As we continue our list of Top 100 UCF Knights male athletes of all-time, check out our previous articles in this list here:
Top 100 UCF Knights Male Athletes of All-Time: #100-91
Top 100 UCF Knights Male Athletes of All-Time: #90-81
Top 100 UCF Knights Male Athletes of All-Time: #80-71
Top 100 UCF Knights Male Athletes of All-Time #70-61
Top 100 UCF Knights Male Athletes of All-Time #60-51
Top 100 UCF Knights Male Athletes of All-Time #50-41
Top 100 UCF Knights Male Athletes of All-Time #40-31
Now we continue with the countdown:
T-#30 - Johnny Rouse (Wrestling)
UCF had a wrestling program from 1970 to 1986, and Johnny Rouse (1971-1972) is the only wrestler in the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame. Rouse finished second in the state his first year and third his second year. He returned to UCF in 1973 as an assistant coach and stayed until 1976. He also served one year as head coach in 1982.
Rouse finished as the 2nd runner-up in the 1972 U.S. Olympic trials, and then won the Regional Olympic Trials in 1976, but an injury prevented him from competing at the National Trials. He was inducted into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005.
T- #30 - Tim Foskett (Baseball)
Foskett was UCF’s first All-American in baseball, earning that honor in 1983. He earned D-II All-South honors in 1980 and was All-Sunshine State Conference in 1983.
He still ranks second all-time at UCF in hits with 289, and is behind only fellow UCF Athletics Hall of Famer Tim Barker in career stolen bases with 92. He is also fifth in career batting average at .363.
Foskett was inducted into UCF Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002 and still lives in Central Florida.
#29 - Shawn Jefferson (Football)
Shawn Jefferson played for the Knights from 1988-90 and was a part of the team that reached the Division I-AA semifinals in his senior season. Teaming with fellow UCF Hall of Fame inductee Sean Beckton, Jefferson was a dual threat, catching seven touchdowns that season and finishing in the school’s top ten in kickoff return yards.
Jefferson was drafted in the 9th round of the 1991 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers.
As a pro, Jefferson caught 470 passes during his NFL career for 7,023 yards and 29 touchdowns, and was the first UCF Knight to play in a Super Bowl, doing so as a member of the San Diego Chargers’ Super Bowl XXIX team, and then replicating that feat with the New England Patriots two years later in Super Bowl XXXI. His 14-year NFL career is still longer than that of any other former Knight.
Jefferson was inducted into UCF Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002. He is currently on the New York Jets’ coaching staff, serving as wide receiver coach after coaching with the Miami Dolphins, Tennessee Titans, and Detroit Lions.
#28 - Latavius Murray (Football)
A native of Syracuse, New York, Murray finished his UCF career second in school history in total touchdowns (44), eighth in carries (453), seventh in yards (2,424) and third in rushing touchdowns (37). He was the MVP of the 2010 C-USA Championship Game and the 2010 Liberty Bowl victory over Georgia, where he scored the winning TD in UCF’s first ever bowl win. He finished his UCF career as a First Team All-C-USA choice in 2012.
Murray has played in the NFL since 2012 with the Oakland Raiders, Minnesota Vikings, and currently, the New Orleans Saints, and as of 2019, has rushed for more than 4,000 career yards.
#27 - Rick Bratincevic (Soccer)
Rick Bratincevic (1980-1983) was a three-time All-American goalkeeper who led UCF to the Division II NCAA Tournament twice in 1982 and 1983. Bratincevic also helped UCF win the Sunshine State Conference championship twice, in 1980 and 1981. He ranks 2nd all-time at UCF with 21 shutouts and a goals allowed average of 1.07, behind only UCF Hall-of-Famer Winston DuBose. Bratincevic also holds the record for saves in a single season with 149 in 1982, and career saves with 444. Bratincevic and DuBose are only UCF players to ever be named All-American three times.
Bratincevic was drafted by the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the old North American Soccer League (NASL) in 1984 with the 20th pick. Currently, he is a Senior Vice President at Morgan Stanley.
#26 - Bruce Miller (Football)
Bruce Miller was a two-time Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 and 2010, and remains the all-time school leader in sacks with 35.5, which is also the second-most by any football player in the state of Florida’s history, behind only Daniel Stubbs of Miami (39.5). He was part of two Conference USA Championship teams (2007, 2010) and three bowl teams (2007, 2009 and 2010).
Miller was drafted by the 49ers in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL Draft, and switched over to fullback. He played from 2011-2016 and was part of the 49ers’ Super Bowl appearance in 2012.
T-#25 - Tommy Novak (Baseball)
Tommy Novak was instrumental in the UCF Baseball program’s transition to Division I status in 1985. He was the ace for UCF in the two seasons, winning 20 games, which still ranks him 10th all-time at UCF. Novak also ranks 5th all time in complete games with 13 and has two of UCF’s top ten single-season records in innings pitched with 115.2 innings (7th) in 1985 and 115.1 innings (8th) in 1986. His 231 innings ranks in top 20 all-time, despite only pitching two seasons.
Novak won 11 games in 1986 which is the 5th-most in UCF history. He was voted the team’s MVP in 1986 when UCF went 46-13, following a 52-34-1 record in 1985 where Novak led the way with nine wins.
Novak’s signature game at UCF came on April 10, 1986, in Gainesville, during the return of Head Coach Jay Bergman to UF for the first time since he left as Head Coach from 1976-1981 before taking over UCF in 1983. Novak threw a three-hit complete game shutout as UCF defeated Florida 7-0. It was one of Novak’s 7 complete games that season, which ranks as 7th best all-time.
Novak was the first UCF pitcher and 4th player overall at the time to be selected in the MLB Draft, going to the Cincinnati Reds with the 254th pick in the 10th round in 1986. He played three seasons in the minors including two seasons in the Florida State League with the Tampa Tarpons (1987) and Osceola Astros (1988).
Novak’s daughter, Kahley, was a star at second base for UCF Softball from 2012-2015, and had a legendary career herself, becoming that program’s all-time leader in stolen bases.
T-#25 - Brian Ahern (Baseball)
Brian Ahern was the ace of a UCF pitching staff that led the Knights to their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 1989. He led UCF in wins with 8 in 1987 and another 10 in 1989, which is tied for 6th-most by a UCF pitcher.
Ahern started UCF’s first-ever NCAA Tournament win in 1989 when UCF defeated 3-seed Georgia Tech 6-4 in Gainesville. Ahern pitched a complete game, striking out three, and retired the Yellow Jackets in order in the last three innings to close it out. UCF went 2-2 in that regional.
Ahern ranks first all-time at UCF in complete games with 22 and shutouts with 5, tied for 4th in wins with 24, 3rd in strikeouts (270), 5th in games started (45), and 2nd in innings pitched with 324. He is one of forty UCF Baseball players honored in the “Knights of Honor” at the UCF Tradition Room at John Euliano Park.
Ahern was selected in the 5th round (125th pick) of the 1989 MLB Draft by the Kansas City Royals.
#24 - Bennie Shaw (Basketball)
On this date in 1976, Bennie Shaw became the first Knight selected in the NBA Draft (Bucks, 9th round). pic.twitter.com/skgV7uXwQl— UCF Men’s Hoops (@UCF_MBB) June 8, 2013
Bennie Shaw played under legendary head coach Torchy Clark during the 1974-75 and 1975-76 seasons, helping UCF make NCAA Tournament in his final season. Shaw scored 1,238 points, which ranks 14th all-time at UCF despite only playing two seasons. His 25.4 points per game also ranks 2nd all-time at UCF behind only Bo Clark’s 27.8.
Shaw became the first UCF player selected in the NBA Draft, gong in the ninth round with the 146th pick overall to the Milwaukee Bucks. He was inducted into UCF Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009. Shaw was a distinguished education administrator in his time after UCF< and upon retiring, is still coaching youth basketball today.
#23 - Mike Gruttadauria (Football)
Mike Gruttadauria was a four-year starter at center for UCF from 1991-94 and is widely considered to be the best center to ever play for UCF. He was named to the Orlando Sentinel’s 25th Anniversary UCF Football Team.
After graduation, Gruttadauria signed with the Dallas Cowboys as a rookie free agent and later was picked up by the St. Louis Rams after Dallas released him. He would seven years in the NFL, including the first four seasons with the Rams and the final three through 2002 with the Arizona Cardinals, starting 66 games. His career was cut short due to injury.
Gruttadauria was best known as the starting center on the Rams’ 2000 Super Bowl championship team, and was the first UCF Knight to win a Super Bowl ring. He was inducted into UCF Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004.
T-#22 - Tre’Quan Smith (Football)
Tre’Quan Smith was a dominant receiver for UCF in a time of great upheaval in the program. He had 168 receptions (5th all-time at UCF) for 2,748 yards (3rd all-time) and 22 touchdowns (3rd all-time) during his three seasons at UCF from 2015-2017. He was a critical part of the Knights’ 2017 American championship and perfect season that concluded with a win in Peach Bowl against Auburn.
Smith ranks second in career 100-yard receiving games (11) and eighth in yards per reception with 16.4. He was also the AAC Rookie of Year in UCF’s disastrous winless campaign in 2015, becoming the first freshman in UCF history to lead his team in receptions and receiving yards.
Smith was taken with the 91st pick in the 3rd round of 2018 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints, and his 2nd career NFL reception was a historic one, as he caught a 62-yard TD pass from Drew Brees, pushing him to the NFL’s career passing yards record on October 9, 2018.
T-#22- David Rhodes (Football)
Do you know the UCF Hall of Famer and All time leading receiver with 3,618 yards. a 2X All American who earned his Master and Law Degrees. David Rhodes is a winner also holds UCF records for most Receptions and TDs. ChargeOn David ⚔️ ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/8xPpaHaE8u— UCFacts A Gritty Inclusive UnderDog Culture (@Facts_UCF) May 17, 2019
David Rhodes was an All-American in 1993 and 1994 and set the school record for career receiving yards (3,618), receptions (213), and TDs (29), all of which he still holds to this day. He signed with the Cincinnati Bengals after leaving UCF, and spent one season in NFL Europe with the the Rhein Fire. Rhodes was inducted into UCF Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003. A native of tiny Mulberry, Florida, Rhodes is now a lawyer in the Orlando area.
#21 - Rick Hamilton (Football)
Inverness native Rick Hamilton was an outstanding linebacker for the Knights from 1989-92 and is still the school’s all-time leader in tackles with 443. He made more than 100 tackles in three of his four seasons, and has the second-highest single-season tackle total with 149 in 1992. He also has the second-longest interception return in school history, when he took back a pick 97 yards for a touchdown against Western Illinois in 1992. Hamilton had 8 career interceptions and even blocked three kicks.
Hamilton went in the third round of the 1993 NFL Draft to the Washington Redskins. After a four-year career where Hamilton played for the Redskins (1993-1994), Kansas City Chiefs (94-95) and New York Jets (1996), Hamilton moved back home to play for the Orlando Predators of the Arena Football League from 1998-2003. He is regarded as one of greatest two-way players in Arena Football history, playing as a linebacker and running back.
Hamilton was the MVP of Arena Bowl XII in 1998, scoring three touchdowns and leading the Predators to their first championship over the rival Tampa Bay Storm. In 2000, Hamilton was 2nd Team All-Arena and helped the Preds win their second Arena Bowl title in three seasons.
Hamilton was inducted into UCF Athletics Hall of Fame in 2006.