As one of the nation’s elite prospects for the Class of 2004, Hawthorne (Fla.) star Cornelius Ingram says he hears two questions most frequently when he discusses his recruitment:
No. 1: Are you going to concentrate on one sport or play both football and basketball?
No. 2: Are you likely headed to Florida since it’s so close to your home?
“I hear both of those all the time,” he said. “I’ve decided that wherever I go, I’m going to play both sports. I love playing both, and I’ve been up front with all the coaches about that. If they want me to come, I have to have that opportunity.
“As far as Florida goes, I tell people that’s not necessarily true, even though I do like them a lot. I want to find the best fit for me to come in and compete in both sports. I’m not real clear on where that might be just yet. My brother and I have been doing some background and research on the schools I’m looking at to find out where the best school would be.”
Ingram (6-5, 215, 4.6) is a member of the Rivals100 Team and one of the nation’s top quarterback prospects. As a junior, he threw for 1,200 yards and 13 touchdowns while rushing for more than 600 yards and 14 scores.
He’s also a Rivals150 Team member in basketball, coming off a junior season which saw him average 24 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. He’s ranked the No. 22 small forward in the nation by Rivals.com.
This summer has found him concentrating on the hoops side of things.
“I’ve been playing a lot of AAU ball,” he said. “I’m going to the ABCD camp on Monday. I’m really looking forward to that because I feel like I can play as good or better than the guys who are ranked ahead of me. Hopefully, it will give me a chance to have my ranking for basketball be as high as football.
“The only thing I’m looking at for football this summer is the Elite 11 (quarterback) camp. If I get picked for that, I’ll go for that.”
Ingram has drawn interest from almost every major program in the country. He’s had dozens of scholarship offers, but he’s got seven schools on his current list that he feels best fits his two-sport interest.
“I’m looking at Florida State, Florida, Miami, Georgia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Syracuse,” he said. “I don’t put any of them ahead of the other ones right now. I want to go where I have the best chance to compete right away at quarterback and wing (for basketball). It will be the place where I feel like I have the best chance to develop and eventually make a living off one of the sports.”
At this point, he thinks the key is football.
“I’m probably a little bit more advanced in football because of my size and arm at quarterback,” Ingram said. “I’ve got some work to do on my mid-range game and jumper in basketball, but it’s been getting a lot better.”
Ingram said he’s made several unofficial visits to Florida since it’s only 15 minutes from his home. He also noted that he had a chance to visit Georgia Tech during a basketball trip to Atlanta, and came away impressed with the campus and coaches. He’s scheduled to visit Florida State on Thursday.
Other schools which have been prominent in his recruitment include Michigan State, Kentucky and Tennessee, but they have slipped off the pace.
Academically, Ingram maintains a 2.7 core GPA and is awaiting his SAT results. “I think I did real well,” he said. “I took a prep class, so I was really prepared.”