Football recruiting visits are fact-finding missions. They are opportunities for prospective athletes to find out more information about a place they could be spending the next four years of their lives.
Football recruiting visits sometimes, however, are simply free football games.
Marcus Applefield looked good Saturday on the sideline at Bright House Networks Stadium prior to UCF's battle with SEC power South Carolina. So did Chris Lammons and Chris Nelson and Amani Oruwariye.
To UCF fans and coaches, alike, Applefield, a 6-foot-6, 280-pound offensive lineman from Weeki Wachee, would look even better on that sideline wearing a UCF Knights football jersey one day.
What remains to be seen, however, is if indeed Applefield's presence at Saturday's game meant anything. Of those aforementioned players, at least Applefield seems like a realistic target for the Knights, who are looking at bringing in about 15 players for the 2014 recruiting class and already have 12 commitments.
Of course, that's the gray area that comes with playing a high-profile SEC team when you are UCF. The Knights want top-notch prospects on campus and want them to be part of the electric atmosphere when they host a big game.
Some players requesting tickets to Saturday's game were even denied. (See Apopka sophomore Martez Ivey.)
Lammons (6-1, 190), a safety from Plantation who is committed to Florida, and Nelson (6-2, 295), a defensive tackle from Lakeland Victory Christian committed to Louisville, were likely just sightseeing. Those two aren't coming to UCF.
Why the big tease by some of these high-profile prospects? I'm not sure, but that's really all it amounts to with guys like Lammons and more than likely Nelson. A big tease.
Lammons made a promise to fellow Gator commits Ermon Lane of Homestead and Quincy Wilson of Fort Lauderdale University School that all three would become Gators. As Nelson watches Louisville climb its way up the BCS ladder, his fever for the Cardinals is likely going to continue to push the mercury.
Applefield seems like a more reasonable candidate to one day join the UCF roster. It's not like he has an overwhelming array of interests from which to choose. He has official visits set for Vanderbilt (Oct. 18) and Rutgers (Dec. 6). Purdue, Virginia and West Virginia also are reportedly in the mix.
The Knights can easily go toe-to-toe with any of those aforementioned schools in a recruiting battle.
UCF is also looking at Tampa Gaither safety Oruwariye (6-1, 180), a highly touted defensive back who also was on campus Saturday. Oruwariye is also looking at Vanderbilt and Rutgers, as well as Michigan State, where he visits Oct. 11. Oruwariye said he has UCF listed among his top five. Bradenton IMG cornerback Vosean Crumbie (6-1, 195) is another legitimate candidate for a UCF scholarship.
UCF will be selective while filling the final spots in its recruiting class. It appears the Knights are looking for a pair of defensive backs and an interior defensive lineman.
One player still on the fence is Eustis LB-DL Jaylon Graham, who has offers from UCF, Arizona, Louisville, Kentucky, Memphis, Marshall, FAU and Indiana. Graham, however, isn't ready to start naming favorites. He says his recruitment is still wide open and he's even entertaining hopes that other schools — like Florida — might join the mix.
UCF, however, is right there in the thick of things with Graham, who loved his first Bright House experience.
“They said the students got there about 9 a.m. and you could tell, because when we came out on the field [about 11 a.m.] the whole student section was packed,” Graham said. “It was a real good atmosphere and I really enjoyed the game.”
He said he could certainly see himself playing at UCF, but he's not ready to zero in just yet. He said UCF, Indiana, Marshall and Kentucky are still recruiting him the hardest. He knows UCF has limited scholarships remaining and just one open spot left for a defensive lineman, the position at which he is being recruited.
“I'm still open and I'm not planning on committing anytime soon,” Graham said.
But at least he was a bonafide prospect on Saturday. That wasn't the case for all of them.
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting, Instagram at os_recruiting and on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun