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UCF, FIU best of both worlds for Miami Jackson DeAndre Jasper

Miami Jackson wide receiver DeAndre Jasper will have a rare opportunity on Saturday evening.

The senior will get a chance to watch two of his top schools on his recruiting list -- UCF and FIU -- at the same time. The two teams face off Saturday night when the Knights travel to Miami to take on the Golden Panthers.

Jasper will be there.

He said he will be closely watching both teams on offense to see how he would fit in with each squad.

“I think it’s a big game,” Jasper said. “UCF has an outstanding defense, so is their  offense. I know FIU has an outstanding offense too, so it’ll be a good matchup ... I view each team by looking at the position where I can find the role at and where they need the most help.”

Jasper, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound speedster with 4.3 speed, has FIU and UCF among his favorite schools along with Marshall. Auburn also appears to be in the picture as long as the defending national champs, who have offered Jasper, continue to recruit him heavily.

Here is what he has to say about Marshall, FIU and UCF:

On Marshall: “I don’t know that much about Marshall, but they have two of my friends up there; quarterback (Rakeem) Cato and another receiver (Tommy) Shuler. I know Shuler has gotten a lot of playing time and if I chose them I could go get a lot of playing time, especially on special teams.”

Jasper intends on visiting Marshall next week when the Herd hosts Virginia Tech.

On FIU: “I have a real good relationship with their recruiting coach. One of my good friends, (E.J.) Hilliard committed there. He’s a quarterback at Miami Northwestern. It’d be good to play with him next year at the next level. I think I could come in a replace the position that T.Y. (Hilton) is playing right now, as the deep threat.”

On UCF: “I think that’s the best campus I’ve seen so far. It’s top-notch. For Jeff Godfrey, we’re really good friends, I’d love to play with him. Especially my recruiting coach, David Kelly, he’s been recruiting me since day one. He’s like a real close person to me.”

Jasper said the Knights and Golden Panthers are mostly viewed as equals by recruits in South Florida. While the Knights have experienced more success in recent years, FIU has the hometown factor going in its favor.

“They both are kind of right there in the same boat,” he said.

Both schools have impressed Jasper by giving Miami stars an opportunity to grow and shine on the national level.

“People like T.Y. inspire me because he came from Miami and (went) to a local school, made big plays and is making a name for himself and put that school on the map,” Jasper said of FIU’s Hilton, who had 818 receiving yards for the  Panthers last year. “He was a great athlete coming out of high school and he chose the right school and now he’s making big-time plays on big-time stages.”

Godfrey has had a similar impact for UCF, says Jasper.

“He was young coming in as a freshman,” Jasper said. “He worked hard and he got the quarterback position. As a freshman, he led that team to a bowl game beating Georgia and he’s looking forward to being in another big bowl game this year.”

Jasper added that UCF is almost on par with the University of Miami in terms of its presence in South Florida.

“I look at UCF as one of the big schools, they’re an up-and-coming program,” Jasper said. “They should be playing in the Orange Bowl this year.”

Before UCF makes a return trip to Miami, the Knights will have defeat FIU on Saturday in its first matchup in South Florida. That’s something Jasper can’t wait to see.

“It’s going to be real exciting,” Jasper said. “I’m happy to watch those two teams play.”

 

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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