Receiver Jaylon Robinson says he will transfer from UCF

·4 min read
Receiver Jaylon Robinson says he will transfer from UCF

UCF lost its third player this week to the NCAA transfer portal, but Wednesday’s announcement is by far the most impactful departure yet.

Receiver Jaylon Robinson announced his intentions Wednesday. He joins reserve quarterback Parker Navarro and linebacker Cole Joyce in the transfer portal.

“This is hard,” Robinson wrote on social media. “Hard to say goodbye. After much prayer and talk with my family about my future, I’ve decided that it’s in my best interest to enter the transfer portal.”

Robinson was set to be first-team all-AAC for the second consecutive season last year before a knee injury on Sept. 17 against Louisville kept him sidelined for five games.

After 234 yards on 12 catches with 2 touchdowns in the first three games, Robinson returned and played in the final three regular season games to total 6 catches for 88 yards and no scores.

He missed the Gasparilla Bowl vs. Florida in December.

Robinson originally transferred to UCF after beginning his college career at Oklahoma. He played in four games and made 3 catches for 28 yards as a freshman in 2018.

The following year, he sat out after transferring and worked with UCF’s scout team.

In his first season playing for the Knights in 2020, Robinson totaled 55 receptions for 979 yards with 6 touchdowns. He recorded 100 or more receiving yards six times, the most at UCF since Brandon Marshall in 2005.

A lot changed for Robinson after the 2020 season. He eventually lost his head coach, position coach and quarterback.

In early 2021, UCF coach Josh Heupel became the new coach at Tennessee, and soon after the Knights hired Gus Malzahn to lead the program.

In the same game that Robinson hurt his knee, UCF starting quarterback Dillon Gabriel broke his collarbone and missed the remainder of the season.

Gabriel entered the portal at the end of November and transferred to Oklahoma — Robinson’s former school — in January ahead of the spring semester.

Finally, at the end of February, UCF receivers coach Darrell Wyatt accepted a job at Boston College in the same role. Wyatt was the lone holdover from the previous staff.

In early March, UCF hired Indiana receivers coach Grant Heard to replace Wyatt. During spring camp, Robinson described Heard as a strong motivator.

“You need somebody to have good energy around you and he makes practice fun,” Robinson said three weeks ago. “He makes us want to come out there.”

Robinson recently admitted he wasn’t himself post-injury last season.

“I missed a lot of the season, and when I came back I feel like I didn’t help the team as much as I should’ve or could’ve,” he said on March 31.

This spring, Robinson looked like his former self, catching 3 passes for 126 yards and 2 touchdowns in Saturday’s spring game.

Despite his recovery, Robinson has decided to move on from the Knights.

“I would like to give a big thanks to coach Gus, coach Heard and coach [Chip] Lindsey and the rest of the UCF coaching staff for coming in and teaching me how to be a better player and leader,” Robinson said.

The move means the Knights will rely on senior Ryan O’Keefe to take on an even larger role this season.

O’Keefe stepped up after Robinson got hurt and led the team with 84 receptions, which ranks fifth in a single season in UCF history. He totaled a team-high 812 receiving yards and was second with 7 touchdown catches.

In addition to O’Keefe, UCF returns redshirt junior Jaylon Griffin, senior Amari Johnson, redshirt junior Dionte Marks and redshirt sophomore Jordan Johnson among others.

The Knights also added Kobe Hudson from the transfer portal ahead of the spring. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound receiver led Auburn with 44 catches for 580 yards. His 4 receiving touchdowns also tied for the team-high.

In addition, the Knights will be joined this summer by two talented freshman receivers in Gainesville Buchholz’s Quan Lee and Tampa Berkeley Prep’s Xavier Townsend — both 4-star recruits, according to 247Sports.

Email Jason Beede at jbeede@orlandosentinel.com or follow him on Twitter at @therealBeede.