Pete DiNovo leads small group of recruits at UCF home opener

There was a limited contingent of high school recruits in attendance at UCF's non-conference battle with FIU on Saturday, but led by quarterback commit Pete DiNovo, there was quality in the numbers.

DiNovo, a 6-foot-3, 205-pounder out of Tarpon Springs East Lake who committed in June, brought with him one of the top, if not the top receiver in the state for the 2014 class in teammate Artavis Scott, and another underclassmen from the 2015 bunch in athlete George Campbell.


Scott, a flashy, glue-handed teammate upon whom DiNovo has relied heavily, made the trip with the future UCF QB. Scott is being targeted by numerous big-time programs and already has offers from Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, South Carolina, West Virginia and a slew of others, including UCF.

Campbell is another player who has helped DiNovo surpass the 4,000-yard mark for career passing. He's longer on the stretch than Scott and bigger overall at 6-2, 180. He can also play defensive back and is all over the field for East Lake. He has UCF, USF and Vandy offers so far, but this kid will break the 30-offer barrier before his senior season.


Also at Bright House Networks Stadium with DiNovo was St. Petersburg Lakewood receiver Rodney Adams, who was committed to UF until recently cutting ties with the Gators and reopening his recruitment. Adams, a 6-1, 170-pounder who has a knack for big catches (25 catches for 940 yards, 10 touchdowns and a whopping 37-yards-per-catch average), was held out of early practice sessions and reports circulated that it was due to a mysterious heart condition that showed up during his physical this year.


But he was back on the field in time for SPL's opener and caught a 59-yard touchdown pass in a win over Pinellas County Seminole. His favorite is thought to be West Virginia, but his recruitment has changed a bit after the physical results.

Flowery Branch (Ga.) High's Kris Smith was on an official visit, the only player known to be on an official trip on Saturday. The speedy  linebacker (6-4, 205) has 4.6-second speed in the 40-yard dash and, along with UCF, has offers from Cincinnati, Colorado State, Indiana, Pittsburgh, Purdue and Syracuse.

St. Pete Lakewood teammates and twin defensive backs Shaquem and Shaquill Griffin were also on hand. Both players committed to UCF in July and seven of the 11 2013 UCF commits are from the West Coast of Florida as the Knights have done well in Tampa Bay and below.


Among the local contingent of players were Orlando Olympia offensive lineman Shawn Curtis and Orlando Edgewater teammates linebacker Troy Dunnell and defensive end Malik Thompson.

Curtis (6-5, 270) recently said his favorites are Iowa State, Mississippi State, NC State, USF and Syracuse. He does not currently have a UCF offer, but does have 17 offers total. Curtis is ranked No. 26 in the Sentinel's 2013 Central Florida Super60.

Dunnell, a rangy, quick backer who could probably develop into a college safety at 6-1, 195, will need to work on his cover skills for the next level. He's a tremendous athlete and is still looking for his first offer. Dunnell is ranked No. 46 in the Sentinel's 2013 Central Florida Super60.

Thompson, at 6-7, 270, is an imposing figure with or without pads. He's a gifted athlete who is still learning his position, but he's strong, big and his upside is endless. Edgewater has opened the season without a win in three games, a surprising dilemma for the Orlando power. These two will be counted on to help right the ship over in College Park for new coach Dave Wensyel.

Two defensive tackles with whom UCF has gotten into the recruiting act are Immokalee teammates Deadrin Senat and Kerby Henry. Senat, a solidly built 6-1, 311-pounder, was committed to FSU in the spring, but has backed off that commitment and said recently following the Indians win over Sanford Seminole, that he is wide open.

His sidekick Henry (6-0, 285), who with Senat plays both ways on the offensive and defensive lines out of necessity at Immokalee due to numbers, is still waiting on his first offer. Immokalee is a favorite to battle for the Class 5A state title this season.

One other player in attendance who is also currently committed UCF was Tate Hernly (6-3, 270), a good-looking big man who plays offensive center. He should give UCF a nice offensive line foundation in the future.

Among other visitors on campus Saturday was Georgia State commit Oshay Carter, a 6-3, 235-pound quarterback at Jacksonville Trinity Christian.


Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at

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