UCF Recruiting vs CUSA

With the college football season beginning in a few weeks and high school classes almost underway, now is the time to take a look at everything UCF has done in terms of recruiting this summer.

The Knights have pieced together an outstanding list of 12 commitments, which is months ahead of UCF's heralded 2008 class. Last year, only Southern Miss' class was ranked ahead of UCF in the C-USA, and with time to reflect, InsideKnights.com will take a look at where UCF is standing in the conference right now.

With the summer winding down and just a couple weeks until high school begins, expect a large rise in commitments followed by a lull. UCF seems to be ending a terrific summer in regards to recruiting with a big bang, landing recruits 11 and 12 over the weekend. Renato Cunha, a massive offensive lineman with a ton of potential, committed on Friday night, and that great news was followed by perhaps the biggest commitment in recent UCF history. Stephen Hill, a four-star receiver committed to the Knights on Saturday.

While coaches will tell you they don't recruit in terms of how a player is ranked, there still is a large amount of validity to the national star rating that sites such as Scout uses. There is obviously no exact science to the system, but it usually gives a good indication of the amount of raw potential a team is bringing in. Last year, UCF finished with the 66th best recruiting class in the nation according to Scout.com, which was only behind Southern Miss in the C-USA.

After winning the C-USA title, UCF has taken that momentum into the recruiting game, logging perhaps the best class thus far in the conference. Behind the strong efforts of Coach Collins and Coach Kelly, UCF has wowed recruits from across the Southeast with amazing facilities, terrific coaches and players, and a strong pipeline to the NFL.

Amongst the Knights' 12 commitments, UCF has received agreements from a four-star (Hill), two three-stars (Tay Irvin and Troy Davis) and a handful of other talented recruits who will likely see their rank soar as the season gets underway. Last year it took the Knights just about till the end of the season to haul in this many commitments, currently giving UCF the upper hand for C-USA supremacy recruiting wise.

Last year's recruiting champ (on paper anyways) has totaled eight commitments. Southern Miss' best recruit and only three-star prospect is Martez Thompson, a local prospect who chose the Golden Eagles over Mississippi St.

Where UCF will likely receive its strongest competition is from Houston, where the Cougars are quietly collecting an extremely impressive class. The team already has 10 commitments, all of which are rated three-stars or higher according to Scout. Other sites don't list Houston's recruits as strongly, but their double-digit commitment list (Rivals has 13) is impressive.

UCF's conference rivals, Tulsa, are also stocking up to help avenge two losses to the Knights last season. The Golden Hurricanes have 13 commitments, with lineman Brian DeShane and linebacker Cody Wilson ranked as three-star prospects.

June Jones has already started to right the ship at SMU, receiving commitments from as many as 13 players. Scout has the Mustangs down for four, three-star prospects, including Ben Hughes, the fifth-highest ranked center in the nation.

The only team to hand UCF a conference lost last season was ECU and the Pirates are looking to maintain a high talent level, having brought in 11 recruits thus far. Rio Johnson, a three-star quarterback headlines the class so far.

Rice is also putting together what looks to be a fantastic class, with 10 commitments, five of which are three-stars.

UTEP finished behind UCF last year but the Miners have had a slow start, reportedly receiving just one commitment, two-star Mario Turner, an undersized defensive end. Memphis has accumulated a solid class already, with five commits including one from the talented two-star (will likely go up) running back, Reuben Corley. Marshall has just two commitments so far after finishing with an impressive '08 class. Tulane is doing an adequate job in terms of recruiting, with five commits thus far, including two three-star players. Perennial C-USA bottom dweller UAB appears to have things turning around. While the Blazers have just four commits, there is good quality there, most notably three-star running back, Rashard Wynes.

With fall practice set to begin on Monday, UCF will likely let off the gas a little in terms of recruiting, as summer visits will stop as recruits head back to school. The Knights though have established a strong foundation to their 2009 class and as it stands right now, could potentially have the most talented class in the conference when it's all said and done.

Brendan Sonnone is a senior writer for InsideKnights.com, covering the UCF Knights for Scout.com. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.

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