William Stanback is no longer an unknown.
Last season, after being a lightly recruited, two-star recruit out of Uniondale, New York, it didn't take long for teammates to notice Stanback.
"I was on the sidelines because I think he was running with the [second team]," linebacker Terrance Plummer recalled before the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. "They got Stanback the ball in the flat and he made a great move, and then like four guys tried to hit him and he ran straight through them."
In the midst of a four-way quarterback battle, there will likely be at least one constant in the UCF backfield — Stanback. Lots of Stanback.
At UCF's Media Day on Friday, head coach George O'Leary noted that the sophomore running back is still standing out.
"When you look at the football team, Stanback stands out," O'Leary said. "He's up around 228 [pounds]. I think he's faster. We'll still be intact with the running game."
According to his Rivals.com recruiting page, Stanback weighed 212 pounds upon signing with the Knights, and UCF lists him at 225 pounds. As a freshman, Stanback rushed for 443 yards and scored six touchdowns.
His impact as a freshman was evident everywhere from ESPN highlight reels to the team's final record. Stanback forced a fumble on special teams against Memphis that was returned for a touchdown and gave the Knights a late lead, and later trucked a Rutgers defensive back earning him a spot in the SportsCenter Top-10 plays.
But even after success as a freshman, Stanback is hungry to improve. He even asked O'Leary who the best running back in UCF history was, and O'Leary pointed him to All-American Kevin Smith.
"He's always asking how he can get better. He wanted film of Kevin [Smith] running," O'Leary said. "I think [Stanback] runs with power and speed, and he has a great passion for the game. He's always trying to learn. I want him to be the back that can carry it 30 times if we have to do that in a game."
Last season, Stanback was used to spell Storm Johnson, and only eclipsed 10 carries once — in the Fiesta Bowl when he had 13. Speed has never been a question for the 225-pound sophomore, as in high school, he was a part of a 4-by-100-meter team that posted the second fastest time in the state of New York.
His ability to play as a bruising back also led to speculation that Stanback could play linebacker or safety during his recruitment.
But his teammates are happy he will line up behind whoever is named the Knights' starting quarterback.
"I thought I saw a lot from him last year," center Joey Grant said. "He's a guy that I saw work very hard this off-season trying to perfect his craft. He's a guy who not only has a lot of talent but works really hard and is a great teammate. He understands that his job is not only running the ball but to be able to stick his head in a protection and do the little things that allow our offense to score points."