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March 18, 2013

Worton ready for primetime

J.J. Worton says UCF's group of talented wide receivers are ready to make some noise this season. They even have a nickname.

"We call each other the Primetime," Worton said. "It's our new thing."

The redshirt junior said the decision to brand themselves was a collaborative effort.

"We all sat down and decided what we were," Worton said. "We're Primetimers. We come in, we know what we need to do and we make big plays when we have to."

He has plenty of reasons to be excited about the returning group. The Knights bring back five of their top six wide receivers from a year ago, including the top three in terms of receptions.

Video interview with J.J. Worton

Worton led the way with 44 catches for 594 yards, followed by Jeff Godfrey with 39 receptions and 429 yards. Rannell Hall, nicknamed "Speedy," had the most receiving yards with 631 while catching 35 passes.

There's also Breshad Perriman, who may have been the hottest receiver towards the end of the season. He caught five passes for 90 yards in UCF's 38-17 Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl win against Ball State, finishing the year with 26 catches for 388 yards. Josh Reese (11 receptions, 122 yards in 2012) has also looked sharp in the early part of spring practice.

On the field, Worton said they love going against one another.

"With this elite group that we have with Breshad, Speedy, Reese, Jeff and me, there's always going to be that competition," Worton said. "You always want to be the best one, but we're always there to help each other out."

Off the field, Worton says the chemistry is strong among the entire offense.

"We're all a good group," he said. "The quarterbacks, running backs, we're all a tight-knit group... When everybody is out there functioning as one unit, there's not too many that can stop us."

They're also all excited about head coach George O'Leary's hints of opening things up a bit more in the passing game.

"Coach is talking about how we want to air it out a little more because our receivers are so deep," Worton said. "We have Storm (Johnson) and Cedric (Thompson) in the back field right now, so anywhere we're going to go with the ball there's a threat."

The surrounding talent is also enabling Worton to become more of a full-time slot receiver. That's fine by him.

"With Speedy and Breshad on the outside, that takes the attention off of me," Worton said. "That's good for me. I'll get the mistmatches with the linebackers."

The "Primetime" will also get plenty of primetime exposure this fall as the Knights are slated for several ESPN television appearances, including a Friday game at Louisville, a Thursday night home game against Rutgers and a Black Friday home matchup against rival USF.

"It's hard not to look at (the schedule), but you try to focus on what we're doing now," Worton said. "I'm just looking to see what we can do as a team to get better. When the season comes around, then we'll realize who we're playing and what we're playing. But yeah, we're excited about the big season coming up. We're ready to be a part of the Big East."



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