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UCF's Thornton, Brown and Bullard Make PFF's All-AAC 1st Team Defense

UCF’s secondary is being recognized as one of the best in the AAC and college football.
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The turnaround from 2020 through the conclusion of the 2021 season for the UCF Knights’ passing defense is stark. The Knights went from allowing 299.2 passing yards per game in 2020 to 210.1 in 2021.

An extremely young group was thrusted into duty two seasons ago. Now, each of those players is more experienced, and also more physically advanced through the strength and conditioning program. With that in mind, Pro Football Focus has included three members of the UCF secondary on their First Team All-American Athletic Conference Team.

Cornerbacks Corey Thornton and Davonte Brown received the nod to be on the first  team, as well as safety Quadric Bullard.

Thornton was sorely missed when he was injured in the first half against Louisville and did not return to full health until later in the season. With Thornton in the lineup, it allowed the UCF defensive coaching staff to rotate more talented players into the lineup. He was a key contributor for the Knights and even more is expected of the junior in 2022.

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Brown really took a step forward last season. He became the Knights’ best coverage player by going through 418 snaps without giving up a passing touchdown. Combining him with Thornton and the rest of the secondary, gives UCF the option to be not only aggressive with man coverage, but to also use more complex coverages with their skill and experience.

Bullard is the player that not enough people discuss. He’s a very capable pass defender and he also led all UCF secondary members with 83 tackles. He’s the do-it-all defender for the Knights, and UCF fans should expect him to continue with that trend this next season.

Thornton, Brown and Bullard, along with the rest of their teammates, will begin the 2022 college football season at home against South Carolina State on Sep. 1.


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