No former UCF Knights will play in Super Bowl XLIII, so that means we can now look back at how various UCF alumni did in the NFL in 2018. We’ll look at the rookies later, but first, here are the veterans.
2018 Stats: 28/32 FG, 30/30 XP, 114 points
In his fourth full year with the Detroit Lions, Prater had his best season since 2015. He was a perfect 20/20 from inside 40 yards, and his 87.5% field goal clip was his highest since 2015.
But Prater’s best play of the season was not a kick. Nope, it was his first career touchdown pass, which he threw in Week 17 against Green Bay:
2018 Stats: 140 rushes, 578 yards, 4.1 average, 6 TDs, plus 22 catches for 141 yards
In his second season in Minnesota, Murray was second on the team in rushing behind Dalvin Cook, who was banged up quite a bit. He played in all 16 games, started in 6, and posted his highest yards per carry average since his rookie year.
His best game was in Week 6 against Arizona, when he posted his lone 100-yard game of the year with 155 on 24 carries:
2018 Stats: 243/403 (60.3%), 2718 yards, 13 TDs, 11 INTs, 79.8 Rating, 365 rushing yards, one rushing TD
The year after leading the Jaguars to the AFC Championship Game, it may be over for Blake in Jacksonville. He was riding high after a Week 2 victory over the Patriots, where he completed 29/45 for 376 yards and 4 TDs in an emotional win:
Then it all came apart. He lost eight of his next nine starts and was benched after a loss at Buffalo in Week 12 before returning to action off the bench in Week 16 against Miami and starting the season finale.
The Jags are now apparently in the market for a new starter, the year after signing Blake to a three-year, $54 million contract.
2018 Stats: 16 catches, 340 yards, 2 TDs, 21.3 yards per catch
After not working out in Baltimore and being cut by Washington in September, Perriman found a home in Cleveland mid-season on the business end of some of Baker Mayfield’s bombs, and looks to have regained the speed he came into the NFL with. Two of his grabs were for over sixty yards. If he can stay healthy, Perriman may indeed find more opportunities with the Browns in 2019.
In his second full year with the Packers, McCray played in 12 games, starting five at right guard.
A. J. Bouye
After a career-high six-interception season in Jacksonville in 2017 when he was second-team All-Pro, A.J. had only one pick in thirteen games (against Kansas City in Week 5), but added 54 tackles.
In his first full season as a starter at corner for Seattle with Richard Sherman out of the picture, Shaquill started all 16 games and tallied two picks, eight passes defended and 61 tackles. Both of the picks came against Chicago in Week 2:
In his fourth season, Clayton had a career year in Indianapolis, recording 89 tackles, 61 of them solo, in just 12 games. He had four games with double-digit tackles, and helped the Colts to the playoffs, where he recorded 20 combined stops in Indy’s two postseason games.
Kemal did not record an interception and had only 21 tackles and a fumble recovery. He didn’t start any games for the first time since his rookie year, but did play all 16 games for the Falcons in his sixth NFL season as a key special teamer.
Charley Hughlett is living the dream. He’s the highest-paid long-snapper in the NFL, played all 16 games for the fourth straight year, and participated in the most hilarious NFL Christmas card of the year with fellow specialists P Britton Colquitt and K Greg Joseph:
Hold your loved ones close this holiday season. From our family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! pic.twitter.com/unZBdKXod9— Greg Joseph (@greg_joseph1) December 25, 2018
It was a weird year for Josh Robinson. He was waived by the Bucs before the season, but signed with the Saints at the beginning of October. As a nickelback, he recorded six tackles and played in every game from Week 5 on.
Strangely he got cut the week before the playoffs with the Saints on a bye, but was re-signed four days later. He played in both playoff games for New Orleans, coming so close to a shot at a Super Bowl in his seventh NFL season.
Aiken landed with the Eagles as a free agent this year, was released before the start of the year, but was re-signed just days later. He played in five games, with one start, and caught six passes for 53 yards - five in his lone start in Week 5 against Tampa. He was released again in October and finished the year as a free agent.
2018 Stats: 11 catches, 136 yards, 1 TD in 7 games (2 starts)
Time may be running out for Brandon Marshall. After landing in Seattle this off-season, he scored a TD in his first game as a Seahawk on opening weekend:
But after seven catches in the first two games, he caught only four balls the next five he played, and the Seahawks released him on October 30th.
The Saints picked him up on November 12th, but he never played and was released on December 13th, and he finished the season as a free agent.
We haven’t heard anything on whether there are any lingering injury issues, and Brandon himself said he was “healthy as a trout” before joining the Saints. But he’s also turning 35 this March, and the market might be limited.
Of course, if we don’t see him on the field anymore, he still has a bright future on TV, as we’ve seen in the past: