Nearly a year ago, J.J. Worton hauled in an acrobatic one-handed catch on a miracle throw from quarterback Blake Bortles to help push UCF past Temple 39-36. The catch landed Worton on the SportsCenter Top 10 Plays, and also took him to Los Angeles, where he was awarded the ESPN Sport Science Newton Award for Best Catch.
"[My life] will never be the same," Worton said. "Just the recognition alone and going around here or going home, people everywhere when they hear 'Worton' or 'J.J.' they automatically think of the catch. It's something special that I'll have with me the rest of my life."
Against Temple in 2013, Worton turned in one of the best games of his career, hauling in 10 receptions, for 179 yards and three touchdowns. The Knights (4-2, 2-0) host Temple (4-2, 2-1) Saturday at 5 p.m.
But none of the 148 catches Worton has made in his career has had the same impact as the one-handed catch he made last season against Temple.
Walking through campus last week, Worton said he was stopped three times by fans looking for pictures. At the UCF-campus Starbucks, four more fans stopped the senior for a photo, one of whom asked Worton to re-enact the catch in the photo.
A few days ago while at a restaurant, Worton got caught up in conversation with an older man. The man identified himself as a war veteran and the two held a conversation about life and football. The man said he was an FSU fan, and hated the Gators (where Worton's brother C.J. is a freshman wide receiver), but also was a UCF fan.
"Somehow we got to talking football some more, and UCF football came up and he talked about the catch," Worton recalled. "He had no idea who I was and I didn't want to say anything because I didn't want to say anything about me, but as I left he asked my name and I told him, 'J.J.' and he goes, 'What's your last name?' and I said, 'Worton.' He goes 'Oh my gosh this whole time I'm talking to you I had no idea you're one of my favorite players.'
"For that to come from some guy whose dad was a backup catcher for the Yankees back in the day, he knew Too Tall Jones. For him to be excited to meet me and for me to hear all of his stories was something special for me."