Most Valuable Knights
Godfrey, Jordan headline as Knights’ most valuable athletes
Published: Sunday, April 24, 2011
Updated: Monday, April 25, 2011 11:04
The UCF Athletic Association had its most successful sports season in school history in 2010-11, highlighted with football, basketball, baseball, men's and women's soccer and the track & field team all ranked nationally in top-25 polls. UCF was one of 10 schools in the country with three major top-25 sports and was the only school in the nation to have the six programs nationally-ranked.
Much of the Knights' success, however, would not have been achieved if it wasn't for such talented rosters. Here are the Central Florida Future's top 10 most valuable Knights:
1. Jeff Godfrey, Quarterback, Football — It's not unusual that the quarterback of the football team is considered the most important athlete at UCF. Godfrey, who started 12 games as a true freshman last year, led UCF to a Conference USA Championship and the Knights' first bowl win ever. Godfrey was named C-USA's Freshman of the Year, to the C-USA All-Freshman Team and was a Freshman All-American. The Knights haven't had an elite quarterback since Daunte Culpepper and Godfrey may be the best since.
2. Marcus Jordan, Guard, Men's basketball — The fact that he's Michael Jordan's son is enough to put him in the top 10, but Jordan does bring some ‘star power' to UCF. The Chicago-native is also the basketball team's best player. Jordan has emerged as the basketball team's team leader and gives the team stability at the guard position.
3. Ronnie Richardson, Center fielder, Baseball — Knights baseball coach Terry Rooney is a huge fan of Richardson and said that Richardson "turned down a lot of money" to play at UCF. Richardson, who was drafted in the 11th round of the 2009 MLB Draft by the Minnesota Twins, is a do-it-all kind of guy for the Knights. He plays center field, leads the team in on-base percentage and even pitches relief.
4. Keith Clanton, Forward, Men's basketball — At the time of his signing, the local prep-school standout Clanton was the basketball team's first four-star recruit ever. He's been the starting power forward since freshman year, and has been named to All-Conference teams every season.
5. Darnell Sweeney, Shortstop, Baseball — Sweeney, the Knights' starting shortstop, is an excellent fielder and is the baseball team's lead-off batter. As a freshman, he started and played in every game and has also done so this year. He was drafted to the Florida Marlins in the 41st round of the MLB Draft out of high school, but chose to play with the Knights instead.
6. Aline Reis, Goalkeeper, Women's soccer — Reis is probably the best female athlete at UCF and the best Knights women's soccer player to grace the field since Michelle Akers. Reis, a goalkeeper, was the first Knights women's soccer player to be an All-American since 1995. Reis, who is a native Brazilian, was selected to the Brazilian national women's soccer team camp. The national women's soccer team is currently ranked No. 3 in the world.
7. Nik Robson, Midfielder, Men's soccer — The New Zealander led the Knights with 31 points and was a perfect four-for-four on penalty kicks last season. The Knights played Michigan in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and while the Knights fell 2-1, Robson scored the team's only goal. The winger was named to the All C-USA First Team and recently signed with the Chicago Fire Premier, which is the MLS team's player development camp.
8. D.J. Hicks, Designated hitter, Baseball — Hicks was the first big-name recruit that Rooney signed. He was supposed to be the next great pitching phenom for the Knights, but after injuries sidelined him sophomore year, Hicks bounced back better than ever this season. As the designated hitter, Hicks leads the team (at press time) with a .603 slugging percentage, has nine homers (including a grand slam) and occasionally pitches in relief.
9. D'Nay Daniels, Forward, Women's basketball — Daniels led the women's basketball team to their second NCAA tournament in three years and second conference title in three years. Daniels, who was one of two Knights to play in and start every game, was named to the All-Conference team as a senior and led the team in field-goal percentage and points.
10. Jackie Coward, Sprints and hurdles, Track & field — The sprints and hurdles specialist dominated both the indoor and outdoor track scene for the Knights. As a sophomore, Coward was the first Knight ever to be named an outdoor All-American and is one of the most accomplished track & field athletes in UCF history.