Feb. 4, 2010
ORLANDO, Fla. -
By John Denton
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2010 SIGNING DAY ROSTER
This how in tune UCF's rabid fanbase was with the recruiting class that could very well turn out to be the finest in school history: When assistant head coach David Kelly, the architect who recruited 15 of the 23 players in this star-studded class, was called to the stage, dozens of fans jumped to their feet and gave him a boisterous standing ovation.
The consensus among fans at UCF's Signing Day party Wednesday night was that the Knights showed their growth as a program by snagging some of the finest skill players in the Southeast.
When UCF beat out the University of Georgia for dynamic wide receiver Jordan Akins and got the best of Florida, Florida State and Miami in the battle for wide out Joshua Reese and wooed offensive guard Torrian Wilson away from Stanford and Louisville, it became apparent that the Knights are not challenging - and beating - some of the heavyweights in the recruiting game.
And the addition of talent from the 23 players officially signed on Wednesday shows that the future is bright for UCF football.
``It's probably the best class we've ever had at UCF and that's exciting for us fans,'' said Titusville's Lynn Trivett, a longtime Golden Knights Club booster. ``I'm trying to reserve some of my excitement because I know it might be two years before some of these players contribute. But I think there's no question that this is a great day for UCF.''
It was a great day, in large part, because of the work of Kelly, who had established quite a Miami-to-Orlando pipeline with his tireless efforts in recruiting. Kelly and fellow assistant coach Sean Beckton
helped the Knights pluck nine players out of Miami, five of them alone coming from Miami Central High School.
Kelly said he didn't mind that there was some 11th hour drama on Wednesday what with the Knights not knowing about the future of star defensive lineman Jose Jose, Wilson and Akins until just before their official letters of intent hit the team headquarters. Such is the often the case, Kelly said, when you recruit elite athletes with choices. And in many cases, the Knights were the top choice.
``I really think it shows the growth of our program that we were competing against some of the top schools for some of these top athletes and we feel like we got our share,'' Kelly said.
Orlando's Todd Van Hoozier, a 1994 graduate of UCF, has been following UCF's work in recruiting for weeks and said he was delighted with how the Knights snagged some of the top talent in Florida and Georgia.
``I think it just validates that UCF is a program on the rise by landing some of the top players like we did,'' said Van Hoozier, an attendee at Wednesday's signing party. ``You look at some of the other places that our guys got offers from and it tells you that we're recruiting a better quality of athlete now.''
Orlando's Matt Assenmacher, a 1993 UCF graduate, can't wait to see Reese and Akins pair up at wide receiver for the Knights as soon as next season. Both thwarted SEC and ACC offers to play for Kelly, the wide receivers coach, and UCF.
``We're looking at Akins and Josh Reese and hoping they can be like Brandon Marshall and Mike Walker were for us a few years ago,'' Assenmacher said. ``You hope they are that good.''
John Denton's Knights Insider appears on UCFathletics.com several times a week. E-mail John at email@example.com.