In between all the action at UCF’s home football games the past two weeks, one Knight stood out — but he wasn’t in uniform or even on the field. Instead, he was a face in a crowd of thousands of fans at Spectrum Stadium.
A face that stood out enough to make it to ESPN and even become the most-liked Instagram posts on the @UCFKnights account, amassing more than 26,000 likes between two separate videos by Oct. 4. His mug earned more likes than the Knights’ Peach Bowl win, Knightro’s latest dance video and Shaquem Griffin’s draft in the NFL.
By now, if you’ve been watching this season’s games, you know, or should know, it’s “The Stare-Down Kid,” a young man who blankly and intensely looked into the video-board camera without blinking or smiling during the Sept. 21 game against Florida Atlantic University.
What you probably don’t know is who he is. Anthony Allan is a first-year civil engineering major who had no idea that by trying to be funny in the moment, he’d turn into a viral phenomenon.
During the Sept. 29 game against the University of Pittsburgh, Allan solidified his GOAT (greatest of all time) status by repeating his camera stare-down, but this time he took it to the next level by having his friends hold large cut-outs of his emotionless face as they crowded around him.
When he’s not watching UCF football games, Allan attends classes, plays soccer on the weekends at the intramural fields — and in between gets called a “legend” by strangers on campus (which even happened during this interview.)
Here, Allan shares more about himself and what it’s like to be one of the most recognizable faces at UCF.
Why did you come to UCF?
I had lived in Gainesville for 15 years, so I didn’t really feel like going to UF because I had been there for so long. The [UCF] engineering program, the football team, the campus and student life seemed like a great environment and I wanted to be a part of that.
So how did you become “The Stare-Down Kid”?
I was sitting with my friend [at the game against FAU] and I noticed the person working the “Fan of the Game” camera and just stared at him to see if he would notice me. He basically signaled to me to wait a minute and he’d put me on. He did and it just happened and he kept cutting back to me.
I didn’t know at first I’d be on there. I was just staring at the camera, and my friend told me I was on the screen and they were all flipping out. But I couldn’t look away because I was already staring. So I had to keep staring.
Is this something you do all the time?
This is a recent hobby I just picked up — as of two Saturdays ago.
How do you keep your face straight for so long?
I think about laughing the whole time and my mouth will start twitching to smile, but I know I can’t. When the camera goes off, I just blink, close my eyes, I smile and then I laugh. When it comes back to me I have a straight face.
Has anyone recognized you on campus?
Oh, yeah. I was walking [to the Student Union] and some dude ran from 40 yards away to ask if I was the guy and to take a picture with me. Walking up the stairs, someone stopped me for a photo, too. I’ve had people come up to me and ask for a staring contest, but I’m actually really bad at staring contests.
I’m cool with people stopping to say hi or take pictures with me. The most I do is stare into their cameras for them.
I’ve run into a lot of football players outside of the stadium and they would dap me up and say “You’re the kid!”
What’s it been like meeting some of the football players?
I just think it’s so cool. They’re like, “You’re the famous kid!” and I’m like, “No, you guys are the famous kids. You play college football.” It’s just been a wild experience. I met [defensive lineman] Trysten Hill and he was pretty cool.
How did you come up with the idea for using the cut-outs of your face during the game against the University of Pittsburgh last week?
We just knew we had to one-up last time. So I was sitting there with my friends thinking and one of them said, “We should do big heads of you.” And I was like, “That sounds great.” So I called a company [to make cut-outs of my face] and to get it done by Friday would have cost $200. So I went and made them myself, which took about four hours.
I got free cardboard from Costco, paint sticks for free from Sherwin-Williams, glue from Walmart, and printed 13-inch by 19-inch photos on campus.
Are you going to continue to try and one-up yourself every home game?
A lot of people have told me, “You have to do it for the rest of the season. You have to go to every home game.” As of right now, I think I’m expected to keep doing it. I get a kick out of it, my friends get a kick out of it, so why not keep doing it? We’ve got something planned for Saturday’s game against SMU.
Have you always been school spirited?
Yeah, I kind of go all out for that stuff. I’m the type of person to paint my face and buy $50 worth of beads and throw them out to other students.
What did it feel like to make it on ESPN?
I thought it was the most amazing thing ever. I absolutely flipped out.
What does your family think of this?
I [jokingly] texted my mom the next morning like, “So Mom I’m kind of famous now,” and sent her the pages from the UCF Knights Instagram account and ESPN, and she just thought it was the funniest thing. So did my dad and brother.
Is there a goal of how big you want this to get?
When I saw I made it to the UCF Knights Instagram page, I thought it was crazy. [At first] all of my friends said if it made it to ESPN we’d be happy. [Now they] say I have to get on “Ellen.” If I could get on “Ellen” that would be so sick.
One of your most recent posts on Instagram has the caption “little known fact, I actually like smiling.” How true is that really?
I really am a naturally happy person. I like smiling, so when people ask for a picture I’m like, “Dang it, I can’t smile.”
So what makes you smile?
Hanging out with my friends, having a fun time and UCF football games – contrary to popular belief.