UCF Football's Alabama Prep Connections Will Pay Dividends

There are several Alabama recruits that the UCF football program covets, and for good reason. Here’s some insight into what the state of Alabama means to the UCF program moving forward, as well as two experts discussing Alabama prep prospects.
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The state of Alabama provides a rich history for high school football. Utilizing one of the busiest Interstates that runs through Alabama from North to South, from Huntsville down I-65 to Birmingham, and further down the state along I-65 going through Montgomery, and finally utilizing I-65 to reach the Gulf of Mexico near Mobile, this is a state loaded with prep football talent.

To better understand Alabama’s talent level, consider that the state of Alabama produced six draft picks that played high school football within the state’s borders. That’s just the 2021 selections, too. It’s not Georgia or Florida, but Alabama produces plenty of prep talent that reach the pinnacle of football, and that is of course the National Football League (NFL). Those prospects come from all over the state of Alabama, and the current UCF coaching staff knows where to look for future big-time prospects that can eventually reach the NFL.

To be honest, even the backroads of Alabama are loaded with prospects. That’s why UCF Head Coach Gus Malzahn, Defensive Coordinator Travis Williams, and the rest of the coaching staff are keeping their pipeline of connections to the state of Alabama that were developed while at Auburn.

While coaching for Auburn, Coach Malzahn and his staff interacted with numerous personalities throughout Alabama. The high school head coaches, seven-on-seven coaches, position-specific trainers, and of course the recruits themselves. Moving forward, UCF fans should expect at least a couple of Alabama prospects to sign with the Knights. For this UCF coaching staff, there are too many reasons to recruit Alabama.

For the class of 2021 alone, UCF already offered close to 20 Alabama high school prospects, and several of them will be on campus at UCF this weekend. 

Earlier this week, UCF football brought in several recruits for its camp, and one of those players was Brad Harper, a rising 2022 prospect from Auburn High School that's been going to Coach Malzahn's camps since he was in the 7th grade (see cover photo). He's but one example of the connections to Alabama the UCF staff possesses.

Will the Knights land a high percentage of these Alabama prep players? Probably not as high a percentage as Florida prospects, but then again, connections matter.

Percentages aside, UCF football has “ins” with too many Alabama high school programs to ignore its talent pool. Moving forward, look for the Knights to recruit a plethora of defensive players from Alabama, as that’s what Alabama high school football traditionally provides more than anything else.

Whether it’s defensive lineman Caden Story or defensive end Jeremiah Alexander, UCF would love to sign either of them. They are on campus this weekend to officially visit the Knights, and both hail from the Yellowhammer State.

2022 unofficial visitors include wide receiver Omari Kelly, plus defensive linemen Khurtiss Perry and T.J. “Bull” Dudley, all three also residing in Alabama and highly regarded recruits. There’s also a big-time defensive back unofficially visiting UCF this weekend, and that would be Trequon Fegans, a player coveted by schools like Alabama and Auburn. 

Finally, the Knights are also bringing in 2023 big-time defensive lineman Peter Woods, another top-notch Alabama prep prospect and likely five-star recruit.

The competition to land these talented prospects will be stout, but even if the UCF coaching staff can land one true stud from Alabama, it’s worth the effort. These are players that can make early impacts on the Knights’ depth chart.

To better understand what type of talent is present in Alabama, as well as the specific talent that UCF is recruiting, the following video from Bama Central writer and publisher Tyler Martin is one UCF fans should watch. Martin writes quality recruiting articles, as well as plenty of them about prospects within the state of Alabama. His guest is SI All-American publisher and national recruiting analyst John Garcia, Jr., who covered the state of Alabama for many years, and is still heavily involved with the goings ons of Alabama prep football.

The majority of UCF discussion begins at roughly the 39:00 minute mark. To truly understand what UCF will be recruiting against in Alabama, however, listening and watching the entire video is a good idea. These two truly know the state of Alabama as well as anyone covering the Alabama prep scene.

Projections

While it’s foolish to believe UCF will walk into Alabama and raid the state for five of its 10 best prospects, there are two things to consider above all else. Alabama provides a deep prep talent pool, so the Knights can find recruits with upside. Next, there are too many top Alabama high school recruits for Auburn and Alabama to sign them all. There’s good reason to believe that UCF can consistently sign two or three really good Alabama recruits during each recruiting cycle.

Having an in with a state like Alabama is fantastic for UCF football. Now let us see how the Knights coaching staff attacks the state of Alabama for top prospects.

For Full Coverage of this Weekend’s Visitors:

Bounce House Weekend: Unofficial Visitor List

Official Visitor List for Bounce House Weekend

You will find me on Twitter @fbscout_florida and @UCF_FanNation