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UCF Offseason Themes: The "Good Kind" of Problem

This is the first in a series discussing UCF's offseason "themes." I start with the notion that has really emerged in recent years and seems especially obvious this offseason - that the UCF football program has developed enough to have some of the ‘good kinds of problems.'

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I love the Knights, but I don't think I quite get to call myself a "long time" UCF fan. I've set my personal arbitrary marker for what qualifies as a "long time" fan at the Daunte Culpepper era. (If you watched Culpepper play in a Golden Knights jersey, congratulations! One guy on the internet thinks that qualifies you as a "long time" UCF fan and is envious of you). Still, I'm a few years past the decade mark and remember when we had head coaches not named O'Leary (Kruczek! Gooch as interim!). And that's been plenty of time to observe the trajectory of the program. I've got the valleys ("0 and 11 O'Leary" in 2004) and peaks (2013's Fiesta Bowl win) in there.

All of this is my roundabout way of saying that I've never seen a time when players leaving early for the NFL draft was such a potential loss to the team. This year saw Junior WR Breshad Perriman and Redshirt Sophomore CB Jacoby Glenn enter the draft. And of course last year, Blake Bortles and Storm Johnson left school early (a side note: how dangerous would the 2014 team have been with Bortles and Johnson as the offensive stars?). By the way, that's more NFL draft early entrants in two back-to-back years than in the remainder of program history[1].

It's obvious that the 2015 team would have been better with Perriman and Glenn. This past season, Perriman led the Knights in receptions (50), yards (1044), yards per catch (20.9), and touchdowns (9), standing out above the rest of the most talented WR corps UCF has ever had. Perriman became the first UCF WR with 1,000 yards receiving since Mike Sims-Walker in 2006.[2] Glenn had his own stellar season en route to being recognized as a second team AP All-American (and if you like first "x" since "y" factoids, how does UCF's first player named to an AP All-American team since Kevin Smith in 2007?). Glenn ended the regular season ranked third in the country in interceptions and passes defended. He was also named the AAC's Co-Defensive Player of the Year.

Perriman and Glenn will be missed this upcoming season, no doubt. The loss here is compounded by key players graduating from their units. Gone now are WRs J.J. Worton (of "The Catch" fame), Rannell Hall, Joshua Reese, and Jackie Williams.[3] Ditto key players from the secondary -- Clayton Geathers, Brandon Alexander, and Jordan Ozerities. The turnover of so many starters presents an obvious problem.

So why do I see this as the "good kind" of problem? I look at this as a sign of the growth of the program and its success on the field. UCF has identified, recruited, and developed players who have a viable shot at the NFL - and who are good enough to make the jump early. In Perriman's case, it may even mean a chance at being drafted in the first round (though he's certainly no worse than a day two selection in my mind). When you're having success as a program, players will have the opportunity to take advantage of it. I view this as a developmental mark for the Knights.

The question going forward, of course, is how fast UCF can reload.

[1] Your other early entrants? WR Charles Lee, RB Kevin Smith, CB Josh Robinson.

[2] Check back later this month for an Underdog Dynasty 2015 NFL Draft Profile on Perriman, where I'll be singing his praises some more.

[3] Who never had the impact I was so sure he would after transferring from UAB. But still.