ORLANDO (UCFKnights.com) – Following a full day of practice, bowl prep, and signing recruits, UCF head coach Josh Heupel took time Wednesday afternoon to address the media to discuss the newest Knights on the first of two National Signing Days for the 2019 season.
“It’s a huge day for the future of our program,” Heupel said. “We’re extremely excited about the guys who have chosen to be a part of the Knight family. I couldn’t be happier with the types of individuals we’re bringing in.”
UCF has had immediate success under Heupel, finishing the regular season 12-0, winning the American Athletic Conference Championship and earning a berth to the 2019 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl in his first season as head coach.
There is always room for improvement on a football team. Heupel likes what the Knights have brought in during the early period to bolster what is already an impressive group of talented individuals.
“We addressed some needs. A year ago we didn’t sign many wide receivers. I think we got a great core group we signed in this class…elite speed across the board with those guys. When you look at the speed that we’re bringing in we’re going to continue to have special players and when they get the ball in their hands, they’ll have the opportunity to go make a bunch of plays.
“I love what we’ve done at the linebacker position and what we’ve started to do in this signing class on the defensive line,” Heupel went on to say. “Both of those are areas of need. The athleticism (we got) at linebacker will be critical to our future.”
With 11 additions from inside the state of Florida, and a number of new Knights from Orlando and the Central Florida area, Heupel reiterated the importance of getting local guys in his staff’s recruiting process.
“Our coaches are recruiting kids that grow up in this area, come get a great degree in this environment in Orlando, and ultimately when they are finished playing – whether that’s their last game here as a Knight or they go play 10 years in the NFL – this is the area of the country they’re going to come back and live in. It’s life changing for the student-athletes we’re bringing in here.”
At the same time, though, Heupel recognizes that the UCF brand has grown by leaps and bounds nation-wide, and recruits have noticed that as well.
“When we talk to kids across the entire country – east, west, north, south – they understand and know the success of this program. This brand is recognized coast-to-coast. They understand that we’re playing championship caliber football. They understand that you’re going to get to play in the biggest games in college football. They understand you’re going to play in front of 50,000 and it’s as good an environment as there is in college football. It’s a lot of fun being able to recruit to that.”
Heupel and the Knights will continue prep for the upcoming bowl and make their way out to Arizona on Dec. 27.
The Knights are a perfect 12-0 in 2018 and have won 25 straight games. UCF is set to head to the 2019 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1 to take on LSU. Fans can purchase tickets today by calling (407) 823-1000 or clicking here.