UCF’s poaching of the Power 5 continued Tuesday as it was confirmed that former Florida Gators wide receiver Dionte Marks is joining the Knights.
Marks’ mother, Shawn, wrote on Facebook this afternoon that her son was “officially a Knight”. According to the post, Dionte, a redshirt freshman, arrived on campus Tuesday.
Marks was a 3-star prospect coming out of Deland High, where he was also a track and field star as a sprinter and a long jumper. While in high school, his 40-yard dash was unofficially timed in the 4.3-second range, and he posted an off-the-charts broad jump of 11 feet, 3 inches — a distance beyond the measuring board.
As a senior at Deland, Marks recorded 45 receptions, 964 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was ranked by 247 Sports and Rivals as a top-60 wideout in the 2019 class and turned down offers from, among others, Louisville, Mississippi State and UCF. He played only six snaps across two games as a true freshman in Gainesville and didn’t catch any passes.
Marks entered the transfer portal in July, which began a mercurial journey. On the morning of July 17, he wrote on Instagram that he was transfering to UCF. However, that post was deleted within a few hours. Later that day, Marks told the Orlando Sentinel that he was too hasty with his decision and wanted to weigh his options.
“I’ve got like six other schools that contacted me,” Marks said to the Sentinel. “So what I’ll do is sit down and sort everything out and base my decision off my last three. Like in a week, that’s when I’ll (be) committing to a new school.”
Five days later, Marks did commit to a new school: Ole Miss. He made his announcement via Twitter.
Then deja vu struck as Marks deleted that post in short order. Shawn Marks told the Daytona Beach News-Journal that Dionte “changed his mind” about going to Mississippi and instead reconsidered UCF because the shorter distance between home and campus would allow his mother to attend more games.
So, four weeks after his initial commitment, Marks has landed back on UCF as the place where he wants to continue his collegiate career. He joins a deep receiving corps but one that has its top four returning pass-catchers — wideouts Marlon Williams, Tre Nixon and Jacob Harris, and utility player Otis Anderson — all entering their senior season.
Marks is the third player this month to come to UCF from a Power 5 program. The Knights welcomed former Georgia defensive back Divaad Wilson on Aug. 6. About 24 hours after that, former Nebraska defensive back Jaiden Francois declared that he is coming to Orlando as well. All three men are hoping to receive waivers to play in 2020. Regardless, all three are underclassmen and possess the skill to be leading contributors in 2021 and beyond. Marks’ innate speed and athleticism could turn him into a big-play machine in UCF’s offense.
The Knights are currently scheduled to open their 2020 season at Georgia Tech on Sept. 19.