Malzahn Continues To Attract Former Top Recruits To UCF

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Tennessee stole Josh Heupel away from UCF. Oddly enough, that might be the best thing to happen to the Knights. Since then, the program has added former Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn as Heupel’s replacement.

It’s premature to call that hire a home run, but early indications are positive.

Malzahn has added a needed buzz to the UCF program. After falling off the national title contender stage in 2017, the perception of the Knights slowly began to change. It was starting to be viewed as a good — not great — program.

Maybe all it took was a coaching change — one that UCF didn’t even want — in order to change that perception. Since Malzahn took over, the team has added several former top recruits. Most of them come from Auburn, including:

There’s also former Tennessee wide receiver Brandon Johnson, who was rated a four-star prospect on 247Sports, and former three-star Virginia quarterback RJ Harvey Jr.

Those additions are a huge boost for a Group of Five school such as UCF. Like Malzahn, former SEC — and ACC — stars have taken their talent to a lower level. Whether it’s depth, starters or somewhere in-between, it helps.

Plus, wide receiver/athlete Titus Mokiao-Atimalala is the first four-star high school commit for the Knights since 2017. That’s a good sign, right?

It will be fun to watch how Malzahn’s success is viewed compared to Heupel and new Auburn coach Bryan Harsin. We have to remember, Malzahn has a much clearer path to success in the AAC than Heupel and Harsin do in the SEC.

At the very least, all those new weapons should continue what has been an already productive offense in Orlando.

Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.

Written by Clint Lamb

Clint Lamb is a College Football Writer for OutKick. Managing Editor for Roll Tide Wire. Sports radio host for The Bullpen on 730/103.9 The UMP. Co-host for The 'Bama Beat podcast through The Tuscaloosa News and


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  1. I suppose for a school like UCF this is exciting…but Malzahn was fired from Auburn with 4-5 star recruits because you need to consistently win 9-10 games minimum in the SEC to keep your job.

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