Naples Golden Gate High linebacker Stanley Sylverain knew he was going to commit to UCF when the Knights offered him in late August.
It was just a matter of when, not if, he’d pledge to UCF.
“I had liked the school before and I already told my parents and coaches that if they offer me, I’m committing,” Sylverain said. “So when that happened, I was excited because I had heard good things about the school and saw how they were developing.”
Sylverain (6-3, 215) committed to the Knights on Sunday afternoon, but there was a bit of anxiety leading up to the verbal.
UCF stood out to Sylverain throughout the recruiting process, but his recruiter and UCF linebacker coach Al Seamonson informed him that the Knights were planning on taking just one linebacker for the 2012 recruiting class.
“At first I was kind of worried because I know there were a couple of good linebackers and stuff like that,” Sylverain said. “When I got the offer, I was just anxious and excited because it blew my mind because I didn’t think I would be that linebacker to get the offer.”
Sylverain wanted to commit to the Knights within a week of receiving the offer from Seamonson, but UCF’s rule is that the Knights cannot accept a pledge until he meets head coach George O’Leary.
“They told me they were trying to get other linebackers,” Sylverain said. “So I figured that if they were trying to get other linebackers that I wouldn’t be recruited by them anymore, that they might have took someone else and that my offer wouldn’t have been there no more. So I was kind of worried about that, but then they offered me.”
His official offer came on Saturday after meeting O’Leary during his first visit to UCF.
“I really like their school,” Sylverain said. “I didn’t really get to see all of it. I got to see a little bit of the weight room when I was driving by and I went to the game. I really like what Coach O’Leary is doing with the program and how the program is set up and stuff like that.”
Sylverain plays defensive end in Golden Gate’s 4-3 scheme, but played linebacker last year in a 3-3-5 stack formation. Mike Digrigoli, Golden Gate’s head coach, said it would be an easy transition for Sylverain.
“Stanley is a very instinctual player,” Digrigoli said. “He understands leverage and is very quick off the ball. He has great size and great strength/. He’s what we call a finisher, he finishes tackles. He has the ability to do several things, to stop the run and he’s also a pretty good pass defender. He’s versatile. The biggest thing is upside, it’s tremendous. He’s really just starting to come into form with his physical attributes. He’s the kind of guy that projects at the next level.”
The Knights beat out Maryland, Navy, FIU and Iowa State for Sylverain’s services. None of the schools had officially offered but they had been calling him as recently as Friday.
One of the main reasons why Sylverain chose UCF was because of the school’s proximity to his home.
“My friends and my family liked it a lot,” Sylverain said. “In case of anything I could go down here or they could come up there, it’s really not that far. I’ve seen a little bit of it, but I can’t wait to come back and see the whole campus and see how it is. But so far, I like what I see.”
Sylverain is the first player from Collier County to commit to UCF since Lely High’s Ereck Plancher, who committed to UCF in 2007. Plancher died following an offseason conditioning program in 2008.