2019 Football Preview - Defensive Backs

It’s July, which means that there will be college football games played next month. As the Knights continue to prepare for the upcoming 2019 campaign, which kicks off Thursday, Aug. 29 at 7:30 p.m. from inside Spectrum Stadium, we will take a look at what UCF brings back and what fans of the Black and Gold have to look forward to this fall.

The UCF secondary brings back leadership and depth with plenty of talent. Led by Preseason All-America safety Richie Grant, the Knights return three of four starters from the 2018 squad's defensive backfield. Cornerbacks Nevelle Clarke and Brandon Moore, who both earned All-Conference honors a year ago, return to help bolster the UCF secondary once again. Quality depth at the position is something else the Knights have, retuning 

All-Conference Defensive Backs
Richie Grant, r-Junior | 6-0, 194
Watch: Grant has been named to four national award preseason watch lists in 2019; the Bednarik Award, the Jim Thorpe Award, the Nagurski Trophy and the Walter Camp Award
Stat: He was third in the nation with six interceptions last season and he led the Knights with 109 total tackles
Note: Earned First Team All-Conference honors in 2018 and has earned Preseason All-America honors heading into the 2019 campaign

Nevelle Clarke, r-Senior | 6-1, 187
Stat: Led UCF with 13 passes broken up as a junior in 2018
Note: Was named First Team All-Conference by The American coaches

Brandon Moore, r-Junior | 6-0, 186
Stat: Playing opposite Clarke, Moore was second on the team with 10 pass break-ups in 2018
Note: As a sophomore, earned Honorable Mention All-Conference honors

Key Returners

Antwan Collier, Junior | 6-3, 195

Note: Expected to replace graduated senior Kyle Gibson at safety. Had game-clinching interception at the 2018 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

Aaron Robinson, r-Junior, 6-1 | 193

Jermaine McMillian, r-Freshman | 6-2, 195

Derek Gainous, Sophomore | 6-0, 183

Jon Powell, r-Sophomore | 5-11, 210

Zamari Maxwell, r-Sophomore | 6-1, 175

Dyllon Lester, r-Freshman | 6-0, 190


Jordan Hayes, r-Senior | 6-0, 170

Note: Graduate transfer from Duke where he appeared in 23 games

Tay Gowan, Junior | 6-2, 185

Note: No. 9 junior college cornerback in 2019 class. Finished the season with 6 INTs, including one returned for a TD

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The 2019 season gets started Aug. 29 when the Knights host Florida A&M at Spectrum Stadium. UCF will also play host to Stanford, UConn, ECU, Houston and South Florida as the Knights aim to win a third straight American Athletic Conference Championship and return to a New Year’s Six bowl for the third consecutive season.