UCF has officially released it’s depth chart for their opening match against the UConn Huskies. With there being a few surprises, lets break down each position to see how the Knights stack up.
Obviously, everyone in the country knows McKenzie Milton is UCF's guy at quarterback. The real question with this group going into camp was who would be his backup? UCF really lacks any sort of depth at the quarterback position. Last year's backup, Noah Vedral, transferred to Nebraska following Coach Frost. The presumed backup, redshirt freshman Darriel Mack, was given some competition by true freshman walk-on Quadry Jones. Mack eventually solidified his role as backup with Coach Heupel saying “Maybe fundamentally, (Mack) has improved as much as anybody inside of our program. … Still, there’s a lot of growth left for him as a player, but he’s clearly the No. 2 guy for us right now.”
There are four QBs on UCF's roster during camp: McKenzie Milton, Darriel Mack Jr., Hayden Kingston and Quadry Jones. Heupel complimented the freshman Jones (who played at Jones HS) afterward: "He looked really good out there today, threw the ball well." pic.twitter.com/2aTnkjbDjd— Brandon Helwig (@UCFSports) August 2, 2018
With Otis Anderson listed as a utility player, the number one back listed is none other than junior speedster Adrian Killins. Heupel was pretty clear in his desire to run more north and south which isn't necessarily Killins' strong suit. With Cordarrian Richardson and Jawon Hamilton transferring, Taj McGowan and Greg McRae, listed as two and three, will definitely get a lot of touches in those power back type situations.
With Dredrick Snelson listed in the slot, Gabe Davis and Ole Miss transfer Tre Nixon will start on the outside. Tre Nixon was granted immediate eligibility after transferring to UCF this past offseason. Tristan Payton should also see a good amount of playing time as he works himself back into the mix after spending last year as a DB after serving a suspension. True freshman Ke’von Ahmad has also climbed the depth chart as after having a strong camp.
Sixth year senior Michael Colubiale is listed at the top of the depth chart after being granted an extra year of eligibility this offseason. He really saw playing time for the first time in his career last year making some big plays down the stretch. Wisconsin transfer Jake Hescock is listed behind him and will definitely see a lot of playing time. Hescock is a big 6'7" 250 pound target for KZ to hit.
Veterans Wyatt Miller and Tyler Hudanick hold down the left side with First Team All-Conference junior Jordan Johnson at center. Cole Schneider and JUCO transfer Josh McMullen get the starts on the right side but I'm sure we'll see a couple of guys like Jake Brown get their chance to play. One concern fans had was no mention of Parker Boudreaux, the Notre Dame transfer. Turns out he's a little "nicked up" and likely won't be playing this Thursday.
DT Joey Connors, a seasoned veteran, gets his chance to be a full-time starter in his redshirt senior year. With the switch to the 4-3 scheme, everyone assumed Second Team All-Conference junior Trysten Hill would start alongside Connors. In a surprising switch up, redshirt senior A.J. Wooten will get the start with Hill listed as his backup. Former linebacker Titus Davis will be one of Randy Shannon's starting defensive ends with Brendon Hayes and Randy Charlton listed as co-starters for the other spot. Charlton, a true freshman, originally committed to FIU, flipped to Indiana and flipped a third time landing at UCF. DE Dedrion Bacote-Sweat, who missed most of last year with an injury, was not listed due to being "nicked up" as well.
The staple of this linebacker group and one of the defense's leaders is senior mike linebacker Pat Jasinski. Former Alabama transfer Shawn Burgess-Becker is finally reaching his potential as he will get the start at sam while redshirt sophomore Eric Mitchell has emerged as the number one will. Keep an eye on Gabriel Luyanda who is listed as number two at sam, a player Coach Frost once said has NFL caliber talent.
With the departure of Tre Neal, Richie Grant will replace him at free safety after taking over the number one spot during the summer. After a great spring game, I was expecting to see Alabama transfer Aaron Robinson get the starting job at corner along with Brandon Moore but it appears he'll be a number two with Nevelle Clarke getting the nod.
Aaron Robinson!— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) April 21, 2018
The Alabama transfer with the slick pick ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/kbDONm15SR
If one thing is certain, it's that UCF is stacked with talent from top to bottom. There's no doubt that this team lost a lot of stars from last season, but it's time for the next man up. We'll see how they perform this Thursday against UConn.