Taylor Oldham walked into George O’Leary’s office on Tuesday evening without an NCAA Division I-A scholarship offer.
He talked with UCF’s head coach for 30 minutes before he was offered a scholarship.
The Daytona Beach Warner Christian receiver/defensive back immediately accepted.
He then left the O’Leary’s office as UCF’s first commitment to the 2012 recruiting class.
“(O’Leary) said, ‘We’re only offering three receivers,’ ” Oldham recounted. “And then he was like ‘you’re going to be one of them.’ ”
Oldham, ranked No. 39 on the Sentinel’s 2012 Central Florida Super60, did not hesitate once he heard O’Leary utter those words.
“It feels great man,” Oldham said. “The school is beautiful, there’s no other place I want to be.”
Oldham had been just a blip on UCF’s radar a month ago, but he became a must-have prospect after he attended — and dominated — UCF’s passing camp on June 4.
“That’s the reason why they offered, that’s the only reason why they offered,” Oldham said. “I didn’t go to their camp. I was on their radar, their board as they say. But after I went to their seven-on-seven, I showed out pretty good and I went way up on their board. (Receivers) Coach (David) Kelly got to see me in person and it’s good for them to see me in person, not just on film, but these coaches have to see you in person.”
Kelly and other on looking UCF coaches liked what they saw.
“(Kelly) said when I first went to the seven-on-seven I started making plays and he was like ‘ok, he’s making plays’ but then I kept making plays and he fell in love with me,” Oldham said. “Him and (defensive back Sean) Beckton tried to push O’Leary into giving me an offer and he did.”
Oldham (6-1, 190) stood out at UCF’s 7-on-7 much like he did for Warner Christian last season. Against 1B competition, Oldham was unstoppable, logging 11 interceptions and 50 tackles on defense and 53 catches for 1,036 yards and 17 touchdowns as a wide receiver.
His only other offers were from Division I-AA schools Bethune-Cookman and Tennessee State, so Oldham can only speculate that the size his school has kept him as a relative unknown on the recruiting trail.
“I do think playing at a smaller level might have affected my recruiting , but listen, I got the offer I wanted, the offer I always wanted, from UCF,” Oldham said. “It’s close to my home, it’s a 45-minute drive and I always wanted to be there.”
Rumors about Oldham’s level of commitment to the Knights began circulating on message boards almost immediately after news of him pledging to UCF got out on Tuesday, but Oldham said that he’s solid.
“I guess there’s something going on about me keeping my options open, on the message boards or something. That’s not true, I had nothing to do with that,” Oldham said. “I’m 100 percent committed, fully. I don’t care if any other schools offer me, I’m going to be a Knight.”