2018 NFL Draft

Blake Bortles, QB

School: UCF  |  Conference: AAC
College Experience: Junior  |  Hometown: Oviedo, FL
Height/Weight: 6-5 / 232 lbs.
Projected Ranking
OverallPositionProj. Rnd.
Player News
05/12/2014 - Jacksonville's first-round pick, quarterback Blake Bortles, grew up watching the Jaguars and attending some of their games. Now he's one of them. When Jacksonville made Bortles the No. 3 overall pick in this year's college draft, it cemented the love-fest between the two sides, one that had been growing since Bortles met with team officials at the combine and later in individual sessions, including at the team headquarters. Bortles anticipated that the Jaguars might take him with their first-round selection. "I did. I walked out of there and I remember calling my mom and saying, 'Man that went really well and I really hope I get an opportunity to play in Jacksonville. That would be awesome.' I definitely got great vibes seeing them there."

Bortles apparently gave off some telling vibes of his own. Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said Bortles showed excitement about being in Jacksonville and talking with team officials several weeks before the draft took place. "He told me, 'If this was like college and I was going through the recruiting process, I would sign today,'" Bortles told Bradley. "He really liked it here. He thought everything how our vision was, how we were going to take him through this proves. He felt like it was an opportunity where he could really get better. It just all fit together." - The Sports Xchange

05/12/2014 - Visiting with Jaguars officials in Jacksonville brought back old memories for Bortles who said he had been a fan of the team while growing up in Oveido, an Orlando suburb. "I grew up going to games there," Bortles said. "I have probably been to five or six games in my life. Last year I watched any time there was a (Jaguars) game on TV. I did watch many games the last few years." That being the case, Bortles is even more aware of the need for improved play at the quarterback position. The Jaguars haven't had a solid year at the spot since 2011 when David Garrard produced a 3,000-yard season in the air. - The Sports Xchange

05/12/2014 - A closer look at the Jaguars' pick: Round 1/3 - Blake Bortles, QB, 6-5, 232, Central Florida...After sending out signals how much they liked WR Sammy Watkins and DE/LB Khalil Mack, the Jaguars got their quarterback of the future in Bortles. His leadership, competitiveness and maturity were just as important as the gaudy numbers he posted on the field. He may not start the first game, but it's just a matter of time until he takes over the offense on a permanent basis. - The Sports Xchange

05/12/2014 - Jaguars say Bortles will be developed slowly...In the end, picking Blake Bortles as their quarterback for the future was simply too important for the Jacksonville Jaguars to pass up. When that future will start is the key question. One thing for certain, there won't be undo pressure put on Bortles to become an instant starter as a rookie. General manager Dave Caldwell made that clear in his opening statement in explaining why the Jaguars went with the former Central Florida starting quarterback. "We have a plan going forward about his development," Caldwell said. "This is not a quick journey, a race to the end. We will not rush him. Quarterback is such an important position, you want to do it right. This is something we want to build for the long term."

What Jaguars fans have to hope is that Bortles is not a clone of the last time that the Jaguars drafted a top-10 quarterback. That would be in 2011 when the Jaguars selected Blaine Gabbert of Missouri as the 10th overall pick. The two quarterbacks are similar in size: Bortels is an inch taller, Gabbert three pounds heavier. Gabbert never materialized as a starting quarterback for the Jaguars. He was pressed into service as a starter in the third game of his rookie season and struggled for the next 13 games. He finished with 2,214 passing yards, a 50.8 completion percentage and just one more touchdown (12) than interception (11). It never got better in either of the next two seasons either, as he battled injuries, bad throws and was the target of Jaguars boobirds. - The Sports Xchange

05/12/2014 - Jaguars say Bortles will be developed slowly...Caldwell made it clear that last year's Jaguars starting quarterback, Chad Henne, will remain just that, heading into the 2014 season. "Chad knew all along when we re-signed him in the offseason we were honest with him and he's been great. We told him there was a chance we were going to draft a quarterback," Caldwell said. "I like what Chad's been doing in this offseason. He will probably give us the best chance of winning this year and Blake will be the guy of the future." Bortles comes to town with a winning attitude and impressive statistics. He appeared in 37 games for the Knights, starting his final 30 games. He passed for 7,598 yards and completed 65.7 percent of his passes and finished with 56 touchdown tosses.

But that was college and the NFL is a different level. Bortles knows he has an adjustment to make. "I obviously have some things I have to work on. I've never looked at an NFL playbook so there's going to be challenges that I'm going to have to overcome," Bortles said. "But I can't wait to get there and work to be the best I can be and start competing." Bortles even said he would be fine with not even appearing in a game his rookie season. "I would have no problem with it, but I would go into practice every day and prepare every day like I'm a starter. I think that's the kind of mindset you have to have when you are in that position. I would have no problem doing that and taking a full year to learn and soak up as much information as I can." - The Sports Xchange

05/12/2014 - Jaguars say Bortles will be developed slowly...Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley loves the competitive attitude that Bortles brings to the team. He lauded his work in leading Central Florida to a 12-1 season including a Fiesta Bowl win over Baylor in which Bortles was named the game's offensive MVP after completing 20-of-31 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns. Bradley said he will put more emphasis on helping Bortles improve throughout the 2014 season. "My No. 1 mission right now is to provide this environment where he has a chance to improve," the Jaguars coach said. "I think if we can and we stay strict to it, he'll get a chance to improve at a faster pace. That's what we're really looking for. It might take him a year, might take them a half of a season. I think we've got to be patient. I think we've got to be really disciplined with him and stay on course."

Bortles is only the third quarterback that the Jaguars have drafted in the first round in their 19-year history. Byron Leftwich was picked No. 7 overall in 2003 and started 13 games as a rookie. He stayed with the Jaguars through his five-year rookie contract before he was let go. Gabbert was here less than that. Fans can only hope that Bortles doesn't follow a similar path than the previous two top-10 quarterback picks by the Jaguars. - The Sports Xchange

05/08/2014 - 2014 DRAFT SCOUT FINAL TOP 100: 6/1. *Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida, 6-5, 232, 4.88, 1...Of NFLDraftScout.com's top four quarterback prospects, Bortles is the only one with no size concerns. He can make every throw necessary, if you allow for that occasional wobbler. Teammates respond to his natural, crunch time, tough-guy, take-charge leadership. Smooth athlete who moves well, scans field, identifies secondary targets and maintains excellent geometric technique to maximize accuracy, velocity. Work ethic is reflected in film study that often pushed curfew boundaries. Frankly: Would not be my first pick as a QB this year, but comparisons to Ben Roethlisberger work well in terms of his physicality and that's not all bad. Has aptitude and tools for nice upside. - Frank Cooney, NFLDraftScout.com

05/06/2014 - The Sports Xchange 2014 NFL Draft Best Team Fit: Cleveland Browns...QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida: During the league meetings in March, Browns coach Mike Pettine said if you could draw the ideal quarterback you'd draw Bortles. The Browns like his size and strength and might be willing to let him learn behind Brian Hoyer. - Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange

05/06/2014 - 2014 NFL Draft Quarterbacks: *Blake Bortles, Central Florida, 6-5, 232, 4.93...Of NFLDraftScout.com's trio of top 2014 quarterback prospects, Bortles is the only one with no size concerns. He can make every throw necessary, if you allow for that occasional wobbler. Teammates respond to his natural, crunch time, tough-guy, take-charge leadership. Smooth athlete who moves well, scans field, identifies secondary targets and maintains excellent geometric technique to maximize accuracy, velocity. Work ethic is reflected in film study that often pushed curfew boundaries. Frankly: Think Ben Roethlisberger. OK, your call. - Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange

05/06/2014 - Dane Brugler's 2014 NFL Draft Final Top-50: 9. Blake Bortles QB, UCF (6-5, 232, 4.93, rJR)...From a physical and mental standpoint, there might not be a more appealing passer in this draft class than Bortles, who has the NFL build, quick feet and the outstanding vision and feel to locate targets and execute down the field. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

05/06/2014 - The Sports Xchange 2014 NFL Draft Best Team Fit: Minnesota Vikings...QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida: Re-signing Matt Cassel means the Vikings don't have to go quarterback with the No. 8 pick. They have several needs on defense and could improve themselves dramatically by taking corner Justin Gilbert, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix or maybe trading down for a linebacker such as CJ Mosley. But so much of this team's problem is rooted in the inability to come up with the right young franchise quarterback. Passing on a Bortles, a Teddy Bridgewater or even Johnny Manziel seems too hard to believe. - Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange

03/26/2014 - Pro Days: Blake Bortles 'solid,' footwork better in scripted session...Bortles began stretching his right arm at approximately 2 p.m. ET and started actually throwing approximately 30 minutes later. The majority of his early throws were touch passes, a few of which hung in the air and forced receivers to wait on the ball. Most were thrown accurately, allowing receivers to run after the catch easily. Receivers occasionally had to reach high outside of their frame to make tough grabs. Rather than build momentum as he did in UCF's thrilling comeback win over Bridgewater's Louisville team in October, Bortles' workout finished with several of his deep throws sailing too far over the head of his intended targets.

The inability to connect on long throws won't necessarily hurt the quarterback's stock with scouts, as he showed good touch and trajectory on the passes. It was clear that Bortles wanted to demonstrate his comfort in moving about the pocket, slipping past a coach directing the action as well as avoiding objects thrown toward his feet. He did not take snaps from an actual center but took three-, five- and seven-step drops as well as mimicking the shotgun before throwing passes. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

03/26/2014 - Pro Days: Blake Bortles 'solid,' footwork better in scripted session...Blake Bortles' startling ascent from relative unknown to potential No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick stayed on course with one long-time NFL scout at Central Florida's pro day Wednesday characterizing the quarterback's workout as a "very solid performance overall." The question now is whether the relatively raw Bortles has shown enough to leap past NFLDraftScout.com's top-rated passer, Teddy Bridgewater, in the minds of NFL teams. Bridgewater is coming off an inconsistent showing at his pro day Monday.

Another high-ranking scout at Bortles' workout gave the throwing session a "B" on a typical A-F scale, acknowledging Bortles' "good" accuracy on underneath passes but also questioning his deep ball accuracy after several of the quarterback's final throws sailed over the head of his intended targets. The majority of his misses during the scripted throwing routine were either drops from his receivers or overthrows on deep balls. Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley, whose team is thought likely to select a quarterback with the No. 3 overall pick, was complimentary of Bortles' performance. "I thought it was a good day for him," Bradley told Jaguars.com, which streamed the workout online. "There are always things, for him, I'm sure he'd like to do better, but I thought it was a good workout." - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

03/26/2014 - Pro Days: Blake Bortles 'solid,' footwork better in scripted session...Because much of the concern over Bortles is based on his technique, Wednesday's improvement after a solid (but unspectacular) combine workout could be enough to win over some of his critics. Among those attending Wednesday's workout was a large contingent from the Texans, including general manager Rick Smith, head coach Bill O'Brien and quarterback coach George Godsey. The Vikings, owners of the No. 8 overall pick, were similarly invested, sending general manager Rick Spielman, head coach Mike Zimmer and offensive coordinator Norv Turner to the workout.

The Texans and Vikings were among four franchises which met "extensively" with Bortles the day before his workout, according to respected draft analyst Tony Pauline. The Jaguars (who own the No. 3 overall pick) and Oakland Raiders (No. 5) also reportedly met with the quarterback on Tuesday. Decision-makers for each of these clubs were represented at Wednesday's pro day, including Jacksonville's Bradley and general manager David Caldwell and Raiders head coach Dennis Allen. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers also sent a strong contingent with head coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht on hand. According to a live video stream, there were 27 teams represented at the workout in all. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

03/26/2014 - Pro Days: Blake Bortles 'solid,' footwork better in scripted session...Bortles officially measured in at 6-feet-4 and 3/4, 229 pounds on Wednesday, apparently shrinking slightly since the ombine, where he was listed at 6-5 even and 232 pounds. Scouts won't quibble over fractions of an inch. Instead, they'll focus on how well Bortles uses his unique traits. In addition to his height, Bortles possesses the well-built frame to handle the pounding of the NFL. He is also more athletic than his 4.93-second 40-yard dash at the combine might lead you to believe. Further, he possesses plenty of arm strength to make every throw, as well as developing accuracy to all levels of the field.

Most important, he uses these gifts well. Bortles stands strong in the pocket, showing poise and vision to exhaust all of his passing opportunities downfield rather than dropping his eyes as the rush intensifies. When he does run, Bortles shows some agility, power and surprising acceleration for a man of his size. Despite his obvious talents, Bortles is considered a risky selection in large part due to inconsistent accuracy from the pocket. Throughout his collegiate career, Bortles showed a tendency to throw off-balance, sapping some of the velocity from his passes and impacting ball-placement. He appeared much more under control during Wednesday's scripted workout. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

03/26/2014 - Pro Days: Blake Bortles 'solid,' footwork better in scripted session...Because his footwork is considered an area of concern for the young quarterback, the improvement shown in this area is significant. A few passes to his right were thrown low, one of which (a quick comeback) was the first incompletion of the day. Two of Bortles' best throws on the day were actually dropped by his receivers. One came after play-action and a brief rollout to his left in which a well-thrown 20-yard pass that hit his receiver in hands was simply dropped. The next play, Bortles attempted to hit a running back on a wheel route down the right sideline. This pass also bounced off the hands of his intended target.

Velocity was not an issue for Bortles. The ball doesn't necessarily explode out of his hand but when Bortles decided to let it rip, the ball sizzled through the air. Several of Bortles' best throws on the day were intermediate targets down the seam and to the sidelines. Due to a blend of size, athleticism and arm talent, Bortles is widely regarded as the quarterback with the highest upside in the 2014 class, and he is projected as the No. 1 overall pick to the Houston Texans by NFLDraftScout.com analyst Dane Brugler. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

02/27/2014 - 2014 NFL COMBINE: 10 TAKEAWAYS FROM INDIANAPOLIS: 2. With Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel and Derek Carr choosing not to throw at the combine, Central Florida's Blake Bortles had the stage to show why many have touted him as a possibility to be drafted No. 1 overall by the Houston Texans. He didn't disappoint with the spotlight on him, displaying his smooth set up and release and tossing darts down the field. Bortles' accuracy and footwork on his three-step drops were excellent, showing very good rhythm, timing and precision to rip it with very good target placement. He was a tick late with his seven-step drops and has room to improve his feet and balance in this area, but Bortles was still able to be accurate down the field, especially on deep bucket throws. Bortles wasn't so dynamic as to seal up the No. 1 overall selection -- or frankly, even the No. 1 spot among quarterbacks - but he was good enough to put the pressure on Bridgewater and Manziel to light up their Pro Days, scheduled for March 17 and 27, respectively. - The Sports Xchange

02/20/2014 - 2014 NFL Draft Scout Pre-Combine Top 64 Prospects: 5. *Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida, 6-3, 230, 4.78, 1...Of NFLDraftScout.com's trio of top 2014 quarterbacks, Bortles is the only one with no size concerns. Still, he doesn't have a truly powerful arm, but can make every throw necessary, if you allow for that occasional wobbler. Teammates respond to his natural, crunch-time, tough-guy, take-charge leadership. Smooth athlete who moves well, scans field, identifies secondary targets and maintains excellent geometric technique to maximize accuracy, velocity. Work ethic reflected in film study that often pushed curfew boundaries. - Frank Cooney, The Sports Xchange

02/18/2014 - Blake Bortles to throw at Scouting Combine...Blake Bortles took a refreshing approach in announcing he will throw during quarterback drills at the Scouting Combine on Sunday. The No. 5 overall prospect and second-rated quarterback by NFLDraftScout.com, Bortles is embracing the opportunity to throw in front of NFL scouts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Bortles immediately joined the debate as the top quarterback prospect in this year's draft when he announced he would forgo his final year of eligibility at Central Florida. He is currently rated behind only Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, who has yet to announce his plans for the combine workout. Bortles' decision may force Bridgewater's hand, as the former UCF star is already projected to go No. 1 to the Houston Texans by NFLDraftScout.com's Dane Brugler and CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco and Pat Kirwin. While Bridgewater is considered the far more polished passer and NFL-ready coming out of Louisville's offense, Bortles boasts a tantalizing combination of size, athleticism and general upside.

Johnny Manziel, the No. 3-rated quarterback and No. 7 prospect overall, has decided to skip the throwing drills in Indianapolis while he continues to work on his mechanics with noted QB guru George Whitfield. The decision garnered plenty of criticism, especially in light of Bortles' announcement. Manziel's decision wasn't surprising, with the majority of top quarterback prospects over the past decade choosing to skip throwing at the combine in favor of controling the environment at a personal pro day in March or April, where they can throw to receivers they are familiar with in a passing regimen created by their representatives. In deciding to throw in Indy, Bortles is taking a calculated risk. He clearly wants to prove to NFL scouts he's worthy of the No. 1 overall pick, and that no fear attitude and competitive desire certainly will score check marks with talent evaluators. - The Sports Xchange

02/17/2014 - Bortles, a player whose motivation is driven by the many who have doubted and continue to question his ability, has embraced the next few months of intense scrutiny ahead of the NFL Draft. No period likely will be as dissected as his four days in Indianapolis. "I'm not the fastest guy or I won't jump the highest or the furthest or any of that," Bortles said in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel. "But I've got that sheet ... and my goal is to be above that [average] in every single category." As Bortles draft stock skyrocketed through the latter half of his redshirt junior season at UCF, coaches reflected on how much the 6-foot-5, 235-pound quarterback had matured during his time with the Knights. Bortles worked constantly to improve in every phase of a complex job, reading defenses, exploiting the strengths of his teammates and becoming the type of quarterback who could be trusted to win games, not just manage them. He was given more responsibility leading the offense - against SMU, he called a large percentage of plays in the second half at the line of scrimmage, for example - and was called upon to deliver for the Knights during the most critical of times. But what stuck out was the quarterback's drive away from the field.

No player stayed in the UCF football facility longer than Bortles, according to offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe, except maybe for Bortles' workout partner and best friend, starting center Joey Grant. On more than one occasion, UCF assistant head coach Brent Key had to kick the pair out of the film room so they would not violate team curfew. "I've seen him grow over these three years and develop really into a guy who gets it now, he gets what commitment it takes," Taaffe said. "The success he's had is a direct result of that. He's got the God-given abilities and talents, and he's really committed himself and he's starting to reap some of the rewards of his work." - Paul Tenorio, The Orlando Sentinel

01/06/2014 - Bortles, Johnson to Enter NFL Draft...Offensive duo produced eye-popping numbers for the Knights in 2013...UCF junior quarterback Blake Bortles and junior running back Storm Johnson announced Monday they have declared for the 2014 NFL Draft. They will leave the Knights after helping guide the program to a 12-1 record this season, the American Athletic Conference title and a victory over No. 6 Baylor in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

A native of Oviedo, Bortles has been the Black and Gold's starting quarterback for the last two campaigns after redshirting in 2010 and playing in 10 games off the bench in 2011. Since going 8-for-10 for 144 yards in his collegiate debut against Charleston Southern, Bortles has thrown for 7,598 yards and 56 touchdowns. He also has rushed for 561 yards and 15 scores. The American's 2013 Offensive Player of the Year ended his UCF career by completing his final nine passes of the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

Bortles' record as a starter in a Black and Gold uniform was 22-5. That included two wins over top-10 teams in 2013. Also this season, his leadership on the field enabled the Knights to go 7-1 in games decided by seven points or less, highlighted by a 21-point comeback in a 38-35 win over Louisville. UCF has had at least one Knight selected in the NFL Draft eight straight years. Daunte Culpepper stands as the school's highest pick when he was taken with the 11th overall selection by the Minnesota Vikings in 1999, which also is UCF's only quarterback taken in the draft. Culpepper is the only Knight to hear his name called in the first round as well. - Central Florida football

01/06/2014 - Blake Bortles arrived at UCF as a virtual unknown quarterback with modest expectations. Running back Storm Johnson was a transfer looking for a new start. Both are heading to the NFL after leading to the Knights to the most successful campaign in program history. The players announced Monday that they will skip their senior seasons and enter the NFL draft. "After a lot of deliberations and talking with my parents, I've decided to try and pursue my goal to playing the NFL and capture my lifelong dream," Bortles said. "I just couldn't be more proud to say I played football at UCF and it was the best four years of my life."

In his second year as the Knights' starter, Bortles helped UCF bounce back from a narrow early season loss to South Carolina to win end the season on a nine-game winning streak and upset win over heavily favored Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl. Bortles was a constant throughout UCF's run to its first BCS bowl, helping the Knights survive in seven games decided by seven or few points. It included a 21-point comeback in an upset win over then-top 10 ranked Louisville. The 12-1 record was a program best. He finished 2013 passing for 3,581 yards and 25 touchdowns. The season followed a sophomore campaign in which he tossed 25 touchdowns and threw for more 3,059 yards. - AP Sports

01/05/2014 - UCF QB Bortles to enter NFL Draft...Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles will give up his final season of college eligibility and enter the 2014 NFL Draft, multiple media outlets reported Sunday. Bortles will announced his decision on Monday, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Bortles, a redshirt junior, led the Knights to a 12-1 record, including a victory over heavily favored Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl. He completed 67.8 percent of his passes for 3,581 yards, 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Bortles is rated the No. 3 NFL quarterback prospect by NFLDraftScout.com and the No. 12 prospect overall. - The Sports Xchange

01/02/2014 - Blake Bortles flashes but not flawless in Fiesta Bowl win...With his strapping frame and success in a pro-style offense, no quarterback had captured the attention of the scouting community over the final month of the college football season like UCF's Blake Bortles. With Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel starring in their respective college finales, scouts wanted to see if the bigger, stronger Bortles could match his potential competitors in the race to be the first quarterback selected in the 2014 NFL draft. What they saw in UCF's marathon victory over Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl was a young quarterback with intriguing traits but whose technique may require a bit more polish before heading to the NFL. Sometimes statistics can tell the story but in Bortles' case, the Fiesta Bowl stat-book is misleading.

Bortles completed 20 of 31 passes for 301 yards and three touchdowns against two interceptions in the Golden Knights' 52-42 win. Perhaps most impressive about Bortles' evening was his poise. After throwing interceptions to abruptly end consecutive UCF drives in the second quarter, Bortles led Central Florida to touchdowns on four of their next six drives, out-scoring Baylor's high-octane offense. Neither of the interceptions, however, will likely earn negative grades from scouts. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

01/02/2014 - Blake Bortles flashes but not flawless in Fiesta Bowl win...Bortles' best play of the night came late, as he ran through a potential sack to loft a pass to running back William Stanback for a first down to extend a fourth quarter drive and keep the clock running. Bortles possesses some exciting traits, not the least of which is his broad-shouldered 6-foot-3, 230 pound frame. He also showed toughness and natural running skills in keeping several read-option plays for good yardage against Baylor's hard-hitting defense. Bortles showed off the athleticism that had some recruiters projecting him as a tight end in rushing for a career-high 93 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown to extend UCF's lead to 42-28 early in the fourth quarter.

He is methodical in his set up and delivery of the ball, and didn't place the ball well in this contest, forcing his receivers to make tough grabs rather than hitting them in stride. Several of Bortles passes were close to being completions but instead fell just out of the reach of his intended targets. It was a hot and cold performance similar to several of Bortles' other games this season, including against South Carolina, Louisville and Penn State. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

01/02/2014 - Blake Bortles flashes but not flawless in Fiesta Bowl win...If he were to bypass his senior season at UCF, Bortles' skill-set is exciting enough to earn a first round selection. Considering the number of QB-needy teams selecting in the top 10, he could earn a pick that high. Bortles remains a considerable work in progress, however, and didn't show the improvement as a passer in the Fiesta Bowl to build upon the positive momentum he'd had entering the game. According to Phil Savage, executive director of the Senior Bowl, Bortles received a second round grade from the NFL Advisory Committee.

As such, Bortles is facing the huge decision of whether or not he wants to return to UCF for one more year. One way or the other, his choice, like the one facing UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, will play a critical role in how the first round of the 2014 NFL draft shapes up. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

01/02/2014 - Baylor found itself in an awkward position all week at the Fiesta Bowl as Bears head coach Art Briles dodged rumors that he will be a candidate to replace Mack Brown at Texas. No. 15-ranked Central Florida made sure the sixth-ranked Bears stayed uncomfortable once the football game started Wednesday night. The Knights surged to a two-touchdown lead early in the fourth quarter and held off Baylor, 52-42, in the Fiesta Bowl at the University of Phoenix Stadium. UCF quarterback Blake Bortles passed for 301 yards, rushed for 93 and accounted for four touchdowns to upstage Baylor counterpart Bryce Petty. After Baylor tied the game 28-28 early in the third quarter, Bortles directed a nine-play, 76-yard touchdown drive, which he capped with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Breshad Perriman. Bortles then ran 15 yards for a touchdown three plays into the fourth quarter to re-establish the Knights' 14-point advantage.

UCF (12-1) forced Baylor into an unfamiliar position as the Bears (11-2) had trailed only once in the second half all season, and lost that game at Oklahoma State. Petty kept firing and finished with 356 passing yards and two touchdowns. UCF running back Storm Johnson helped close out Baylor with a 40-yard touchdown run with 10:26 left in the fourth quarter. Johnson rushed for 124 yards and three touchdowns on 20 attempts. By defeating Baylor, UCF moved to 2-0 this season against teams ranked in the top 10. The Knights also beat then-No. 8 Louisville, 38-35, handing the Cardinals their only loss of the season. UCF's only loss came against then-No. 12 South Carolina. UCF dominated the line of scrimmage early to take a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter. - The Sports Xchange

01/02/2014 - Blake Bortles flashes but not flawless in Fiesta Bowl win...On the first, Bortles took the ball from shotgun, identified favorite receiver Rannell Hall streaking deep down the middle against one on one coverage. The pass was thrown with perfect trajectory and good accuracy, giving Hall, the team's leading receiver, an opportunity to make a play. Instead, Baylor senior cornerback Demetri Goodson simply played the ball better than Central Florida's receiver, extending his arms to catch it over his head for an impressive interception. Bortles' next pass was also intercepted but was even a flukier play.

Though he again took the snap out of the shotgun, Bortles dropped back further and rolled right, hoping to buy room for a developing screen to tight end Kevin Miller. A well-timed blitz from 6-foot-2, 210-pound nickelback Sam Holl, however, caused Bortles to throw the ball prematurely. Holl tipped the pass and linebacker Eddie Lackey dove at Miller's feet to secure the ball just before it hit the ground.

While Bortles shouldn't receive the blame for his two interceptions, neither should he receive much credit for his two touchdown passes of the first half, each of which were short throws in which Hall broke free for long runs after the catch. His third touchdown pass, on the other hand, was one of Bortles' best throws of the night. It was a beautifully lofted corner route to receiver Breshad Perriman off of a designed rollout to the right for a 10-yard score that recaptured the lead for UCF with 5:38 remaining in the third quarter. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

01/01/2014 - PLAYERS TO WATCH: UCF is 2-3 in bowl games, all of them coming since 2005. After losing its first three bowl games, UCF has won its last two. UCF QB Blake Bortles has passed for 3,280 yards and 22 touchdowns, with seven interceptions this season. His top performance was a 404-yard, four- touchdown game against Temple. Despite its relatively high ranking in pass defense, Baylor has struggled to stop the top passer's it has faced. - The Sports Xchange

12/17/2013 - 2013 ALL-AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE FIRST TEAM (COACHES): QB Blake Bortles, UCF, Jr., 6-4 230, Oveido, Fla./Oveido,...Has been selected First Team All-American Athletic Conference for the 2013 college football season by the league Coaches. - American Athletic Conference/Central Florida football

12/13/2013 - Bortles has since become the star quarterback for UCF, leading the Knights to an 11-1 record and a Fiesta Bowl invitation this season. During the course of that run, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound passer has become a hot name in NFL draft projections. ESPN analyst Todd McShay touts Bortles as the second-best quarterback prospect available if he leaves school early. That could mean Bortles would be first-round selection in April's draft. Bortles must make a decision by Jan. 15 when underclassmen are required to declare for the draft, but much like he once approached recruiting in high school, the quarterback is shunning anything that removes his focus from the biggest bowl game in UCF history. Rob Bortles, Blake's father, said the family will not weigh any draft decisions until after the Fiesta Bowl in order to avoid distractions going into the season-ending game.

UCF coaches certainly hope Bortles' love for UCF will keep him on campus one year longer. Knights coach George O'Leary has faced the question in nearly every interview since the Knights locked up a Fiesta Bowl bid: Will Bortles stay or go? O'Leary has said multiple times - in several national radio interviews and during an interview with the Sentinel Wednesday - that he believes Bortles wants to stay at UCF. "He likes college," O'Leary said.

Like O'Leary, Knights offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe said he believes Bortles feels a strong pull to his teammates and to UCF. "I think at some point we need to put it to rest and focus for the bowl game, get ready" Taaffe said. "And obviously, at some point shortly find out and see where [Bortles is] evaluated and make an intelligent decision. I think Blake likes college, I think he loves it here and don't know if he's ready yet just from a maturity standpoint whether he wants to take that next step." - Paul Tenorio, Orlando Sentinel

12/11/2013 - 2013 AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR (COACHES): Blake Bortles, QB, UCF (Jr., Oveido, Fla.)...Bortles was chosen as the American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year after he helped the Knights go 8-0 in conference play, a record that included four come-from-behind wins in the fourth quarter. Bortles completed 68.1 percent of his passes in the regular season, throwing for 3,280 yards and 22 touchdowns and adding five rushing touchdowns. He ranks ninth nationally in both completion percentage and pass efficiency rating (163.3). - American Athletic Conference football

12/09/2013 - WEEK 15 AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE HONOR ROLL: Blake Bortles, Jr., QB, UCF, Oveido, Fla.,...Completed 24 of 35 passes for 242 yards and rushed for 31 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries in a 17-13 win at SMU. - American Athletic Conference football

12/09/2013 - With the college football regular season in the books, we are one step closer to the 2014 NFL Draft. And as we inch closer, certain prospects separate themselves from others. And with QB Marcus Mariota returning to Oregon next season, that shakes up the quarterback rankings. So where we are right now, there are three quarterback prospects who have impressed me the most: 1) Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville 2) Derek Carr, Fresno State 3) Blake Bortles, UCF. If all three are in the 2014 class, I believe they'll each be top-15 picks. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

12/07/2013 - 2014 NFL Draft: Rallying UCF in cold, Blake Bortles shows 1st-round form...Many of Bortles' 35 pass attempts were quick tosses to the outside in the form of quick outs and screens. These throws are a staple of the offense that UCF showed in previous contests this season against more respected defenses for South Carolina and Penn State. UCF features a varied offense that combines elements of the spread, as well as the traditional I-formation under veteran head coach George O'Leary. They may have been even more of a focus in Saturday's game with the temperature at kickoff at 24 degrees, colder than any other game in UCF's history.

The wind-chill put the temperature at 13 degrees and prompted SMU to close down parts of Gerald J. Ford Stadium's bleachers to the public due to the ice. It was so cold, in fact that SMU allowing anyone willing to endure the cold inside the stadium to watch the game for free. Bortles does not possess Bridgewater's accuracy, Manziel's (or Hundley's) maneuverability, nor Fresno State senior Derek Carr's incredible arm strength. While perhaps not special in any of these individual traits, however, UCF's junior did show Saturday the collective skill-set to consider making an early jump into the NFL. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

12/07/2013 - 2014 NFL Draft: Rallying UCF in cold, Blake Bortles shows 1st-round form...In guiding Central Florida to a 17-13 comeback win over SMU in frigid conditions, junior quarterback Blake Bortles provided evidence of his poise, toughness and ability to play well in the cold. These traits, along with awareness, accuracy, athleticism and size are key factors in why the junior quarterback is gaining traction as a potential first-round selection in the 2014 NFL draft. The 6-foot-3, 230 pound Bortles was recruited as a tight end, and the size, strength and athleticism that initially led to this projection were on display in this contest as the junior showed off the functional mobility necessary for success in today's NFL.

While not an elite athlete, Bortles showed enough quickness and fluidity to run away from defenders when necessary. More importantly, he showed the vision and courage to step up in the pocket to exhaust his options before tucking it to run. Bortles' thick, broad-shouldered frame has earned comparisons to everyone from NFL stars Andrew Luck and Ben Roethlisberger to Tim Tebow. His build is a stark contrast to the slim frames of the other highly regarded underclassmen quarterbacks, most notably Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater (6-foot-3, 205), Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel (5-foot-11, 210) and even UCLA's Brett Hundley, who looks slimmer than his listed 6-foot-3, 222 pounds. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

12/07/2013 - 2014 NFL Draft: Rallying UCF in cold, Blake Bortles shows 1st-round form...A year ago, the Buffalo Bills cited EJ Manuel's size and ability to play in the cold as key factors in their grading the former Florida State star as the top quarterback of the 2013 draft class. It isn't difficult to imagine the QB-needy Cleveland Browns, owners of two first-round picks, taking a similar strategy with Bortles. Despite the contention of ESPN's color commentator Brian Griese that Bortles possesses a "rocket" for an arm, UCF's quarterback relies more on anticipation and accuracy than velocity to be effective.

He showed plenty of zip on in-cutting routes but underthrew a couple of passes in this contest. One particularly poorly thrown pass (deep comeback) in the first half should have been intercepted but was bobbled by the SMU cornerback. While Bortles was far from spectacular in the first half, he played very well after halftime, completing his first nine passes and 24 of 35 passes for 242 yards, overall. He did not throw for a touchdown or an interception, but ran for two, showing off power and his surprising athleticism for a 15-yard score to give UCF's its only lead of the game with 14 seconds remaining in the third quarter. - Rob Rang, NFLDraftScout.com

12/07/2013 - Blake Bortles threw for 242 yards and ran for two touchdowns as No. 15 UCF celebrated a BCS bid already in hand by rallying to beat SMU 17-13 Saturday in front of just a few hundred fans who braved a brutal ice storm. With the school's first BCS berth secured by Louisville's win at Cincinnati Thursday, the Knights were sluggish before recovering for a school-record eighth straight win and the outright title in the first year of the American Athletic Conference. UCF (11-1, 8-0 AAC) has both of the 34-year-old program's 11-win seasons in the past four years. The Knights went 11-3 in 2010 and beat Georgia in the Liberty Bowl.

SMU (5-7, 4-4) saw its record bowl streak end at four seasons in the coldest home game in school history - 24 degrees at kickoff. It matched the 1983 Sun Bowl in El Paso as SMU's coldest game. It was UCF's coldest game by far. SMU quarterback Neal Burcham had 222 yards passing and a touchdown to Keenan Holman, who had 91 yards on six catches. The wintry blast that virtually shut down the Dallas-Fort Worth area on Friday prompted officials to offer free admission. It didn't help much, with fewer than 1,000 fans showing up for the game - far short of the announced attendance of 12,598. - AP Sports

12/05/2013 - UCF quarterback Blake Bortles is moving up some draft boards, and Knights' coach George O'Leary said he will sit with the junior quarterback to discuss options when the season is over. O'Leary said Bortles must seriously consider his options if he is given a first-round grade by NFL scouts. "Every kid has a dream to ge to NFL," O'Leary told Sentinel columnist Mike Bianchi on AM 740 The Game's Open Mike radio show Thursday morning. "I'll sit down with [Bortles] and his folks after it's over and I'll [make] some phone calls and see where it's at. If you have a chance to go out as a No. 1 [first-round pick] I think you seriously have to look at it and see what's going on. The jury is still out on a lot of that stuff. I think it's a natural knee-jerk reaction when some other quarterbacks decide to stay in. It doesn't mean you move up the ladder, [you have to consider] are you ready to come out to play at that level. That's the decision that has to be made."

Bortles' draft stock was certainly aided by Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota's decision to return to Oregon for his junior season. Injuries to Georgia QB Aaron Murray and LSU QB Zach Mettenberger may also help Bortles in some teams' evaluations. Bortles has completed 215-of-316 passes (68%) for 3,038 yards with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The Oviedo native is ranked seventh in the nation in passing efficiency with a 167.34 rating. - Paul Tenorio, The Orlando Sentinel

11/29/2013 - NFL DRAFT WEEK 13 STOCK REPORT, NFL PROSPECTS WHO HELPED THEMSELVES: QB Blake Bortles, UCF...When discussing the top quarterback prospects for the 2014 NFL Draft, Teddy Bridgewater, Marcus Mariota and Johnny Manziel are the top underclassmen mentioned. But it's time Bortles is included in that mix. The strong, well-built passer has Central Florida at nine wins and a shot at a BCS game in January. And if Bortles decides to test the NFL waters after this season, he will be mentioned as a possible first-rounder. The junior had a strong performance against Rutgers last Thursday, finishing 21 for 30 (70 percent) for 335 yards and a passing touchdown while adding 35 yards on the ground with a rush score.

Bortles moves well for his size with quick feet to avoid the rush and is a hard-nosed finisher as a ballcarrier. He does an excellent job anticipating pressure and shows outstanding feel and vision despite all the noise around him, always knowing where his targets are on the field. Bortles quickly surveys, identifies his reads and delivers with an Andrew Luck-type release and arm strength. The Ben Roethlisberger comparisons are overdone, but Bortles might best resemble the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback over other college prospects in recent memory. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

11/29/2013 - WEEK 13 AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE HONOR ROLL: Blake Bortles, Jr., QB, UCF, Oveido, Fla.,...Completed 21 of 30 passes for 335 yards and rushed for 32 yards and a TD in a 41-17 win at Rutgers. - American Athletic Conference football

11/21/2013 - Quarterback Blake Bortles threw for 336 yards and a touchdown and running back Storm Johnson rushed for two scores to lead Central Florida to an easy 41-17 victory over Rutgers on Thursday. Bortles completed 21 of 30 passes and had five dropped, including two in the endzone, as he marched UCF up-and-down the field at will. Johnson gained 75 yards on 16 carries, scoring on runs of 12 and one yard.

Shawn Moffitt kicked field goals of 32 and 42 yards for UCF (9-1, 6-0), which leads Louisville and Cincinnati by a game in the American Athletic Conference. UCF has two conference games, against South Florida (2-7, 2-3) and SMU (4-5, 3-2) still to play. UCF dominated the game from start to finish, particularly on offense where it rolled up a 455-221 edge in yardage and almost a 17-minute advantage in time of possession. UCF punted only once in each half and had four scoring drives of 69 yards or more. Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova was just 11 of 34 for 107 yards. He was sacked three times. Michael Burton was Rutgers' leading rusher, getting 38 yards on his one carry, a fake punt play that led to a touchdown. - The Sports Xchange

10/28/2013 - WEEK 9 AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE HONOR ROLL: Blake Bortles, Jr., QB, UCF, Oveido, Fla.,...Accounted for five touchdowns, going 20-of-24 for 286 passing yards and four TDs and rushing for another score in a 62-17 win against UConn. - American Athletic Conference football

10/28/2013 - WEEK 9 COLLEGE FOOTBALL STARS: Blake Bortles, UCF, threw for four TDs and ran for another as the No. 21 Knights routed winless Connecticut 62-17. - AP Sports

10/26/2013 - Blake Bortles threw for four touchdowns and ran for another as No. 21 UCF routed winless Connecticut 62-17 on Saturday. Bortles completed his first eight passes of the game and ended his day early in the third quarter, connecting on 20 of 24 for 286 yards. The junior ran for a TD as the Knights (6-1, 3-0 American Athletic Conference) scored on their first nine possessions of the game. They remain the favorite to claim the league's BCS berth.

UConn's offense was anemic throughout and helped dig its own hole early, thanks to two first-half interceptions by freshman quarterback Tim Boyle. A Huskies' fumble in the second-half set up another UCF score. The Huskies (0-7, 0-3) have lost eight straight games dating to last season. - AP Sports

10/26/2013 - Blake Bortles threw four touchdown passes and ran for another score as the No. 21-ranked Central Florida Knights annihilated winless Connecticut 62-17 on Saturday. Bortles completed 20 of 24 passes for 286 yards for UCF (6-1, 3-0) before taking a seat one possession into the second half. The four touchdown passes were a career-high for the Knights quarterback. Jeff Godfrey, who lost his starting position to Bortles two years ago, caught two touchdown passes from his successor and a third from backup Justin Holman.

Storm Johnson added two touchdowns, one a 10-yard run and the other a 7-yard pass from Bortles. J.J. Worton caught the last Bortles touchdown pass, one of six receptions for a career-high 119 receiving yards. UConn (0-7, 0-3) quarterback Tim Boyle had just the opposite kind of day. Boyle was 7 of 21 for 47 yards and two interceptions before giving way to Casey Cochran in the middle of the third quarter. Cochran got his first career touchdown pass, a 46-yard strike to Brian Lemelle at the start of the fourth quarter and finished the day 7 of 11 for 95 yards. UCF dominated the game from the opening kickoff, scoring on all seven first-half possessions, while outgaining the Huskies 338-90. Bortles was 19 of 23 for 225 yards and three touchdowns in the half and the Knights didn't punt. - The Sports Xchange

10/21/2013 - UCF started the wild weekend Friday night, going to Louisville and snuffing out any hopes the Cards had of sneaking into the BCS title game. Blake Bortles played like a star, leading the Knights on a late TD drive to get the win. UCF's O-line shined, paving the way for more than six rushing yards per carry and limiting a good U of L front to zero sacks and the Cards had only one TFL the whole night. - Bruce Feldman, CBSSports.com

10/18/2013 - Blake Bortles threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Godfrey with 23 seconds left and Central Florida stunned No. 8 Louisville by rallying for a 38-35 victory on Friday night, ending the Cardinals' perfect start. Down 28-7 midway through the third quarter, the Knights (5-2, 2-0 American Athletic Conference) scored three touchdowns in a 7:22 span to tie the game. Storm Johnson had a 1-yard TD run and a 20-yard reception for another score, and William Stanback ran 12 yards for the tying score. Shawn Moffitt's 34-yard field goal gave them the lead with 7:36 remaining.

Louisville (6-1, 2-1) reclaimed the lead on Dominique Brown's 15-yard run with three minutes to go, but the Knights drove 75 yards in 11 plays to take the lead for good on Bortles' TD and then held off the Cardinals' comeback attempt. - AP Sports

10/18/2013 - PLAYERS TO WATCH: UCF's average pass completion reaped just 4.4 yards in the Knights' last game, a 24-17 win at Memphis, so QB Blake Bortles may look to open it up against Louisville. Bortles only threw for 160 yards against Memphis, but he was sharp on his final drive, completing six passes on a drive capped by a game-tying touchdown with 2:05 remaining. - The Sports Xchange

10/01/2013 - Though the game didn't end in victory, Central Florida did a lot to impress the national TV audience watching its 28-25 loss to South Carolina. The Knights led 10-0 at halftime, and after allowing 28 in a row after intermission, came back to make a game of it late. Though UCF fell short, it showed that more than belonged on the same field with one of the top teams in the SEC.

Anyone watching at the start would have seen UCF march straight down the field to score on its opening drive, and also would have seen the furious late comeback against a South Carolina squad that looked like it was just hanging on for dear life. Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier noted afterward that it took some sort of divine intervention to keep his team from going down to defeat. It was still a tough blow for Central Florida, which would have all but certainly found itself ranked in the Top 25 with a win. But it makes the Oct. 18 trip to Louisville very interesting, especially because the Knights will be coming off a bye week. If anyone's going to upend the Cardinals this season, that may be the most likely occurrence. - The Sports Xchange

10/01/2013 - 2014 NFL DRAFT WEEK 5 STOCK REPORT, PROSPECTS WHO HELPED THEMSELVES THIS WEEKEND: QB Blake Bortles, UCF...Although the Knights upset bid against South Carolina fell short, junior quarterback Blake Bortles introduced himself to a good amount of people who didn't know who he was prior to Saturday. He has prototypical size and is big-bodied rusher with better athleticism than given credit for, evidence by a few option plays against the Gamecocks. Bortles has good arm strength with a smooth release with enough zip to fit the ball into small windows.

He is poised to deliver accurately under pressure and shows terrific peripheral vision and overall feel to see the entire field and not just lock onto his top progression. Bortles does need to improve his spatial awareness in the pocket and improve his climbing ability, but he shows a confident, gritty attitude and, assuming he stays for his senior year and continues to develop, will enter next season as one of the better quarterback prospects in the country. - Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

09/16/2013 - Central Florida's embarking on a three-game stretch that could see it rise into the Top 25 if it can sustain its momentum. The Knights next play No. 12 South Carolina, and then after a trip to Memphis travel to take on No. 7 Louisville. The schedule helps too, with bye weeks before the games against the Gamecocks and the Cardinals. - The Sports Xchange

09/16/2013 - WEEK 3 AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Blake Bortles, Jr., QB, UCF, Oviedo, Fla.,...Bortles led UCF to what might be its best regular-season win in program history as the Knights scored a 34-31 win at Penn State. Bortles completed 20 of 27 passes for 288 yards and matched his career high with three touchdown passes, extending his streak to 11 consecutive games with at least one TD pass. Bortles, who has thrown for 816 yards and seven touchdowns for the 3-0 Knights, ranks second in the American Athletic Conference in pass efficiency (199.5). - AAC football

09/16/2013 - Central Florida has been one of the best programs not to draw much notice nationally over the past few years, but Saturday's victory over Penn State might be the attention-getting win the Knights have been looking for. The Knights' 34-31 victory over the Nittany Lions marked the first time in program history that Central Florida beat a Big Ten team. It moved the team to 3-0 and might change the perception that the AAC is Louisville and the nine dwarfs.

Central Florida took charge early, opening the game with a 13-play, 89-yard drive that ended in a touchdown. It completed the game with similar panache, running out the final 2:51 after the Nittany Lions elected to kick deep after getting within a field goal. The Knights will soon get another chance to make some noise. The team gets a week off before hosting South Carolina on Sept. 28. - The Sports Xchange

09/15/2013 - Blake Bortles passed for 288 and three touchdowns and UCF stunned Penn State 34-31 on Saturday night. Storm Johnson ran for a career-high 117 yards and a score and added a touchdown reception as the Knights (3-0) beat a Big Ten team for the first time in school history. UCF never trailed, having its way against Penn State's defense to give the newly minted American Athletic Conference a shot of respectability.

Zach Zwinak rushed for 128 yards and three touchdowns for the Nittany Lions (2-1) but also fumbled inside UCF territory with less than 6 minutes remaining, blunting a late Penn State rally. Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg completed 21 of 28 passes for 262 yards and a touchdown but the Nittany Lions couldn't quite catch the faster, sleeker Knights after spotting UCF an 18-point lead. - AP Sports

09/12/2013 - PLAYERS TO WATCH: QB Blake Bortles continues to play at a high level for UCF. After completing 12 of 19 passes for 214 yards and a score in last week's 38-0 win over FIU, Bortles now has attempted 217 consecutive throws without committing an interception. Bortles also has a 203.6 passer rating, which ranks seventh in the nation. - The Sports Xchange

09/06/2013 - A post on Twitter is limited to 140 characters, but a single tweet spoke volumes about the play of Blake Bortles. UCF's quarterback drew rave reviews from Mike Bianchi, a columnist at the Orlando Sentinel, during his 314-yard, three-touchdown passing performance in the Golden Knights' 38-7 win over Akron. Bortles completed 75 percent of his passes in the process, leading Bianchi to tweet that the junior "may be the best quarterback in the state pro or college."

High praise in a state that includes three perennial powers in the Football Bowl Subdivision and a trio of NFL teams. Bortles' performance marked the first 300-yard passing performance by a UCF quarterback since November of 2009. He didn't throw an interception, and now has made 198 consecutive pass attempts without a pick as the Golden Knights head into their road game at FIU. Meanwhile, Bortles has thrown for a TD in nine consecutive games. His big day included a 91-yard touchdown pass to Breshad Perriman in the first quarter, that became the longest offensive play from scrimmage in the history of the Golden Knights' program. It all represents what insiders expected to be the next step for Bortles after a solid, efficient first season as UCF's starting quarterback. - The Sports Xchange

09/06/2013 - Blake Bortles threw for 219 yards and one touchdown and Central Florida improved to 2-0 for only the second time since 1999 by beating Florida International 38-0 on Friday night. Storm Johnson ran for 89 yards and three scores. Florida International (0-2) totaled 173 yards, averaged 1.1 yards per rush and was shut out for the first time since 2008.

Bortles went 12 for 19 in three quarters of work. He also ran for 22 yards and a touchdown, and didn't commit a turnover. He has thrown 16 touchdown passes since his last interception Oct. 27, 2012. Rannell Hall made four catches for 127 yards, all in the first half to help Central Florida built a 24-0 lead. The Knights have outscored their opponents 76-7, while Florida International has been outscored 81-10. - AP Sports

09/02/2013 - WEEK 1 AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE HONOR ROLL: Blake Bortles, Jr., QB, UCF, Oviedo, Fla.,...Completed 18 of 24 passes for a career-high 314 yards with three touchdowns in a 38-7 win against Akron. - American Athletic Conference football

08/29/2013 - Blake Bortles had three touchdown passes and threw for a career-high 314 yards as UCF blew past Akron 38-7 on Thursday night. Storm Johnson added 99 yards rushing and two scores as the Knights won their eighth consecutive season-opener and second straight over the Zips. It was the first 300-yard passing game of Bortles' career and the first by a Knights' quarterback since 2009. Akron dropped its 10th straight game, dating back to last season.

The Zips put pressure on Bortles, but never got traction on offense and had a pair of turnovers. Akron also struggled on third down in the first half (2 of 6) and failed to keep UCF's secondary off balance despite its hurry-up attack. Just about everything went right for the Knights in their first outing of the season. Bortles found three different receivers for scores in a first half that saw the Knights punt on only two of their six possessions.

The junior quarterback survived a near disaster when he was stripped as he drew his arm back to throw on the game's opening play. He fell on the ball, though, and on the next snap Bortles' hit a streaking Breshad Perriman in the middle of the field with his first actual pass of the night. Akron had its best drive of the half on its first possession, but it ended with a punt right after the Zips past midfield. - AP Sports

08/29/2013 - UCF isn't taking any chances with regard to the health of its incumbent starting quarterback, Blake Bortles. After Bortles hit his hand on a teammate's helmet during a practice during preseason camp, the coaching staff sent him to the sideline for about a week to rest the resulting contusion on his right thumb. Bortles, who threw for 23 touchdowns in 2012 against only four interceptions, is only a junior. "It was more precautionary on my part," coach George O'Leary told the media. "I've got burned in the past not doing that. I was just making sure the thumb was where it needed to be so he could grip the ball without further damaging anything." - The Sports Xchange

08/14/2013 - 2013 JOHNNY UNITAS GOLDEN ARM AWARD WATCHLIST: Blake Bortles, UCF,...A member of the All-Conference USA Second Team, Bortles completed 2012 as the Beef `O' Brady's Bowl MVP as well. In his first season as the starter, he was the first UCF quarterback since 2002 to post at least 3,000 yards as he finished with 3,059 yards, 25 touchdowns and only seven picks. Bortles fell just shy of breaking Daunte Culpepper's school record by having a .0175 interception-to-attempt ratio (Culpepper's mark stands at .0174 in 1998). - UCF football

08/14/2013 - 2013 MANNING AWARD WATCH LIST: Blake Bortles Jr. UCF 72.9,...Bortles boasted a 72.9 QBR, which ranks 14th among the 30 quarterbacks on the list. That also put him first among all quarterbacks in the state of Florida, and second in the American behind only Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater (78.1). - UCF football

08/12/2013 - PLAYERS TO WATCH IN 2013: QB Blake Bortles clearly established himself as the best signal caller on the team last season. He'll be expected to do even more in 2013, especially as the UCF ground game enters a period of adjustment while looking for someone to replace RB Latavius Murray's impressive workload. - The Sports Xchange

07/30/2013 - UCF was fourth in the preseason poll with 210 points. The Knights went 10-4 overall and 7-1 in Conference USA last year, winning the league's East Division title. UCF defeated Ball State in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl to cap the season. George O'Leary and the Knights have hit double-digit wins three times in the last four seasons and are positioned to do so again with the return of quarterback Blake Bortles. Bortles, who was named to the preseason watch list for the Maxwell Award as the nation's top player, threw for 3,059 yards and 25 touchdowns last season. - AAC football

07/19/2013 - 2013 DAVEY O'BRIEN WATCH LIST: Blake Bortles, UCF...A native of Oviedo, Bortles demoralized opposing defenses throughout the 2012 campaign. In his first season as the Knights' starter, he threw for 3,059 yards on 251-for-399 passing, and racked up 25 touchdowns with just seven interceptions. Bortles was the first UCF quarterback since 2002 to throw for at least 3,000 yards in a season, and he was the first all-time to have 10 games with at least two touchdown passes in the same year. Of the 14 games he started, there was only one where he did not record a touchdown pass (UCF defeated Southern Miss, 38-31). - UCF football

07/16/2013 - 2013 MAXWELL AWARD WATCH LIST: QB Blake Bortles, UCF...Guiding UCF to a 10-4 record and its second straight bowl victory, Bortles shined in his first year as a starter in 2012 as the Knights averaged 35.4 points per game, which was the fifth-highest mark in school history. The 496 points scored were just six shy of the all-time record, while UCF set the school mark with 61 offensive touchdowns.

For Bortles, he would be voted on to the All-Conference USA Second Team and serve as the Beef `O' Brady's Bowl MVP. The first UCF quarterback to throw for at least 3,000 yards since 2002, Bortles finished the year 251-for-399 with 3,059 yards, 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He stands as the only Knights' signal caller to have 10 games with at least two touchdown passes in a single season.

Bortles fell just shy of breaking Daunte Culpepper's 1998 single-season UCF record (.0174) by having a .0175 interception-to-attempt ratio. Meanwhile, he enters 2013 with a school-record streak of 174 straight attempts without an interception. On the ground, Bortles rushed for 285 yards and eight touchdowns. That was highlighted by 140 rushing yards in the final two games of the 2012 campaign. - UCF football