UCF is the only school in C-USA to have a draft pick each year from 2006-13.
1998: Dante Culpepper helped put UCF on the national football map with his play and finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy balloting... he shattered Steve Young's single-season completion percentage record by connecting on 296 of 402 passes (.736) for 3,690 yards and 28 touchdowns... became just the third player in NCAA history to pass for more than 10,000 yards and rush for more than 1,000 yards in a career and set more than 30 school records on the way to having his jersey retired and being the first-round NFL pick of the Minnesota Vikings... Culpepper's offense finished sixth in the nation in passing yards per game and ranked seventh in the nation in total yards... earned USA Today Player of the week honors against Eastern Illinois during UCF's home opener and finished the season by being named national Co-Player of year along with Texas running back Ricky Williams.
1997: As a junior Culpepper had a record-setting year while leading a young Division 1-A program into Nebraska as well as the stadiums of four established Southeastern Conference foes... the year culminated with him being voted the Florida Sports Hall of Fame's People's Choice Award winner as the male amateur athlete of the year in the state of Florida... finished fourth in the nation in total offense with an average of 320 yards per game and 15th in passing efficiency with a rating of 146.91... as a team, UCF finished 11th in passing offense with an average of 289.7 yards, 26th in total offense with 417.1 yards, 16th in scoring with an average of 34 points and converted 42 of 46 chances (.913) in the red zone... Culpepper's many honors include being named a finalist for the Davey O'Brian National Quarterback Award; Semifinalist for the Football News Offensive Player of the Year; and First-Team All-American by the NFL Draft Report... set 15 school records during the course of the season, most notably single-season passing and single-season total offense... passed for 3,086 yards on the year and shattered the total offense with an amazing 3,524 yards passing and rushing... he also excelled in the classroom, earning a spot on the Athletic Director's Honor Roll both semesters and also earning the school's award for Football on National Student-Athlete Day.
1996: As a sophomore Culpepper started strong and finished strong while UCF played its first season at the 1-A level... was a pre-season All-American selection and first-team All-Independent by the NFL Draft Report and was named that publication's premier sophomore... he entered the season ranked the second-best quarterback in the state behind Florida's Danny Wuerffel by Florida Sportsfan magazine... he threw for more than 2,500 yards on the year despite missing 10 quarters of action due to injuries and was named UCF's Offensive MVP... he finished the season ranked 18th in the nation in total offense.
1995: As a freshman Culpepper had a phenomenal year despite losing his best receiver (Rufus Hall) in the second game... he completed 168 of 294 passes for 2,071 yards and 12 touchdowns... he finished 28th in the nation in passing efficiency (122.9) and 40th in total offense (189.9)... he was named third-team 1-AA All-American and Freshman Offensive Player of the Year by The Poor Man's Guide to the NFL Draft and was lauded with all-freshman honors by College & Pro Football Newsweekly.
High School: Culpepper graduated from Ocala's Vanguard High School in 1995 where he played for coach Phil Yancey... he set the school record for career passing with 6,107 yards and 57 touchdowns in three seasons... he also rushed for 927 yards and 26 more touchdowns... he passed for 3,074 yards with 31 touchdowns and rushed for another 602 yards as a senior, earning All-American honors and the title "Mr. Football" by the Florida Athletic Coaches Association... Culpepper led Vanguard to its first undefeated regular season and the Class 5A state championship game where a missed chip shot field goal as time expired gave Bradenton Southeast a 19-17 victory... Culpepper also lettered in basketball, baseball and weightlifting at Vanguard and was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 26th round, despite already signing with UCF... he was named to the honor roll as a senior... he chose UCF because of the commitment made by the coaching staff to stick by him even though he was in danger of not qualifying academically... after it appeared he was going to qualify, a lot of traditional football powers tried to persuade him to back away from his decision to sign with UCF.
Personal: Culpepper is majoring in secondary education... he was born Jan. 28, 1977 in Ocala, and is the son of Emma Culpepper... he is very popular in the community and participates in outreach opportunities to the underprivileged, stressing the importance of education... he served as a local spokesman on a televised public service announcement in conjunction with the Dr. Martin Luther King week of celebration in January, 1998... he is also an avid golfer.