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March 17, 2014
Four-star LB: 'UCF is a great school'
One of the nation's top linebackers visited UCF this weekend.
Tevon Coney, a four-star prospect from Palm Beach Gardens, says he came away extremely impressed with the Knights after spending Friday and Saturday on campus.
"I got there on Friday and met with the coaches for like an hour and did a mini tour," Coney said. "Then I hung out with some friends I have who go there. I came back Saturday morning for the spring practice and stayed the rest of the day. I liked the practice. They were telling me it was their third day of spring. I look forward to seeing what they do this season and seeing how UCF continues to build. It was a great visit."
Coney met with all the coaches, including head coach George O'Leary.
"Their message to me is they really want me and they hope I stay close," Coney said. "My sister goes to UCF. They let me know I'm welcome there any time to come up and visit. They really want me there. They told me a lot about the school and answered questions I had. It was great being able to sit there and not be rushed or anything."
His recruiter is running backs coach Danny Barrett, who back in the day was a standout quarterback in Palm Beach County.
"He came down to my school before signing day," Coney said. "I talk to him a lot on Facebook. We message all the time. It was great getting up there to see the campus and meeting him all the other coaches, like defensive coordinator. Great guy. We're continuing to build that relationship. He's from down in this area. We communicate a lot."
Coney also spent some time with linebackers coach Tyson Summers, who this spring has added the role of defensive coordinator.
"I talked to him a lot," Coney said. "I saw how he coaches the linebackers and the type of things they do. He's a tough coach and coaches the players up. I sat there and learned a couple things."
He was greeted by several players during the visit, most notably senior linebackers Troy Gray and Terrance Plummer.
"It was great to meet those guys," Coney said. "They told me that any time I come up there to hit them up. They gave me a heads up on some things, gave me some advice about recruiting and about linebacker, said I could always come to them with anything I need."
And with Plummer and Gray graduating after this season, there would be immediate opportunity for a player like Coney.
"They did tell me some guys are leaving and they need guys to play early," Coney said. "Coach O'Leary said the only thing he promises is an education, getting a degree, but said if I come in and work hard that I'd have a chance."
Favorite part about the trip?
"I'd say the tour," Coney said. "UCF has a really nice campus, especially the dorms where they players stay. They have a real nice home. There's a lot of things to do around there. Food, going to the pool, various opportunities outside of football. I really liked seeing all that."
Coney says he was already somewhat familiar with the program given the fact his sister is a UCF student. She's made her preference perfectly clear.
"She wants her brother there with her," Coney said. "She'd be real happy if I came up there. It would be great for her, being around me and being to see all my games."
Coney feels UCF is a program on the rise, noting that he was impressed with the season they had in 2013, winning a BCS bowl game and finishing in the top 10.
"I watched the Fiesta Bowl when I was up in Texas (at the U.S. Army All-American Combine)," Coney said. "I saw Plummer get that MVP and how their defense is designed for linebackers. They're a great team that's building. A lot of good people want to go there. People are starting to see UCF is a great school."
Coney's current offer list includes UCF, Auburn, Cincinnati, Clemson, Florida, FAU, FIU, Kentucky, Miami, Mississippi State, NC State, Ohio State, Tennessee and West Virginia among others.
"No favorites," he said. "I'm open. I'm continuing to find out what I need to find out, but pretty soon I'll be cutting my list."
He plans to squeeze in several visits during spring break this week, including FAU on Monday and Florida next Friday and Saturday. A Miami visit is likely sometime during the middle of the week.
"Location is not a big factor as I'm willing to go out of state if I have to," Coney said. "I'm just looking for a great education and a great engineering program. I want a chance to play early."
Coney, who has the option to graduate next December, says he'd likely commit either during or immediately after his senior season.