Lake Mary 4-star Braeden Marshall picks UCF as Knights strike gold again

Jason Beede/Jason Beede
·3 min read

On the heels of landing its highest-ranked recruit in program history on Thursday in Osceola 4-star defensive lineman John Walker, UCF football continued to stay hot on the recruiting trail Saturday night.

Lake Mary 4-star cornerback Braeden Marshall announced his oral commitment to the Knights, choosing Gus Malzahn’s program over North Carolina, Wisconsin and Nebraska.

“I felt like coach Malzahn came to UCF with a vision to win a national championship,” Marshall said. “Not too many coaches come to UCF with a vision like that.

“Going to the Big 12 is huge,” he added. “I feel like him bringing in the right guys from Orlando, it’s going to be special.”

Publicly the decision comes as a surprise after Marshall had excluded UCF from his group of finalists last week on social media, but privately the Knights felt confident about where they stood entering the weekend.

Marshall said he made the decision about a week ago and informed Malzahn during a recruiting event at UCF this past Tuesday.

“Coach Malzahn, his reaction was crazy,” Marshall said. “I told him, ‘You’re building something special and I want to be part of it from the bottom and as it grows, I’m going to be the reason why.’ His reaction was crazy.”

Marshall becomes the ninth member of UCF’s 2023 recruiting class and the fourth 4-star prospect, joining Walker and Lake Brantley twin linebackers Andrew Harris and Michael Harris.

The Knights also have Apopka linebacker Kaven Call and Boone kicker Grant Reddick in the fold.

“It means a lot,” Marshall said about other recruits staying close to home for college. “All of us staying home, the brotherhood ... it’s going to be great. I can’t wait.”

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound prospect is ranked as the No. 40 cornerback nationally and No. 79 overall in the state of Florida in this cycle, according to 247Sports.

Locally, Marshall ranks No. 9 on the Orlando Sentinel’s 2023 Central Florida Super60.

As a junior at Lake Mary, he recorded a team-high 3 interceptions to go with 3 pass breakups and 28 total tackles, according to MaxPreps.

All oral commitments are non-binding until December when the early signing period opens and they can become official.

If Marshall, Walker and the Harris twins stay true to their pledges and sign, it would mark the first time that UCF signed multiple consensus 4-star prospects in the same recruiting class in the modern era.

The group’s freshman year will be UCF’s first in the Big 12 Conference. That made a big impression on Marshall.

“Having that caliber of teams come to play now, it’s going to bring a lot of fans,” Marshall said. “There’s great competition too, and I love competition.”

Winning a conference championship in the Power Five league is one of Marshall’s main goals.

“As long as you win the Big 12, you get a shot at the national championship,” Marshall said. “Gus Malzahn is a big dreamer. One thing I dream about is winning a national championship, so I feel like we’re going to do that at UCF.”

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