This college football season is basically a free roll for players. Everyone will receive an extra year of eligibility in 2021, no matter their class, including seniors. Whether those seniors use it is up to them.
But at least one UCF Knights senior will indeed take advantage: redshirt senior tight end Jake Hescock.
“I think I’m definitely going to take it,” Hescock said Tuesday of the extra year of eligibility. “... I don’t think I’m ready to quite hang it up yet or move on. If I can keep playing, I’m going to try to exhaust every outlet I can. That’s my plan for now.”
Hescock cited his desire to be a leader for UCF’s young group of tight ends and the opportunity to receive more tutelage from first-year tight ends coach Alex Golesh as among his reasons for returning for a sixth season in college football.
“We have a really young room,” Hescock said of the Knights’ tight ends, which include four freshmen. “It gives me an opportunity to kind of leave a legacy with those guys, help them figure out how to get things done and the process of being a college football player. If I can stay and pass that along to those guys and get another year under Coach Golesh and grow, that sounds good to me.”
Hescock had conversations with his parents, head coach Josh Heupel as well as Golesh before arriving at his decision. He said going over plans for the offseason with Golesh excited him.
Golesh has challenged Hescock throughout this year to be a better pass-catcher and route-runner on the field and to also be one of the offense’s most revered leaders.
“I’m trying to develop him in terms of holding himself accountable in every aspect of his life, and he’s had to grow up a ton,” Golesh said last month about Hescock, who transferred from Wisconsin in 2017. “He’s here for a reason. This isn’t where he started out. He’s accepted that and he’s had to continue to grow within his own path and now that he’s grown up and realized what’s right ... pass those lessons on because there’s a bunch of young guys that are going through a bunch of things, that come from all sorts of different backgrounds. Be a guiding source for those guys.”
Hescock has played in all eight games this season, recording eight catches for 48 yards and two touchdowns.
As many UCF seniors prepare to play in what will likely be their final regular-season game this Friday at South Florida, Hescock reflected Tuesday and identified last year’s victory over Stanford, playing in the Fiesta Bowl, and catching his first collegiate touchdown during the 2018 AAC Championship Game versus Memphis as some of his favorite memories from his three seasons on the field at UCF.
He’s not finished yet.
“Hopefully I create some more memories next year,” he added.