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December 16, 2013

Wooten is all Knights

UCF commit A.J. Wooten can't wait to step on campus next year.

A pledge since June, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound defensive end from South Georgia's Berrien High School says he's counting the days until he can move to Orlando and officially join the team.

He was excited last summer and UCF's storybook season has only magnified his feelings.

"I'm just so excited to go there now," Wooten said. "UCF had a great season and it's a winning program. I'm just more pumped now. They won the American Conference and they're going to a BCS bowl. Their football program is unmatched right now."

He'll be glued to the television on Jan. 1 when UCF takes on Baylor in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

"I'm a UCF guy so I think they'll pull it out," Wooten said. "I'm going to watch and pray my team wins."

Wooten visited UCF last spring for the Junior Day and again in the summer when he made his verbal commitment. He returned on Sept. 28 for the home game against South Carolina.

"I just remember all the excitement and the energy in the stands," Wooten said. "The fans were all yelling. It was crazy."

The South Carolina game - a 28-25 setback - turned out to be UCF's only loss of the season as they went on to win their next eight.

"I'd watch the games if I could and if not I'd look up the highlights on my phone," Wooten said. "My brother would keep me updated on how they did, like if I had a game or a practice. He would be texting me updates. They beat Louisville, almost beat South Carolina. USF, they had never beat them before and they came through. It's amazing that I'm going to be a part of this."

In November, two plays in particular had the nation talking: J.J. Worton's spectacular one-handed touchdown catch at Temple and Will Stanback's "trucking" of a Rutgers defender. Both were prominently featured on SportsCenter and other highlight shows.

"That catch (J.J. Worton) made at the last second, I jumped up and down that was so crazy," Wooten said. "I just get pumped when I see stuff like that. All my friends know a lot about UCF now because I'm always bragging about them and telling them what happened in the games. When (Worton) made that catch I was yelling it down the hallways and when that running back ran over that guy, oh my goodness, I was telling everybody."

Wooten is among seven commits from Georgia, five of whom are from the southern part of the state.

"I know Wyatt Miller," Wooten said. "I talked to him when I visited that one day. I added him on Facebook and some other recruits too, like Sedrick King."

His recruiter, linebackers coach Tyson Summers, paid him a visit last Tuesday.

"We were just talking about academics and making sure I stay on track," Wooten said.

Berrien finished the season with a 3-7 record. He played both ways: Offensive tackle and defensive end.

"I did okay," Wooten said. "I got injured before the season. I had a fractured toe and it was bothering me, but there wasn't anything I could do about it. It's gotten better now. I'm playing basketball. It will definitely be 100 percent before I get to UCF."

Wooten wasn't sure of his tackles, but believes he had "six or seven sacks."

Though he was modest about his accomplishments, Wooten must've turned some heads because he was selected by area coaches to play in the Georgia North/South All-Star Classic which will take place in Columbus later this month.

His official visit is set for the weekend of Jan. 18.





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