UCF specialists get tattoos symbolizing commitment to new, improved season | Orlando Sentinel

From Orlando Sentinel

Date of Publication: August 20, 2016

Punter Caleb Houston and snapper Gage Marsil wanted to come up with a new way for UCF’s specialists to bond.

“We kind of wanted to start a tradition, and we’re like, ‘What can we start as a specialist tradition,'” Marsil said. “So me, Houston and a former snapper here, we were like, ‘Oh, let’s get lip tats.'”

Marsil now proudly sports “$nap” on the inside of his lower lip. Houston has a matching tattoo that reads “punt” on his lip.

“It’s just a brotherhood thing … getting together and just doing something crazy and fun with your boys,” Houston said. “Specialists, we’re all a group, we’re all a unit. We all love each other so we decided to get a tattoo to represent that.”

Houston and Marsil, both redshirt seniors, have been with UCF since the 2012 season. After suffering through a winless season in 2015, the players are ready to make a difference during the Knights’ 2016 campaign.

Despite the UCF’s 0-12 record last year, Houston had a strong season. He punted the ball 65 times for an average of 44.2 yards, a career high and the second best average in school history.

“I just went out there and just played every play to the best of my ability,” he said.

“[I] tried to put my team in the best position so, you know, I just went out there and tried to do my thing.”

Marsil started all of UCF’s 12 games last year and also recorded four tackles.

Following the Knights’ poor 2015 season, both players have seen a lot of growth in the team since UCF’s new coach Scott Frost took over.

“How to overcome adversity, you know, how to come together as a family,” Marsil said. “We’ve really shown that over this past six months since coach Frost has been here.

“[We are] learning how to be a team again and learning how to be a brotherhood, that’s really what we’ve picked up over this past six months.”

Houston and Marsil have been working to improve during the offseason.

“I’ve been working on … trying to be able to get my hang time up, get my return team a chance to get under the ball,” Houston said. “[We are] working a lot of reps, just trying to get our explosion up because it’s a big thing for kickers.”

Houston and Marsil have also been adjusting to the team’s new strength and conditioning program, which is very different from last year.

“With some of the old coaches, we were always [focused on,] ‘power, power, power,'” Marsil said. “Yeah, we were strong for the season, but it was a matter of making it through the season without our bodies falling apart.”

This year, the conditioning program has had a much different impact on the players.

“The strength and conditioning program’s a lot different. They’re really worried about us recovering and stuff like that, so it’s good,” Marsil said. “It’s definitely helped me big time, I’ve seen huge improvements. My squat rose by 100 pounds; my bench rose by 100 pounds; everything went up tremendously.”

As the new season approaches, Houston and Marsil are excited to see just how much the Knights can improve.

“I would love to see us … have a really good season and finish off senior campaign with a bowl game,” Marsil said.

Houston added, “[Fans should] just be excited, UCFast.”

About Christian Simmons 43 Articles
My name is Christian Simmons, and I recently graduated from the University of Central Florida with my master's degree in integrated business management. My undergrad degree from UCF is in journalism. I'm passionate about sports in all its forms. I've had internships with the Sun Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, NPR affiliate WMFE and CBS affiliate WKMG. I'm also the co-founder and editor of Knight Sports Now, a student publication that has covered UCF sports since 2017. As a freelance reporter, my stories have appeared in the Dallas Morning News, the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, The New Orleans Advocate, The Advocate in Baton Rouge, La. and the Baltimore Sun, among others.