UCF Football: Can the “Gus Bus” work in Orlando?

Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports /
3 of 4
Syndication: The Montgomery Advertiser
Syndication: The Montgomery Advertiser /

Recruiting has slid a bit in Orlando. Can Gus improve it?

The recruiting under Josh Heupel did not exactly fall off a cliff, but recruiting took a bit of a slide. Scott Frost’s first class in 2016 was ranked 4th in the conference (national rankings don’t have as much weight in the Group of Five). Frost’s subsequent class was first. Though Heupel’s first class (2018) was ranked second, it could be argued most of those recruits were Frost’s.

Heupel’s last two classes were 7th and 4th in the AAC. A bit of a slide from the start of Heupel’s tenure in Orlando. While at Auburn, Malzahn had five top ten recruiting classes (the 2013 class was tenth) nationally.

The two years Auburn was outside of the top ten, the Tigers were 12th and 11, respectfully. When Malzahn was fired, one of the reasons given was losing recruiting ground in key places. That will be of little worry for Malzahn at UCF.

Malzahn has shown himself to be a crack recruiter most of his time at Auburn. At UCF, Malzahn does not have the pressure of recruiting in the SEC, and UCF has a system of recruiting that Malzahn should be able to take to the next level. Where Malzahn has to prove himself is in the system of player development at UCF.

Malzahn won’t have a roster as talented as he did at Auburn. Can he get players bigger, stronger, and faster to build the type of roster that can get back to the top of the AAC?