At 5-2, UCF is just one game behind East Carolina for first place in the AAC. Coach George O’Leary has his hands full trying to make sophomore quarterback Justin Holman a more consistent and accurate passer.
Making things easier for O’Leary is that his roster is loaded with veteran talent. He’s recruited well and the result is a lineup littered with NFL prospects.
That’s apparent within UCF’s depth at receiver, where the Knights have seniors J.J. Worton and Rannell Hall, and junior Breshad Perriman. They complement each other well in the Knights’ offense.
Which one projects as the best NFL prospect?
At 6-1, Hall has an impressive catch radius He’s made numerous catches near the sidelines like this one below.
When he runs through his routes, it’s easy to see that he’s a smooth, fluid player. Hall has quick feet and changes direction in and out of his cuts fairly well. He lacks deep speed at the NFL level, but has enough to get open underneath and create yards after the catch.
More of a zone-buster than a vertical threat, Hall fits well in the slot. Toughness is a positive. He’ll take hard hits over the middle and keep possession, then pop right up. Good concentration on the ball — drops are rare — and he has strong hands.
Hall doesn’t get a lot of separation; he needs to clean up his release off the line of scrimmage. Needs to sell his moves more effectively and be more efficient with his feet — there are a lot of wasted steps at the top of his routes. That can be improved in time.
Summary: Hall isn’t a special athlete, but he shows traits that are valuable to a team as a fourth or fifth wide receiver. If he can contribute to special teams, he can be a quality backup and occasional offensive role player.
Draft prediction: Late Day 3/undrafted free agent
Big slot receiver at 6-1, 205 pounds. Looks every bit of that size, which is exciting for his underneath quickness. Worton has great hands that allow him to pluck the ball out of the air, similar to Jarvis Landry (LSU, 2013). Concentration is a major plus.
He’s certainly unafraid of going over the middle, and he’s a pestering player because of his ability to extend drives. Cuts cleanly with his routes, but his acceleration after the cut is more impressive for his size. Has good speed for his size, and is a dangerous runner in the open field.
Good awareness in space as he finds more open field — that also shows when he’s returning kicks. He had a game-changing kick return against BYU with time winding down to give UCF the chance to force overtime. Keeps his eyes up and aware of his surroundings. Worton is primarily a slot player without much deep speed. Cannot deny that he’s a tough player and adjusts to the ball impressively mid-air.
One aspect that isn’t clear is if Worton is versatile enough to go outside for a considerable amount of snaps. He can win enough inside to warrant as many snaps as possible, but some schemes will demand more versatility or shiftiness. Being as big as he is, he’s not the scat-back type slot that some teams want.
Summary: Worton looks like a quicker Brian Hartline-type receiver. He might not have the high-end speed Hartline had coming out of Ohio State, but he’s more fluid and athletic. As a slot receiver, it’ll be hard to keep Worton off the field.
Draft prediction: Fifth round
At 6-3, 214, Perriman has excellent size and big frame on the outside. He has the physical profile of an ideal X-receiver, with impressive strength and a filled out body. Most receivers would require some time in the NFL on a strength program, but he is a grown man already.
As a big strider who covers a lot of ground quickly, he has impressive speed for his size. Not a freaky athlete, but he looks like a mid-4.5 guy — great for his size. Perriman adjusts mid-air to the ball well, acting like defenders aren’t there.
Destroys off-coverage by boxing out and eating up any cushion present quickly. Somewhat heavy feet when he has to win off the line of scrimmage — not surprising for his size — but it means he needs to win with his body or improve his foot speed. Perriman sells his routes well and changes direction without having his upper body out of control. Comebacks and digs are easy for him to win.
Would like to see him high point and aggressively nab the ball more often. There are times where he has single coverage and won’t go over the cornerback in a dominant fashion. Has a good catch radius with his length. Not an explosive leaper but a good one, which separates him from a higher athletic grade.
Summary: Perriman has the traits to be one a very good wide receiver in the league, although not elite. He’s got potential to be a Vincent Jackson-type receiver if he becomes more assertive at high pointing. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Perriman flourish quicker in a vertical offense than a horizontal attack.
Draft prediction: Second round
TJ Gaynor was a 2-time, All-Pac-10 offensive lineman at Stanford. During his time on the Farm, he played for a long list of great coaches, including Hall of Famer Bill Walsh. After tryouts with the 49ers and Lions, Gaynor spent time as a high school coach and as an analyst for Rivals.com and Scout.com. He is the Vice President of Football Scouting for The NCSA in addition to serving as Go Big Recruiting's senior recruiting analyst. Follow him on Twitter: @RecruitngInsidr