MOBILE, Ala. -- JaMichael Winston was more than a little upset when he was told by doctors last August he needed surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder and would have to miss the entire 2010 season.
But then the defensive end had a talk with his coach at Prichard (Ala.) Vigor, Kerry Stevenson.
"Before the surgery, I had to go home and think about it," Winston said. "I called our head coach and talked to him. He was like, 'Go ahead and sit out your 11th-grade year and come back stronger.' "
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After having surgery last Sept. 2, Winston couldn't move his right shoulder for four months. During the season, he could only watch his teammates from the sideline.
"It was excruciating," Winston said. "I wanted to be out there. I knew I could help the team."
By the spring of 2011, Winston's shoulder was as good as new. And colleges that stopped by Vigor liked what they saw from him. By June, 16 programs had offered, including Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan State, Mississippi State, USF and Southern Miss.
Three months later, Winston still has no leaders.
The reason for that is simple, he said. He wants more offers.
If the 6-feet-5, 238-pounder plays as well as he did in last week's one-point defeat to Mobile Davidson, he might get his wish. In that game, the quick, athletic and strong Winston spent much of the night in the opponent's backfield.
The following day, Tennessee assistant Lance Thompson contacted him.
"He said he wants to get that film so he can watch it - and maybe they'll give me an offer," Winston said. "I think my coach is going to send my film up there [Tuesday]."
Winston has yet to plan any official visits. He said he hopes to make a commitment after the season.
"I'm just keeping it wide open right now," Winston said. "I want to see what's out there."