Notre Dame transfer Brandon Wimbush entered into the 2019 season as UCF’s starting quarterback, but lost the spot in week 2 to true freshman Dillon Gabriel. However, it doesn’t appear that Wimbush wants to make his impact on the Knights roster as a second stringer.
He drew lots of questions when was seen warming up with the wide receiver unit prior to UCF’s 56-21 win over UConn this past Saturday.
— Jason Beede (@therealBeede) September 28, 2019
UCF head coach Josh Heupel confirmed the speculations at his press conference on Monday, stating that Wimbush could be a huge help for the team offensively at a new position.
This exchange between @coachjoshheupel and @osmattmurschel about @UCF_Football QB Brandon Wimbush (@WimbushB7 ) was interesting. Wimbush is not listed at QB on the depth chart this week. Will we see Wimbush at WR against Cincinnati? pic.twitter.com/1HLoGiDp3d
— Adam Shadoff (@FOX35Adam) September 30, 2019
The decision could’ve also been made partly because of Darriel Mack Jr.’s return from injury. He was the Knight’s main play caller during their undefeated 2018 regular season.
On this week’s depth chart, Wimbush was not listed as a quarterback at all, but instead Gabriel was listed as QB1 and Mack Jr. was listed as QB2 after returning from his injury last week.
#UCF's Brandon Wimbush is not listed on this week's depth chart ahead of Friday's matchup against Cincinnati.
QB1: Dillon Gabriel
QB2: Darriel Mack Jr. pic.twitter.com/PW8gd1NUm7
— Jason Beede (@therealBeede) September 30, 2019
This could mean that Wimbush could make his first appearance at WR sooner than we’d think given how recently he’s made the switch.
The Knight’s WR coach Darrell Wyatt spoke with the media on Tuesday about how quickly the former starting QB is picking up the new position.
WR Coach Darrell Wyatt talks about Brandon Wimbush's transition to receiver: "He's going to help us at some point in this season. Could be Friday; don't know exactly when that's going to be, but he's a talented guy." #UCF pic.twitter.com/1hXn7iayki
— Brian Murphy (@Spokes_Murphy) October 1, 2019
“His hands are really good. Playing the quarterback position for thousands of snaps, he’s handled shotgun snaps, so typically those guys have really good ball skills that transfers over to the side receiver position. He’s exhibited really good ball skills, he’s got good feet, he’s really strong…I would anticipate at some point he’s going to help us at wide receiver”
On how Wimbush is handing the transition from his long tenure at the quarterback spot, Wyatt said he’s more team focused than anything.
“He’s a tremendous person. He wants to help this football team any way he can. He has a positive attitude. He does not hang his head.”
And while timeline for Wimbush to start becoming a target for UCF’s offense isn’t certain, Wyatt did say it could be as early as this week in their conference a game with Cincinnati.
“He’s going to help us at some point this season. It could be Friday, I don’t know exactly when that’s going to be. He’s a talented guy, has good ball skills, obviously he can run, and he brings something different to the table for us.”
Heupel did say earlier this week that Wimbush would be available as a quarterback, which makes him all the more valuable as the Knight’s head into more conference play.
UCF WR Gabe Davis will turn pro
Next year’s UCF offense took a big hit Wednesday , but in the long run, the player leaving may help the program with more publicity at the next level.
Star wide receiver Gabriel Davis has decided to forgo his senior season and enter the upcoming NFL draft.
— Gabriel Davis (@DavisGB1) December 4, 2019
Davis is a true “Florida Boy” growing up in Sanford, and playingl ball at Seminole High school. He has been dominant in his time at UCF, has become one of the best wideouts in the state, arguably the best in his conference and one of the more underrated players in the country.
His numbers have improved each season. As a freshman, he had 27 catches for 391 yards and four touchdowns. As a sophomore, he had 53 catches for 815 yards and seven touchdowns. Then, this season Davis had 72 catches for 1,241 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Last season Davis finished on the American All-conference second team. This year, however, he finds himself on the first team and will hope the accolades don’t stop there.
Davis has all of the prototypical traits to be an “X” receiver in the NFL. He has the size at 6’3, but could work on his frame, getting up his listed weight at 212 pounds. In the passing league that is the NFL, teams are always looking for someone with big play ability. Davis is just that, averaging 16 yards a catch for his career.
He has the ability to take the top of a defense with his size and speed, which will intrigue scouts. One area of his game he will likely work on in the offseason will be running after the catch.
We all know his ability to kill you downfield, but scouts will also want to see what he can do catching a short pass. With an absolutely stacked class at the position, it will be interesting to see where Davis goes when the draft rolls around.
Already underrated being from an AAC school expect that to continue during draft time, but also expect him to rise to the occasion.
UCF blows out USF- is it the end for Charlie Strong?
It wasn’t an unexpected result, as UCF won for the third straight time in the rivalry matchup with USF, 34 – 7 Friday night in Orlando. The bigger question is: was it the end for third-year Bulls coach Charlie Strong?
First to the game. The Knights got what they needed in the first half, as freshman quarterback Dillon Gabriel led them on three scoring drives to build a 21 – 0 lead from which USF never recovered. Gabriel threw two touchdown passes to his favorite target this season, receiver Gabe Davis (above), and the lead grew to 24 – 0 at the half.
The same pattern continued with USF’s offense as has been the case for much of this season. The Bulls mounted a little to nothing offensively throughout the game until finally breaking through, when running back Johnny Ford scored on a fourth-and-goal late in the third quarter. That trimmed the lead to 24 – 7.
However, Backup QB Darriel Mack led the next Knights answer going 82 yards in 8 plays with Mack carrying two yards for UCF’s final TD of the evening and all but, putting the game away.
The win was UCF’s ninth on the season and they await to find out what bowl game the American Conference will slot them in. This is the first time in three years that the Knights have not played in the championship game of the American Conference. They won the previous two defeating the Memphis Tigers both times and ended up playing in a New Year’s Six bowl game each time, as well.
That included their loss in the Fiesta Bowl to LSU a year ago, which stopped their 25 game win streak.
Back to the Bulls, the loss was their fourth straight to end the year and Strong’s team limped to the finish line at 4 – 8. When you combine this season with losing the remaining six games a year ago, that’s 14 losses in the last 18 games played for Strong’s teams. Friday night was also the fifth loss by 27 points or more for USF this season.
So now, we all wait to see if USF Athletic Director Michael Kelly, who was hired last year, will get rid of the former Texas and Louisville coach or give him one final shot to turn it around in 2020?
Strong is reportedly owed at least $5 million for the remaining two years on his five-year deal that he agreed to in December of 2016.