Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

UCF fills gaps despite sanctions

East Lake principal Bob Poth, left, congratulates Pete DiNovo after the quarterback signs his letter of intent with UCF.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

East Lake principal Bob Poth, left, congratulates Pete DiNovo after the quarterback signs his letter of intent with UCF.

ORLANDO — George O'Leary knew he would have issues to overcome while securing his first Big East recruiting class.

The Central Florida coach believed NCAA sanctions would be the biggest. Instead, it turned out to be last-minute poaching attempts.

"(Running back) Micah Reed, right up until (Wednesday) morning and five minutes before he (sent) the letter (of intent), he had schools trying to flip him," O'Leary said of one of his top targets Wednesday.

The Knights lost 20 seniors from their 2012 team that finished 10-4 and won the Beef O'Brady's Bowl. And the NCAA reduced the their allotment of official visits from 56 to 30 as part of a litany of penalties levied last year for recruiting violations that stemmed from involvement with agent runners.

O'Leary, though, believes he filled the needs of his roster with a 19-player class to compete in a new conference this fall.

"This is the first year that the class that we had … there were at least nine or 10 guys that were trying to get flipped by SEC schools, ACC schools, which I think shows the quality of the class," he said.

The class also includes three January enrollees, including quarterbacks Pete DiNovo (East Lake) and Justin Holman.

"The three key elements that we looked at (for all recruits) was range, speed and versatility," O'Leary said. "A number of the athletes that we signed can play a couple of positions."

Big catches: At a position of need, UCF held on to Reed after Texas came calling with a late offer. When his letter arrived, it drew cheers from the coaches. The final faxed letter to come in, from linebacker Chequan Burkett, was vital, too. Auburn took a hard look at him late in the process. Coaches also were excited about Lakewood defensive back Shaquill Griffin, who drew major interest in the past week.

A SCARE: The Knights weren't sure what would happen as the clock ticked past noon and Burkett's letter had not come across their fax line. Eventually they got ahold of Burkett and finalized a class that did not have any of the final oral commitments flip at the last minute.

One lost: Offensive lineman Wilson Bell, a one-time recruit, signed with Florida State.

Big potential: O'Leary has high hopes for William Stanback. Listed as an athlete, he shined as a running back at Hempstead (N.Y.) Uniondale but showed potential on both sides of the ball.

Information from the Associated Press and the Orlando Sentinel was used in this report.

UCF fills gaps despite sanctions 02/06/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 9:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Little separates McElwain and Muschamp eras of futility at Florida

    College

     Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain watches the second quarter of the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville.
  2. Mikhail Sergachev scores twice as Lightning shuts out Blue Jackets (w/ video)

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Mikhail Sergachev said he blacked out for a few seconds after his first NHL goal Thursday night, a rocket slap shot from the point.

    Mikhail Sergachev, front, looks like he’s very in the moment with teammate Dan Girardi after scoring his first NHL goal, though he says he blacked out for a bit. He scores again in the second.
  3. Dodgers rout Cubs 11-1 to win pennant, head to World Series for first time since '88

    Ml

    CHICAGO — Enrique Hernandez put a Hollywood ending on an LA story three decades in the making.

    The Dodgers celebrate their Game 5 victory Thursday night over the Cubs at Wrigley Field, putting Los Angeles in the World Series for the first time since 1988.
  4. Joe Smith's takeaways from Thursday's Lightning-Blue Jackets game

    Lightning Strikes

    While Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov grab the headlines, don't sleep on their linemate, Vladislav Namestnikov. Namestnikov is far from a third wheel, with eight points in eight games. "He might not have the names the other two have, but he's as pivotal and vital to that line as the others," coach Jon Cooper said.

  5. Lightning journal: Derrick Brooks helps J.T. Brown make a difference

    Lightning Strikes

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lightning wing J.T. Brown's decision to stop his anthem protest began to take shape just a few days after he raised his right fist before the Oct. 7 game against the Panthers in Sunrise.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown (23) on the ice at Lightning hockey training camp in Brandon on Monday (09/18/17).