Knighting Up

By: Robert Craft news services

Gus Malzahn has a reputation for being one of college football’s top recruiters. Since he arrived in Orlando, Malzahn has been able to capitalize by landing several top transfers to UCF.

Malzahn emphasized recruiting is very important to play with the Power 5 programs. Since his arrival on February 15th, “The Gus Bus” hasn’t slowed down.

Linebacker Bryson Armstrong, an All American from Kennesaw State, is the latest player to commit to Malzahn and UCF. Armstrong was the Big South Conference Defensive Player of the Year in 2019.

Wide receiver Jordan Johnson transferred to UCF. Johnson was one of the most talented players in the country in the class of 2020 according to 247Sports Composite Rankings. He ranked as the number 37 overall player and the number 6 receiver in the country. Johnson makes the fourth former Notre Dame product to transfer to UCF since 2017.

Former Western Kentucky redshirt freshman defensive tackle Ricky Barber has transferred to The Knights. Barber was a 2020 Freshman All American by Football Writers Association of America this past season.

Big Kat Bryant announced he was transferring to UCF over Tennessee. During his time at Auburn, Bryant recorded 56 tackles, 10 sacks, seven passes defended, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery for the Tigers. SEC coaches named Bryant a Second Team All-SEC selection.

The defensive lineman became the third former Tiger to follow Malzahn to Orlando as running back Mark Anthony Richards and receiver Nate Craig Meyers each made the decision to continue their college careers at UCF.

Running back Isaiah Bower (Northwestern) kicker Ryker Casey (App State) and linebacker Hirkley Latu (BYU) round out the new Knights.

The transfer portal can be a double-edged sword. While it can help provide teams with much needed depth and experience, some worry that coaches are signing free agents rather than developing younger talent from high school recruiting.

Unlike former UCF coaches, Malzahn has been offering 4-star and 5-star recruits to UCF. He said it’s about building relationships and UCF is working on changing the narrative with recruits vs transfers.

Malzahn’s sites are set to get these talented players to UCF and be part of building something special. The best way to create franchise energy is to get plugged into the establishment and its actions.

Malzahn will inherit a program that went 6-4 this past season and quarterback Dillon Gabriel. Gabriel, one of the top returning sign callers in the country, should mean the Knights program start Malzahn’s tenure with a high floor.

Non-Conference games against Boise State and Louisville in September will give Coach Malzahn a chance to shine early against big names.

The Gus Bus is creating major synergy, so buckle up Knight fans it is going to be UCFast.