Tyriq McCord starts over in Tampa

TAMPA, Fla -- In some ways ESPNU Watch List defensive end Tyriq McCord (Tampa, Fla./Jefferson) is the sole survivor.

Just a few months after McCord celebrated winning the Class 3A state championship and finishing with a 15-0 season, he finds himself back in the Badger Sports 7-on-7 showcase but without many of his teammates from that with the special team.

Gone are linebacker Ramik Wilson (Georgia), wide receivers Christopher Moore (Cincinnati) and Andre Davis (USF) and quarterback Quentin Williams (Bethune-Cookman).

As McCord tries to look ahead, he can't help but think about what happened.

"It was probably the greatest team I've played for," McCord said. "I learned a lot of things from that team, especially from Quentin and his leadership. He was always humble and he didn't think he was humble enough. It was a blessing to be around those guys."

McCord now sees himself as the leader of the team and for good reason. The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder has offers coming from Florida, Oregon, USC, Rutgers, Notre Dame, Texas Tech, South Florida and a host of others with no end in sight. Everyone was a shot at McCord and he wants to entertain as many schools as possible so he's doing as much as he can to make that communication easier.

"I'm really focusing on school right now because I want to be in real good standing after my junior year," McCord said.

His commitment to school is a nod to another former teammate, Fred Overstreet, who is now at Rutgers.

"Fred Overstreet had a handful of colleges that were talking to him and a lot of offers but he couldn't really communicate with the coaches like he wanted to because he had to focus on his school work," McCord said. "I'm trying to work on that right now as a junior so I can deal with everyone and build relationships."

McCord sacrificed much of his time this offseason and, as a result, couldn't take part in many of the junior days he was invited to attend.

"I couldn't go to junior days because I was supposed to take the SAT [Saturday]," McCord said. "However there were some errors with my information so I couldn't even take the test. I had been focusing on the test all spring but now I have to wait to May."

McCord has visited Florida, USF and Georgia already, and will visit Miami on the final weekend of March as he will be in the area to participate in the Nike camp on March 27th. He also has plans to visit several out-of-state programs over the summer, specifically USC and Oregon.

"I'm also going to be going with my defensive coordinator for a tour of campus over the summer," McCord said. "I know we're going to go to Cincinnati, North Carolina, South Carolina and Ole Miss for a fact. I'm not sure of the full schedule otherwise but we're going to try to see as many campuses as we can."

Otherwise it's back to the classroom and the weight room for McCord as he knows his teammates will be looking up to him the same way he looked up to Williams.

"I have to set the example but I have a lot of young teammates and they went to keep this championship run going," McCord said.

Injured Patti turns to coaching
Quarterback Nick Patti (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) did not participate in Saturday's pool play after injuring his shoulder during the Elite 11 Regional camp Saturday morning at UCF.

"Something didn't feel right and after I tried to warm up for a bit I could tell that something was wrong," Patti said. "I hate the fact that I can't go but if I did right now I'd be more of a hindrance to the team."

Patti, who recently received an offer from Louisiana Tech, is hoping to play on Sunday.

"I definitely want to play and a lot of the guys on this team want me to play," Patti said. "I'm going to try but again I don't want to hurt the team if I can't make the throws."

Patti's injured forced the group of Orlando-area players to go with Ti'on Green (Alamonte Springs, Fla./Lake Brantley) as the signal career. While Green has played quarterback for his high school, he was hoping to be on the receiving end of Patti's passes.

"I really hope Nick can return," Green said. "I'll do whatever the team needs but I know I could dominate on this field as a receiver so I really need Nick out there."

In the meantime Patti and Green were seen talking together during every break the team had.

"Oh yeah, he's coaching me up a little, it's a crash course," Green added.

Burgess gets new offer
With offers from Florida, Miami and LSU already on his plate, things are only getting better for linebacker James Burgess (Homestead, Fla./Homestead). As the 6-foot, 210-pound linebacker continues to rise on recruiting boards he is drawing more national attention and more offers from out-of-state programs.

"This weekend Louisville came and offered me, I think it was Thursday," Burgess said. "They do a lot of recruiting down this way and its a program I definitely want to get a closer look at."

The Louisville offer means Burgess will be recruited by Cardinals assistant Clint Hurtt -- the ESPN.com Recruiter of the Year for 2010-2011 recruiting cycle.

"Yeah I heard he's the top recruiter in the game right now," Burgess said. "And he's already contacting me quite often."

Burgess has already been on the Miami campus several times and also visited Florida.

"I loved my time at Florida, the campus there is absolutely beautiful," Burgess said. "And the practice was so intense and up tempo. Just watching the coaches and the way the players responded to them was impressive."

While staying in Tampa this weekend Burgess said he plans on taking an unofficial visit to USF. The Bulls offered him last month.

Howard liking Florida
Watch list defensive back Tracy Howard (Miramar, Fla./Miramar) says that Florida really stands out right now for him. The 5-11, 175-pounder visited Florida in late February for one of the program's junior day events.

"I just like the campus and I especially like the coaches," Howard said. "Coach [Will] Muschamp is a real intense coach and there's just so much energy coming from that program right now."

Howard has well over a dozen offers with LSU, Alabama, Florida State and Miami standing out among the pack.

Jefferson eager to stand out
Wide receiver Diquan Jefferson (Ocala, Fla./Trinity Catholic) was hoping to use the weekend as a springboard for his recruiting. The 6-1, 165-pounder made some plays in pool play on Saturday and hoped people took notice.

"This is a real fun event and a great opportunity to compete," Jefferson said. "When you play against some of these guys you know exactly where you stand and the things you need to work on."

Kinsey looks to the future
It was a surprise to many with linebacker/defensive end Eric Kinsey transferred from Northwestern (Miami, Fla.) to Chaminade-Madonna Prep (Hollywood, Fla.), but the 6-3, 235-pounder says it was necessary.

"It was really an academic situation and I feel like I can better prepare for the ACT and SAT tests at Chaminade," Kinsey said. "They also have a solid football program but the academics and the tutoring program there is a major plus."

Kinsey, a member of the South Florida Express, knows he won't be back in Beaverton, Ore., this year to help his old team win a third Nike 7-On national championship, but he'll be rooting for his friends back home.

"I will definitely miss the teammates at Northwestern that are my good friends," Kinsey added. "But everyone understands and I'm still rooting for them."

Louis looks to go north
Watch List athlete Ricardo Louis (Miami, Fla./Miami Beach) plans on playing receiver at the next level which is why this tournament is so important for him.

The 6-2, 200-pounder plays quarterback and safety for his high school, but with the majority of his 20-plus offers recruiting him as a receiver he is happy to get the work in.

"It's a position I feel real comfortable with," Louis said.

Louis is looking to take a visit to the Big Ten country real soon.

"I am trying to take a visit to Ohio State," Louis said. "I'm going to try to get there in April for their spring game."

Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at coreyespn@gmail.com.