A lot has changed.
He was a freshman at Valdosta (Ga.) High at the time, but he knows plenty about the Knights today. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound punter-tight end prospect committed to the Knights on Wednesday, picking UCF over an offer from Navy. He also had offers from North Carolina-Charlotte, Appalachian State, Charleston Southern and Furman.
Not that the UCF win over Georgia back then had a lot to do with Loudermilk’s decision, but it certainly put the Knights on Loudermilk’s personal college football map.
“ I didn’t really know who UCF was until I saw that game and once they beat Georgia, I thought they might be the next up and coming team from Florida,” Loudermilk said. “Florida was kind of slacking off at that time and I knew Florida State was always good, but once UCF beat an SEC team in a bowl game, I thought they must be pretty serious about what they want to get done there.”
He was on an unofficial visit to UCF last weekend, and coaches offered him while he was on the Orlando campus. The next day, Loudermilk was at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., on another visit and “they surprised me with an offer, as well,” Loudermilk said.
“From there we went back to Florida on a family vacation to St. Augustine and I did a lot of comparing the pros and cons and praying and thinking about what I should do,” he said.
One of the major pros was distance from home.
“From my house to UCF is only about three hours, so it’s a lot easier for my family to come down and watch instead of having to make the 8-hour drive to Annapolis,” Loudermilk said.
Once he made his decision he called main recruiter and UCF linebackers coach Tyson Summers to tell him the news.
“It’s a huge relief but it was very tough,” he said of his decision. “I knew that UCF offered all of the academics and athletics that I was looking at, but then again the thought of going to Navy means you are set for life once you graduate.
“There wasn’t really just one thing that made my decision … more of just a gut feeling about what would prepare me best for life. Also, I want to play in the NFL and I thought UCF gave me the best chance at doing that, as well.”
He said he does not plan to come in early, although he could graduate in December. Loudermilk carries a 4.0 GPA.
“I don’t think that’s what Coach [George] O’Leary wants me to do,” Loudermilk said of enrolling early.
He was impressed with the UCF head coach.
“I like his style of coaching and how he’s honest, straight forward and doesn’t beat around the bush,” Loudermilk said. “He tells you how it is and I appreciate that in somebody.”
Loudermilk will step into the Knights’ position battle for punter once he gets on campus, but he also said UCF will be looking at him to possibly play tight end or H-back given his athleticism. Last year's UCF punter Jamie Boyle is gone after averaging 40.6 yards on 60 punts. The only punter currently on the UCF roster is redshirt freshman walk-on Caleb Houston.
Loudermilk also plays some Wildcat quarterback at Valdosta High.
Valdosta was 7-4 a year ago and lost in the first round of the large-school 6A state playoffs to North Cobb. Loudermilk averaged 41.7 yards per punt as a junior and was named all-region.
“ I think we honestly have good chance to go all the way this year,” Loudermilk said. “We have a bunch of guys focused on the task at hand. We might be a little bit undersized, and people look down on us, but we’re going to take advantage of that and surprise the whole state this season.”