NCAA Football

Franchise Top 25: #18 UCF Knights

Franchise Top 25: #18 UCF Knights

UCF extended their nation leading win streak to 25 games last season before falling to LSU in Fiesta Bowl last season.

Without star quarterback McKenzie Milton for this season, Josh Heupel’s Knights still find themselves at number 18 in the Franchise Top 25 Poll.

To replace Milton, UCF added Notre Dame transfer Brandon Wimbush. While Wimbush may struggle with accuracy and completion percentage, Wimbush is an accomplished rusher, adding another dimension to the already explosive UCF offense.

Wimbush will be joined in the backfield by two AAC All Conference running back in Adrain Killins and Greg McCrae. The duo rushed for almost 1,900 yards combined last season, and will be the standard for running back rooms in the AAC.

Three of the top four receivers from last season also return for the Knights, including last year’s leading receiver Gabriel Davis. As a sophomore, Davis logged 815 yards last year and will look to improve as the leader of his position group. Heupel also added another Notre Dame transfer in tight end Jonathan MacCollister.

The left side of the offensive line will have to be replaced this season, but the Knights trend of fielding the best offensive line in the conference should continue.

Only five starters return for UCF’s defense, but the addition of transfers from power five conferences should provide more than able replacements.

Brendon Hayes is the lone returning starter from the defensive line, but the second team all-AAC selection will be joined by a duo of power five transfers to replenish the line.

Returning three of four starters from last year, the secondary should be the most consistent position group on the defense. Only safety Kyle Gibson departed, but again a former power five player will replace him in Duke graduate transfer Jordan Hayes.

UCF features two matchups with power five opponents in their non-conference this season. In week three, the Knights will host Stanford (number 23 in the Franchise Top 25) at the Bounce House before heading to play Pittsburg in week 4.

The Knights have to travel to Cincinnati, but they will host Houston and USF in their marquee conference matchups.

Catch up on the rest of the Top 25:

#19 Iowa State Cyclones

#20 Michigan State Spartans 

#21 Mississippi State Bulldogs

#22 Nebraska Cornhuskers

#23 Stanford Cardinal

#24 Iowa Hawkeyes

#25 Northwestern Wildcats

NCAA Football

Ryan Chapman is a journalism student at OCCC. Chapman has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Oklahoma City Energy, and Oklahoma Sooners athletics. Chapman is also currently the editor for the OCCC Pioneer.

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