Blake Bortles is literally in UCF's back yard. The Oviedo quarterback is the Knights top quarterback prospect and he will be a key cog for the Lions this year as they try to rebound from a 3-8 season.
Oviedo (Fla.) head coach Wes Allen knows that there is a ton of potential across his roster this year.
"We have two great receivers. Trevor Berry is 6'2", 190 lbs. and had 55 receptions, seven touchdowns and 927 receiving yards for us last year, and he already has a baseball offer from UCF. I really think he is one of the better receivers in the county. He'll team with Kyle Dressen, a speedy possession receiver who stands at 5'10", 170 lbs. He came on strong for us late last season because he had to learn the offense on the run after transferring here this past summer.
Marcus Thomas is a 6'1", 225 lb. defensive end that runs a 4.58 40-yard dash and tosses the discuss, shot-put and runs the 100-meter dash for our track team, that's the kind of athlete he is. Michael Yankello is a tackle for us but projects as a tight end at the next level. He has a 4.5 GPA, he could play in the Ivy league."
Allen is certainly confident that his team has the talent to bounce back from a 3-8 campaign, but much of Oviedo's success relies on one the area's most talented quarterbacks, Blake Bortles.
"Blake is a great kid to coach," Allen told InsideKnights.com. "He is as coachable as they come, he really understands what is going on and knows what it takes to succeed. Blake has outstanding knowledge on how to avoid pressure, he knows how to make smart throws and he really was able to manage the spread offense this year; he showed a lot of composure in the new offense with some young kids around him."
Along with Allen, many who follow Central Florida football regard Bortles as the best player in the area because of his aforementioned traits. On top of his intangibles, Bortles also posses all the measurables college coaches look for. He is built solidly, as he stands at 6'3" and weighs 190 lbs. Bortles is a multi-sport athlete (plays baseball as well), and has elite arm-strength. He is also a productive dual-threat player who threw for 2,215 yards, 21 touchdowns and nine picks, while also accumulating 250 yards on the ground.
Currently, UCF is Bortles' only offer, but according to Allen, more are expected to come rolling in.
"As of now, UCF is his only offer, but Florida State told me that they have Blake high on his board. Kentucky is showing interest too and LSU watched a game last fall and I think they liked what they saw."
The Knights certainly have location going for them, as Bortles lives just minutes away from the campus.
"I can't speak for Blake, but I know he has enjoyed going to UCF games. Growing up in Central Florida, it has been a good thing for him to get to go out and see the games."
Allen will not push Bortles one way or another towards any school and wants all of his players to make a decision that best fits them. As of now, Bortles is the only player on his squad drawing consistent looks from FBS schools, but if the dynamic quarterback can build on last season's performance and get help from some fellow seniors, there could be a plethora of talented players receiving all kinds of attention right in UCF's back-yard.
Backyard Prospect for UCF
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