ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando (Fla.) Oak Ridge athlete Guito Ervilus was enjoying his final season of spring football practice at the high school level. Then, about two weeks ago, it came to a catastrophic and sudden conclusion.
"I was running, caught a ball, landed my foot in a pothole where it got stuck, and then my teammate hit me and my knee twisted out of place and I tore my ACL," Ervilus said. "After my surgery, they told me things went great and that I should fully recover and things should be better than ever."
Ervilus said he was told that rehabilitation should take around four months, meaning he could be cleared as early as September. That being said, he doesn't know if he will return to the football field as a senior and said his status will have to be determined upon being cleared.
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Prior to suffering the injury, Ervilus had become a hot commodity on the recruiting trail. He said that he saw 'pretty much everybody' come through during the spring. His offer list quickly grew as schools swung by.
"I am at 26 offers now," Ervilus said. "Florida State, Florida, USF, Illinois, Duke, West Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, FAU, FIU, Purdue, Memphis, Northwestern, New Mexico, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Tennessee, North Carolina, Texas Tech, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh - that is all I remember."
The versatile athlete doesn't expect his injury to derail his recruitment.
"I e-mailed all of them and told them what happened, and everybody is sticking with me for now," Ervilus said. "Nobody pulled back on their offer."
At this stage, five of his offers are standing out to him.
"I have a top five," Ervilus said. "My top school is Florida State, number two is Florida, number three is Louisville, number four is Kentucky, and number five is Illinois."
He talked a bit about each school that helps to make up his list of favorites at this time.
Florida State: "It is a great school. It is in my own backyard. My family could come to see the games. They throw the ball a lot. Also, I know a few players up there so I know a bit about it."
Florida: "I grew up liking Florida. They have some amazing athletes up there in their program. It is a really good program. It is also in-state, like Florida State."
Louisville: "I like how their coaches are down to earth. They just tell me how things are. I have a good relationship with them."
Kentucky: "Kentucky was my first real big offer. I like them because they found me first and they have stuck with me."
Illinois: "They were the first school to offer me as an outside linebacker, and I have interest in that. I also like the city and community around the program."
On the field, schools are interested in the 6-foot-5, 225-pound athlete at multiple positions.
"Some people want me as a safety, some as an outside linebacker, some as a defensive end, and some on offense as a tight end or wide receiver," Ervilus said. "Two spots I really prefer are wide receiver and tight end. Florida State wants me as a receiver or tight end. Florida wants me as an H-back, tight end, receiver. Louisville wants me at tight end. Louisville wants me on defense. Illinois wants me as an outside linebacker."
In addition to football, Ervilus also participates in basketball and has previously seen some of his finalists while participating in travel basketball. This summer, since he won't be on the court, he is going to make the trek to different schools to learn more about them as football programs and ultimately find his future home.
"I think I am going to start taking some visits in about two weeks because I am an early guy (early enrollee) so I have to start getting out there and doing my recruiting," Ervilus said. " To tell you the truth, I will probably know what school I am going to in the next two months."
With regards to his visits, Ervilus said his first trip will likely be to Florida State.