To say that UCF has done a good job recruiting talent for skilled positions would be an understatement. Speed, quickness, power and versatility were all mixed with the next six rookies.
The key element here would be fit. It’s one thing to recruit talent, it’s another to integrate those talents into an attacking scheme like UCF. After seeing all of these young men on film and five of the six live, there’s no doubt that the Knights have signed the kind of players needed to elevate offense in the long run.
Here’s the podcast for all six players followed by a written overview from each prospect.
Thomas Castellanos, quarterback
If there is a better sheer fit for the UCF head football coach at Gus Malzahn offense in Florida or Georgia, the two main states Knights tend to recruit, is unbeknownst to anyone working at Inside The Knights.
It would be # 1 on the list: in shape. Castellanos, from Waycross County (Ga.) Ware, brings elite arm, the ability to throw from many different angles, as well as a running throw. All of these attributes will be used when performing a propagation attack that has run-pass option sets. Take a look at this Castellanos pass and see for yourself:
When Castellanos runs he’s as dynamic as any prep quarterback in the country. There’s a reason schools like Clemson and Florida State were interested in him as a defensive back and running back respectively. He’s really good.
It’s hard to imagine UCF not using him in packages near the goal line during his first season, and that is if he doesn’t win the quarterback position.
Job classification: A-
Jordan McDonald, running back
A downhill runner with second-tier speed to escape many defensive backs, McDonald’s overall skills will allow him to be a three-way running back for the Knights.
The most important aspect for him to play early is to learn the pass protection system. Once that’s good, McDonald’s will be more likely to step onto the pitch for the Knights, even with a loaded back room. His style in high school was similar to a name familiar to Knights fans.
He’s a lot like current UCF running back Isaiah Bowser in that he really cuts the distance inside tackles, and he’s adept at reaching the perimeter and missing a defender to create large size games.
Playing for Alpharetta (Ga.) Milton also helped McDonald’s as it is a 7A program just north of Atlanta. He’s used to playing against elite talent.
Job classification: A-
Tyler Griffin, wide receiver
A long, lean receiver, Griffin is a really nervous player for his size. In fact, Brooklet (Ga.) Prospect Southeast Bulloch even played as a running back when he was 6’4 “, 200 lbs. There are two other areas to think about with Griffin before taking the plunge. in his career at UCF.
First, he dominated for a while, but he did so in rural Southeast Georgia. If he is able to regularly broke media coverage as a freshman for the Knights, he’s going to play really early on. The UCF offense loses Brandon Johnson after scoring 11 TDs. He played the limit receiver, the exact same wide receiver position Griffin will likely play.
Will he be ready for physical cornerbacks right away? If so, beware. Then again, it may take a year to adjust to all the technical nuances of college football. This is normal for the course.
Second, he jumped really well. This will help him play the limit position. He won 50-50 balls that other wide receivers couldn’t win.
Xavier Townsend, Large Receiver
An all-around player for Tampa, Fla. Berkeley Prep, Townsend focused on the running back during his high school career. However, he didn’t miss a beat no matter what position he was in, and his efforts extended to the wide receiver and the second leg.
Nimble and quick, Townsend’s ability to accelerate, stop quickly, then re-accelerate as he passed defenders was a thing of beauty. He also ran through tackles, as well as rotating tackles to gain additional ground.
He’s also used to catching football in-game on-screen and as a traditional receiver, and the latter category is where he’ll likely play for the Knights. Look for Townsend to play in the slot machine for UCF, although he can play wide as well.
Finally, he’ll be part of the Knights’ rematch at some point, if not in his first season.
Quan Lee, wide receiver
Few wide receivers catch the ball over their shoulders like Lee. Watching his senior film, this is one of the main areas that stood out. He made catches with defensive backs right on his hip and over his shoulder. It’s a tough take, but it’s a testament to Lee’s hand-eye coordination and general wide receiver talent.
Lee is best known for his shake-and-bake moves after the soccer ball hits his hands. Make no mistake about it, Lee has put on a show on several occasions when he caught soccer or led soccer. It was rare for the first defender to tackle him.
Lee is one of the most competitive players in the prep ranks and will bring a competitive edge to Orlando. He could play several roles for UCF as an outside receiver, slot machine receiver and in the rematch.
Overall, this group may not be complete yet as another receiver could be brought in through the transfer portal. Time will tell us. UCF probably needs another peripheral receiver that can play immediately. Otherwise, this group is exceptional.
Job classification: B +
Grant Stevens, tight end
Near Jacksonville at Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Nease, Stevens has made a name for himself as a versatile tight end who is truly an extension of the wide receiver body. His versatility in the passing game would be why.
Whether it was a shallow crossing, a turn route, and even a tight end screen, Stevens possessed the ability to catch football and then build distances afterwards. It’s not just a big body that catches football; he will create pieces with his feet.
Stevens is best suited as a loose tight end. The next step, in college, is to be able to play as a regular tight end online as well. In the short term, seek out Stevens to play in space more often.
Once his frame adds 10 extra pounds and is even stronger, Stevens will be more likely to face defensive ends and linebackers in the running game.
Overall, the most important point is that Stevens can be used in a variety of ways as a playmaker. Not a lot of tight ends run like he does when he comes out of high school.
As with the receiver position, it would be great to add another player to the squad through the transfer portal who can be a dominant run blocker from day one on the UCF campus. Beyond that point, he’s a very good player who will help the UCF offensive with his talent and overall offensive ability.
Job classification: B
For information on UCF’s coverage and recruiting, check out The Daily Knight podcast. For more information on college football, UCF and recruiting, take a look on Twitter: @fbscout_florida and @UCF_FanNation, as well as my YouTube channel and my Instagram page. Like and subscribe!
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