Jamie Newberg of ESPN Recruiting has a great piece on the rise of UCF. Essentially, the new football stadium, facilities and recent success have George O'Leary and the Knights doing quite well in drawing players -- from outside the state, too.
This is what UCF signee Leilon Willingham, from Mullen High in Denver, told Newberg about why he chose UCF:
"I saw that the Knights have been prospering as of late and that coach O'Leary has a very high graduation rate," Willingham said. "I saw that the Knights are a very underrated team and they work for every bit of credibility they get. I loved the area surrounding the campus. Who wouldn't want to go to college under sun and palm trees? The direction of the program has me very excited. After getting down there for my spring break to actually see the team work, I really feel anxious to get on the field and make plays with the fellas. It's a great group of guys who are focused on putting UCF on the map as one of the top up-and-coming teams in the NCAA."
Newberg also has a few other nuggets on non-AQ schools: Rice has landed a verbal commitment from safety Justin Carter out of Hoover, Ala., and East Carolina is recruiting quarterback Kyle Farlow, grandson of racing great Richard Petty.