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Early Football Signing Period: Three Biggest Takeaways for UCF

UCF pulls in solid crop of new recruits for 2019, including a QB from McKenzie Milton’s high school.

Josh Heupel UCF
UCF Football’s Josh Heupel is just five days away from making his regular-season debut as a head coach.
Derek Warden

The UCF Knights pulled in 20 new recruits on the first day of the December 2018 Early Signing Period, filling some key needs and boosting some other key positions.

Head Coach Josh Heupel had all the National Signing Day cliches at the ready:

For a full breakdown of the Knights’ day, listen to Zach Goodall break it all down in our latest episode of the Black & Gold Banneret Podcast.

Here are three key takeaways:

Knights Shore Up the Defensive Front Seven

Of the 20 signees, seven were defensive linemen, and two more were linebackers. With UCF’s graduations and departures picking up over this year and last, the front seven needed to reload, and that’s exactly what Randy Shannon did.

Among the more eye-popping recruits are Keenan Hester (6-5, 270) from St. Petersburg and Noah Hancock (6-4, 285) from Miami.

Goin’ Back to Hawai’i

Gabriel was a bit of a surprise, but probably shouldn’t have been. He’s a graduate of Miliani High School in Hawai’i, the same school that produced McKenzie Milton. Word is from Gabriel that he speaks to KZ every day, and Milton watched Gabriel’s ceremony live via FaceTime (as you can see above).

Gabriel (6’, 180) is a lefty, and is the all-time leading passer in the state of Hawai’i, having broken Tua Tagovailoa’s record this season. He will enroll at UCF in January.


Say hello to Mac Loudermilk’s (and also possibly Matthew Wright’s) worthy successor, Swervin’ Alan Kervin from East Lake High School.

Don’t you dare laugh at that analysis. You know how important kickers and punters are in close games.

For a quick recap of who the Knights signed and how the day progressed, check out this Twitter Moment fro UCF Athletics: