UCF Football certainly isn’t having an issue adjusting to the P5 level when it comes to recruiting and the transfer portal. On Friday, 4-Star safety and former Ole Miss starter Ladarius Tennison announced on X that he had committed to UCF.
— Ladarius S. Tennison (@TenBen_3) January 13, 2024
Ladarius Tennison Will Be a Day One Starter
Ole Miss finished the season ranked 9th in the AP poll. While known primarily for their offense, the Rebel defense held up, only allowing five opponents to score more than 24 points. Again, while not elite, the defense at least held their own for most of the season.
Ladarius Tennison was a big reason why.
Tennison has been playing with Ole Miss for the past four seasons, where he totaled 127 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and two fumble recoveries. While listed as a safety, he played more of a hybrid role as a linebacker when the Rebels moved to a one-safety set.
For UCF, Tennison will be an immediate starter, barring something drastic. Last year, the UCF defense ranked 25th in the nation in pass yards allowed per game but graduated their top four defensive backs. The left vacancy won’t only allow Tennison to start to begin the season, but potentially be a team captain and leader on the defense.
UCF Continues Their Dominant Transfer Portal Class
UCF’s transfer portal class has been fantastic on both sides of the ball. The Knights were ranked 17th in the nation prior to Tennison’s announcement, and will likely move into the Top 15 once the numbers update. The Knights currently rank third in the conference in transfer portal rankings only trailing Colorado and TCU.
The biggest headline player of the transfer class is Arkansas QB KJ Jefferson who announced that he would be transferring from Arkansas to join Gus Malzhan’s offense.
UCF is Making a Move to be a Top Team in New Big 12
Out of the new Big 12 schools from last year, only UCF made a bowl game. Many have said that of all the teams in the Big 12, old or new, UCF is the sleeping giant of the league with huge potential in recruiting, an experienced coach, and the kind of culture that can bring in athletes from all over the nation. While games are won and lost between the hashes on Saturdays, UCF, to this point, has shown that they are doing everything right to push for a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game next season.
The Big 12 week-to-week schedule hasn’t been released yet, but UCF does have their opponents released for 2024. The Knights avoid playing Oklahoma State, Kansas State, and Kansas, three teams that also are expected to do well next year. The toughest game UCF will likely play is Utah at home, although in the Big 12 it’s impossible to really predict who will be at the top in any given season.
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