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UCF’s Josh Celiscar is 247Sports’ True Freshman of the Week

Dillon Gabriel and the UCF offense highlighted the No. 14 Knights’ 49-21 season-opening win over Georgia Tech. But it’s true freshman defensive lineman Josh Celiscar who bookend the victory.

Tied 7-7 early in the first quarter with Georgia Tech already back in the red zone, Yellowjacket true freshman quarterback Jeff Sims dove on an option play. Holding his run fit on the edge in case of a pitch, Celiscar made the read and grabbed a leaning Sims, ripping the ball out of his hand. This helped prevent Georgia Tech from reestablishing a lead that it would never see again.

Three quarters later, this time with the Knights protecting a 42-21 lead, Celiscar ended Georgia Tech’s comeback attempt before it could begin. A pressured Sims attempted to throw a screen off his back foot, a play that instead ended up in the hands of a leaping Celiscar.

Celiscar would finish the afternoon with two tackles, a forced fumble (and the recovery), an interception and a pair of QB pressures. He did all of that in just 26 snaps, per PFF College data, finishing with a team-high 86.6 defensive grade. That dynamic and efficient effort is why Celiscar is the 247Sports True Freshman of the Week.

“The way he practices, which is why he plays the way he does today, it’s not a surprise for anybody inside of our program,” UCF head coach Josh Heupel said postgame, per Knights247. “From the beginning of training camp, he’s been really mature.”

Ranked as the No. 1,574 overall player in the 2020 247Sports Composite, Celiscar came to UCF as an relatively unheralded high school prospect. But it hasn’t taken him long to establish himself as a key piece of the Knights’ defensive line.

He impressed UCF’s coaching staff in fall camp with defensive line coach Shane Burnham speaking highly of Celiscar’s motor.

“He plays so hard from snap to whistle,” Burnham said. “He’s just a ‘go cat, go cat,’ man. It doesn’t matter. Whatever he’s got, he’s going to empty the tank. You ask our tackles, ‘man that guy never stops,’ and at our position, that will work for you.”

It worked out rather well in his collegiate debut.

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound defensive end came to UCF from Winter Haven, Florida. Celiscar finished his senior season with 69 tackles and nine sacks while splitting time between outside linebacker and tight end. Initially a Western Michigan commit, the Knights flipped Celiscar just ahead of the Early Signing Period. A few programs came in late after Celiscar dropped his senior highlight tape, including Virginia Tech, but the Knights were able to outmuscle some Power Five programs to sign the in-state prospect.  

Previous True Freshman of the Week Winners

Week 2: Jeff Sims, QB, Georgia Tech 

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