St. Petersburg Gibbs athlete Maurice Hall has committed to the 2014 recruiting class of UCF. (COURTESY MAURICE HALL)
Gibbs High athlete Maurice Hall always knew he’d end up playing sports in college. To hear UCF’s most recent verbal commitment explain it, he couldn’t fail.
“A lot of people probably thought I would never have a chance to go to college or make something of myself but I always knew I was going to make it,” Hall said. “It just takes hard work and no excuses. Nothing is going to come easy.”
Hall committed to the Knights after taking an unofficial visit to the campus Friday. One of the first people he met upon his arrival was freshman quarterback Pete DiNovo, who enrolled at UCF in january out of Tarpon Springs East Lake.
The two are friends from their time playing on Team Tampa, a 7-on-7 all-star team that won the IMG National Championship in 2012.
“Pete and I became pretty close last year and he told me straight up that UCF is going to play for a national championship while we’re on campus here,” Hall said. “He was so excited about the program and the direction the school is headed that it got me excited.
“Plus the fact that he’s there and the Griffin twins [Shaquem and Shaquill] are there is a big deal because I know they are great teammates and they will make sure everything is all right.”
Hall cracked a big smile when he talked about seeing the athletic facilities at UCF and the rest of the upgrades made on campus.
“It’s a beautiful place and the facilities are amazing,” Hall added. “The stadium, the weight room, the meeting rooms, the libraries and all of the people were so nice. It was such a comfortable feeling and I know I can be successful there.”
Hall says the Knights will be bringing him in to play defense, either in the secondary or as an outside linebacker. He is currently 6-foot-1, 185 pounds but is likely to put on additional weight once he gets in a training program.
Defensive backs coach Kirk Callahan headed up Hall’s recruitment and the player said that head coach George O’Leary is a “jokester."
“He’s real funny but a lot of people don’t know that,” Hall added.
Hall said he’s taking some summer classes to improve his GPA and once he completes those classes he’ll be on track to qualify.
“Right now they know I have a 2.2 but I’m working hard to get it right,” Hall said. “I’m looking forward to working hard in my senior year on and off the field. Then graduating and going to play for the Knights and hopefully we can make history.”
2014 UCF commitments (8)WR Chris Davis, 6-0, 180, Oviedo
OT Chavis Dickey, 6-4, 300, Fort Valley (Ga.) Peach County
ATH Maurice Hall, 6-1, 185, St. Petersburg Gibbs
RB C.J. Jones, 5-11, 180, Port Orange Atlantic
DE Sedrick King, 6-3, 209, Plant City
OT Wyatt Miller, 6-3, 280, Douglas (Ga.) Coffee
WR Tre’quan Smith, 6-3, 180, Delray Beach Village Academy
DE A.J. Wooten, 6-5, 240, Nashville (Ga.) Berrien
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 and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.