Admiral Farragut junior Cortavious Givens got the usual star treatment when he toured the University of Florida campus during an unofficial visit last week.
He attended a running backs meeting, where he chatted with former Armwood star Matt Jones and former Belle Glade Glades Day standout Kelvin Taylor. Givens also attended a scrimmage and walked through the trophy room. Afterward, he met with Florida running backs coach Brian White.
Givens, though, left without the one thing he coveted — a scholarship offer to play for a big-time college program.
“The coaches at Florida said they wanted to see me in practice so they could evaluate me,” said Givens, rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.
The physical tools are all there. Two inches shy of 6 feet, Givens weighs 216 pounds. Most of that seems to have settled in his thighs, thick slabs of muscle that enable him to trample over anyone who gets in his way. Givens’ power tends to make people forget his other blessings — quickness, agility and the kind of speed that gives defenders a long, depressing look at the back of his jersey.
But the scar on his left knee is a not-so-subtle reminder of a devastating injury that has put a lot of scholarship offers on hold.
In September 2011, Givens tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee and missed the rest of the season. He came back last year, but it’s hard to forget about the injury. He had fewer than 20 carries in 2012 and spent most of the season playing middle linebacker.
“You could tell he still wasn’t all the way back,” former Blue Jackets coach Chris Miller said. “He was a little hesitant running the ball. That’s an injury that takes some time, and he was still working on getting back to where he was.”
Because of his limited carries, Givens does not have much game tape at running back, which has prevented recruiters from getting a thorough evaluation of him at the position.
The letters, which Givens said he started receiving in the seventh grade, keep coming from every school imaginable. But his only offers are from UMass and Virginia — and both want him at linebacker.
“It’s tough to see all those letters and not have a scholarship at running back,” Givens said. “But I’m not too frustrated yet. I know I just have to stay patient, show what I can do this spring, and they will come.”
Givens said he is less hesitant about running on his mended knee. In fact, he plans to ditch the brace he wore last year in favor of a sleeve that will give him more movement. He also is showing more explosiveness as a sprinter in track.
And he said he was encouraged about his possibilities of getting that scholarship, especially after Florida coaches told him that they had three players sign from the 2013 class who had torn their ACL in high school — including Hillsborough’s Jordan Sherit.
“I think Cortavious is back at 100 percent now,” Miller said. “All that’s left is for coaches to see it for themselves.”
Givens had planned to visit FSU this week, but had to reschedule because of a family trip to Orlando. He plans to go to as many camps as possible this summer.
“I would love to get an offer from Florida,” Givens said. “Really, Florida or FSU. I told the Florida coaches I would commit if that happened, and I would be solid.”
Bob Putnam can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BobbyHomeTeam.