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RCS Tampa survey: Prospects weigh in on UCF's rise to power

CLASS OF 2020 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | State | Position | Team

Chantz Williams
Chantz Williams

MORE RCS TAMPA: Prospects that earned their stripes | Five teams that should be pleased | The Cassidy awards | Thoughts from the sidelines

LAKELAND, Fla. -- After going undefeated during the regular season in 2018 and running its overall winning streak to 25 games before losing to LSU in the Fiesta Bowl, UCF continues to be a fixture on the national football scene.

At Sunday’s Rivals 3 Stripe Camp presented by adidas, we asked some of the participants to weigh in and give their opinions on those wins, the controversy surrounding the Knights and their exclusion from the College Football Playoff.

Can UCF consistently win recruiting battles against Power Five programs for Florida prospects? 

“I believe so. They are coming up and working hard. I know they had a tough loss to LSU but they’ll bounce back.” - Wide receiver Marcus Clarke

“Yes, because they’re not scared of competition wherever they go.” - 2021 linebacker Dedrick Smith

“If they keep winning their games. Winning brings in more recruits.” - Rivals250 defensive end Chantz Williams

“Yeah I think so. There is a lot of talent down here.” - 2021 offensive lineman Greg Crippen

“I think they can based off their rankings the last couple years and in their bowl game. They’ve played Auburn and LSU the last two bowl games.” - 2021 defensive end Cade Denhoff

“I think they could. They’re an up-and-coming program. The past two years they have been doing their thing. They just slipped up against LSU last year. They had different factors that played a part in that -- McKenzie (Milton) was hurt -- but I feel like they can recruit at that level.” -- Three-star quarterback Chayil Garnett

“I feel like they should go against better competition. They have great coaches and they’re great recruiters, everything down there is great, it’s just they don’t have that competition on a weekly basis on their schedule like Florida or Florida State, so it would be nice to see them in a bigger conference and compete like they did against LSU. That made me feel better about them.” -- Three-star offensive lineman Zane Herring

“I think they can do it. I mean, the conference doesn’t hold them back too much. People like to play in different conferences. I would actually consider UCF one of my top schools. I actually like it a lot. I don’t really talk to anyone over there but, I consider it one of my top schools because it’s right there close to home and I have a lot of responsibilities.” -- Rivals100 defensive back Avantae Williams

“I’m not sure. I think they can once they get more consistent. They are obviously good, but they haven’t been good for long enough yet. If they keep doing this good, they’ll start getting those players.” -- Rivals250 wide receiver Michael Redding

“They can recruit anyone right now, I think. They are a great school with great academics and the football team is good.” -- 2021 quarterback and UCF target Cam’Ron Ransom

Did you notice a difference with the team under Josh Heupel and the new coaching staff compared to Scott Frost and his staff? 

“They are a lot more focused on their goals.” – Clarke

“I feel like the coaching is still the same but the coaches are different.” - Williams

“They went undefeated the last two years so there wasn’t too much of a difference.” – Crippen

“They’re really aggressive in their recruiting and they go after the guys that they like. They ask great questions too.” – Denhoff

“I didn’t get the chance to meet Coach Frost, but based off what I’ve seen from the new staff it’s a friendly environment and I really enjoy it.” -- Garnett

“I really didn’t pay attention to the old staff much because they didn’t recruit me but I can tell Coach Heupel’s staff is phenomenal. They’re like a Florida or a Clemson. They care about you and want you to be there and be a part of the family.” -- Herring

"They kept a consistent offense and it was even stronger than it was. I know they averaged more than 30 points a game or something." – Redding

“There is more leadership on the team now. I feel like the team is closer under the new coaches.” -- Ransom

What do you think the perception of UCF is around the country? 

"People are mad at UCF because of Alabama and whatever. So I think if you ask somebody outside the state, they are probably going to talk bad about them. I’m from Central Florida so I’m rocking with them boys, though.” -- Williams

“I think people think of Orlando. It’s a great city and a great place for jobs. UCF has that great location.” -- Redding

“They have a lot of high standards.” - Clarke

“Everybody thinks they’re kind of a joke, but we don’t think of them that way.” – Williams

“That they are in a lower conference and they don’t face the best competition.” - Crippen

“I think the national perception is that they can’t play with the big teams, but I think if they keep building from last year to this year, I think they can do it.” – Denhoff

“Underdogs. Nobody really gives them their respect. The College Football Playoff wouldn’t give them a shot at the top four, so I feel like they still have to prove themselves against the big dogs.” -- Garnett

“People think they’re overrated just because they’re in a smaller conference.” -- Herring

Will UCF go undefeated again in 2019?

“Yes, if they play the best they can.” – Clarke

“Yes, because they play hard.” – Smith

“I believe so.” – Williams

“I don’t know how their recruiting class was this year, so I’m not sure.” – Crippen

“I think they can.” - Denhoff

“I think they can. If McKenzie comes back and even if he doesn’t they got the quarterback from Notre Dame (Brandon Wimbush) so I feel like they have a big chance.” -- Garnett

“Definitely.” -- Herring

“It’s a possibility. They run that conference, so I think they will.” – Williams

"I think the chances are high. They still have good players and they’ve been doing their thing with recruiting, too.” -- Redding

“It’s a possibility, but they don’t have their quarterback anymore. It might be a little tougher.” -- Ransom