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Player Picks to Click: UCF at Navy

Size and speed should help UCF when it travels to Navy. Players like Kalia Davis and Johnny Richardson will lead the way with big-time performances for the Knights.

ORLANDO - Which UCF players will win their respective matchups with Navy players? Here’s a quick overview of the players to watch, and how they can help the Knights come out on the winning end of the ledger.

It’s going to be assignment football for the defense, and the offense will be helping along a true freshman quarterback. Two unique situations, one for each side of the football. Here are the players that should be at their best on Saturday to alleviate those situations.

Note: An article about Keene’s performance will be out Saturday morning.

Johnny Richardson, Running Back

With Richardson’s speed, he’s going to be the biggest mismatch that Navy will not be able to defend one-on-one. He’s also tough after contact and will account for at least three runs over 10 yards, and will top the century mark before reaching 10 carries.

Watch out for Richardson in the return game as well. He’s dynamic no matter when he has the football in his hands.

Cole Schneider, Offensive Guard

After spelling teammate Matthew Lee at center, Schneider will be back to opening holes in the middle of the line. Against Navy’s smaller defensive tackles that will give up 40 pounds or more to Schneider, look for him to be a prime reason that the Knights play power football during the early portion of the game in an effort to set up play-action passing.

Cole Schneider, Offensive Line, UCF

Cole Schneider has proven to be one of the nation's best run blockers this season.

Schneider’s size, strength, technique and attitude will all be a part of a dominant performance against Navy.

Brandon Johnson, Wide Receiver

Navy’s smaller cornerbacks will struggle to win jump-ball situations with Johnson, as his height and length will conquer both of them at some point during Saturday’s game.

Look for Johnson to find his way into the endzone at least one time, and for him to catch at least four passes. Most importantly, he should be involved with big plays, i.e. catching first downs and touchdowns.

Joey Gatewood, Quarterback

The change of pace quarterback should find the endzone at least once, and he’s also going to be valuable when the Knights want to run the football within any short-yardage situation.

The Wildcat formation will be a part of what Gatewood operates, but look for him to be behind center operating some of the regular offense as well. Run-pass option plays, quarterback counter, quarterback power, play-action passes and probably several other types of plays will be used against Navy. Gatewood is a unique player that will be a spark against Navy.

Kalia Davis, Defensive Tackle

Point blank, Navy does not have the ability to block him one-on-one with any consistency. He’s going to be in the backfield for much of the afternoon, and could end up being the game’s overall MVP.

Look for at least three tackles for loss from Davis. He’s a very talented and motivated defensive tackle, and one that Navy will not have an answer for.

Quadric Bullard, Safety

The tackling leader for the Knights heading into the Navy game with 25 stops, there’s no reason to believe Bullard will not be sound throughout the game against Navy. That’s the important part -- being sound with his assignment -- that will lead to 10 or more tackles against the Midshipmen.

Quadric Bullard UCF

Quadric Bullard has been the most consistent tackler for the UCF defense.

Of note, look for the Knights to possibly move Bullard around to different spots. He’s a heady player that seemingly finds his way to the ball carrier. He can handle extra responsibility.

Big Kat Bryant, Defensive End

Bryant will record his first sack of the 2021 season. That’s the first note to mention, but more importantly Bryant will also help to keep Navy quarterback Xavier Arline under wraps for much of the game, limiting him to under four yards per carry.

Bryant should have multiple tackles for loss because like Davis, the Midshipmen do not possess anyone that will consistently block this man.

Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste, Linebacker

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His physical and fast style of play will be impactful at stopping the quarterback from going around the end, and Jean-Baptiste also likely to be in the backfield sacking the quarterback on Saturday as well.

It will be a good matchup when he’s one-on-one with Arline, but he’s up to the task. Two tackles for loss and a sack for Jean-Baptiste on Saturday.

For UCF insights, college football news, and recruiting information go to: The Daily Knight podcast. It will be found on iTunes and Spotify. For more UCF and recruiting information, go to Twitter: @fbscout_florida and @UCF_FanNation, as well as my YouTube Channel and Instagram page. Like and Subscribe!

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