As is the norm in college football, UCF is losing some key contributors from the 2014 squad to graduation and the NFL.
The Knights are set to lose at least three of its top four wide receivers (junior Breshad Perriman is considering turning pro as well), its starting tight end, left tackle, two starting linebackers and three members of its starting secondary.
But, who's next for UCF football?
For those who saw him in his limited role in 2014, Akins clearly oozes with potential. The 6-foot-3-inch, 237-pound rising sophomore caught 12 passes for 135 yards and also returned 15 kickoffs as a freshman. Akins was used as both a wide receiver and a tight end, and likely will be relied on as a key target in the passing game next season.
Akins, a former professional baseball player with the Texas Rangers organization, could join Perriman as a starter at wide receiver next season to form one of the most physically gifted duos in the conference.
Another member of the 2014 recruiting class is poised to play a big role next season. Smith was named the Scout Team Player of the Year at the team's awards banquet. The rising sophomore made a name for himself as a deep threat in practice since arriving on campus and is on pace to fill a key role in the UCF passing game.
Smith's Rivals.com page says he runs a 4.5 40-yard dash.
Although he will be a senior next season, Clarke will be in position to play a key role. With Terrance Plummer and Troy Gray graduating, at least two starting linebacker positions are up for grabs. Clarke will likely fill one of them. As a junior at UCF, Clarke posted 30 tackles and started four games.
Clarke came to UCF by way of Garden City Community College before last season and was listed by 247 Sports as the No. 1 JUCO inside linebacker in the country.
Although he didn't see the field as a freshman, the 2014 four-star recruit could find himself as a key cog in the UCF secondary in 2015. With Jordan Ozerities graduating, Gibson will be in competition with Shaquill Griffin and D.J. Killings, both of whom split duties as the nickel corner this season, among others to start opposite of Jacoby Glenn at cornerback. Gibson had offers out of high school from national powers such as Notre Dame, UCLA and Florida State.
While UCF will surely miss Clayton Geathers and Brandon Alexander next season, they will hope to have at least one veteran safety next season. While Johnson's playing time has been limited, he's had two full offseasons of practice after transitioning from wide receiver to safety. Johnson saw playing time in the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl when Alexander went down with injury. Johnson will be in competition with players such as Jared Henry and Tre Neal among others come spring.
Ryan Gillespie is the editor-in-chief at the Central Florida Future. Find him on Twitter @rgillespieCFF or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.