Los Angeles Times

UCF jumps on the Andre Scott train, but it's crowded

One of Andre Scott’s latest college football scholarship offers came from hometown UCF on Monday. But this didn’t give the Orlando Oak Ridge quarterback/defensive back much reason to jump up and down.

He’s used to getting offers. He has 25 college offers, in fact. And until Tuesday, UCF wasn’t part of the mix, so his top five right now are South Carolina, USF, Cincinnati, Purdue and Wake Forest.

You see, UCF isn’t quite big enough, in Scott’s eyes. Yes, UCF is big. It has the second-largest enrollment in the nation with just over 56,000 students. More than any SEC school. Any school, for that matter, except Arizona State, which has more than 59,000 enrolled underclassmen.

“I mean as far as, you know, like publicity,” Scott said of his idea of a “big school.”

The way he thinks is understandable. That’s the reputation UCF fights. When people say “big school,” it’s not the size of the student body they are talking about.

“Big school,” to recruits means things like playing on national TV nearly every weekend , or playing in 100,000-seat stadiums, or playing in the SEC, or ACC or Big 10, et al., … those sorts of things that make impressions on impressionable young people.

As far as those things, sure, maybe teams in that conference are better suited for that sort of atmosphere. But UCF is trying to change all of that.  It starts with winning.  UCF has done that.

As for UCF selling itself with its positives and the like, it can start on guys like Andre Scott. Perhaps not a true believer, yet a possible convert in the future. UCF is striving to keep Orlando kids at home.

“Oh, yes, it’s an intriguing offer. It’s close to home,” Scot said. “but UCF it’s not big, publicity wise.  … [The SEC] is a very big deal. That’s like the best conference there is right now in college football and all the games are on TV so my mom can watch them and all that.”

After his UCF offer, he received offers from Wake Forest and North Carolina on Tuesday. Wake made his top five because he had already been in talks with the Demon Deacons’ coaches.

Known for guiding a high-powered Oak Ridge offense last season as quarterback, Scott is being pursued mainly as a defensive back by the schools who have offered. And that, for him, is not a problem.

“That’s fine. Doesn’t matter to me,” Scott said. “I just want to play football.”

Last year, Scott was the third-leading passer in Central Florida with 1,888 yards, connecting on 82-of-161 passes for 15 touchdowns. Perhaps more  impressive, however, was his average of 23 yards per pass completion.  But he didn’t just pass the ball. Scott also ran for 1,215 yards and 8 touchdowns on 114 carries. And, none of those numbers include what he did in two rounds of playoffs games.

He likes South Carolina now, but he hasn’t visited any schools and sounded as if his list was not set in stone.

“They are probably my No. 1 right now,” Scott said. “It’s a big school. I didn’t really get to know the program yet but the coach that came down, he seemed like cool people.”

Scott will be a busy man this summer and it starts off next weekend with the UCF 7-on-7 Tournament. Following that, his Oak Ridge team will play in 7-on-7 events at Dr. Phillips (hosted by FIU),  June 11; The Florida Premiere 7s at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, July 17-19, and the USF Sling and Shoot,  July 23-24.


Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at chays@tribune.com.


Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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