UCF recruiting notes: Knights host team camp

UCF KnightsFootballSportsBooker T. WashingtonWill D. Allen Florida State University

The dog days of summer are quickly arriving in Orlando but the UCF recruiting news shows no signs of slowing down.

There has been an abundance of recruiting information surrounding the UCF football program since this past Saturday (June 16), when the Knights hosted a lineman camp and received a verbal pledge from 2013 Naples Barron Collier linebacker Jake Berman (6-1, 220).

Since then, UCF has added another commitment and the Knights’ coaching staff is preparing for an on-campus team camp that will be comprised of various high school squads from the state.

To keep track of all recent UCF recruiting tidbits, the Sentinel takes a look at the week that was and the week that will be.

UCF Offensive Line/Defensive Line Camps

As reported this past Saturday, UCF hosted roughly 100 offensive and defensive linemen for its lineman camp. No scholarships were immediately offered, but several recruits did stand out and jump onto UCF’s radar.

<ul><li>2014 prospects emerge – Two of the top performers from the camp were Palm Bay Bayside’s Travonte Valentine and Wauchula Hardee’s Keyon Brown. Both are 2014 defensive linemen.

Valentine (6-3, 285) already committed to Louisville, but is still actively exploring all his options. He holds offers from Florida, Florida State, Alabama, Clemson and others.

Brown (6-3, 230) has seen his stock take off this offseason because of strong showings at camps and combines. According to Brown, UCF seemed impressed with him and might extend an offer earlier than expected.

“At one point in time they were saying that they were going to offer me in the spring, but they changed their mind to where they might offer me in the game,” Brown said. “They just want to see me play some more.”

<li>Hybrid in the waiting – Cocoa defensive end Deondre Barnett (6-3, 215) would have likely been named the camp MVP if awards were given out.

A hidden gem in the 2013 recruiting class, Barnett exhibited excellent burst and did a good job using hands, which makes it hard to believe that he has only one year of experience playing football.

After the event, Barnett was tried out at linebacker, which is where UCF likely views him.

“They kept me after to do linebacker drills,” Barnett said. “I guess I don’t know if they’d want me to be a hybrid, rush-linebacker, or if they just want me for a linebacker. I’m not too sure.”

Highly-recruited Cocoa running back Tarean Folston joined Barnett at UCF and watched his teammate compete at the camp. Barnett, who holds no offers at this point, said the two have discussed committing to the same school as a package deal.

<li>Offensive linemen in action – The camp may have been heavy on defensive linemen, but there were several strong 2013 offensive line prospects in attendance as well.

Spring Hill Springstead lineman Will Allen was a towering presence at 6-foot-6, 275 pounds. Since this past season, Allen has shed 50 pounds by cutting red meat, dairy and oils out of his diet.

He felt quicker during pass-protection drills and said that UCF coaches also noticed a difference.

“One big thing I’ve heard from UCF the whole time is that they like me, but they haven’t fallen in love with me,” Allen said. “I’ve been told on multiple occasions that I’m not an early-offer kid. A lot of them are still waiting to see improvement and that’s where I come from on the weight loss, to show that improvement I’m bringing to the table. [Defensive coordinator Jim Fleming] Coach Fleming saw me and he saw it, he knew I lost some weight. They all said my lateral movement and everything came along with it.”

Allen holds offers from Harvard, Georgia Southern and Bethune Cookman.

One player that Allen clicked with was Chris Flaig (6-5, 285), who recently transferred from Vero Beach St. Edwards to Vero Beach High.

Flaig said he didn’t have as strong of a showing as he would have liked, but he did stay after the camp to work on long snapping. He is considered a top long-snapping prospect in the 2013 recruiting class, but also holds four Division I offers as an offensive tackle.

Verbal Commitments

UCF received two verbal commitments this week.

Berman pledged to the Knights on Saturday and then Seffner Armwood offensive lineman Aaron Evans (6-5, 270) committed Monday, giving UCF nine commits for the 2013 recruiting class. At this point last year, UCF had just one pledge for the Class of 2012.

Visitor Expected

The Knights are scheduled to host one of their top 2013 defensive back prospects this weekend.

Clearwater Central Catholic’s Michael Stevenson will be on campus Saturday. The Knights are regarded as one of Stevenson’s favorite teams, along with Wake Forest and West Virginia.

Stevenson (6-1, 185) can play either safety or cornerback. He has double-digit offers and is ranked three-stars by Rivals.com and 247Sports.com.

Although Stevenson is high on UCF, he will likely take some more visits before making a decision.

Team Camps

An estimated nine teams will be on UCF’s campus Thursday through Saturday for team camp.

In the three days, teams will compete in full-contact practices, scrimmages and other competitions.

Teams expected to be in attendance include: Armwood, MiamiBooker T. Washington, Delray Beach American Heritage, Fort Pierce Central, Loxahatchee Seminole Ridge, Jacksonville Ed White, Lake Worth Park Vista, Jacksonville Ridgeview and Orange Park Oakleaf.

Some top participants are: Armwood safety Leon McQuay and receiver Alvin Bailey, Booker T. Washington linebacker Matthew Thomas and offensive lineman Denver Kirkland, and American Heritage running back Greg Bryant (Oklahoma commit) and offensive tackle Rod Johnson (Florida commit).

Seminole Ridge defensive tackle Kyle Shortridge (6-2, 275) holds offers from more than 20 schools, including Boise State, Texas A&M and Missouri.

UCF has yet to offer Shortridge, but he could receive one this week with a strong performance.

“I wouldn’t mind going there,” Shortridge said. “I’m just waiting to see what happens.”

Check the Sentinel the rest of the week for updates on the camp and other UCF and Florida recruiting news.

Brendan Sonnone is the Sentinel's recruiting correspondent and can be reached at brendansonnone@gmail.com. Follow Brendan on Twitter at @BSonnone or Facebook at Brendan Sonnone or at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting.

 

 

 

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Comments
Loading