Running back Isaiah Bowser, defensive lineman Josh Celiscar, offensive lineman Sam Jackson, linebacker Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste and receiver Ryan O’Keefe have been selected captains of the 2022 UCF football squad by vote of their teammates.
Bowser (159 carries for 703 yards, 9 TDs in 2021; 9 receptions for 75 yards) is a tough, physical, downhill runner with the elusiveness to confound defenses. He began 2021 with 172 rushing yards in the season-opening comeback win over Boise State, finished it with 155 yards versus Florida in the Gasparilla Bowl—and had 55 more rushing carries than any other Knight.
Celiscar in 2021 accounted for 39 tackles, 7.5 TFL, three sacks and seven QBHs while earning 10 starting assignments at defensive end.
One of three returning UCF offensive line starters for 2022 is 2021 team co-captain Jackson (team-high 31 career starts; honorable mention all-American Athletic Conference by Pro Football Focus and Pro Football Network).
Jean-Baptiste (51 tackles, 6.5 TFL, five QBHs) headlines the Knights’ linebacking unit as the lone returnee with any starting experience (seven career starts).
Pacing the UCF wide receivers is O’Keefe (84 receptions for 812 yards, 7 TDs; 16 rushes for 274 yards, 1 TD; 2nd-team all-AAC in 2021 by vote of league coaches and by Pro Football Network), who caught more passes in 2021 than any UCF player in 15 seasons. O’Keefe capped his junior campaign by winning the MVP award in the Knights’ Gasparilla Bowl win over Florida, thanks to his 255 all-purpose yards.
Among Knights on watch lists for major national positional awards in 2022 are running back Bowser (Doak Walker and Wuerffel) and receiver O’Keefe (Biletnikoff, Hornung and Earl Campbell).
UCF football players receiving some sort of preseason all-conference mention in either the Athlon Sports, Lindy’s or Phil Steele 2022 college football preview magazines include:
–O’Keefe: Athlon and Phil Steele first team, Lindy’s second team
–Bowser: Athlon, Lindy’s and Phil Steele second team
–Jackson: Lindy’s second team, Athlon and Phil Steele third team
–Jean-Baptiste: Athlon fourth team
Bowser is a fifth year from Sidney, Ohio (he transferred from Northwestern prior to the 2021 season). Celiscar is a junior from Winter Haven, Florida. Jackson is a fifth year from Lakewood Ranch, Florida. Jean-Baptiste is a senior from South Dade, Florida. O’Keefe is a senior from Round Rock, Texas.