Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, Stanford’s Bryce Love and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson are the finalists. The winner will be announced on Saturday.
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Aberdeen native Josh Heupel was named the 11th head coach at the University of Central Florida, the school announced Tuesday.
Coach Heupel will be joined by athletics director Danny White and President John C. Hitt at an introductory press conference at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
“I’m extremely excited about the opportunity to represent UCF,” said Heupel, who was a standout quarterback for Aberdeen Central in the mid-90s. “What makes this opportunity so unique is the vision of the leadership from President John Hitt, Provost Dale Whitaker and Director of Athletics Danny White. Their vision for this becoming one of the premier programs in the country makes this an exciting opportunity. That vision, the amazing campus, along with the recruiting base not only allows you to have immediate success but sustained success. I’m very excited to get a staff together and get to work with our wonderful student-athletes.”
Heupel replaces Scott Frost, who was named the Nebraska head coach.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Josh and his family to UCF,” athletic director Danny White said. “I believe we’ve identified one of the brightest offensive minds in college football. His offensive system is very similar to what we’ve been running. I know he’s going to utilize all the great talent on our roster and continue to add to it. He’s no stranger to success, winning a national championship as a quarterback and leading a number of extremely high-powered offensive teams. Coach Heupel is in coaching for the right reasons. He cares about his student-athletes and that’s one of the most important attributes I look for in a coach.”
Heupel was a national-championship winning quarterback at Oklahoma. He was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in 2000 while leading the Sooners to a victory over Florida State in the 2001 Orange Bowl, sealing the national title for OU. In 2001, Heupel was the Associated Press Player of the Year, Walter Camp Award winner, Archie Grifin Award winner and a consensus All-America performer.
Heupel comes to UCF after serving as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Missouri for the past two seasons.
In 2015, prior to Heupel’s arrival, Missouri ranked 124th in the nation in total offense (280.9). In 2016, the Tigers led the Southeastern Conference and were ranked No. 13 in the nation, averaging 500.5 yards per game. In 2017, Mizzou is currently ranked No. 7 in the nation in total offense, averaging 511.5 yards per game. The Tigers are currently No. 10 in the nation in scoring at 39.3 points per game.
Heupel started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater. He was on a coaching staff that took part in back-to-back national championship games following the 2003 and 2004 seasons. Heupel helped mentor Jason White to the Heisman Trophy in 2003.
He spent the 2005 season at Arizona before heading back to OU as a full-time assistant.
He returned to his alma mater for the 2006 season and coached the quarterbacks for five seasons. Heupel coached Sam Bradford to the Heisman Trophy, Davey O’Brien and Sammy Baugh Awards in 2008. Bradford led the nation in passing efficiency that season and the Sooners tallied an NCAA record five straight 60-point games.
Heupel was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2011 and served in that role for four seasons. His 2011 offense ranked fourth in the nation in total offense and passing offense. The 2012 unit ranked fifth in the nation in passing and 12th in total offense. In 2013, OU led the Big 12 in rushing and total offense. In his final season with OU, the Sooners led the nation in fewest sacks and led the Big 12 and ranked 10th in the nation in rushing, as well as finishing 20th in the nation in scoring and 23rd in total offense.
During his two seasons as the starting quarterback at Oklahoma, Heupel posted a 20-5 record. He passed for 7,456 yards and 53 touchdowns. Overall, he still ranks among OU’s top three quarterbacks in passing yards, completions and touchdown passes, despite playing just two seasons. He was a junior college All-America performer at Snow College in Utah in 1999, throwing for 2,308 yards and 28 TDs. He was drafted in the sixth round of the 2001 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins.