Seniors for the Central Florida Knights have accomplished a lot this season, but want to add a bowl win to the list. Two players, kick returner and wide receiver Quincy McDuffie and defensive back Kemal Ishmael were named special teams and defensive players of the year in Conference USA respectively. Three other seniors, running back Latavius Murray, offensive lineman Jordan Rae and defensive lineman Troy Davis were all named first-team all-conference.
McDuffie was also named a Sports Illustrated All-American for his job on kick returns, leading the nation in kick return average with 34.2 yards per attempt with three touchdowns on returns this season. According to an article by Paul Tenorio of the Orlando Sentinel, McDuffie was surprised but happy at the accolade:
"It was a great feeling," McDuffie said. "At the same time, it was a humbling experience. I was just glad and grateful for that accomplishment."
Both Ishmael and McDuffie are trying to make it to the NFL. Ishmael has started 48 consecutive games and head coach George O'Leary believes he has a decent opportunity to play on Sundays. McDuffie, though he has been hampered sometimes by injuries, still has speed that NFL teams love. He caught 28 passes for 350 yards and three touchdowns this season along with rushing for three touchdowns:
"Hopefully, I get a chance to get a couple returns in," McDuffie said. "Or at least the experience."
Despite all of that, the Knights are focused on defeating the Ball St. Cardinals first:
"I'm just trying to finish out my last game on a good note," Ishmael said. "Because once this is over, you never know what could happen after that."
The Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl will be played Friday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET and the game will be broadcast on ESPN.