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UCF Football Players Say Goodbye at Hula Bowl

Five Knights Football Players play their final game in the Bounce House as it hosts its 2nd Hula Bowl

Nick Porcelli

One year after McKenzie Milton said his final goodbye to Knight Nation, a new crop of UCF Knights does the same in the 2023 Hula Bowl.

Once again, all the former Knights ended up playing for Team Aina (Hawaiian word for “land”), who captured their first lead of the game as the clock expired in the 3rd quarter.

However, thanks to a pair of fourth-quarter field goals, and dominating in time of possession, Team Kai (Hawaiian word for “sea”) took the victory for the second consecutive year.

While the game ended in defeat for the former Knights, the game, and the week of practices preceding it, served as an audition/interview for a myriad of professional scouts from the NFL, CFL, USFL, and XFL in attendance.

So, here is how each former Knight looked to those scouts during the game:

DT Anthony Montalvo

Defensive tackle Anthony Montalvo committed the most highlight play of the game. Early in the 2nd quarter, Montalvo launched himself over one of his teammates to make a diving tackle on former BYU RB Christopher Brooks. Brooks went on to lead Team Kai with 13 carries for 84 yards.

As for Montalvo, it was one of five tackles he had for the day.

Now, he said he is going to begin his training for 2023’s UCF Pro Day and go from there.

OL Samuel Jackson

Team Aina’s limited time on offense limited the amount of time offensive lineman Samuel Jackson got to see the field on Saturday. Though he did start the game at right guard, he said after the game that he hopes scouts saw his ability to play multiple positions.

Jackson said he will be training and waiting for UCF’s Pro Day. Though, he remained open to playing in other bowl games should he get invited.

RB Isaiah Bowser

Running back Isaiah Bowser said during practice he wanted to showcase his playmaking ability. However, thanks to Team Aina’s lack of time possessing the football, he never got much of a chance to do so.

Bowser finished the Hula Bowl tied for the second-most carries of Team Aina’s running backs, yet his four carries could only net him six yards.

He said his next stop will be to train in Las Vegas.

TE Kemore Gamble

Tight end Kemore Gamble primarily served as a blocker for the majority of the Hula Bowl. However, late in the fourth quarter, he caught his only target of the day for a five-yard gain.

Now, his training begins for the 2023 NFL Draft.

DL Austin Camden

Defensive lineman Austin Camden’s Hula Bowl story is a unique one. He was called to participate in the game at 4 p.m. on Friday, less than 24 hours before game time.

Unlike his fellow former Knights, the former walk-on is not entered into the NFL Draft. He has a day job working for the Center for Recovery and Exercise, hosts the Confessions of a College walk-on podcast, and has embraced the UCF fan community.

While he may not be credited in the final stat report, Camden said the game made him want to go from just participating in UCF Pro Day to competing in it. With his middays already spoken for, Camden said he would use his mornings and afternoons to train.

S Divaad Wilson and LS Alex Ward

A pair of former Knights that were on the Hula Bowl’s roster to begin the week did not end up taking a snap on Saturday.

Long snapper Alex Ward already has an invitation to participate in the Senior Bowl on Feb. 4 and the NFL Combine. He said the Hula Bowl provided him with the networking opportunity to introduce himself to scouts so that they already know him by the time the Senior Bowl comes around.

Meanwhile, safety Divaad Wilson said back during the first day of practice he was planning on training in south Florida for the 2023 NFL Draft.

The 2023 NFL Draft begins on April 27.