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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Central Florida
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  Gabriel has averaged 3,611 passing yards through his first two seasons and it's safe to assume when he wraps up the 2021 campaign, he could wind up holding several of the school's career records. He cut his interception percentage from Year 1 (1.76%) to Year 2 (0.97%) in half while increasing his touchdown-to-interception ratio from 4.14 to 8. To put it in perspective, during his Heisman Trophy season in 2019, former LSU quarterback Joe Burrow's interception percentage was 1.14% and his touchdown-to-interception ratio was 10. Gabriel will be a junior so there's always a chance he returns in 2022 but another solid season could be enough to draw his interest at the next level. - Orlando Sentinel

(DS#17 QB) Jr/2023 QB Dillon GabrielCentral Florida
News Source: Orlando Sentinel
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  UCF football continues to find talent in the transfer portal, this time getting a commitment from Kennesaw State linebacker Bryson Armstrong Thursday. Armstrong, who was the Big South Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2019, becomes the eighth player to join the Knights program since the hiring of Gus Malzahn back in February. The 5-foot-11, 205-pounder registered 314 career tackles along with 40 tackles for loss and 18.5 sacks in 45 appearances for the Owls. That included 30 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks in four games this spring as part of a truncated season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Armstrong was a three-time, first-team All-Big South selection from 2017-19, earning National Freshman of the Year honors in 2017. He signed with Kennesaw State out of Kell High School in Marietta, Georgia. - Orlando Sentinel

(DS#68 OLB) rSr/2022 OLB Bryson ArmstrongCentral Florida
News Source: Orlando Sentinel
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  For the second time in as many days, a former Notre Dame football player in the NCAA's transfer portal has found a new playing home. And for the second time in many days, that new home is a school in Florida. Former Irish wide receiver Jordan Johnson, a St. Louis native and five-star prospect coming out of high school, announced Tuesday afternoon on social media that he will play football at the University of Central Florida beginning in fall. Johnson has all four years of eligibility remaining and a fifth after the NCAA granted all college athletes an additional year because of the global pandemic. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Johnson enrolled at Notre Dame last summer out of DeSmet Jesuit in St. Louis. He played in just two games as a freshman - South Florida and Boston College - and did not record a catch. He didn't make a catch in the may 1 Blue-Gold Game either despite starting for the Blue team. - South Bend Tribune

(DS#999 WR) So/2024 WR Jordan JohnsonCentral Florida
News Source: South Bend Tribune
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  Jordan Johnson's freshman year will end in the next two weeks. It will also mark the end of his Notre Dame career. On Monday, the former five-star wide receiver recruit announced that he will be entering his name into the NCAA's transfer portal. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Johnson enrolled at Notre Dame last summer out of DeSmet Jesuit in St. Louis. He played in just two games as a freshman - South Florida and Boston College - and did not record a catch. He didn't make a catch in Saturday's Blue-Gold Game either despite starting for the Blue team. Rivals rated Johnson as a five-star prospect and ranked him as the No. 5 wide receiver and No. 28 overall in the 2020 class. 247Sports slated Johnson as a four-star recruit, the No. 11 wide receiver and No. 62 overall. Johnson could remove himself from the transfer portal and stay at Notre Dame much like senior safety Houston Griffith did in January, but that seems unlikely given Johnson's statement and how coveted he may be as a transfer candidate with at least four years of eligibility remaining. - South Bend Tribune

(DS#999 WR) So/2024 WR Jordan JohnsonCentral Florida
News Source: South Bend Tribune
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  UCF freshman tight end Nathan Boerboom has announced he has entered the transfer portal. Boerboom, a 3-star prospect out of Chesapeake, Virginia, was part of the Knights' 2021 recruiting class. He was one of two tight ends signed in the class along with Charlie Browder. It's the third UCF player to enter the portal over the past two days. Tight end Tony Forrest Jr. and quarterback Gaston Moore also announced they were entering the portal to continue their careers elsewhere. Forrest was part of UCF's 2020 recruiting class and appeared in one game last season. - Orlando Sentinel

(DS#999 TE) So/2024 TE Tony Forrest JrCentral Florida
News Source: Orlando Sentinel
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  05/03/21 - Tay GowanrSr/2021, Central Florida, 6-1, 186 (DS#53 CB) + More +

  UCF set a school record with five players taken in the 2021 NFL Draft. Cornerback Tay Gowan and receivers Tre Nixon and Jacob Harris were among the players selected on the final day Saturday, joining defensive backs Richie Grant and Aaron Robinson, who were second-and third-round selections, respectively. It's the first time the school has had three defensive backs selected in the same draft. Harris was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the fourth round with the 141st pick while Gowan (No. 223) was taken in the sixth round by the Arizona Cardinals and Nixon (No. 242) selected by the New England Patriots in the seventh round. - Orlando Sentinel

(DS#53 CB) rSr/2021 CB Tay GowanCentral Florida
News Source: Orlando Sentinel
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  UCF could be adding another defensive lineman to its roster after former Western Kentucky redshirt freshman Ricky Barber Jr. announced Wednesday he's transferring to play for the Knights. Barber, who entered the transfer portal last week, is coming off a season in which he recorded 51 tackles with six tackles for loss and four sacks. Barber was a 3-star product out of Doss Magnet Career Academy (Louisville, Kentucky) when he signed with the Hilltoppers as part of their 2019 class. He appeared in four games in 2019 before redshirting the rest of the season. The 6-foot-3, 290-pound tackle was an All-Conference USA honorable mention in 2020, earning a spot on the Football Writers Association of America All-American team as well. He'll reunite with new UCF defensive tackles coach Kenny Martin, who coached tackles at Western Kentucky from 2018 until he left to join the Knights. - Orlando Sentinel

(DS#13 DT) rSo/2024 DT Ricky BarberCentral Florida
News Source: Orlando Sentinel
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  Western Kentucky defensive tackle Ricky Barber has entered the transfer portal, WKU confirmed to the Daily News on Friday. The news was first reported by the Rivals NCAA Transfer Portal Twitter account, and retweeted by Barber. Barber started each of the team's 12 games last season and totaled 58 tackles, seven tackles for loss, four sacks and a forced fumble. He came on strong at the end of the season, with 10 tackles in the LendingTree Bowl loss to Georgia State and five of his tackles for loss and three sacks coming in the final four games. - BG Daily News

(DS#13 DT) rSo/2024 DT Ricky BarberCentral Florida
News Source: BG Daily News
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  Jake Hescock is a college football anomaly. At 24 years old, Hescock isn't necessarily UCF's version of Father Time, but the super-senior tight end is the veteran presence on this team. "The first thing I did was ask him if he was the same age I was," joked new tight ends coach Brian Blackmon. "He's been in college football forever." Hescock has been a part of the Knights program since 2017 when he arrived as a transfer from Wisconsin. So when Josh Heupel suddenly left to become the head coach at Tennessee Jan. 27, it was Hescock who stepped up to calm his teammates. "This is my fourth different coaching staff now, so I'm definitely a veteran in that area," said Hescock, who missed part of spring camp while dealing with COVID issues. "It's difficult sometimes not to know what's coming, especially in our profession. We want to be prepared and have a plan, so when that plan is not right there in front of you, some guys get anxious and nervous. "I've been through it before, so I was able to provide some calmness and reassure those guys that everything is fine, everything is going to work out and we're going to be in good hands in the end." - Orlando Sentinel

(DS#41 TE) rSr/2022 TE Jake HescockCentral Florida
News Source: Orlando Sentinel
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  Growing up in South Florida, UCF wideout Brandon Johnson gravitated toward superstar NFL receivers like Calvin Johnson or Andre Johnson for inspiration on the football field. Another player he idolized was closer to home: Chad 'Ochocinco' Johnson, who happens to be his cousin. "He's a great receiver to look up to," Johnson said of his six-time Pro Bowler family member. Johnson is in his first season with the Knights, arriving as a graduate transfer from Tennessee in December. The former 3-star Fort Lauderdale prospect spent five seasons with the Volunteers, bringing some much-needed experience to the UCF receivers group. "I came here for the storied wide receiver tradition," said Johnson, who has 969 career yards. "Some great wide receivers have come from here before I came here, so I just want to come and try to live up to that legacy."

UCF has seen a dozen players selected in the NFL draft including Gabe Davis (2019), Tre'Quan Smith (2018), Breshad Perriman (2015), Mike Sims-Walker (2007) and Brandon Marshall (2006). The program has also produced a 1,000-yard receiver in three of the past four seasons including Marlon Williams (1,039 yards) last season. But the departures of Williams, Tre Nixon and Jacob Harris have left the receivers group lacking practical experience. - Orlando Sentinel


(DS#115 WR) rSr/2022 WR Brandon JohnsonCentral Florida
News Source: Orlando Sentinel
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  As a native of the Tampa Bay area, Jacob Harris grew up rooting for the hometown Buccaneers. He quickly identified with receiver Mike Evans, whose 6-foot-5 lanky frame reminded Harris of his build, providing him with inspiration as he took off on his football path. But as the former UCF receiver begins the next step toward a possible NFL career, the thought of someday playing for the Bucs is intriguing. "That would mean a lot to my family," Harris said. "I'm a Tampa boy and I would love to go to Tampa, but I'm open to going anywhere. It doesn't matter where I land." Harris was among 10 former UCF players taking part in the program's Pro Day Thursday, each looking to make their case before the April 29-May 1 draft. The 6-5, 219-pounder caught the attention of many of the representatives from all 32 NFL teams on hand at Nicholson Fieldhouse when he ran the 40-yard dash in a blazing 4.39 seconds. "I didn't surpass my expectations, but I wanted to run a little bit faster than that," said Harris, who declared for the NFL draft after three seasons with the Knights. "I'm happy with how the day went. There's not much I can complain about." - Orlando Sentinel

(DS#60 WR) rSr/2021 WR Jacob HarrisCentral Florida
News Source: Orlando Sentinel
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  Nobody on the UCF roster is more excited to be back on the football field this spring than Kalia Davis. The redshirt junior defensive tackle is back with the Knights after opting out of last season with concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and its effect on the football season. He was one of 10 players on the team who chose to opt out and put their football careers on hold. "Around the time I decided to opt out, there was a lot of stuff up in the air - the Big Ten canceling the season and the season was up in the air," said Davis, who appeared in 21 games in two seasons. "I took a few days to talk with my family, and talking with my mom, she helped me make a decision that was best for me. "At the end of the day, I'm happy to be back and ready to work." Not being around his teammates was difficult for Davis, who followed UCF's exploits navigating a difficult 6-4 campaign. "I watched every game. I couldn't miss a game. If I was out doing something, I made sure I had a subscription to whatever TV channel the game was on," Davis said. "It sucked just watching the games on Saturday, I should have been out there with them." - Orlando Sentinel

(DS#999 DT) rSr/2022 DT Kalia DavisCentral Florida
News Source: Orlando Sentinel
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  UCF coach Gus Malzahn picked up another commitment from the transfer portal in BYU linebacker Hirkley Latu. The Kahuku, Hawaii product signed as part of BYU's 2016 recruiting class but did not play for the Cougars until 2018, choosing to serve on his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Atlanta, Georgia. Latu took a redshirt in 2018 after suffering an injury that limited him to the scout team. He entered the transfer portal in August 2019 before choosing to return in 2020. But after only one appearance last season, he entered the transfer portal again. - Orlando Sentinel

(DS#999 OLB) rJr/2023 OLB Hirkley LatuCentral Florida
News Source: Orlando Sentinel
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  UCF will wrap up football camp by hosting its annual spring game April 10 at the Bounce House. The Knights kicked off Monday with the first of 15 practices that will take place over the next several weeks and culminate with the spring game between the offense and defense. Last year's game was canceled due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. "Due to COVID, they initially had not planned for a 2021 spring football game," athletics director Terry Mohajir said. "However, the overwhelming enthusiasm created by the hire of Gus Malzahn as our new head coach has made it clear our fans very much want to get a look at our team this spring."

Kickoff is set for noon and attendance will be limited based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with state and local health officials. "Our spring game will be at 25% capacity," Mohajir told the Orlando Sentinel last week. "We're not going to have tailgating this year. Plus, we're giving our students and athletes a chance to get home for spring break and let them enjoy spring break." UCF is scheduled to have spring break April 11-18. - Orlando Sentinel


(DS#5 OG) rSr/2022 OG Cole SchneiderCentral Florida
News Source: Orlando Sentinel
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  MARCH 15 BIG SOUTH DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Kennesaw State linebacker Bryson Armstrong led the KSU defense with eight tackles (five solo), in addition to 2.5 tackles-for-loss for minus-17 yards, and 1.5 sacks (-13). His effort helped the Owls limit the Buccaneers to 244 yards of offense and just 84 on the ground. Armstrong's first stop behind the line led to a 3rd-and-long play and eventual punt. His first sack was on a third down that forced a punt, and his second sack was for a nine-yard loss on first down. - Big South Football

(DS#68 OLB) rSr/2022 OLB Bryson ArmstrongCentral Florida
News Source: Big South Football
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