At the close of the third round of the NFL draft, the UCF Knights have supplied an impressive trio of players in cornerback Mike Hughes (drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round at 30th overall), wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith (New Orleans Saints, third round, 91st overall), and tight end Jordan Akins (Houston Texans, third round, 98th overall).
UCF is the only non-power conference program with multiple players drafted in the first two days. Fully 50% of the AAC players drafted so far have been from UCF.
The Knights are in an elite position. UCF has had more players drafted so far than UF (2), FSU (2), Miami (1) or USF (1). The other schools with three players drafted are Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, NC State, Louisville, and Auburn (oh yeah, those guys). Only Alabama, LSU, USC, Georgia, and Ohio State have had more players drafted so far.
It’s already been one of UCF’s best historical showings in the draft:
The 2018 #NFLDraft has already selected 3 picks from UCF.— UCFSportsInfo (@UCFSportsInfo) April 28, 2018
Only the 3rd time in UCF History that 3+ players have been selected in a single Draft, other years were: 2008 (3) and 2003 (4).#BuiltByUCF pic.twitter.com/3S6GGckN0h
The high water mark set when Asante Samuel, Doug Gabriel, Mike Mabry, and Elton Patterson were drafted in 2003 should be easily matched. Shaquem Griffin ought to be poised to come off the board soon (and will be an absolute steal for the team that chooses him).
Interestingly enough, both the Scott Frost era and the George O’Leary era are already represented in this draft class. Hughes, a junior college transfer brought in by Frost just before the 2017 season began, was a savior for the Knights at a position of critical need. Smith and Akins hail from the O’Leary era and have experienced both the highs of a perfect season and the lows of 2015’s winless campaign.