Oct. 16, 2012
UCF Athletics Social Media Directory
By Brian Ormiston
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Stepping on campus for the first time in more than 10 years, former UCF wide receiver Siaha Burley may have felt like he was in a different galaxy.
"It's night and day," the Arizona native said.
One of the Knights' all-time great wideouts, Burley embraced his surroundings while attending UCF's practice Tuesday morning. He quickly discovered how the session was very "up-tempo," and began comparing the program from his playing days to now.
"I was looking at some of the locker rooms and the facilities, and they are state-of-the-art," Burley said. "It's top of the line here compared to when I was playing in 1997 and 1998. The weight room is unbelievable. When I got here, UCF was only in its second year of Division I (FBS), so it has made huge strides since then."
Burley traveled to Orlando following two seasons at Mesa Community College. Awaiting him at UCF was a passing attack that made national headlines thanks to the incredible arm and footwork of Daunte Culpepper. Both juniors for the 1997 season, Burley and Culpepper built a connection that confused defenses and made opponents quiver in their cleats.
In year one, Burley finished with 77 receptions for 1,106 yards and seven touchdowns. Then in 1998, he amassed 88 catches for 1,142 yards and eight touchdowns. Overall from 1997-98, 31 percent of Culpepper's completions went to Burley.
To sum up his two seasons as a Knight, here is where he ranks in the UCF record book:
1st - Single-Game Receiving Yards (266 vs. Louisiana in 1998)
1st - Longest Punt Return (91 yards vs. New Mexico in 1998)
1st - Career Punt Return Average (14.0 Yards Per Return)
1st - Single-Game Punt Return Touchdowns (1 in 1998)
2nd - Single-Game Receiving Yards (231 vs. South Carolina in 1997)
2nd - Career 100-Yard Receiving Games (11)
2nd - 1,000-Yard Receiving Seasons (2)
2nd - Single-Game Punt Return Yards (125 vs. New Mexico in 1998)
3rd - Single-Season Receptions (88 in 1998)
3rd - Single-Season 100-Yard Receiving Games (6 in 1998)
4th - Consecutive 100-Yard Receiving Games (3 in 1998)
4th - Single-Season Punt Return Average (14.0 in 1998)
5th - Career Receptions (165)
6th - Single-Season Receiving Yards (1,146 in 1998)
6th - Single-Season Receptions (77 in 1997)
6th - Single-Season Punt Return Yards (293 in 1998)
7th - Single-Season 100-Yard Receiving Games (5 in 1997)
8th - Career Receiving Yards (2,248)
8th - Single-Season Punt Returns (21 in 1998)
10th - Single-Season Receiving Yards (1,106 in 1997)
10th - Receptions in Consecutive Games (22 games - had a reception in every game he played)
Thinking back on his memories of playing at the Florida Citrus Bowl as well as some incredible venues across the country, Burley does have a few games that are still etched into his mind, including having seven receptions for 76 yards at eventual national-champion Nebraska in 1997.
"I remember playing Auburn and Nebraska when they were undefeated with Tom Osborne, and we were actually beating them at halftime, 17-14. That was a shocker across the world that we were winning at halftime at their place. In my final year, we thought we were going to a bowl because we were 9-2 and we ended by beating New Mexico where I had a punt return for 91 yards that game. So that last game of my senior year sticks in my head. But I have a lot of great memories."
Following his UCF career, Burley was a two-time Arena Football League Offensive Player of the Year with the Arizona Rattlers and the Utah Blaze. He got into the coaching game as well, highlighted by his role as wide receivers coach with the Rattlers last season during their run to the ArenaBowl XXV title.
Now returning to UCF's campus, Burley loves what he sees when he looks into the future of the Knights' program.
"It feels great (to be back). The program has come a long way, and I'm excited about it. We were competitive when I was here, and I was hoping in the years to come they would grow into a major Division I team, and they have. It's a first-class program now."
The current UCF Knights (4-2, 2-0 Conference USA) are preparing for a trip to Memphis Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. Their next home contest will be Homecoming against SMU Nov. 3 at 7 p.m., and single-game tickets start at just $25. Order today by calling the UCF Ticket Office at (407) UCF-1000 or visit UCFAthletics.com. Attending a UCF football game is a great way to celebrate birthdays, corporate outings or any special occasion. Please ask about group packages today.