Blake Bortles might have underestimated UCF at first. Although the Oviedo H.S. quarterback lives less than 10 minutes away from the university, he really didn't warm up to the school until he took a full tour of the campus, and that's when the deal was sealed.
"Right before I went on my tour of camps, I went on a tour of the entire campus at UCF with my parents," Bortles told InsideKnights.com. "It was the first time I saw the entire place and it was impressive. I told Coach Collins that if I hadn't already agreed to go to all the camps and paid for them, I would have committed to UCF then. The other campuses didn't have the same feeling when I was on them."
On Bortles' tour of camps, he saw schools like Ole Miss, Clemson, Arkansas, Kentucky and more, but none held a candle to UCF.
"When I was going to the camps, I was always comparing them to UCF. I had dinner with my parents on Friday and they asked me what I wanted to do and I told them I wanted to go to UCF."
What happened when Bortles told UCF's staff that he'd be a Knight?
"Coach Collins was pumped, he told me they just got a commit from Mount Dora (Jordan Ozerities) so it was a good day for them. Then I called Coach O'Leary to let him know."
The decision to stay close to home didn't just please Bortles.
"Yeah, my parents were happy," said Bortles, who also broke the news to his teammate and UCF baseball commit, Trevor Berry. "I went to Trevor's house later that night and he was real happy too."
Bortles made it known that the final tour of UCF's campus put the Knights over the top, saying it was the entire atmosphere that did it for him.
"It was the whole culmination, driving around on a golf cart with my parents, watching kids that I went to school with playing flag football. It hit me that I'd be playing in front of people I know."
There's a lot of hype surrounding the big-armed quarterback, as UCF has struck gold with a local quarterback by the name of Daunte Culpepper in the past. Bortles has been ranked as a top area recruit by the Orlando Sentinel and has been featured in several articles, so the legend is growing, but Bortles doesn't seem to be getting caught up with all the attention.
"I'm just going to play my best in high school my senior year and I'll help out at UCF when I get there anyway I can."
The growing excitement is understood. At 6'4", 210 lbs., Bortles has an absolute cannon for an arm and he has the athleticism to make it at the next level as well. Bortles does acknowledge though that he's far from a finished product.
"I just got back from the Top Gun Camp. I was there with Jake Heaps (the top ranked quarterback in the nation) and Connor Wood (fifth ranked) who committed to Texas and I can throw with them. I just have to work on my mechanics and help bring Oviedo back."
When the interview was over, Bortles was asked if he wanted to add anything and he responded with what was sweet music to any UCF fans' ears…
"I'm just happy to be a Knight."
Top-Ranked Local QB Happy to be a Knight
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