The UCF Knights signed 15 new players on the early signing day on Wednesday, and here are the three most important takeaways from the Knights’ 2022 class:
1. Gus gets his QB
Thomas Castellanos is coming to town:
The 6-foot-tall, 190-pound dual-threat QB from Ware County High School in southeast Georgia (halfway between Brunswick and Valdosta) was one of Gus’ earliest targets.
Though a bit on the small side, he exhibits all of the traits that work in the Malzahn offense: He’s as quick in his mind as he is on his feet, but keeps his eyes downfield for big plays.
Case in point: He threw for 2,500 yards and ran for almost 1,000 more as a senior.
Malzahn will likely bring in an experienced QB via the transfer portal to fill in for 2022 after the departure of Dillon Gabriel, but make no mistake: Castellanos is The Guy.
2. Skill positions lead the way
UCF also surrounded Castellanos with a cast of talented skill position players, namely three WRs, a back and a tight end.
In the backfield, Malzahn flipped Jordan McDonald, who, on top of having great fashion sense, is a 6-1, 220-pound problem:
On the outside, the Knights scored three receivers, including 6-5 Tyler Griffin:
In addition, Quan Lee from Gainesville and all-purpose player Xavier Townsend (who UCF lists as a wideout) also join the fray, as well as 6-4 tight end Stevens Grant.
Only two offensive linemen were part of the haul: 6-7 290-pound Tylan Grable and 6-3, 295-pound Caden Kitler.
3. The defense just re-loaded
Travis Williams’ philosophy just came into full focus: Rush the passer up front, and be athletic in the back seven. Consider: UCF puled in two defensive ends who are both 6-2 or taller, two linebackers and three defensive backs, including twin brothers Demari and Ja’cari Henderson from Seminole High School.
Of the 15 players UCF signed on Wednesday, 10 were from Florida, with a further four from Georgia.
While there are still holes to fill, which first full signing period under Gus Malzahn has been termed a success not just based on the players who came in, but also by the stamp that Gus Malzahn placed on the program.