- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Hoping to maintain the momentum coming off a record-breaking 12-win season and Fiesta Bowl victory, UCF has signed 17 players for its 2014 recruiting class.

Knights coach George O’Leary announced the defensive-heavy group during a news conference Wednesday. He says he is pleased the group overall, calling it the best he’s had at UCF from a height, weight and speed standpoint.

UCF lost just seven scholarship seniors from last year’s team, but did have underclassmen quarterback Blake Bortles and Storm Johnson depart early for the NFL draft.

Nine of the new recruits are on the defensive side of the ball. Nine players come from Georgia, with seven hailing from Florida.

The class also features some players that chose UCF over traditional powers like Alabama, Florida State and Wisconsin.



National rankings (Rivals 74; Scout 73).

Best in class: Kyle Gibson, DB, Tampa, Fla. Gibson was given a four-star rating by Rivals.com, which also ranked him as the No. 16 cornerback in the nation. He chose UCF over offers Florida State, Louisville and Michigan.

Best of the rest: Mike Rogers, DB, Smyrna (Ga.- Rogers was the No. 32 ranked ATH in the nation by Rivals. He has a skill set that the Knights can use on both sides of the ball.

Late addition: Chris Williams, DB, St. Mary’s (Ga.). He originally committed to Alabama in March, but made a last-minute change to the Knights after visiting on Jan. 31.

One that got away: Chris Nelson, DT, Lakeland (Fla.). Nelson had UCF among a finalist list that also included Texas and South Florida. He visited the same weekend as Williams, but in the end wound up choosing to play for the Longhorns and new coach Charlie Strong.

NOTE: “I think when you get some national attention as far as what we did (last season), I think it’s great for the school. But it’s also great because one thing recruits do is they’re always on their phones. They’re always on some type of internet seeing what’s going on. And we got a lot of exposure.” - UCF coach George O’Leary.

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