Feb. 1, 2006
ORLANDO -- UCF head coach George O'Leary officially announced the Golden Knights' 2006 football recruiting class. The following are quotes from the press conference.
We started this morning at 7 a.m. and were done by 9:15 a.m. We signed 21 student-athletes. When you look at a class, you really don't know the success until the second year and see if they are playing or not. The big thing is we identified our needs and as far as the staff was concerned, how we need to improve in certain areas of our football team.
When I look at the breakdown we went into this year recruiting, it starts a year away. We went in saying we needed to get more size up front both offensively and defensive line-wise. We need to get more speed at our skill positions and then from there fill each and every position with the best available student-athletes we could find.
The staff did an outstanding job of securing the talent. The majority of our class, I think 13, are from the state of Florida, four from Georgia, Louisiana, Texas and South Carolina. I thought that we identified the talent that we need to make ourselves better within the state.
I was very pleased with the signing of 21 student-athletes. We signed three offensive linemen, probably two of the biggest youngsters that I have seen * 6-foot-7, 325 pounds and the other guy 6-foot-8, 320 pounds. I like big people. The other offensive lineman is an all-state offensive guard in Jeramy DeVane from Seabreeze. We are real happy with that situation.
The three wide receivers all have great speed, great athletic ability, so we are pleased there. I think that we improved that area. We have a number of receivers back and I think we need to improve the speed level of that position.
You can never have enough tight ends in your program. We secured two more tight ends; I think that puts us at about six in the program. You can never have enough middle management people, whether it is linebacker or tight ends. When we first got here, I thought we were shy in that position and between last year and this year we have improved tremendously in that area.
We brought in a couple of running backs. Both are good athletes and both have the potential to play a lot of positions for us.
We signed a quarterback out of junior college, Terry Mayo, who will be here in May.
From an offensive standpoint, I think we replenished a lot of the areas that we needed help in. As I told the staff when recruiting started, we could probably lineup next year and not recruit anybody because so many youngsters are coming back on the offensive side of the ball. But again, you are looking for improvement and I think that offensively we have a talented group coming in and hopefully someone can help us and get more depth at positions and more competition.
Defensively, our need factor was the defensive line. We went in and secured seven defensive linemen. I am pleased with what we did there. If I had to pick one position where we needed to upgrade from a standpoint of control the line of scrimmage, I thought it was the defensive line and we were successful in obtaining that.
We signed a couple more linebackers even though we signed eight last year. I think that you can never have enough of those type of bodies on your football team.
I was very pleased with the class. I think the assistant coaches did a tremendous job of getting out and getting it done. There is no question that the season had a lot to do with opening up more doors as far as getting more exposure this past year. So, I was very pleased with the class. All of the praise should go to the assistant coaches. They pretty much get this done and I just go in and in my own little way smile.
On signing three wide receivers:
We currently have a lot of possession-type receivers. I think the key to receiving is you have to catch and you have to run. I think that was the problem this year. We had guys who could catch it but you look at the yards after a catch, it wasn't great. I think that has to come down to speed and making somebody miss and getting north and south with the ball.
We have a bunch of kids back in that area, but I always thought that the No. 1 thing is catching the ball and second is toughness and speed factor of those guys. I think that is what creates separation and that is why we went after guys with legitimate 100-meter speed and track time.
On the type of schools UCF was recruiting against:
We had more kids visit this year that we were involved in against ACC schools and SEC schools than we had the year before. I still think that we are fighting a lot of areas, the BCS being one of them.
With the exposure that UCF got on television in 2005, we had a lot more people on our campus. That was what was missing from the year before. Once they come on campus, from a facilities standpoint, we are as good as any school I have been at. It is only going to get better with the addition of the stadium and the practice facility.
On recruiting in the state of Texas:
Texas is a great football state. It is like everything else, I think that it takes a year or two to get in.
We had kids visit from Texas and I think that the key today as well as anything else is the distance factor. That is a state that we are going to stay involved as far as recruiting is concerned. Much like Florida, Texas has a lot of good athletes there and plenty of good programs. But again, Florida is our first stop. You have to do well in-state in order to be successful.
On Seabreeze offensive guard Jeramy DeVane:
He is a 6-foot-3, 300 pound guard. He is a good student and a tough guy who looks it and plays with it. He is a kid that is a guard and can play defensive line also. That is a good combination.
We were fortunate to get Richard Clark last year. He had to sit out this year due to injury but I think those are two quality linemen from the same school. We had our eye on him (DeVane) when we were watching Richard last year. He was a kid that visited ACC and SEC schools and we were fortunate to get him. He has a great future with us.
On Parkway Academy wide receiver Keith Houston:
Keith is a track athlete that has legitimate track speed. As a junior, I think he was listed as the 31st player in the state.
He originally committed to Illinois and was on Florida's radar when Ron Zook was there. I think he is a diamond in the rough but I don't consider him a diamond in the rough, I think that he is an outstanding player that we are fortunate to get.
On not signing a kicker in this recruiting class:
We have two kickers in the program - a transfer from Tulane (Nick Beucher) and a transfer from UMass (Michael Torres) * and both players are good kickers. They will both kick for us next year.
I have seen enough of them kicking this past season that I know they can help us.
On the signing of quarterback Terry Mayo:
Terry is a big athlete. He was a kid that came out of high school in North Carolina and was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers.
We have seen on film and met with him and know he is a very talented athlete. He will be here in May and will have a bright future. We have quarterbacks in the program that I am pleased with. I don't think you can have enough quarterbacks because the team goes with the quarterback.