After losing key receivers such as Rannell Hall, J.J. Worton, Breshad Perriman and Josh Reese to its offense, UCF is losing its veteran-receiving corp and preparing to train up a new group. Cam Stewart, a wide receiver in the 2015 UCF football class, has a mile to go in big shoes to fill. But with the old out and the new in, Stewart sees the opportunity and loss.
"I wanted somebody to be there to teach me how they were taught," Stewart said. "But it's also a plus because I actually get to come in and if I work I can actually play as a freshman so that's the upside of it."
And he could be right. Head coach George O'Leary said it's not uncommon for true freshmen to see the field.
"We average about six or seven [freshmen who play] a year," O'Leary said. "I think the closer to the ball you are, the tougher it is to play early. I think the farther away you are it's a little bit easier because your athletic ability takes over. You have a little more time to react."
Stewart spent his entire high school career at Shiloh High School, but the moment that stands out most to him came his senior year. In the final game of the season, he broke his high school's record for the most receiving yards in a single season with 1,051. He also finished 59 receptions and eight touchdowns. He feels he left a legacy at Shiloh, and hopes to do it again.
"I want to leave a legacy there, too. I want to try to break some records there, too," Stewart said. "I've heard about past receivers year by year actually going to the league and actually playing on ESPN, playing in NFL games and talking about UCF. So I've thought about [how much that means]."
Stewart is one of five Georgia signees in this recruiting class. He and a few of the others in the class of 2015 already have a group chat to keep in touch and have even discussed furniture plans as they plan to be roommates. But once move-in time comes and he finally starts life as a Knight, Stewart is confident in his ability and said the UCF staff sees it in him, too.
"I can get behind the secondary easily. I talked to the coaches [at UCF] and they said 'That man is going to be a nightmare,'" Stewart said.
Jazmyne Hankerson is the Sports Editor for the Central Florida Future. Find her on Twitter @AsToldByJLee or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.