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.