For UCF Football, Winning Recruiting Battles Versus USF will be Vital

Winning recruiting battles against your rival will often lead to victories on the gridiron. That’s why UCF must win far more battles against USF than the prior UCF coaching staff.
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Recruiting is the lifeblood of UCF or any other college football program. Finding the prospects that fit schemes, blend in with the campus culture, and make plays on Saturday’s is always a goal.

To make that happen for the Knights, they must start winning recruiting battles against USF. This is year one for the new UCF coaching staff, and they will certainly battle programs across the country for Central Florida talent, but there’s one program above all others that must be defeated along the recruiting trail.

That would be UCF’s rival, the USF Bulls. USF did a really nice job of recruiting the greater Central Florida area -- from Clearwater to Vero Beach -- to secure several really good football recruits for the class of 2021. Now that the Knights are recruiting well for the class of 2022, they have a chance to change the fortunes of the Central Florida recruiting wars.

The 2021 Recruiting Class Saw USF Sign 10 Central Florida Prospects

While the Bulls are also a Central Florida program, lining up 10 recruits from the greater Clearwater area over to Vero Beach, while the Knights sign one recruit cannot happen again.

Amongst the Bulls’ signees would be Seminole High School standouts Timmy McClain and Jimmy Horn, both exceptional athletes.

McClain is a dynamic dual-threat quarterback and Horn plays slot wide receiver and returns kicks. Both players are a threat to score anytime a one-on-one situation arises. Worse, both of them played high school football just north of Orlando in Sanford. That’s UCF’s home base if there ever was one.

Some of the other important recruits for USF would be Vero Beach linebacker Davon Hicks, Auburndale High School cornerback Jaelin Stokes, and Satellite High School tight end Gunnar Greenwald. Each of these young men would have been excellent additions to the UCF roster, and that’s just a sampling.

While UCF Head Football Coach Gus Malzahn and his staff already landed commitments from four prospects, there is no question the Knights are placing a major emphasis towards landing some of Central Florida’s best prospects because numerous Orlando high school players have visited UCF, as well as several players from nearby programs like Lakeland High School where UCF commitment Miguel Maldonado plays, Apopka High School and Seminole High School. Those are three important programs alone, and there are so many more.

After the dust settles from UCF’s final football camp, which takes place today, it will be much easier to begin to piece together which local prospects truly hold a sincere interest in UCF and/or USF. At that juncture, it’s going to be fun to track UCF and USF as they battle one another along the recruiting trail.

UCF has to win Orlando, the Space Coast and a good portion of the Treasure Coast, at the very least, to be successful at recruiting Central Florida. That goes beyond USF obviously. It does start with the Bulls, however, and that’s when discussing UCF versus Florida, Florida State, and Miami can begin to take shape. First, the Knights must defeat the Bulls.

Final Thoughts

UCF football wants to be a national power. To move in the proper direction, it must win Central Florida recruiting battles versus its rival, USF. This is a very important recruiting year for Coach Malzahn as he begins to build a football roster the way he believes it should be built. Let’s see how these two programs recruit between now and late August and then reconvene to this conversation once more.

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You will find me on Twitter @fbscout_florida and @UCF_FanNation