Under the direction of the new coaching staff, UCF football has landed its first Texas prospect. Caden Kitler is an offensive lineman from The Colony (Texas) John Paul II. The big offensive lineman previously established a relationship with newly hired UCF Offensive Line Coach Herb Hand and committed to the program Wednesday afternoon.
Coach Hand began recruiting Kitler while being the Offensive Line Coach for the University of Texas (2018 - 2020), and continued to do so when arriving in Orlando to coach offensive linemen for UCF. Kitler is also a unique offensive linemen due to his positional flexibility.
The 6’3”, 300-pound offensive lineman played offensive tackle as a junior, and he began playing center this spring for John Paul II. Kitler took the time to discuss why he selected UCF over the other programs he officially visited, Memphis (June 4) and Boise State (June 11), as well as discuss his thoughts about UCF coaches and the school itself.
Thoughts on playing for UCF Head Coach Gus Malzahn?
“I’m really excited about it! I know at Auburn, he was a winner. That’s what I want to do with my football career, I want to win. I want to go to a program where they are going to win.”
Give people something about Coach Hand that most people would not know.
“Yeah, he has a lot of energy. Every coach I’ve met, they’ve lacked the kind of energy he has and, he’s excited about everything.
“For example, we were doing knife throwing at a main event kind of thing we went to while I was in Florida, and he hit a bullseye. He got so excited! I’ve never seen it before so...You could just see his passion in everything he does.”
They had a knife throwing competition?
“They had an axe-throwing competition (during the UCF visit). We were throwing hatchets at a wall. We were just doing a little competition between me, Coach Hand and my dad.”
How did you do in the axe-throwing competition?
“I didn’t do as good as I thought I would. Because I throw knives at my house. I have a pair of throwing knives so I do that every now and then, but the axe is totally different. It’s more weight, so I mean I gotta get used to for sure.”
You obviously know Coach Malzahn and Coach Hand. What about the other coaches on the staff? Which ones did you really get to know?
“So, I got to know Coach Kinne. I got to know Coach Pickrell, and those are the two I got to know throughout the weekend. Coach Pickrell drove us around in a car every single day. We got to know him real good during the car rides.
“Then, Coach Kinne, he actually played for another coach that was recruiting me. So, I heard a lot of good things about him from another coach which is great.”
What separated UCF from Boise State and Memphis?
“So, what separated UCF was definitely the way they do the academics. I know Boise State has a strong football program, and Memphis does, too. They both have new head coaches so nobody really knows, um, what’s going to happen next year because of the new head coaches.
“So, I don’t really want to base this question on a football answer. Like I was saying the other day, they took pro (point) from every school I went to and put it all into one and that’s why I like them (UCF).”
What are you looking for the most with just being a student at the University of Central Florida?
“Probably being on that campus. I’m not going to lie. Just the scenery around me. Just walking around seeing palm trees everywhere. It’s going to be different, but I’m going to love it.”
Position-wise, have you spoken any further with Coach Hand about whether you are going to play guard, center, where does that stand?
“That’s kind of up in the air. We are going to talk again later tonight after we get off the phone. So, I might ask him that question. I’m not sure. I think my projected position for the first year is going to be guard because they are losing a senior guard when I go there.
“But, you never know. I might be a center for a few years and take the starting center’s place when he leaves.”
Did you get a chance to meet with any of the current players?
“Yeah, so we went out in a group and met a lot of them. I can’t remember all of their names, but my host, I think his name is Lokahi (Pauole). So, I got to know him pretty good. He was talking about the decision-making process when he was in my position. And, just how he likes it right now.”
Did the UCF players spend much time with you?
“Yeah, so what I liked so much about them is they went out of their way to start conversations with me. So, I took that well because they didn’t have to do that. They did that on their own time. You know what I mean?”
One last question. Do you think you are going to miss Texas, or are you ready to head off to Orlando, Fla.?
“You know, Texas weather is the most B.S. weather I’ve ever been through so I don’t think I’m going to miss it. I am going to miss my house and my parents, but not Texas as a whole, no. I’m ready to get out.”
A big thank you to Kitler as he had one of the best interviews in a very long time. Informative, insightful, and honest. That’s all one can ask for during an interview.
With that, the UCF Knights secured their fifth verbal commitment for the class of 2022. There will be a film evaluation and breakdown later this evening from Inside The Knights, so check back later this evening to read about and watch Kitler in action.