National Signing Day is in the books, and college football teams the nation over again welcome a group of recruits to the delight of fans everywhere.
I do not subscribe to this point of view.
Recruiting is a crapshoot. Every year, hundreds of sure-fire program-altering stars end up on the scrap heap of college football, and every year thousands of also-rans develop into NFL-level talent. UCF's crops of players are no different year to year.
So instead of evaluating UCF's 2018 recruiting class before they even set foot on campus, we do things a bit different here. We evaluate the recruiting class from five years ago to see how everything panned out.
It's simple: Five years gives us the ability to evaluate every player who came through, including those who redshirted. Some finished in four, others took all five, and some never even set foot on campus. This gives us the benefit of hindsight and shows how well UCF does in the player development realm.
Here's our post-career evaluation star system:
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Star player and bonafide NFL Draft talent. Need not have stayed all four years.
⭐⭐⭐⭐ – All-conference-level or solid starter, possible late-round NFL draftee or UFA pickup.
⭐⭐⭐ – Played and finished career at UCF, graduated (or at least should have). Not NFL talent.
⭐⭐ – Played but didn’t finish at UCF. Transferred, left football, or something like that.
⭐ – Never played, probably on a milk carton somewhere.
So here's how UCF's 2013 recruiting class panned out (Asterisk denotes mid-year enrollee. Bold denotes a five-year player):
|Player||Pos.||2013 Rivals.com Ranking||2018 Final Grade||Notes|
|Shaquill Griffin||DB||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️||Played 4 years. All-AAC 2nd team '16. Drafted by Seahawks (3rd round) in '17.|
|Shaquem Griffin||DB||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️||UCF legend. '16 AAC Defensive Player of the Year. NFL Draft prospect.|
|Tony Guerad||DL||⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️||Played 3 years, starter in '16 and '17. NFL Draft prospect. Graduating this year.|
|D. J. Killings*||DB||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️||Graduated '16. 5 career INT. UFA won Super Bowl with Eagles.|
|Chequan Burkett||DB||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️||Moved to LB, played 4 yrs. Pick-6 in Peach Bowl. Graduating this year.|
|Aaron Evans||OL||⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️||Played 4 years, senior starter at LT. Graduating this year.|
|Justin McDonald||LB||⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️⭐️||Graduated '16. 48 tackles and 2 sacks in 34 games.|
|Justin Holman*||QB||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️⭐️||Three-year starter. Led UCF to AAC title in '14. Graduated '16.|
|Seyvon Lowry||DL||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️⭐️||Played 42 games over 4 years. Graduating this year.|
|Tate Hernly||OL||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️⭐️||Backup OL, 7 career starts. Graduating this year.|
|Dontravious Wilson||RB||⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️⭐️||Graduated '16. 967 yards, 12 TD in 37 career games.|
|Blake Keller||DL||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️||Quit UCF in '13. Transferred and played 3 years at Marshall. Graduating this year.|
|Mario Mathis||LB||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️||Transferred to Florida St. before '17. Played 3 games.|
|William Stanback||RB||⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️||Kicked off team in '15 after promising first two years. Landed at Virginia Union.|
|Micah Reed||RB||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️||Left UCF before '15 season, landed at Kennesaw St.|
|Pete DiNovo*||QB||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️||Started '14 opener, eventually moved to WR. Left program before '17 season.|
|Deondre Barnett||LB||⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️||Played one year, transferred to SIU.|
|Jake Berman||LB||⭐️⭐️||⭐️||Not listed on '13 roster|
|Jordan Prestwood||OL||⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️||Troubled Notre Dame and FSU prospect never enrolled at UCF due to academics. Landed at AZ Western.|
|Jamonte Jones||DB||⭐️⭐️||⭐️||Scout teamer in '13. Transferred to Valdosta St. for '15, never heard from again.|
- This may have been one of UCF's best recruiting classes ever.
- 11 of the 20 players finished at UCF. Depending on what you think, it could have been 13 (Stanback and DiNovo).
- Remember that the Griffin Brothers were a package deal. It worked out.
- Eight of the 20 players in the class out-performed their Rivals star ranking.
- Will Stanback was in this class. Just imagine.
- Justin Holman could probably be considered a 3.5-star player, given that he quarterbacked UCF to a share of the 2014 AAC title, but was hurt for most of 2015 and sacrificed for the team in 2016.
So that's a look at UCF's 2013 recruiting class. Some of these guys were lucky - They were a part of three conference titles and two BCS/NY6 bowl wins, and the two best seasons in UCF history (along with one of the worst).
It may be a while before we see another group have as much success.
P.S.: In 2017 I didn't get around to it. So I'm making that up to you. Here's a review of the 2012 UCF Football recruiting class for your enjoyment:
|Player||Pos.||Hometown (School)||2012 Rivals.com Ranking||2017 Final Grade||Notes|
|Luke Adams||DE||Pensacola, FL (Catholic)||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️||51 tackles and 4 sacks in 33 games through '15. Not on roster in '16.|
|Cal Bloom||TE||Osseo, MN (Osseo)||⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️⭐️||Graduated '16. 5 career catches in 44 games. Caught one 2XP.|
|Chester Brown||OL||Hinesville, GA (Bradwell Institute)||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️⭐️||Graduated '16. 41 career games played.|
|Mike Campbell||OL||Pace, FL (Pace)||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️||Played 26 career games through '15. Not on '16 roster.|
|Blake Davis||TE||Delray Beach, FL (American Heritage)||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️||Scout teamer through '13. 0 career games played.|
|Jeremy Davis||CB||New Berlin, NY (Milford Academy)||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️||Scout teamer through '13. Transferred to Bethune-Cookman '14. Graduated '16.|
|Tyler Gabbert||QB||Ballwin, MO (Missouri)||⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️||Transferred from Mizzou. Quit football after '13 season. 3/7 career passing.|
|Jacoby Glenn||DB||Mobile, AL (Vigor)||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️||2014 AAC Co-Defensive Player of the Year as RS Soph. Left early for NFL, went undrafted. 1 career NFL INT.|
|Troy Green||QB||Skaneateles, NY (Skaneateles Sr.)||⭐️⭐️||⭐️||Transferred to Syracuse in '13. Moved to WR, quit football in '16. Son of NFL veteran Tim Green.|
|Jared Henry||S||Jacksonville, FL (First Coast)||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️||13 career games played. Quit football '15. Graduated from UCF.|
|Drico Johnson||WR||Orlando, FL (Agape Christian)||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️⭐️||Moved to S. 151 tackles, 2 INT in 51 games. Senior starter graduated '16.|
|Taylor Oldham||WR||Daytona Beach, FL (Warner Christian)||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️⭐️||Graduated '16. 45 catches, 1 TD in 42 career games.|
|Dareen Owi||WR||Miami, FL (Norland)||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️||Left team before start of '13 season.|
|Kelly Parfitt||OL||Delray Beach, FL (American Heritage)||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️||Saw sparing action in '13. Transferred to FAU in '14, graduated '16.|
|Phil Smith||OL||Tampa, FL (Georgia Tech)||⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️⭐️||Transferred to UCF after 33 games at GT. Played 14 games and graduated in '12.|
|Stanley Sylverain||LB||Naples, FL (Golden Gate)||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️||One career tackle in 20 games. Left team after '14. Graduated from UCF.|
|Colby Watson||OL||Pensacola, FL (Pine Forest)||⭐️⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️⭐️||'14 starter at RG, injured. Played 10 games in '15, graduated.|
|Nicco Whigham||DB||Ft. Lauderdale, FL (Cardinal Gibbons)||⭐️⭐️||⭐️⭐️||Played all 14 games in '12. Transferred to Fort Valley St. and graduated '17.|