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For UCF Football, Relationships in the State of Alabama Will Pay Recruiting Dividends

UCF Football needs to continue to recruit the state of Alabama hard, as the groundwork with relationships has already been built.

There are only so many states that are as difficult to recruit as Alabama, but there also only so many coaching staffs with connections into that same state as the one at UCF.

UCF Head Football Coach Gus Malzahn has 11 total years of experience at Auburn, three as an Offensive Coordinator and eight as the Head Coach. Many of his staff members have also played and/or coached within the state of Alabama. Those years of working inside the state of Alabama borders will eventually pay dividends along the recruiting trail.

The Knights did not sign a high school prospect from Alabama in the class of 2022, but that will likely change sooner rather than later. Here’s why.

The most important thing to remember about UCF recruiting the state of Alabama would be relationships. Every time a coach like UCF Tight Ends Coach and Special Teams Coordinator Brian Blackmon picks up the phone to call someone in the state of Alabama, it’s probably someone he knows and/or a person that one of his coaching contacts knows.

Why? He was a Coach at Opelika High School for 21 years, as well as being the President of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors and Coaches Association, just for starters. He also coached under Coach Malzahn at Auburn for one season, as well as coached at Troy for three seasons.

That’s a lot of time to build relationships. To say that Coach Blackmon knows his way around the state of Alabama would be an understatement. He’s one of many on Coach Malzahn’s staff that know the Yellowhammer State well, in fact. Each of the following coaches have also been on staffs in the state of Alabama:

Co-Defensive Coordinator David Gibbs

Co-Defensive Coordinator Travis Williams

Offensive Line Coach Herb Hand

Cornerbacks Coach Addison Williams

That does not even count the administrative staff or recruiting staff, both of which have ties to the state of Alabama and currently work in the UCF Football program.

Additionally, despite UCF not signing any high school player from Alabama in the class of 2022, that does not mean those relationships with underclassmen will not eventually lead to the Knights signing some talented prospects inside the state of Alabama borders.

Recruiting is a marathon, not a sprint. Now that the UCF coaching staff is established in Orlando, those relationships with top Alabama prospects will grow. To finalize the primary points about why UCF needs to continue to recruit Alabama prospects, do note that the state of Florida will always be the bread and butter for the Knights. Alabama players will be the supplement. There’s also an extension of that point.

Some of those dividends just might come about a little differently than say five or 10 years ago.

Considering the following point about UCF football recruiting, and honestly every other school in the county that’s recruiting at the Division I level (FBS): the Transfer Portal makes it much different.

“The game has changed,” says Coach Malzahn. In fact, he’s uttered that statement several times since coming to coach the Knights. He’s referring to how recruiting has indeed transformed into a different situation than it used to be.

Even if the Knights just sign one, perhaps two, recruits from the state of Alabama (high school or transfer), that could be a really good player that helps the UCF depth chart take an important step in moving the program forward. Few states produce high-end talent quite like Alabama and it far exceeds the offers that programs like in-state programs Alabama and Auburn will offer. Indeed, UCF can find some true gems in the Yellowhammer State outside the top ranked prospects.

There are some other interesting and important points about why UCF should recruit Alabama in today’s edition of The Daily Knight podcast. Give it a listen, as it goes into detail about the points mentioned above, as well as a few more reasons UCF should hit Alabama recruiting hard.

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