The UCF Knights Hall of Fame Class of 2021 will be headlined by arguably the greatest basketball player in program history, one of top football players of all time, The best offfense lineman in program history, and an Olympian.
Blake Bortles, Jermaine Taylor, Josh Sitton, Afia Charles and Natalie Land will be inducted into UCF Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday, October 8, the night before UCF’s home football game vs. ECU.
Oviedo High School grad Blake Bortles is the all-time leader at UCF in career passer rating at 153.9, and he ranks 5th in career completions, yards, and touchdowns behind Daunte Culpepper, Ryan Schneider, Darin Hinshaw, and McKenzie Milton. As a starter in the 2012 and 2013 seasons, he posted a 22–5 record for the Knights.
In his final season, Bortles was the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Offensive MVP and the 2013 American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year.
Bortles was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars third overall in the 2014 NFL Draft, the highest any Knight has ever been taken. He played for the Jaguars from 2014-2018, leading them to the AFC Championship game in 2017. He spent 2019 as a backup quarterback with the Los Angeles Rams. For his career in the NFL, Bortles has thrown for 17,649 yards with 103 touchdown passes and a 80.6 passer rating. He was ranked as the 5th greatest UCF Male Athlete in our Top 100 rankings in 2020.
Tavares product Jermaine Taylor earned Conference USA Player of the Year honors in his final season at UCF in 2009, as he was selected to the All-C-USA First Team, NABC All-District First Team, and the USBWA All-District Team. He averaged 26.2 points, which was third best in the nation, and set a Conference USA single-season record with 466 total points and a 29.1 points-per-game average against conference opponents.
Taylor scored a school-record 812 points during his senior season and shot 48% from the floor including 37.6% from three-point range. Taylor became the all-time leading scorer in the Division I era at UCF, a record he still holds today with 1,979 points, and he trails only Bo Clark in the total career scoring category.
Taylor was the highest NBA Draft pick in UCF history, when he was selected with the 32nd overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards, and shortly after was traded to the Houston Rockets.
On December 15, 2010, the Rockets traded Taylor to the Sacramento Kings for a protected second-round pick. In two NBA seasons, he averaged 5.4 points per game. He was waived by the Kings at the end of the season. Taylor played in the D-League for seven seasons, averaging 14.4 points per game, and played all over the world over the rest of the decade. Taylor was ranked as 7th greatest UCF Male Athlete in our Top 100 rankings in 2020 and highest ranked UCF Basketball player on the list.
Josh Sitton played in 50 games with 43 starts during his career at UCF. He was named first-team All-Conference USA in 2007, helping the Knights win the program’s first conference championship. He started at both guard spots and at right tackle during his career, and was part of two UCF bowl teams, in 2005 and 2007.
Sitton was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He made four Pro Bowls (2012-2014, 2016) which is tied with Asante Samuel for second-most by a UCF Knight, behind only Brandon Marshall’s 6. Sitton won Super Bowl XLV with the Packers, and also played two seasons with the Chicago Bears and one season with the Miami Dolphins. He made NFL All-Pro First Team in 2014, and Second Team twice in 2013 and 2015 at the guard position. Sitton is only UCF Knight to win a conference championship, start in a bowl game, start in a Super Bowl, and play in a Pro Bowl.
After 11 seasons in the NFL, Sitton announced his retirement on April 4, 2019. He officially retired with the Packers on December 4, 2019. Sitton was ranked 12th on our Top 100 Greatest UCF Male Athletes.
Natalie Land becomes the 3rd UCF Knight Softball player to be inducted into UCF Athletic Hall of Fame joining Stephanie Best and Allison Kime.
Land is the only UCF Softball player in program history to be a three-time first team All-C-USA selection (2010-2012). She ranks in the top ten in just about every significant offensive category at UCF, including 6th in hitting (.316), 8th in hits (206), 4th in runs scored (134), 6th in on-base percentage (.397), 10th in slugging (.445), and 6th in total bases (290) and 2nd all-time in stolen bases (102) which Land did with the best efficiency any Knight ever had with 87.9 % stolen base pct which is best by any 4 year Knight player in program history. Land shares single season record for stolen bases with 43 (set in 2012) with Kahley Novak (2015).
Land was part of two NCAA Tournament appearances in 2010 and 2012). She also helped lead the Knights to the C-USA Championship game in 2010. Land is arguably the greatest pure athlete ever to play for the softball program as she was a star basketball player in high school, winning player of year in basketball and softball along with even playing volleyball. Following her UCF days, Land even played for the United States Women’s National Baseball team.
Land’s uncle is Kerwin Bell, who played quarterback for the Florida Gators from 1984-1987 and played in the NFL, World League of American Football (WLAF) and the Canadian Football League (CFL) for fourteen seasons. Land is ranked 11th in our Top 80 UCF Female Athletes of all-time.
Afia Charles is UCF’s first track and field Olympian, as she represented Antigua and Barbuda at the London 2012 Summer Olympics in the women’s 400 meters 28 years after her mother, Ruperta, a native of Antigua, competed at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles in the 100 meters, and 200 meters, and the 4×400 meter relay.
During her time at UCF from 2011-2014, Charles was a 2011 NCAA Indoor All-American (4x400 Relay), 2013 NCAA Outdoor All-American (4x100 Relay), and 2014 NCAA Outdoor All-American (4x400 Relay). Charles was a member of the 2014 UCF 4x400 meter relay team that advanced the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon. The squad crossed the line in 3:35.42 to place 15th for Second Team All-American accolades. The foursome ( Sandy Jean, Jen Clayton, Ashley Jocelyn, Charles) also recorded a school-record time of 3:32.59 at the American Athletic Conference Championships.
Charles was part of the Knights three outdoor C-USA Championships (2011-2013) as well as two indoor C-USA Championship teams (2011,2013). Charles help UCF finished 5th in 2013 NCAA Championships as the Knights became the first non P5 program since 2000 to earn a top-five finish at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Charles was a member of the 4x100 relay squad that set a new school record in the prelims and finished runner-up in the finals.
Charles was ranked 10th in our list of Top 80 UCF Female Athletes of all-time in 2020.