UCF-FIU Showcase Two Best players In Sunshine State

In one of biggest weekends ever in the sunshine state with  fifth rank FSU hosting number one Oklahoma, Miami hosting Ohio State and Florida hosting Tennessee. You can make the argument   that the two best players that play in the sunshine state will not be any of those games mention. Instead they will be at FIU Stadium on Saturday at 6pm in UCF Quarterback Jeff Godfrey and FIU Wide Receiver T.Y.Hilton.

This game marks a homecoming for Godfrey and 26 of his teammates but it is Godfrey in spotlight after all he returns to a stadium where he became a south florida high school legend. “That was my high school field it going to feel great to play in front of my whole family.” Says Godfrey who was Florida’s 6A Player of the year in 2009 and ended up as the leading passer in Miami-Dade County history with 7,251 yards breaking the mark of current Miami  Hurricane quarterback Jacory Harris who was a star high school quarterback at Miami-Northwestern. “Godfrey changed the culture of football at Miami Central High School” said FIU Head Coach Mario Cristobal.

Despite Godfrey success at Central he was not recruited as a quarterback by the big schoolsas Miami, Florida State, Oregon, USF and even FIU recruited Godfrey to be a defensive back or wide receiver except UCF.  “Going back to South Florida now, I want to show everybody that I am a quarterback and I am a leader,” Godfrey said. “I’m just so thankful for UCF giving me this opportunity. I feel blessed getting this chance and I’m trying to make the most of it.”

One player that can relate to Godfrey recruiting story is Golden Panthers star receiver T.Y.Hilton who was recruited by other big schools but to play different positions then wide out. Hilton chose FIU over West Virginia and has put the FIU Football program on the map like Daunte Culpepper did for UCF in 1998. FIU promoting Hilton for Heisman Trophy like UCF did with Culpepper 13 years ago. FIU even has a Hilton for Heisman twitter and facebook campaign. Hilton, a 5-foot-10, 183-pound senior from Miami Springs High School, was the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year last season helping lead FIU to Sun Belt Conference title and program first bowl win winning Little Caesar’s Bowl. Last Friday night against Louisville, he accounted for 283 all-purpose yards and 2 touchdowns in program biggest win to date in front of an ESPN television audience. Hilton among the most dangerous returners in the game, he is the school’s all-time leader in all-purpose yards with 6,153 and has four kickoff returns for touchdowns in his career.

“Hilton is as good as a skilled athlete as we’re going to see all year,”UCF Head Coach George O’Leary said about Hilton at his weekly press conference. “He could take it the distance when he touches it so we have to be aware of where he is at all times. FIU does a good job of disguising him so we have to be ready since he’s about 70 percent of their offense.”

One UCF defensive player that has a history with Hilton is Knights junior safety Kemal Ishmael who played against Hilton in high school when Ishmael, playing for North Miami Beach High, went against Hilton and Miami Springs when he was a sophomore. “This week is something special because they have a receiver who everybody talks about, “Ishmael said. “Everybody knows about him on ESPN, but we’re just gonna treat it like every other game and play as hard as we can.”

Hilton gives praise to his teammates for all the success and attention he been getting. “The O-line is doing a wonderful job by giving the quarterback enough time, I know what the receivers are capable of doing in man-to-man coverage,.” Hilton told the Miami Herald this week. “I don’t think there’s a secondary out there that can cover us man to man.”

UCF will have to prove Hilton wrong otherwise The Knights could be in for a long battle Saturday night. Both star players Godfrey and Hilton will have their moments but whichever team contains the other team star player and has their own supporting cast out play the supporting cast will be victorious on Saturday.

 News and Notes

  • UCF-FIU Game can be seen on ESPN3.Com
  • Check out ESPN1080.Com Insiders Top 25 Poll right here
  • Check out my Oklahoma-FSU Preview with Brent Beaird right here and remember you can listen to OU-FSU Game on ESPN 1080 starting with pregame at 6pm.
  • Check out Floyd Mayweather vs Victor Ortiz preview with myself, Brian Wininger and Jarrod Rudolph right here
  • Also check out Wininger and myself on this week edition of Round 3 right here  as we interviewd ESPN’s Jon Anik