I will say I am completely biased as I write this, but I would not say it if I thought it was wrong. I have been attending UCF for 3 year. The same number that Bortles has been there. I have seen him since he took over as a freshman in mid-season. I saw how much poise he had and I thought he was a good college QB, but I never imagined him being a good pro QB. This mostly came from the thought of a UCF player being a NFL caliber QB. That said, I enjoyed watching him play that season.
The very next year he improved exponentially. He improved his throwing mechanics, he used his feet more proficiently to extend and make plays, and he also made fewer mental mistakes. He was a HUGE factor on the team and how they preformed throughout the season. He started to become a true leader and helped inspire teammates on the sidelines to make comebacks when they needed to near the end of some games. He seemed like a good kid and a great college QB, but I still never thought of him as a NFL caliber QB.
Last season, he improved in all aspects of his game and continued to improve his leadership skills. It was around the time they played Penn State that I realized I kept thinking about Big Ben every time I saw him play. I dismissed this idea thinking a small school QB couldn't be a great NFL starter without blowing people away. I never thought any analyst would notice him and I silently hoped the Jags would be able to pick him around the 4th round. Then he started winning, winning, and winning. People finally started to notice, and I felt good. About this time I thought maybe a second round pick and he would be a backup somewhere. As soon as UCF beat Louisville his stock started to soar, and I felt happy to be a UCF fan and student. I enjoyed watching his growth throughout the season, and I thought he had reached his ceiling. Then the Fiesta Bowl happened and he was on a big stage. He didn't dazzle with outrageous throws or big running plays, yet he put up big numbers. He showed more leadership in that game than any other game, including the Louisville comeback.
Some people don't know he only had a QB offer from 3 schools, and that most people wanted him to be a TE. UCF chose to take a chance on him and he chose to accept their offer. He always improved season to season and never regressed. He shows great focus and learning skills. I understand he was not the best QB to many people, but he has tremendous leadership skills. This is definitely something Coach Bradley treasures in players, and one reason I think he will be the next great Jaguar.