Coach George O'Leary probably didn't envision a sub .500 record when looking at his team roster this past spring. Inexperience at key positions, significant injuries and an inability to finish games cost the Knights a chance to win back-to-back C-USA titles. The down season has obviously hurt attendance and fan morale, but how does a disappointing season affect UCF recruiting?
"I don't see it being a major factor," said O'Leary. "A lot of the sharp parents see the right thing here. They're still hopefully going to school to get an education, but football is a major part of it."
O'Leary doesn't see the season as a major negative toward recruiting and he is basically correct. Fans will point to a soft verbal from Dontravious Floyd and Stephen Hill's de-commitment, but they might be a little naïve in the recruiting process.
Floyd still is committed to UCF. He will search around, but he was a fluke commit, a guy that committed to the school a day or so after visiting the team's practice in the summer. The same can be said about Hill, who was bound to bolt for a BCS school closer to home (in this case Georgia Tech.) Hill never visited UCF and had close ties to wide receiver coach/recruiter, David Kelly. He made his decision in the summer and sprang once the Georgia's and Georgia Tech's came calling, so you can't blame him for wanting to stay at home.
"I think certain kids, especially in this state, have their minds made up on where they want to go, it's just a matter of whether the schools want to offer them or not," added O'Leary in reference to specifically Florida recruits who have grown up idolizing certain schools.
Other than that though, UCF seems to be on track for keeping it's verbal commitments. Players such as Troy Davis, Deon Simmon and Tay Irvin all appear to be locks still and it's unlikely that you'll see them waiver.
Even Floyd, who many see as another possible de-commit, knows that a down season doesn't mean much and that it could impact him.
"They are a young team right now and they are definitely getting better," Floyd told InsideKnights.com in a previous interview. "Right now, it's giving me the urge to get there and make an early impact."
A bad season really doesn't dissuade recruits that have already looked at UCF, as many have been promised early playing time. For top ranked players such as Brian Jackson of Hoover (Al.) or Josh Robinson of Plantation (Fla.) they are eager to get in and play right away, so a down year actual helps some in that regard.
If losing becomes a trend then obviously it is a reason for concern, but one disappointing season is nothing to get concerned over as far as recruiting is concerned, something O'Leary notes and something that many recruits do as well.
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