UCF landed its third commitment of the 2015 recruiting cycle Friday when Hallandale running back Taj McGowan announced via his Twitter account that he has officially committed to the Knights.
"I feel great. It's a wonderful experience and I'm just ready to get up there and help out the team," McGowan said.
He is a 6-foot-1, 192-pound runner who Hallandale coach Dameon Jones calls a "combination of a bruiser and a speed back," which is exactly the type of running back that fits into UCF head coach George O'Leary's offensive package, and McGowan agreed.
"Yes, I feel like I have the power to run through you and I have the speed to outrun you," McGowan said. "I feel like I should fit into the UCF offense really well and help them in a big way."
McGowan, who shared duties with two senior running backs last season at Hallandale, rushed for just over 600 yards and had 10 touchdowns. His coach said not only is he a quick, durable back, but that he's also very smart.
"He's our leader on offense ... He's a very smart kid and carries a 3.7 GPA," Jones said. "He loves the weight room and he's a game-changer. That was a good pick-up for [UCF]."
McGowan picked the Knights over offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, Temple, Bowling Green, Utah State and a few others.
He said there wasn't anything he looked at as a negative factor in his recruitment by UCF.
"First off, I wanted to know how I would get along with how the coaching staff was, and it's a great staff and I'm really tight with Coach [Danny] Barrett [running backs coach], he mentors me a lot," McGowan said, "and then Coach O'Leary, he's a great guy, he's funny, and all the coaches they really had a great impact on me.
"Secondly, the academics. I wanted a school where the athletes graduated and UCF has a high graduation rate and they have what I want to major in, which is business. It's a great campus, a great city and all of those things contributed to my decision."
The Knights lost running back Storm Johnson early to the NFL Draft this year. William Stanback, who had a breakout freshman season, enters 2014 as the Knights lead back and there are also six other running backs on the roster, including three walk-ons, and none have seen significant action.
UCF's other commitments to the 2014 class are WR Cameron Stewart of Snellville (Ga.) Shiloh and QB Bo Schneider of Dallas (Texas) Jesuit.
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting, and on Instagram at os_recruiting.