Jan. 13, 2012
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By John Denton
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Football is never far from fan's minds in Florida - not even in the dead of a 70-degree winter. So with football still fresh on the brain for most in Florida and more specifically UCF, we're going to take a peek ahead to spring drills and next season with the Knights' football team.
Over the course of the next few weeks until spring drills begin, we will be highlighting a returning UCF player and what fans can expect next season.
UCF head coach George O'Leary is hard at work on adding some new talent to the roster through recruiting. But the veteran coach is also excited about the core of returning talent to next year's squad and feels the Knights have the pieces in place to potentially author another special season.
Here is a closer look at one of the key players returning for next season for the Knights:
NAME: Latavius Murray
HEIGHT, WEIGHT, CLASS: 6-3, 225, senior
2011 STATS: Having to split carries with Brynn Harvey and Ronnie Weaver, Murray ran for 549 yards and eight touchdowns last season. He also caught 17 passes for 242 yards and a touchdown. His 5.6 yards a rush was tops among the regulars and he averaged 14.2 yards a reception.
BEST MOMENT: As he did late in the year as a sophomore when he won the MVP awards for the C-USA title game and the Liberty Bowl, Murray finished the season with a bang. He ran for 233 yards and two touchdowns in the season-closing 31-14 defeat of UTEP. Murray's rushing total was the fourth-most in school history and UCF's first 200-yard rushing day in two seasons. He also caught a touchdown, accounting for three scores in the lopsided victory.
WHAT LIES AHEAD: Murray will undoubtedly enter the spring and fall drills as the top tailback on the depth chart. He sometimes angers coaches with his unwillingness to pound the ball up inside, but he is clearly UCF's most talented back when it comes to making defenders miss and breaking off long runs. Murray has the size, speed and vision of a player who can play at the next level, and it's up to him to have a solid senior season if he wants a shot at playing in the NFL. His pass-catching skills, second only to maybe J.J. Worton on the squad, also make him a multi-dimensional threat out of the backfield. Murray could very well be chosen as a captain next season, so it's up to him now to become more of a leader for the Knights.
John Denton's Knights Insider appears on UCFAthletics.com several times a week. E-mail John at email@example.com.