John Denton's Knights Insider: Spring Football Preview WR/TE/DB

March 15, 2011

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By John Denton

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Throughout this week, UCF Knights Insider John Denton will be breaking down each position for UCF's nationally ranked football team heading into the start of spring practice on Friday.

After beginning drills this Friday and Saturday, the Knights will practice every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for the next four weeks leading up to the April 16 Black and Gold Spring Game at Bright House Networks Stadium. The practices are open to the public and there is no admission.

UCF is coming off its finest season in school history, winning both the Conference USA championship and the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. The Knights were 11-3 and finished the season ranked No. 20 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll and No. 21 in the Associated Press poll.

Here is a look at the wide receivers/tight ends and defensive back positions heading into spring drills:



Wide receivers: 3 A.J Guyton (5-11, 194, R.Sr.); 14 Quincy McDuffie (5-10, 175, Jr.); 82 Khymest Williams (5-10, 174, R.Sr.); 12 Marquee Williams (6-0, 205, R.Soph.); 80 Joshua Reese (6-1, 182, R.Fresh.); 89 J.J. Worton (6-2, 193, R.Fresh.); 4 Rob Calabrese (6-2, 221, Sr.

Tight ends: 88 Adam Nissley (6-6, 262, R.Sr.); 85 Willie Gaetjens (6-5, 241, R. Sr.); 86 D.J. Brown (6-4, 230, R.Soph.); 84 Justin Tukes (6-5, 230, Fresh.).

LOSSES: Jamar Newsome; Brian Watters; Kamar Aiken.

RETURNERS STATS: Guyton battled through several injuries last season to catch 28 passes for 353 yards and three touchdowns. McDuffie, arguably the nation's best kick returner, caught 13 passes for 144 yards and two scores. Khymest Williams had five catches last season, while Marquee Williams snagged one ball. Nissley had a touchdown and six catches while focusing mainly on blocking.

ANALYSIS: The Knights will have to reload at wide receiver in a big way after losing 116 catches, 1,753 yards and seven touchdowns to graduation in the form of Watters, Newsome and Aiken.

Guyton and McDuffie are proven contributors and big-time help is on the way with the emergence of redshirt freshmen Reese and Worton. The Knight are also eager to see if Calabrese's competitiveness, toughness and smarts will help him make the switch from quarterback to receiver.

Guyton has shown flashes of being an elite receiver the past two seasons, but he must become a much more consistent performer to become a top target for quarterback Jeff Godfrey. Though undersized, McDuffie hopes to use his blinding speed to become a deep threat/big play receiver for the Knights.

Reese, who was Godfrey's high school teammate at Miami Central, and Worton opened eyes with their dazzling play all season on the scout team. The two were standouts in the practices before the Liberty Bowl and left several defensive players predicting that Reese and Worton will be future stars with the Knights.

With his off-the-charts strength numbers, Nissley will likely someday get a shot as a NFL tight end. But for now, he anchors UCF's tight end position with his ability to block. With so much youth at wide receiver, the Knights could utilize the tight end position more this season and Nissley should be up to the task with his sure hands.



20 Josh Robinson (5-10, 186, Jr.); 18 Kemal Ishmael (5-11, 194, Jr.); 30 Jordan Ozerities (5-10, 191, Soph.); 19 A.J. Bouye (6-0, 182, Jr.); 12 Robertson Auguste (5-11, 188, R.Jr.); 36 Woodley Cadet (6-2, 200, R.Fresh.); 29 Lyle Dankenbring (5-10, 193, R.Jr.); 47 Clayton Geathers (6-2, 190, R.Fresh.); 39 Omar Hansborough (6-2, 195, R.Soph.); 33 Jamar McClain (5-10, 175, R.Fresh.); 25 Jarrett Swaby (6-1, 193, R. Soph.).

KEY LOSSES: Reggie Weams; Justin Boddie; Emery Allen; Darin Baldwin.

RETURNERS STATS: Ishmael led the Knights in tackles last season with 93 total stops. He also recorded five pass breakups and two interceptions. Robinson had 59 stops (fifth on the team) and two interceptions. Bouye had 26 tackles, three tackles for loss, seven pass breakups and an interception. Overtites returned his only interception 100 yards for a touchdown.

ANALYSIS: To find the backbone of the UCF football team look no further than the defensive backfield where Ishamel and Robinson patrol the field. They are two of UCF's steadiest, most dynamic players and usually find ways to put their stamps on games.

Ishamel made quite possibly the biggest play in UCF history, batting down the Hail Mary pass to the end zone by Georgia to preserve the Liberty Bowl victory. And in that same game, Robinson did a stellar job of bottling up superstar receiver A.J. Green and keeping him out of the end zone.

Now juniors and heading into their third year as starters, Ishamel and Robinson will be looked upon to be more vocal leaders to fill the void created by the graduation of seniors Bruce Miller, Derrick Hallman and David Williams. It's a role that the two standout defensive backs should be comfortable filling.

Bouye is loaded with talent and has shown flashes of becoming a big-play corner for the Knights. Clayton Geathers will be asked to fill Weams' starting spot, and he'll have to show that he can consistently produce.

Ozerities had a dazzling 100-yard interception return on the final play of the rout of Tulane, and UCF's coaches like how quickly he picked up the schemes as a true freshman last season. That confidence was shown by Ozerities getting several snaps against Georgia in the Liberty Bowl. If he can develop into a lock-down corner opposite of Robinson, the Knights could once again have one of the nation's best pass defenses.


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John Denton's Knights Insider appears on UCFAthletics.com several times a week. E-mail John at jdenton@athletics.ucf.edu.