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January 15, 2010
Bortles ready to compete
Blake Bortles committed to UCF last summer and he says he's as solid as he's ever been. The Oviedo quarterback took his official visit last month and says he's looking forward to the challenge of competing for a job this fall.
"The visit was great," Bortles said. "We got there and had dinner. I hung out with some of the players and stuff and that was pretty cool. Saturday we got the tour of the campus and had a big academic meeting. It was a good time. Everything that we heard was great."
Tight end Adam Nissley served as Bortles' player host.
"Adam was a good guy and real cool," Bortles said. "I hung out a bit with Rob Calabrese, who was a host for another kid. I met some other guys too. It was pretty fun. I liked hanging out with all the guys, that was probably the best part."
Coach George O'Leary and offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe made an in-home visit with Bortles and his family last Friday.
"It was good," Bortles said. "We talked to Coach O'Leary and Coach Taaffe for over an hour and a half. It was great. He answered all of our questions, everything from academics to who was going to be their sponsor in the future. It was fun."
That was around the time Bortles learned his recruiter, Geoff Collins, accepted a job to become the defensive coordinator at FIU.
"Coach Collins called me that Thursday night, the day before (O'Leary and Taaffe) came over," Bortles said. "He told me he was taking the defensive coordinator job at FIU, which is a big step for him. I told him, 'Congratulations.' Good for him to get to the next level to become a defensive coordinator. He was a big impact on why I came to UCF. He was a great recruiter and really recruited me hard. He really got me to come to UCF with all the enthusiasm he showed, but once I got to UCF, not that I live far away, but once I went around everywhere I loved it. It doesn't affect my commitment in any way. He was definitely a big reason why I went to UCF and he really just sold me. I'm happy for him that he's going to become a defensive coordinator."
UCF will add another freshman quarterback to the roster next season with the recent addition of Jeffrey Godfrey, who is already enrolled for the spring semester.
"We talked about Godfrey," Bortles said. "I think they offered him roughly around the same time they offered me. I always knew he was another QB they were interested in. He's a great athlete and a great player. I was really glad he committed to UCF because he's not going to do anything but make everybody else better. I was just going to have to compete with Rob, Taaffe, Crow, Nico and he's just another player to compete with. I was really glad that him along with his teammates who committed from Miami-Central."
Bortles (6-4, 230) was recently named to The Orlando Sentinel's All-Central Florida first team after competing 151 of 233 passes for 2,211 yards, 28 touchdows and eight interceptions. He leaves Oviedo with the Seminole County record for career passing yards (5,576) and touchdowns (53).
"We had a good year," Bortles said. "It was the second best year in Oviedo history. It was great for the seniors to end their careers on that note, going 9-1. We got beat by a really good Osceola team in the first round of the playoffs. We made some mental mistakes that cost us, but it it was great to go out on a high note. The expectations at Oviedo are higher now. I know for a fact that the junior class and underclassmen will step in our shoes and fulfull those expectations."
Bortles, who would like to major in sports management, says he's not playing baseball this spring so he can devote all of his attention to his future football career at UCF.
"I'm just going to work out and run," he said. "I'm going to go over to UCF as much as possible to sit in on quarterback meetings. I'll definitely be over there for all the meetings I can possibly make. I will also watch all the spring practices that I can just so I can educate myself on the lingo and the total offense UCF runs."
Others have shown interest, but Bortles reiterated he was solid and will sign with the Knights come Feb. 3.
"After I committed, FAU and Western Kentucky offered me," Bortles said. "I talked to some other schools, but there's nothing that's going to change my mind."