Eustis linebacker Jaylon Graham received his eighth
NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision scholarship offer Friday, and this was a big one for the Graham family, as nearby UCF pulled the trigger.
Graham said mom is very happy.
“I’m very interested in UCF and in fact, my mom wants me to stay close by home, but you know, I’m interested in every school right now,” Graham said. “The UCF program is on the rise though and I am definitely interested in what they have to offer.
“The football program is getting better and better and they have a very good academic program, as well.”
The news was relayed to Graham by UCF defensive coordinator Jim Fleming, who actually likes the 6-foot-3, 240-pounder as a defensive end.
“[Fleming] said they have been watching me for a very long time now and that they were thinking about offering me as a linebacker, but now they want me as a defensive end,” Graham said. “He said he showed my film to the rest of the staff and they decided they want to get me down there so they pulled the trigger on me.”
UCF will be offering limited scholarships during this recruiting period, with limits still in place after sanctions handed down by the NCAA for violations two years ago. UCF also has just seven scholarship senior on its current roster. The Knights are expected to sign about 12 players to the 2014 recruiting class.
“I feel very honored for them to give me a scholarship offer, especially if they are only giving out 12,” said Graham, the No. 17 player in the Sentinel's 2014 Central Florida Super60. “I’m just very blessed and I have to keep working harder and harder.”
Graham, who also has offers from Arizona, Louisville, Kentucky, Memphis, Marshall, FAU and Indiana, said most schools are still considering him a linebacker candidate at this stage.
“Certain schools have talked to me a little bit about defensive end, like South Carolina and a few others, but that’s about it,” he said. “Most who have offered me have just been talking to me about playing linebacker.”
Of course, Graham just wants to be on the field.
“To me I can play any position they put me at … defensive end, defensive tackle, middle linebacker, outside linebacker, weak-side end, strong-side end. It doesn’t matter,” Graham said. “My favorite thing is to come off the end and I feel like nine times out of 10 I’m going to beat that offensive tackle guarding me around the end, so defensive end should be no problem for me.”
Graham, who has 4.8-second speed in the 40-yard dash and a 3.1 core GPA, said he doesn’t have a set timetable for making a decision, but he would like to narrow his list down to an order by summer’s end.
“With the way things are rolling in right now , I’m comfortable with all the schools that have already offered me,” Graham said. “I’m still interested in all of them. None of them are even really my least favorite right now.”