UCF has gone 15-1 in American Athletic Conference games in the league’s first two years. The Knights won the outright league title in 2013 and shared the crown in 2014. UCF went 6-0 at Bright House Network Stadium last season and is 22-3 in its last 25 home games. The Knights have won 10 straight at home. Since 2012, UCF ranks eighth nationally with 31 wins.
The only returning starters at the skill positions from last year are QB Justin Holman and RB William Stanback Stanback is a two-time all-conference selection who rushed for 697 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. Stanback was sixth in The American in rushing. Holman started the final 12 games of the season after coming on in relief in the season-opener. He threw for 2,952 yards and 23 touchdowns with 14 interceptions last year. C Joey Grant is a third-year starter who anchors the offensive line, but looks to remain in the lineup after an injury-shortened 2014 season. OG Tarik Cook and OG Chavis Dickey return from last year’s starting unit. WR Jordan Akins (12 receptions, 135 yards) is the top returning receiver.
The Knights return only four starters from last year’s defense, which allowed just 298.5 yards per game to lead The American. Among the losses are three all-conference selections in the secondary, including CB Jacoby Glenn, who shared the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year award. DE Thomas Niles earned second-team allconference honors last year after he registered 13 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. Niles leads a defensive line that returns seven of its top eight players from last year’s depth chart. LB Chequan Burkett is the lone returning starter at linebacker. Burkett made 40 tackles in 12 games last season.
P Caleb Houston averaged 38.9 yards per punt last season and ranked eighth in the American Athletic Conference. The Knights will need to find a new placekicker with the loss of the reliable Shawn Moffitt. K Matthew Wright enjoyed a promising spring and could take over as the regular.