Blake Bortles, UCF Featured In Sports Illustrated

UCF_Beckton_2013Blake Bortles got his first scholarship offer in February 2009 from the school 5.6 miles up State Road 434 from his high school. While Bortles was grateful for the University of Central Florida’s interest, he thought he could do better. So he waited. The Oviedo High quarterback hit the road that summer, attending camps at Arkansas, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Clemson. At the time, Bortles was a 6-foot-4, 230-pound rising senior. He had excelled in his first season in a spread offense after playing in the Wing-T as a sophomore. Surely, some power-conference school would appreciate his measurables and his skill set.

But the big offers never materialized. Besides UCF, only Colorado State and Western Kentucky wanted Bortles as a quarterback. A few others, including Purdue, thought he’d make a good tight end. So shortly before he began his senior season at Oviedo, Bortles made a decision. “I kind of waited around for a little bit and realized nobody else wanted me,” he said. “I thought I might as well go where somebody wants me.”

In a way, Bortles is the personification of the UCF football program. Each has the many of the elements that everyone claims to want, and yet they are nobody’s first choice. Coming out of high school, Bortles had the size and the arm to play at a more prestigious program. UCF likewise has the market size and the talent base to play in a more prestigious conference than the American Athletic. But timing and circumstances conspired to put both where they are now.

Source: Andy Staples,