Nov 2, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; Houston Cougars head coach Dana Holgorsen (left) and UCF Knights head coach Josh Heupel (right) shake hands after a game at Spectrum Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

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Ten UCF players opt out due to coronavirus

Ten University of Central Florida players have opted out of the upcoming season due to concerns about the coronavirus, coach Josh Heupel said Tuesday.

The opt-outs include cornerback Tay Gowan and defensive tackle Kalia Davis, both of whom started nine games last season. Redshirt junior quarterback Darriel Mack Jr. is also among the group.

“We’ve tried to educate our guys continuously as to what the practices are,” Heupel told reporters. “Educate them as to what we’re doing here to keep them as safe as possible. Each of these kids who chose to opt-out have different reasons behind their decisions. They’re valid, they’re real, and we support those guys and we’ll continue to help them.”

The Knights are ranked No. 21 in the AP and coaches’ preseason polls.

The rest of the opt-outs: defensive linemen Mason Cholewa and Kendrick Wilson, cornerback Devunte Dawson, offensive linemen Allan Adams, Lamarius Benson and Adrian Medley and defensive back Elijah Benoit.

Gowan had 31 tackles, two interceptions and eight passes defensed in 12 games last season. Davis had 27 tackles – including eight for loss – and three sacks last season.

Mack has been the primary backup at QB for UCF, which now turns to Quadry Jones to serve behind starter Dillon Gabriel.

Mack earned MVP honors in the American Athletic Conference Championship game in 2018 in place of injured starter McKenzie Milton. Mack also got the start against LSU in the 2019 Fiesta Bowl.

UCF opens its season at Georgia Tech on Sept. 19. The Knights’ original season-opener with Florida International was postponed. FIU opted to nix its first two games due to COVID-19 concerns.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
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