UCF Knights defensive line coach Shane Burnham confirmed Friday that redshirt junior defensive tackle Kalia Davis and redshirt senior defensive tackle Noah Hancock will both be back with the Knights for the 2021 season.
Burnham said having those players around for another year is “huge for us.”
Davis was one of 10 Knights who opted out before the start of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When that news became official on Sept. 1, Davis tweeted then: “i’ll be back”
A converted linebacker, Davis started nine games in 2019. He recorded eight tackles for loss, three sacks and was named to Pro Football Focus’ All-AAC first team.
“I thought he was as good a D-tackle as we had in the league when I watched tape after the 2019 season,” Burnham said of Davis on Friday. “A difference-maker for us in that season. Expect him to come back and do the same thing.”
Hancock is a redshirt senior who, like senior tight end Jake Hescock, will use the extra year of eligibility afforded to all players and prepare for his sixth season in college football. He arrived at UCF in the summer of 2019 after a winding journey with emotional peaks and valleys. Hancock has played in 21 of a possible 22 games since, making five starts along the way. He has 23 tackles, five tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks to his credit. Burnham said that Hancock “has just continued to get better and grow and grow as he’s played more snaps.”
This comes on the heels of UCF’s haul along the defensive line during the start of the early signing period on Wednesday. The Knights signed four D-linemen — two tackles and two ends. And Burnham said UCF will continue to add to its front.
“We’ll add a couple more to the class. You’ll get news of that as we go forward, I think.”