UCF coach George O'Leary reportedly told fans at a booster event Tuesday night in Brevard County that former starting quarterback Jeff Godfrey will be allowed to return to the team as a wide receiver if he follows a long list of guidelines for reinstatement.
Godfrey was the Knights' starting quarterback for most of the 2010 and all of the 2011 season. He earned Conference USA Freshman of the Year honors after helping the Knights win the 2010 Conference USA title and 2010 Liberty Bowl. However, Godfrey struggled to run the Knights' offense during his sophomore season. Defenses adjusted to his scramble tendencies and it appeared the undersized athlete had trouble seeing over the offensive line and linebackers when he was forced to stay in the pocket. Godfrey was the starter in name only by the end of the 2011 season, with reserve redshirt freshman Blake Bortles playing the majority of games and clearly demonstrating a better command of the offense.
Godfrey met with O'Leary at the end of the 2011 season and informed the coach he planned to transfer. O'Leary said he would grant Godfrey's release and named Bortles the Knights' new starting quarterback.
Godfrey also violated an undisclosed university policy unrelated to the football program and was suspended from all non-academic activities for the spring by the school. Godfrey skipped the UCF spring semester and returned to Miami, but he reached out to O'Leary shortly before the end of spring practice and expressed interest in returning to the program. O'Leary previously said the Knights remain Bortles' team, but he agreed to welcome Godfrey back if the quarterback met all the conditions for reinstatement as a student and athlete in good standing with the university.
O'Leary clarified how exactly Godfrey would fit into the program during the UKnight Tour Stop at the Brevard Zoo Tuesday night, according to Florida Today.
"I've met with him a couple of times and basically he has some things he has to take care of regarding school itself, some sanctions he has to deal with,'' O'Leary said, according to Florida Today. "If he does that I told him that, meeting with the coaching staff and myself the last time, that I would take him back.
"And he's coming back as a wide receiver in the program with the opportunity to help us out at quarterback in the Wild Knight package and other things using his athleticism.''
The Wild Knight package is UCF's version of the wildcat. Senior slot receiver Rob Calabrese is slated to split time between his receiving duties and the limited Wild Knight quarterback collection of plays that exploit his athleticism.
O'Leary said he felt the Knights' offense was at its best when the starting quarterback was able to take a series or two off and watch the defense react to the offense from the sidelines. He said the rotation was the most successful during the 2010 season when Godfrey was the starter and Calabrese ran the Wild Knight package before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
It is unclear whether Godfrey will be academically eligible to compete during the 2012 season. If he did not take community college classes while spending the spring semester in Miami, he would have to take a heavy academic load during the summer to meet the NCAA's minimum eligibility requirements. Godfrey has never redshirted, so he could take a year off to get back in good academic standing without losing a year of college eligibility. If he sat out the 2012 season, Godfrey would be a junior during the 2013 season and a senior during the 2014 season.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun