While watching Saturday's UCF romp over NCAA Division I-AA opponent South Dakota, I could see some results of the Knights' efforts to keep local talent from leaving Central Florida.
The first evidence was quite obvious. If you hadn't heard the name Quincy McDuffie prior to Saturday, you have now. He's a star and he will only get better. Junior A.J. Guyton is probably considered the Knights top receiver now, but McDuffie is coming along quite nicely.He's an Orlando Edgewater High product and he caught two passes for 21 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown reception. He also had an 18-yard kickoff return to give the sophomore 45 yards all-purpose yards, which included a 6-yard run.It wasn't exactly the numbers that made McDuffie's day impressive, but his mere presence on the field seemed to give South Dakota too much to handle. He may have even had a lot to do with Guyton's huge game (127 yards and a touchdown on 8 catches) and quarterback Rob Calabrese to have his best day ever at UCF. He completed his first nine passes and was 12-of-15 for 175 yards and one touchdown.His presence was also reflected in the stands. Others want to follow in his footsteps. His brother Alton Howard, a junior athlete at Edgewater, was part of a group of recruits visiting UCF on Saturday, as was his cousin RB-DB John Armstrong of Orlando Olympia and another talented Orlando junior, RB Tyler Floyd of Bishop Moore.Also representing the Orlando area were UCF commits S Brandon Bragg of Orlando University and LB Willie Mitchell of Deltona Pine Ridge, and they brought teammates. Pine Ridge LB-FB Gage Marcil was with Mitchell, while tagging along with Bragg were Marcus Garvey and LB Shan Berry.UCF director of player personnel Albert Boone talks about the Knights panning the Central Florida area for talent, looking to keep that talent from leaving home. So far the UCF strategy appears to be working.With Mitchell and Jones joining Lake Brantley defensive tackle Joey Grant and Edgewater defensive end Deion Green, the Knights have four local commits to the class of 2011 and there are still more local targets on the UCF board. Players like S Corian Hamilton at Olympia and OL Darrell Williams at Orlando Evans may leave, but effort is being made to keep them close. There will be others, of course, who pop up as the season goes along.Last year the Knights snagged Edgewater defensive tackle E.J. Dunston, who started Saturday at right tackle, while they also signed the Mount Dora tandem of CB Jordan Ozerites and DB Cornelius Whitehead. Another starter, redshirt freshman DT Victor Gray, is from Orlando Dr. Phillips. Ozerites is second-string at corner.Also signed last year were Oviedo QBBlake Bortles, likely headed for a redshirt season, and Lake Mary DT Andrew Rice.Another O-town product might be starting this week against N.C. State. Offensive left tackle Abre Leggins is from Orlando Evans via the juco route. The senior stepped in Saturday during the first half and stayed for most of the rest of the game. Senior Ricky Kay, a senior from DeLand, played H-back against the Coyotes."We have to recruit this local talent have to," Boone said. "There is so much talent out there that it only makes sense, especially with our fan base, who have known these kids since Pop Warner."Plenty of prospects are going to get away, of course. Big names like Christian Jones (Lake Howell) and Kenny Shaw (Dr. Phillips) headed for Florida State last year, just to name a few. Those are the guys UCF would like to lure to East Orlando.The Knights and assistant coach David Kelly, have also hit the Miami scene pretty hard recently and they got a huge recruit last year out of Miami Central in Jeffrey Godfrey, who could have gone to any number of BCS schools that were recruiting him. Godfrey had an impressive debut Saturday as No. 2 QB behind Calabrese. Florida players are prevalent on the Knights roster, which wasn't always the case in the past.So stay tuned Orlando. You're going to hear the names of more local boys coming out over the Bright House Networks Stadium PA. Heck, it might even be one of those Pop Warner kids you are watching every Saturday.Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at email@example.com.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun