LAKE BUENA VISTA — Unfortunately for Ja’Juan Story, his invitation came a little too late.
The Brooksville Nature Coast athlete watched as his Florida brethren on the Southeast team displayed their 2010 Gridiron Kings 7-on-7 championship medals at the showcase on July 24. But he could only watch from a distance with the Southwest team, which lost in the final 36-0.
Story, a University of Florida wide receiver commit, should have been with the others — clowning, dancing and gloating. But because he was a late addition to the tournament, he was placed on a team well outside of his home region.
A nice, shiny medal would have been cool to sport, but Story’s summer priority is getting bigger and stronger before his senior year.
Since committing to UF in late June, Story said he’s shifted his focus to training. He’s hitting the gym as often as possible and is getting more familiar with his team’s playbook as he takes over at quarterback.
Making the move excited the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Story. Spending most of his football career at receiver, he says getting his timing down with his guys has been easier to master. He also expects it to help him with route running in college because he’ll know what quarterbacks are wanting and expecting.
He’ll still lineup wide at times in hopes of frustrating defenses.
“We are going to do that a little bit and throw some teams off,” Story said.
Story’s summer is still a blur. Getting a chance to play with some of the top players in America at Gridiron Kings was one thing, but becoming a part of UF’s program still has him in disbelief. Until he received his offer, Story said he didn’t think his top choice would pursue him.
“It was exciting,” Story said of getting his UF offer. “I called (UF coaches) on the phone and they told me. (His family) was dancing around, and they said that wanted to offer me, and everybody started hugging. I was excited and was like, ‘Dang, I didn’t think that I would get to this point.’ I didn’t think that it was going to come.”
Story said he is firm on his Gator commitment but says LSU receivers coach Billy Gonzales, an ex-UF assistant, is still recruiting him. Most of his contact comes from Facebook messages, but Story said he doesn’t reply to him.
Story plans to only officially visiting UF this fall.
Floyd visits friend
UF freshman defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd made a surprise visit to Gridiron Kings on Sunday, July 25 to check out his friend, Sicklerville, N.J., Timber Creek athlete Damiere Byrd. The two met each other at a mentor program in high school.
Floyd, who reported to UF at 302 pounds, currently weighs 294 pounds. With that weight, he joked that he would have had a productive time at Gridiron Kings.
“I would have scored a couple touchdowns already,” Floyd said.
Groveland South Lake cornerback Nick Waisome on the Southeast’s 36-0 championship victory at Gridiron Kings: “We blew them out,” he said. “We thought they were coming with some get-back because they were in meetings. Fortunately we won, but we didn’t get our goal, which was 40.”
Waisome will make his college decision live on ESPNU in August. UF and FSU are considered his top schools.