Offensive Player of the Year
McKenzie Milton, QB
There’s no surprise here that McKenzie Milton is your offensive player of the year. He broke the single season passing yards and touchdown record for UCF, throwing for 35 touchdowns and 3,795 yards. Milton is second in the nation in passer rating, yards per attempt and completion percentage behind likely Heisman winner Baker Mayfield. With 4,292 yards of total offense and 42 total touchdowns, Milton has proven to be one of the elite quarterbacks in the nation. Luckily for Knight fans, he’s only a sophomore.
Runner Up: Tre’Quan Smith, WR
It seemed like every time McKenzie threw the ball, Tre’Quan was open downfield. He lead the Knights with 1,082 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. Numbers aside, his downfield blocking helped others score on big plays. His ability to make a spectacular catch is also second to none. As a leader on offense, he will definitely be missed if he decides to declare early for the NFL draft.
Defensive Player of the Year
Mike Hughes, CB
Going into the season, the secondary was a huge question mark for the Knights. Luckily, Coach Frost and his staff were able to score a late commitment from former UNC and JUCO CB Mike Hughes. From day 1, he proved his worth on the field. In a secondary that struggled this season, Mike was able to provide some consistency. He racked up 4 interceptions including a pick-6, 11 pass breakups and a forced fumble. If you watched the Knights this season, you saw his blazing speed running down receivers who were in open field. Mike is another Knight who might declare early.
Runner Up: Shaquem Griffin, LB
The 2016 AAC Defensive Player of the Year is one of the clear leaders of this UCF team. The heart and hustle he puts in every play should be mirrored by every player in the game. Shaquem had another great season, racking up 62 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries and an interception. The pressure he applies to the quarterback has lead to some key plays for UCF, including the game winning interception against Memphis last week. As a senior, I’ve heard he’s being graded as a late-round draft pick. His presence will be missed on the field next season.
Special Teams Player of the Year
Mike Hughes, CB
Mike earns another awards for his contributions on special teams. He returned 2 kickoffs for a touchdown, most notably the game-winner against South Florida. He also had a punt return for a touchdown. Every time he gets a chance to return the ball, there’s a big play waiting to happen.
Runner Up: Matthew Wright, K
Matthew “Wright Down the Middle” has seemed to be automatic this season. He’s responsible for 109 of the Knights’ points. With an offense that scores so many touchdowns, he hasn’t had to kick as many field goals but fans feel comfortable when his number is called.
Rookie of the Year
Otis Anderson, WR/RB
Otis was able to make an impact immediately for the Knights. He’s a speedster like Adrian Killins and gives UCF an extra threat in the backfield or in the slot. With Killins not 100% healthy this season, Otis was able to step up and make some big plays for the Knights. With 790 all-purpose yards and 6 total touchdowns, Anderson has made a name for himself on this UCF offense.
Runner Up: Gabriel Davis, WR
Davis caught 25 passes for 353 yards and 4 touchdowns this season. He made a name for himself in the season opener when he caught 4 passes, one of them for a touchdown. Coming out of high school locally in Sanford, he was listed as a TE. He got to work at UCF and was able to find a lot of playing time during his freshman campaign.
Comeback Player of the Year
Michael Colubiale, TE
Everyone loves a great walk-on story and Michael Colubiale provides that. As a redshirt senior, he was finally able to show his worth on the field. Prior to this season, Colubiale had only caught 2 passes which came in the 2016 season. This year, even with Akins and Franks on the depth chart, he caught 10 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown. When the Knights needed a big play, Colubiale always seemed to be open.