Quarterback Tyler Harris of Georgia and running back C.J. Jones of Daytona Beach saw a major opportunity at UCF.
With two juniors at their positions — quarterback Blake Bortles and running back Storm Johnson — opting to skip their senior seasons at UCF to enter the NFL Draft, Harris and Jones will have chances to fill those voids.
Harris, a 6-4, 220-pounder, signed early and is already on campus. Rivals.com lists Harris and Jones as three-star recruits. Harris passed for nearly 2,800 yards, and Jones, a 5-10, 195-pounder ran for 1,250.
They are two of the 17 new recruits announced by UCF on Wednesday. The Knights (12-1) finished No. 10 in the final AP poll of the season after beating Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl. It was the highest finish in school history.
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UCF loaded up on defensive backs and defensive linemen, with four each. The Knights also signed three offensive linemen and two wide receivers. There are no tight ends in the class and just one linebacker.
But perhaps Jordan Franks, who is from the Florida Panhandle area and is listed as an “athlete,” could help at one of those positions. At 6-4 and 210 pounds, he played wide receiver as well as on defense last season, and much will likely depend on how his frame fills out.
The Bulls signed 28 players, and perhaps the most exciting name is Miami Jackson’s Quinton Flowers, who in the preseason was ranked the No. 1 quarterback in the state by Friday Night Football magazine.
Flowers, who is listed at 6-0 and 210 pounds by USF, was ranked by FNF as the state’s 13th best prospect overall.
“He’s the most exciting and athletic quarterback to come through the state in several years,” FNF wrote in its preseason edition. “He’s not the biggest, but he’s one of the best.”
Flowers was the only quarterback signed by the Bulls, who stockpiled defensive backs (six), linebackers (five) and tight ends (three). They also got four linemen on each side of the ball, three receivers and two running backs.
The Bulls pulled other players from South Florida besides Flowers. They got cornerback Deatrick Nichols and offensive guard Michael Smith from Miami Central and wide receiver Stanley Clervaux from North Miami.
Coach Charlie Partridge’s first recruiting class at FAU is comprised of 24 players — 23 of them from Florida. Four of the recruits already are enrolled.
FAU signed one quarterback, Jason Driskel, a 6-2, 210-pounder from Oviedo. He is the younger brother of Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel.
The Owls also signed two running backs, including one from South Florida — Greg “Buddy” Howell, a 6-0, 205-pounder who had some impressive performances for Coral Gables.
FAU loaded up on linemen — five on defense and four on offense. They also got four defensive backs, three wide receivers and two tight ends.
The Wildcats bolstered their defensive line, signing eight. Some of those players, however, could end up as offensive linemen or linebackers.
Two of the defensive linemen who should provide immediate help are junior-college transfers Tysheem Bryant and Khaleel Castillo.
The other 17 recruits signed by coach Brian Jenkins are freshmen.
Of the 19 total recruits, 16 are from the state, including nine from South Florida.
Greg Taylor, a 6-3, 210-pounder from Atlanta, could be the quarterback of the future and is regarded as a drop-back passer.
Cameron Rigby of Miramar is the lone running back in the class. Kendon Davis of Plantation is the only receiver, and Tyler Gildner of New Jersey is the lone tight end.
Perhaps looking to find the next Ben Roethlisberger or Daunte Culpepper, FAMU coach Earl Holmes signed two huge quarterbacks — 6-4, 230-pound Shazzon Mumphrey from Dakota College and 6-6, 225-pound Brian Blackburn out of Detroit.
Another intriguing signing is 6-2, 205-pound safety James Sample from Sacramento.
He played one season at the University of Washington before transferring to a junior college.