at Tight End for the Knights, is Anthony Roberson from Richmond, VA.
Quarterback Marvin Washington, who was a long-time UCF commit, ultimately committed to UCONN – a conference rival. But the Knights still have great outlook with dual-threat quarterbacks, Noah Vedral and Darriel Mack Jr.
A dire need for UCF is a solid Offensive Line. A big loss for UCF, was Viktor Beach who decommitted to end up at Purdue. Julio Castillo, Cole Schneider and other long time commit, Samuel Jackson will give the Knights the power they need.
Linebackers include T.J. Pitts, Kalia Davis, Sterling Jones, and Lionel Cummings. Sterling Jones, the only three-star out of the bunch, had offers from Auburn, Florida, Louisville, Michigan, and Alabama. Jones was the 1A-4A All-Metro football player of the year. His versatility will be a great addition to the already ranked UCF defense.
UCF did a great job with securing several three-star players at Defensive End and Defensive Backs with Mason Cholewa (two-star recruit), Jeremiah Zio, Gabriel Luyanda, Stephon Zayas, Rennard Bozeman, Antwan Collier, and Zamari Maxwell. Luyanda, a JUCO player, had 55 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 9.5 tackles for loss, one fumble recovery, one interception, and four pass breakups. Ranked 60th overall, Luyanda chose UCF over Louisville, Arkansas State, Kansas State, Memphis, and Mississippi State.
Running Backs for the Knights consist of Otis Anderson, Bentavious Thompson, both three-star recruits, rounded out the bunch. This gave the Knights a class of 22 recruits.
Rivals gave this UCF class a ranking at 60th overall and 3rd in the AAC behind Cincinnati and Memphis. This would be the first time in the last few years that UCF would not sign a four-star player. However, UCF has had great success with two-star players such as Blake Bortles, A.J. Bouye, Pro Bowler Josh Sitton, and Kemal Ishmael – who is headed to the Super Bowl. But even a recent comparison of the players in this year’s Pro Bowl shows that recruit rankings aren’t everything.
Overall, the recruiting team had success in the state of Florida, despite the heavy competition. The Knights have 15 players from the Sunshine State, total. But then, came the surprise.
Earlier in the day, Cordarrian Richardson had just about broke the internet when he released a video of him committing to Maryland from outer space. Late in the evening of Signing Day, Richardson, a four-star recruit, flipped and committed to UCF. The next morning, Coach Frost made the announcement via Twitter.
— Scott Frost (@coach_frost) February 2, 2017
With the signing of Richardson, it now places UCF’s 2017 recruiting class to No. 1 in the American Athletic Conference. The class is also ranked as the No. 54 overall class in the country.
Despite the losses that UCF endured during the recruiting process – including losing Jamari Chisholm to Texas – they did quite well. Fighting with Power 5 schools and still being able to secure top talent, the Knights were able to “Rise and Conquer.”