Knights to Watch in 2012 - J.J. Worton

July 9, 2012

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By John Denton, Knights Insider

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - The start of preseason drills is closing in, so football season at UCF is right around the corner. And for many here in the football-crazed Sunshine State, that moment can't get here soon enough.

From now until drills begin in August, we here at UCFAthletics.com will be highlighting a UCF player to watch for the coming season and the expectations for that player.

The Knights open the season Aug. 30 at Akron. A week later the Knights travel to Columbus, Ohio, to face Ohio State and new coach Urban Meyer. The home-opener at Bright House Networks Stadium is Sept. 15 against FIU. And the Knights will close the non-conference portion of the schedule on Sept. 29 with a marquee home game against Missouri.

UCF football season tickets are currently available for as low as $140, while single-game tickets are also on sale. For more information and to place an order, call the UCF Ticket Office at (407) 823-1000 or visit UCFAthletics.com.

Here is a closer look at one of the key Knights expected to make a big impact this season:

NAME: J.J. Worton
POSITION: Wide receiver
HOMETOWN: Homestead
HEIGHT, WEIGHT, CLASS: 6-2, 201, redshirt sophomore

2011 STATS: After redshirting as a freshman and suffering an injury in the spring before the season, Worton became the biggest surprise contributor last year. He played in all 12 games and started just one, but still ended up leading the team with 531 yards receiving and four touchdown catches. Also, his 41 receptions set a freshman record at UCF. Additionally, he returned 17 punts for 150 yards. For his work, Worton was named to the CollegeFootballNews.com Honorable Mention All-American squad. Also, he was a Conference USA All-Freshman pick.

BEST MOMENT: Worton capped the finest game of his young career against Southern Miss with a dazzling touchdown catch in heavy traffic on the final play of regulation. The clutch TD, which was thrown by Blake Bortles, drew the Knights within one point of the lead with no time remaining on the clock. The catch also allowed Worton to tie a UCF freshman record with 11 catches. He finished the day with 114 yards and one touchdown.

WHAT LIES AHEAD: Worton showed last season that he is a big-time talent and has a flair for the dramatic with his ability to haul in tough catches in traffic. He has the surest hands on the team and his length and jumping ability make him a big target for Bortles. The two established a great chemistry late last season and, along with fellow wide outs Josh Reese, Rannell Hall and Breshad Perriman, they should be UCF's most dynamic group this season. The hope is that Worton shows more mental and physical maturity now that he's in his third season in the program. The Knights want him to be a better blocker in the running game as well as being a top pass catching threat in the passing attack. And if Worton continues to improve there's no reason he can't become an all-conference level player this season.

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