Welcome back to another Mascot Monday and the first official day of summer! Now that the expansion feeding frenzy is behind us, it’s time to start looking toward actual football. Guess what? College football returns in a little over two months! We are breaking the mascot post pattern and will reel off mascots we haven’t covered that are listed in Phil Steele’s Top 40 preseason rankings. Running down the list, we see our first one in the University of Central Florida. The #36 preseason ranked UCF Knights employ the auspiciously looking mascot by the name of Knightro. No, not the American Gladiators reject, but a giant knight.
In 1969, the Citronaut made itself known on the UCF student handbook. The mix between an orange and an astronaut bombed like a bad movie and turned ugly fast. In the 1970 the mascot became the Knights and a live horse and rider ran along with it. The 1980’s saw the advent of costumed mascots from Sir-wins-alot, Puff the Dragon, and Mack the Knight. The first official reference to the Golden Knights came in 1993 when the student newspaper used the moniker instead of the traditionally known Fighting Knights. In 1994, a committee came together to put an end to all of this mascot confusion. Enter the winning entrant, Knightro.
With the help of Trey Gordon, Linda Gooch and UCF’s Student Government Association commissioned Metropolis Graphics to sketch Knightro. The costumed character made its first appearance during the 1994-95 season. There was a brief period around 1996 where a female version of Knightro, Glycerin, appeared on the sidelines, but she didn’t stick. Even after the team dropped the “Golden” in front of its name in 2007, Knightro still shone bright gold with black trim. Today he still rides up and down the sidelines, lancing and prancing for the UCF Knights along the way. Let’s take a look at how Knightro stacks up in terms of the mascot craft.
Knightro certainly is gold from head to toe. The black trim helps show off the shine a lot more. Every good knight needs a sword and shield. Knightro has both and boy do they look heavy. We’re guessing the enlarged mascot head means not only does Knightro fight well, but he’s pretty smart too. Okay, so enlarged heads on mascots are the norm and they all seem goofy so we’re going out on a limb on this one. The mane on the helmet is a nice touch however. Knightro doesn’t ride a horse, but apparently he’s got a wicked hot rod to ride on. Yeah, we prefer the horse.
Do we prefer Knightro? The costume is well put together, we’ll give him that. Admittedly, the first thought that popped into our heads when we heard about Knightro was the American Gladiators character. Upon further inspection, Knightro reminded us of someone completely different. Meta Knight from the Kirby’s Adventure series! Complete with the white eyes hidden in black shadow mask, Knightro looks to be one of Meta Knight’s long distance relative. That works for us. Apparently it also works for the United Cheerleader Association, too. Knightro’s placed in the top 10 for the Mascot National Championship on more than one occasion.
So there’s Knightro. He’s a dude with a sword and a shield that looks cool pulling mascot duty for the University of Central Florida Knights. Sometimes it takes a school forever to figure out just the right look for a mascot and Knightro is the shining example of that. Look for Knightro this year as UCF has a chance to crack the Top 25. Also, look for old episodes of American Gladiators and copies of Kirby’s Adventure. There’s a new itch to scratch all of the sudden.