Blake Bortles' competitiveness, poise stood out to UCF's O'Leary

UCF coach George O'Leary said Blake Bortles "has all the skills" NFL teams are looking for in a quarterback.

Bortles, who led UCF to a 12-1 mark and a Fiesta Bowl upset of Baylor last season, is in play to be the No. 1 pick in the draft. The Houston Texans own the pick, and new Texans coach Bill O'Brien is a protégé of O'Leary's, having spent eight seasons as an assistant at Georgia Tech when O'Leary was coach.

O'Leary was on ESPN radio with Colin Cowherd earlier this week and said Bortles deserves all the attention he is receiving. O'Leary specifically mentioned Bortles' size (6-foot-5, 232 pounds), athleticism and ability to throw the ball from hash to hash as big positives.

He said Bortles has an innate ability to keep a play alive with his feet and with his awareness. O'Leary also said Bortles is "very, very poised" and "a great competitor."

O'Leary, however, hasn't always been overly glowing in his praise of Bortles -- last month he said he didn't see any prospects in this year's draft that he would classify as a franchise quarterback.

The next step for Bortles is UCF's March 19 pro day. He was the only one of the top four quarterbacks to throw at the NFL Scouting Combine, and it's expected he will run the 40 again at the pro day after turning in a slower-than-expected 4.93-second clocking at the combine.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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