This Friday night, Blake Bortles, one of the most celebrated football players in school history, will be enshrined in the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame. Blake was a quarterback at UCF from 2010 to 2013 and was the third overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Below is the link to Bortles being selected in the NFL Draft. Due to NFL copyright, it cannot be embedded in this article.
Bortles was barely recruited as a quarterback from Oviedo High School, a short drive from UCF. Jeff Driskel, the quarterback at rival Hagerty High School, was the guy who caught all the attention. As a result, Bortles flew under the radar. He only received five offers and schools were more interested in the then-6-4 Bortles being a tight end than quarterback. UCF offered him as a quarterback and in August of 2009, and Bortles committed to UCF.
Bortles was a member of the 2010 UCF Knights, but was overshadowed by highly-touted recruit Jeff Godfrey, who led UCF to their second conference championship and first bowl win. In 2011, Blake started seeing the field more and progressively gained favor in the eyes of head coach George O’Leary. He never started any games, but he was becoming more productive than Godfrey. By 2012, Bortles became the full time starter and Godfrey moved to wide receiver.
In 2012, Blake began to create his legacy. The team was talented and just a little seasoning short of being national contenders. It was the school’s final season in Conference USA. A comfortable win against Ball State in the St. Petersburg Bowl served as a springboard to what would be the best season in UCF history at the time.
Blake was solid during the 2012 season, going 251/399 for 3059 yards with 25 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions.
It was in 2013 that Bortles cemented his legacy as one of the greatest football players in UCF history. The Knights, in their first season in the American Athletic Conference, took advantage of their one and only season in a BCS automatic qualifying conference, sweeping the conference schedule en route to a conference championship and helping UCF get their first bid to a major bowl game, the Fiesta Bowl. The Knights would ice the cake by defeating Baylor in the 2014 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl 52-42.
Fiesta Bowl defensive MVP Terrance Plummer had this to say about Blake:
“B5 is a legend and so glad he was our QB and leader for when we first came on a major stage of college football and prove ourselves right about what KNIGHTS are about.”
Blake was the offensive MVP that day.
The 2013 team was known Kardiac Knights, a spin off the Cleveland Browns’ Kardiac Kids from the 1980 season, a team that would routinely find themselves in a tight spot late in games and just find ways to win. Eight of UCF’s thirteen games were decided by a touchdown or less. On more than one occasion, Bortles had to help the team come back to win, highlighted by upsetting Teddy Bridgewater and his Louisville Cardinals on a nationally televised Friday night game.
“One thing we knew as an offense, as long as #5 is back there we will always have a shot, whether we were winning or losing the O-line would look at you and you would give a head nod and at that moment we always knew we were good,” said Torrian Wilson, UCF’s starting left tackle during that 2013 season.
Statistically, Bortles had a great 2013, going 259/382 for 3,581 yards with 25 touchdowns and 9 interceptions.
It was Blake’s ability to find ways to win, along with his physical gift of his size and deceptive running abilities that caught the attention of the NFL. He was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars with the third overall pick in the NFL Draft, the highest draft position in UCF history.
Blake finished his career at UCF going 585/891 for 7,598 yards with 56 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. His record as a starter was 22-5. He was on the team for two conference championships — Conference USA in 2010 and The American in 2013 — along with two C-USA East Division titles in 2010 and 2012.
Blake also has the distinction of being the only quarterback in UCF history with back-to-back bowl victories. He is in the top ten in UCF history in a number of categories, including passing attempts (7th), completions (5th), yards (6th), touchdowns (6th), passing efficiency (2nd), completion percentage (2nd), yards per attempt (3rd), total offense (6th), and touchdowns responsible for (6th).
For more on this year’s UCF Athletics Hall of Fame Class. Check out the special edition of Knight Shift we did on this year’s class and who could be possible candidates in the future.