UCF football recruiting was expected to take a step forward in a new conference. Could the commitment of John Walker be just the start?
There has been talk of the UCF football program being on the rise and the Knights took another step forward on Thursday with the highest-ranked commitment in program history.
UCF had back-to-back undefeated regular seasons under Scott Frost and Josh Heupel. That was in the American and now that the Knights are headed to the Big 12, a true Power-5 conference, recruiting was expected to be even better.
The hire of Gus Malzahn didn’t hurt either. Malzahn was fired from Auburn but after Heupel left for Tennessee, he was a great hire because he knows how to win and recruit against SEC teams. He’s also an offensive guru.
Of course, the move to the Big 12 was always going to help with recruiting and whether that was a factor for John Walker is hard to say, but there’s no debating the UCF football just landed its first top-100 commitment (99th overall) beating out teams like Ohio State and Michigan in the process.
Walker is 6-foot-3, 310 pounds and he’s from Kissimmee, Florida. The distance could have been a factor in his recruitment but that shouldn’t lessen the win for the Knights, because Walker didn’t wind up going to Florida, Miami, or someone in the SEC — he’s going to UCF.
UCF football has work to do but the Knights are building momentum
The Knights were ranked outside the top 60 before the commitment of Walker but he’s just the eighth pledge of his cycle, yet the good news for UCF is that he’s the third four-star recruit to commit in the class and that’s a solid ratio of blue-chip commitments (4-stars or higher).
On another level, UCF fans shouldn’t concern themselves too much with recruiting rankings. The Knights landed 14 transfers last cycle and that seems like it will continue to be a trend.
That meant just 15 signees in the 2023 class that wound up 37th overall according to 247 sports. This class could be ranked higher than that with more four-star commitments but three top-300 caliber players and one ranked 99th overall is something to celebrate.
UCF should jump to 59th overall after Walker’s pledge and at the moment, the Knights have the highest-ranked class of any with fewer than 10 commitments.