Tucker, Ga. defensive end Quenton Brown was the first fax officially received by UCF officials today for National Signing Day at around 7 a.m.
Big names soon would follow.
UCF signed 23 commitments for the 2010 recruiting class on Wednesday, including two four-star prospects and five players from Miami Central High School. It is arguably the best recruiting class under head coach George O’Leary in his six-year tenure at UCF.
“I think we filled a lot of our position needs, but just the overall talent with the combination of size, speed and athleticism, this is an outstanding class,” offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe said. “I think we have certainly upgraded ourselves.”
The Knights received huge news later in the afternoon when wideout Jordan Akins of Union Grove High in Georgia picked UCF over Georgia. UCF also received a fax from four-star offensive lineman Torrian Wilson out of Miami Northwestern after he decommitted from Louisville.
O’Leary was very impressed with the courage it took for Akins to stand up to the pressure from Georgia’s coaches.
“I will tell you, Akins was a real story in itself,” O’Leary said. “I’ve been to his school before...and it’s pretty much a Bulldog school. He went in there and it was all black and red, and he announced UCF, and it was quite a deal. I’ll tell you, I have a great respect for that youngster for standing up to the pressure that they were putting on him.”
Miami Central made several headlines for the Knights.
Rockets RB Brandon Gainer, rated a four-star by ESPN.com, was rumored to be headed to UCF before signing day, but he spurned the Knights for the University of Kentucky. Gainer’s head coach, Telley Lockett, was surprised by the move.
“He never gave me a reason why he switched,” Lockett said. “He said he just thought it was a better for him. I am just honored to give the kid an opportunity to sign and do what he was supposed to do, and he signed with the University of Kentucky.”
The Knights did luck out with another highly touted prospect out of Central: offensive lineman Jose Jose. The 6-foot-2 offensive linemen arrived at Central in the morning sporting a USF hat, but when it came down to signing on the dotted line, he swapped the Bulls hat for a UCF one.
“It was kind of shocking,” Lockett said. “It was 50/50 between South Florida and Central Florida. For him to pull it off like that, it was a surprise to me because he came to school with a South Florida hat on, so I said he was locked.
“He pulled out a UCF hat, and it was very interesting.”
Recruiting Jose reminded O’Leary a lot of a young star that just left the UCF program.
“He reminds me a lot of when we recruited Torrell Troup,” O’Leary said. “He was 353 pounds and Jose is very similar (355 pounds), and he is a thick big guy. What I see out of him is a big point of attack guy...his strength is amazing, and I see him being a guy who can secure the inside for us as far as replacing someone like a Troup that graduated.”
Wide receiver Joshua Reese, corner Jamar McClain, defensive end LeBrandon Richardson and quarterback Jeffrey Godfrey also made their commits official Wednesday to round out the Central talent signing with the Knights.
Lockett said UCF is getting not just a natural talent in Godfrey, but a leader.
“I think, right now, he is going to bring a lot of leadership to the program,” he said. “He is a very, very hardworking kid in all possible aspects of the game. He wants to win, so UCF got a good quarterback and a good leader."
Wilson was the big name of the afternoon for the Knights. He is rated as the No. 8 offensive lineman in the nation, according to Rivals.com, and is a very skilled OL with a constant motor.
O’Leary said Wilson has the chance to make an impact right away for the Knights.
“I see him...having a chance, like the others do, but more so because of the system he is coming out of, to help right away,” O’Leary said.
Lockett believes a pipeline has emerged for UCF in the Miami-Dade area.
“I think so, because I had a lot of my young guys in the audience watching these guys choose their colleges, and they predominantly chose UCF ... Central Florida is starting a really good pipeline in the inner-city, which is Liberty City.”