Can UCF Compete with the SEC for Football Recruits?

Can UCF compete with the SEC for recruits? There's a checklist one needs to consider before answering that question, and here’s the foundation for how it happens.
Author:
Publish date:

The process of competing for elite recruits starts with a foundation of an administration that supports the coach, spends money on facilities and assistant coaches, and those coaches do a great job of utilizing the current talent to win games that in turn impresses top-notch recruits.

It’s a long process.

Those areas began to take shape for the UCF Football program already. With Head Coach Gus Malzahn leading the Knights, UCF now holds the key component of a head coach that the UCF administration, led by Athletic Director Terry Mohajir, wants to be leading the program.

Before going any further, here’s a traditional podcast, as well as a YouTube version of the podcast, discussing what UCF needs to accomplish to win major recruiting battles against the SEC, including the history of UCF Football over the last decade and how that impacts recruiting:

Winning Recruits Starts with the UCF Administration

If a program like UCF does not hire the right coaches, as well as financially invest in those coaches, there will be little to no chance of consistently signing big-time recruits.

That scenario plays out over and over within college football. A program must spend up-front money, i.e. invest heavy financial interests into the coaching staff, or there just is very little chance to consistently win big in college football.

Recruits and their families can read the contracts via the Internet. Anyone can look up UCF Head Coach Gus Malzahn’s contract. It’s a $500,000 base salary with 1.8 million dollars also tied to radio and television, and then endorsements.

That investment helped to solidify that Coach Malzahn is valued by the UCF administration, and therefore recruits and their families know which individual will be in charge of the program for the foreseeable future.

That’s a good start. Making that commitment to Coach Malzahn will impress recruits and their families, as well as help impact the mindset of other people investing in the program.

The more people that donate to the UCF Football program, the better it will be for recruiting top recruits that also receive offers from SEC programs like Alabama and Florida, two schools UCF commonly recruits against. It’s another point that will be brought up in conversation about why facilities will continue to improve.

The UCF Administration Hired Great Coaches, and now Facilities Come Next

The above tweet represents what UCF needs to get to where they want to be. It's how college football works at the top. Money. That's the next step, even with the Big XII money that will soon come to UCF. There is always something else to build for the UCF Football program to thrive continuously. For now and what UCF coaches can do with recruits, here are a few likely scenarios that will play out.

The UCF Football program needs to pitch the future of the football complex and do so with very specific details. That's important to a 16 to 18 year old young man considering UCF and also holds offers from the SEC.

Those premier recruits want reassurance that facilities are being built that are truly fantastic so that they have the best opportunity to reach the National Football League.

That's the bottom line. Keep in mind, the SEC spends more money on facilities than any other conference, at least at the top of the heap. The following represents what UCF will be competing against.

Jaylon Robinson, Wide Receiver, UCF - Weight Room

Jaylon Robinson worked out in a really nice weight room this summer, but more impressive facilities will be forthcoming for UCF Football.

Georgia continues its three-phase process for football facility expansion. When completed, the University of Georgia Football Complex announced it would be 165,000 square feet and cost 80 million dollars. Any question why UCF needs to hit a home run with facility upgrades should start with that particular information.

Facility upgrades do not stop. There’s always something more. That’s reality. There will be another SEC school attempt to match what Georgia plans to finish with its football facility upgrade. Then another and another SEC program will upgrade.

UCF must stay ahead of the curve and think big. That costs millions of dollars, but that’s certainly one aspect to land recruits who are also being lured by SEC programs. Then there’s the final point of on-field performance.

Win Big Now

With the Knights joining the Big XII, it’s a huge boost to recruiting. Prospects will be hearing about the ability for UCF to play in the Power Five from each UCF assistant coach. It’s a prime selling point. That aside, there’s an additional point for the Knights that needs to happen post haste.

Win big now.

Finishing the 2021 season with at least a 10-2 record will impact the schools choices for recruits. Remember, these are teenagers. They look at things much differently than adults. High school football recruits often look at college decisions from a very acute time frame. It’s getting close to when they sign their national letter of intent this upcoming December, so there’s certainly a way to influence their decision beyond the final 2021 record.

There needs to be a be a big bowl game at the conclusion of the 2021 season.

For that bowl game to be against a truly impactful opponent and be in a bowl game that’s relevant specifically to recruits, beating Cincinnati likely needs to happen. It’s the chicken and the egg argument.

It will be hard to reach a major bowl game without defeating the Bearcats. UCF’s schedule lacks ranked teams beyond Cincinnati. That’s a fact. The Bearcats entered this weekend at No. 8 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. No other team in the American Conference is currently ranked.

There needs to be a message sent to bowl committees by way of winning a big game; the Bearcats would be the best way to send that message to recruits as well. The Cincinnati program hosts UCF on Oct. 16.

It would certainly be a feather in UCF’s recruiting cap to knock Cincinnati off on their home field because the UCF coaching staff would then be able to call recruits and discuss UCF’s future with additional credibility about an upcoming major bowl game. The Knights could be favored to defeat every other remaining team on the 2021 schedule.

Final Thoughts

Can the Knights compete with the SEC for recruits? Yes, absolutely the Knights can. It’s a long process. Let’s see how quickly it takes for UCF to consistently recruit against the SEC and win numerous battles for prospects.

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

Recent Articles From Inside The Knights

Prospect Review: Jacksonville Trinity Christian at Lake City Columbia

Previewing Jacksonville Trinity Christian at Lake City Columbia

Coach Malzahn Will Find the Right Run-Pass Balance with Mikey Keene as UCF's Quarterback

Unsung Heroes: Without Recognition, The UCF Football Players that Help the Team be Successful

Breaking Down UCF Football's 2022 and 2023 Recruiting Situation

Utilizing the Skills of Joey Gatewood to Complement Mikey Keene

LeBlanc and Walker, Two Top UCF Football Prospects

Week Four College Football Predictions

Evaluating Mikey Keene's Film and Defining Him as a Player

UCF Running Backs and Wide Receivers Helped to Create an Explosive Offense

College Football's Intriguing Week Four Matchups Could Feature Upsets and Close Games

Moving on to Navy, UCF Needs to Stay Focused

UCF Offensive Line Powers Rushing Attack