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Bam Bam excited to make UCF debut

Dedrion Bacote has been described as a younger version of Shaquem Griffin.

Playing outside linebacker, Bacote in many ways resembes Shaquem from a year ago. Perhaps a little new and inexperienced, but possessing incredible talent, speed and unlimited potential.

Off the field, they're close friends too. When Shaquem decided to camp out at the Wayne Densch these past few weeks, Bacote was right there with him.

"We're like roommates in there," Bacote said. "We stay in one of the coach's offices, putting our mattresses down in there. We blow them up at night and deflate them in the morning. At night, we watch film.

"It's not as bad as people think it is. It's comfortable and convenient for practice. Waking up at 7:30 comes easy for us because Coach (Barrett) Ruud plays music to wake us up when he gets there. That's when you know it's time to get up and get ready to go to breakfast. That's our alarm clock."

Originally from Virginia Beach, Bacote was a late addition to UCF's recruiting class last summer, redshirting his first season.

"Sitting back and watching all the older guys, just observing from the sideline, it wasn't bad for me," Bacote said. "Learning from them and seeing what I need to do to be ready for the next year. For me, it was a good experience learning from guys like Shaquem, Errol Clarke, J-Mac. It was a blessing."

Around the team, everybody calls him by his nickname, Bam Bam. How did that come about?

"My mom used to call me Bam Bam because when I was little I was a really big baby," Bacote said. "I was always on the move. She used to call me Bam Bam and it stuck with me when I got here."

Nearly two years since he saw action in a live game, Bacote can hardly wait for the Aug. 31 season opener to arrive.

"It's going to be nerve-wracking when I get my first down on the field," he said. "It's going to be so much different playing in front of all those people. In my redshirt year it was still crazy to me because I had never seen so many people. I'm very excited. I'm going to try to help the team as much as I can to win a conference championship."

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