The city of Orlando, Florida, is home to many wonderful things: Disney World, Universal Studios, great food and drinks, and, of course, the UCF Knights.
UCF hasn’t been around as long as the other programs in the state, but they’ve found a way to rise through the ranks over the years. They were founded in 1979 as a Division III school before climbing to Division II in 1983. By 1990, the Knights had grown into an FCS program, and in 1996, they made the jump to the FBS level.
After stints in three Group of Five conferences, UCF has now found itself at the big boy table in the Big 12. Despite not yet playing game in their new conference, the decision to accept the invitation to the Big 12 has already paid off in a big way.
Back in July, I wrote an article talking about the football program making history on the recruiting trail under Gus Malzahn. Since then, UCF’s recruiting rankings have only pointed skyward, like the rockets launching in nearby Cape Canaveral.
From 2011 to 2023, UCF signed a total of nine four-star prospects. Four of those nine have come since they accepted the invitation to the Big 12, but those numbers are getting shattered in the 2024 class.
If you take a look at the 2024 rankings on 247Sports, you will find UCF atop the Big 12 rankings. They are currently ranked inside the top 25 and are just three spots behind the SEC-bound Texas Longhorns.
Going into the month of August, UCF had a total of five four-star commits. That alone would have been their highest total ever in one class, but it didn’t stop there. Since August 1, UCF has added three more four-star commits to their already impressive haul.
The month started off with a bang, as four-star wide receiver Ric’Darious Farmer (Melbourne, Florida) committed on the first, and then, less than a week later, four-star running back Frankie Arthur (Conroe, Texas) committed to the Knights as well.
However, things just kept heating up from there, with UCF landing a pair of commitments from four-star wide receiver Bredell Richardson (Tampa, Florida) and four-star cornerback Jaylen Heyward (Rockledge, Florida) on Tuesday.
With all the commitments over the last few months, UCF now has a total of nine four-star players committed in their 2024 class. The Knights have the highest total of four-star players for the 2024 class in the Big 12, and have the same number of four-star commits as Texas and Oklahoma.
Many people have said that UCF is a sleeping giant, but one could argue that it is on the verge of becoming something truly special. In June, Gus Malzahn talked about there being a “Big Four” in the state of Florida, leaving many national media members and recruiting nerds laughing.
Well, look who is laughing now. UCF isn’t just competing with the big boys in the sunshine state, they are winning. In-state rival and recruiting powerhouse, Miami, has three fewer four-star commits in their 2024 class than UCF currently does. I have said it before and I will say it again: with UCF joining the Big 12, they are not just looking to be one of the big schools in Florida; they are looking to be the big school in the state of Florida.