UCF Football’s Jeff Godfrey, J.J. Worton Reinstated By Coach George O’LearyFootball, Sports — By Allen Levin on May 12, 2012 at 10:27 pm Tweet
The UCF football team’s future just continues to get brighter.
After a disappointing year, in which the Knights went 5-7, endured NCAA allegations and saw several players get into legal and academic trouble, the football program will have a lot to look forward to next season.
With the program’s entrance into the Big East just a year away, the Knights roster received a significant boost after Coach George O’Leary announced he’s reinstating four key offensive players, including quarterback Jeff Godfrey, wide receiver J.J. Worton, offensive tackle Chris Martin and cornerback Jordan Ozerities, who are all expected to participate in summer classes and team workouts that start Monday.
Godfrey and Worton were the two biggest question marks entering the 2012 season. Godfrey, who has been the Knights starting quarterback for the majority of the last two years, was suspended for the spring semester for violating university policy and was rumored to be transferring to FAU.
However, Godfrey changed his mind and decided to return to the Knights pending Coach O’Leary’s approval. O’Leary said he was open to the speedy junior’s return at the team’s annual Spring game, but Godfrey had to get his academics in order. He will still need to fulfill some academic obligations, but is expected to return to the program as a wide receiver.
Worton’s return may be even more noteworthy considering he was suspended on St. Patrick’s Day after getting arrested at local bar Knight Library for charges of resisting arrest, battery and resisting an officer with violence. The St. Patty’s Day incident left an uncertain future for Worton, who led the team in receiving yards in his freshman season.
Martin and Ozerities were suspended from spring practice for undisclosed violations of team policy, but O’Leary has now said they are back in good standing.
The reinstatement of Godfrey and Worton gives the Knights roster significant depth and makes them a dangerously potent offense heading into next season. Worton is an up-and-coming player for the Knights with his deep-threat capabilities.
The 6’2″ redshirt sophomore posted 531 receiving yards and four touchdowns last season and was expected to be the Knights top receiver again before his run-in with law enforcement. So, his return is a major relief for the Knights, as he will help create a dynamic offense with returning leaders, such as runningback Latavius Murray and QB Blake Bortles.
Godfrey’s decision to reunite with UCF is a big positive as well, and it will be interesting to see how he pans out at the receiver position.
Godfrey seemed like he’d be nowhere near Orlando after his father and his mentor, Luther Campbell, publicly bashed Coach O’Leary for limiting the quarterback. Godfrey lost most of his playing time at the end of the season in favor of Bortles after struggling to repeat his success from 2010.
“I told him, ‘The only thing I’m disappointed with is you could have stood up and told the truth. You know that stuff wasn’t the truth — what Luke was saying, what your dad was saying. There wasn’t two game plans and everything else,” O’Leary said in a statement from the Orlando Sentinel. “You started every practice, and you started every game. And you knew Blake was coming in at some time whether you were doing well or you were doing bad.”
It was often questioned if O’Leary tailored the playbook to favor Bortles’ strengths, in turn minimizing Godfrey’s effectiveness, which is why he struggled throughout the year. Regardless, the Knights struggled with both quarterbacks and finished 5-7.
Godfrey is a natural athlete and was scouted that way from some high-profile schools, but UCF was the one program willing to give him a shot under center.
That athleticism will give him the opportunity to be a playmaker, combined with his speed, quickness and IQ on the field. O’Leary is hoping Godfrey has matured since his offseason debacle and wants him to apologize to the team.
“I told him, ‘You have teammates that are disappointed in you,’ ” O’Leary said in a statement from the Sentinel. “It’s not going to be easy coming back in. He’ll have to address the team. I told him, ‘You sort of left them.’ … But he seems to be a little more mature and understands life’s not that easy. You have to work.”
UCF will have a very potent offense with the core of last year’s team returning and now with the announcement of Worton and Godfrey’s reinstatement.
With Bortles, Missouri-transfer Tyler Gabbert and potentially Godfrey all in the mix for quarterback, Knight fans are in for an exciting season.