A lot has changed since the world emerged from the COVID-19 lockdowns, which was the last time we ranked the Top 100 Male Athletes in UCF history.
In just three years, many legends cemented their status in his final few seasons, while others were born, and for a few athletes, their stories have been rediscovered.
With UCF getting ready for its first year as a member of the Big 12 (and Men’s Soccer for its first season in the Sun Belt), it’s once again time to count down the Top 100 Male UCF Knights athletes of all time.
Criteria used to create this list include:
- A player’s impact on their respective sport and on the school
- What accomplishments have they had after their UCF career
- What accolades have they received
We made sure to include at least one athlete from every current UCF sport.
Check out our previous articles in this list here:
Now let’s get to #60-51:
#60 - Mike Clark (Basketball)
Playing for his father, Torchy, Mike Clark led the UCF Men’s Basketball team to a 67-25 record during his career spanning the first four seasons of the program’s existence (1969-1973). He was the school’s career scoring leader with 2,085 points (this was before the three-point line was a thing) until his brother Bo came along.
He also has the third-most field goals in program history (674), the fourth-most free throws in program history (410) and the fourth-most assists in program history (361). Clark averaged 22.1 points during his time at UCF, the third-best in program history.
Clark was inducted into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001. He and the rest of the inaugural UCF Men’s Basketball team (1969-1970) were honored during the January 19th, 2020 home game vs. South Florida.
#59 - Ben Lively (UCF Baseball)
Lively was named All-CUSA 2nd team twice (2012 and 2013) and was the first UCF pitcher to win nine games in a season since Tim Bascom in 2005.
In 2013, Lively served as the Knights’ ace, pitching a 1.88 ERA and striking out 101 batters, the 10th-most in a single season in program history.
In his three seasons (2011-13), Lively went 21-7 with a 3.06 ERA, the 6th-lowest career ERA in program history, and struck out 226 batters, the 8th-most in program history.
In 2014, Lively would be traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, making his MLB debut with them in 2017. Following a stint with Kansas City Royals, Lively signed with the Samsung Lions of the Korean Baseball Organization in 2019. He returned stateside by signing with the Reds for his second stint with the franchise in January 2022 and he has since gotten called back up to the MLB in 2023.
#58 - Marquette Smith (Football)
A product of Lake Howell High School, Marquette Smith transferred to UCF from Florida State and led UCF in rushing in 1994 and 1995. While only playing for two seasons, his 2,569 career rushing yards as a Knight rank as the fifth-most in program history. He also has the second-highest average all-purpose yards in program history (123.9).
Both his single-season rushing yards in 1994 and 1995 rank in the Top 10 in program history. In 1995, he set the single-season school records for rushing with 1,511 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior and held them until 2007.
#57 - Isaiah Sykes (Basketball)
During Isaiah Sykes’ time at UCF, spanning 2010-2014, he was a two-time All-Conference selection (CUSA First Team in 2013 and AAC Second Team in 2014) and an all-district selection in 2013. He was also named to the CUSA All-Defensive Team in 2013 and the AAC Tournament Team in 2014. He also helped the Knights to their first postseason appearance since 2005 via an NIT appearance in 2012.
Sykes was an outstanding do-everything player, one that got a lot of playing time at that as he ranks 2nd in program history with 126 games played. He remains the only Knight to rank in the program’s all-time top ten in points (1,545, 8th), rebounds (764, 5th), assists (336, 5th) and steals (183, 3rd). He also ranks 7th in program history in career field goals (588) and career free throws (335).
Sykes is also the only UCF player with multiple triple-doubles, the first one against Stetson on Dec. 20, 2012, and another against East Carolina on Feb. 9, 2013.
#56 - Shane Brown (Baseball)
Shane Brown finished his career with a .363 batting average, tied for the 5th-best in UCF history. He was an All-American Third-Team selection in 2010 after hitting .428, which ranks as the fourth-best in a single season at UCF.
Brown was named first-team CUSA in 2010 and second-team in 2009. He had a 22-game hitting streak in 2009 which is the third-best streak in UCF history. He ranks in the top ten in numerous categories at UCF including 8th in hits (251), 2nd in doubles (63), 7th in total bases (391), 9th in slugging pct (.565) and 3rd in on-base percentage (.464),
Brown was selected by the New York Yankees in the 23rd round of the 2010 MLB Draft and spent 2010-2013 in their minor league system.
T-#55 - Bill Giovanetti (Football)
A member of the inaugural 1979 football team, linebacker Bill Giovanetti joined fellow inductee Sean Beckton as the first football players to be inducted into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000.
Giovanetti (1979-82) started all 37 of the games he played. No one in UCF history has yet surpassed his school-record 23 tackles in a single game on Nov. 17, 1979, the closest being Tito Rodriguez, who tied it on Nov. 10, 2001.
He led the Knights in tackles in three of his four years and has the second-most career tackles in program history (429).
Giovanetti earned All-America honors in 1981 and went on to sign with the USFL’s Tampa Bay Bandits in 1983.
#T-55 - Greg Jefferson (Football)
Greg Jefferson played four years for the Knights under Gene McDowell before being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the third round of the 1995 NFL Draft.
In Philadelphia, Jefferson would play for the Eagles through 2001, recording 13.5 sacks for his NFL career. He would later return to Orlando to play for the Predators in the Arena Football League.
At UCF, Jefferson ranks seventh all-time in career tackles for a loss (42), third in career sacks (31) and tied for fourth in forced fumbles (7). He also holds the school record for the most blocks in program history (6), which combines a player’s total blocked punts, field goals, and extra points.
While Jefferson was an honorable mention All-American in 1994, his best statistical season came the year before in 1993, as he helped the Knights to their second Division I-AA Tournament appearance in program history. In a single season, he recorded 20 tackles for a loss (tied for 3rd in program history), 15 sacks (2nd most in program history), forced five fumbles (tied for the most in program history) and blocked three field goals (most in program history).
Jefferson was inducted into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011.
#54 - D.J Hicks (Baseball)
D.J. Hicks was the first Knight to make All-American twice in a career, doing so in 2011 (Third Team) and 2012 (Second Team). He was also a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, considered college baseball’s most prestigious award, in 2011.
He was named to the All-CUSA Freshman Team in 2009, Second Team in 2011, and First Team in 2012. Hicks was a two-time NCAA Regional All-Tournament Team honoree in both of UCF’s NCAA Tournament appearances during his career (2011 and 2012).
Hicks still holds the record for the most runs scored in a game (6). He ranks second all-time at UCF in sacrifice flies (19), sixth in home runs (36), seventh in RBIs (173), and eighth in walks (113).
He was a 17th-round draft pick in 2012 by the Minnesota Twins and stayed in the Twins minor league system until 2016.
T-#53 - Darryl Davis (Basketball)
Daryl Davis was a four-year starter at UCF from 1991-1995.
He finished his career with 1,540 career points (9th in program history), 294 assists (9th in program history) and 583 career field goals (8th in program history). He also pulled down 583 career rebounds.
He led the Knights to their first ASUN Tournament title in 1994, which subsequently got them into their first DI NCAA Tournament in program history.
He was inducted into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008.
Davis is currently an administrator at Valencia College and is also the elder cousin of fellow UCF Knights star Jermaine Taylor.
T-#53 - Sinua Phillips (Basketball)
Starting at point guard from 1990-94, Sinua Phillips was an integral member of UCF’s first NCAA Division I Tournament team in 1994.
He led UCF in assists each of his four years and holds the single-season (183) and career records (531) for assists. He also scored 1,028 points, which is 20th all-time at UCF, and had 179 career steals, the 5th-most in program history. He is the only player in Knights history to score more than 1,000 points and dish out more than 500 assists.
Phillips was inducted into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006.
#52 - Rony Francois (Soccer)
Rony Francois was a standout for the UCF men’s soccer team from 1980-83, receiving All-South region honors three times and earning All-America honors in 1982. He led the team to a Sunshine State Conference Tournament title in 1980, two regular season Sunshine State titles in 1980 and 1981 and the program’s two NCAA Dll Tournament appearances in 1982 and 1983.
Francois ranks fifth in career scoring points (101), fifth in career goals (39) and fifth in career assists (23). His 11-assist 1980 season is tied for the third-most assists in a season in program history. He was named to the All-Sunshine State team three times and was Sunshine State Conference Offensive MVP in 1980 and 1981.
Francois went on to get two master’s degrees, one from UCF and one from USF, and two doctorate degrees from USF.
Francois was inducted into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005. He served as Florida’s Secretary of Health under Gov. Jeb Bush from 2005-2007 and the Director of Georgia’s Division of Public Health from 2010-2015.
#51 - Shaquill Griffin (Football)
Shaquill Griffin played at UCF from 2013-2016 but had his best year as a senior, earning All-AAC Second Team honors. He grabbed a team-high four interceptions and broke up 15 passes, tying him for the second-most in a single season at UCF. His 19 passes defended ranked fifth in the nation and topped in The American.
He ranks tied for ninth in program history in passes broken up (29) and tied for eighth in program history in interception return yardage (168).
Griffin would be drafted in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. He would spend four seasons with them, getting selected to the Pro Bowl in 2019. He spent the 2020 and 2021 seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars before signing a one-year deal with the Houston Texans on May 13, 2023.