With a week to go before National Signing Day, UCF has landed one of their highest-rated recruits in history.
Kyle Gibson, a Rivals250 member and four-star cornerback, flipped his commitment from Vanderbilt to the Knights.
The pledge gives UCF's recruiting efforts a much-needed boost of momentum as they head into the final week before players sign on the dotted line next Wednesday.
"I just felt like it was the best fit for me and the best situation as far as the school and playing time," Gibson said. "I just feel like they have something on the rise right now. I want to be a part of it."
UCF was one of the first schools to offer Gibson more than a year ago and the Knights were among his finalists before committing to Vanderbilt and head coach James Franklin last summer. But Franklin recently left for Penn State, prompting Gibson to reevaluate his options.
He visited UCF the weekend of Jan. 17 and this past weekend went to Vanderbilt to meet with their new coaching staff. After seeing both places, Gibson felt more comfortable with the Knights. His family was also supportive.
"They're excited about it," Gibson said. "It's close to home, not too far away. They'll be able to see me play."
UCF's 12-1 season, top 10 finish and victory against Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl also turned his head.
"I was pretty impressed with what they did," Gibson said. "That made feel like it's something I want to be a part of. It's something I want to help build upon."
Early Tuesday evening, he placed a call to Kirk Callahan, his recruiter and future position coach, to tell him about his decision.
"I said I wanted to be a Knight," Gibson said. "The coaches were all excited. I spoke to Coach O'Leary and he was excited. He told me to come with a mindset to work hard and earn my position."
Gibson said he was in the process of getting to know UCF's other commitments. He met a few of them on his visit and has connected with others via social media. He also has a few friends on the roster.
"I played on Team Tampa with Pete DiNovo and the Griffin twins," he said. "I'm not sure they know yet, but they will soon."
Tampa has been an important recruiting base for UCF and Gibson's pledge could go a long way to future efforts.
"I think my commitment will draw people to the school, people from the area," Gibson said. "They'll want to build something there too."
UCF also provides an immediate opportunity to see the field.
"I think there's a definitely opportunity for me to play," Gibson said. "I'll probably be coming in as a cornerback or nickelback."
His first game in the Black & Gold will be in Dublin, Ireland against Penn State, something Gibson said he'd very much looking forward to.
"I'm really excited for that," he said. "That will be a life-changing experience, especially for a first game. That's going to be crazy."
Education comes first, but Gibson said he'd love to eventually make it to the NFL like former UCF corners Josh Robinson and A.J. Bouye.
"Right now my main goal is just to get my degree first," Gibson said. "I'd like to earn playing time and then see my level of play increase. It would be nice to get to the next level after college."