TAMPA — These days, the stock of Vernon Hargreaves III couldn't be more valuable if his middle name were Google. Seemingly every term from the recruitnik's thesaurus — high ceiling, swivel hips, lockdown capability — has been attached to Wharton's multifaceted major-college prospect. Hargreaves, who estimates he has more than 50 scholarship offers, is ranked No. 4 on the ESPN150 list of the nation's top rising senior recruits, and is first on The Orlando Sentinel's Florida Top 100. Yet when sought Tuesday, he was found neither at a prospects-only camp nor with a private trainer, but in the Wildcats' congested weight room, working out with 15 or so teammates. Before embarking on a series of reps with a jump rope, Hargreaves (5-foot-10 1/2, 185 pounds) spent a few moments with Times staff writer Joey Knight.
How do you respond to these lofty evaluations of your talents?
"I mean, it's a good honor, but I still understand that I've still got more work to do. I'm happy, I guess, but I'm not satisfied yet."
What camps have you attended since school ended?
"I actually haven't been to any camps. I went on visits; I went to Florida and I went to Miami."
A bunch of your peers do the camp thing. Why don't you?
"I'm not sure. The coaches, they really just wanted me to see the campus. I mean, they've already evaluated me enough; they've offered me a scholarship already. They just wanted me to get up there and just see if I could see myself there, I guess."
Let's get this out of the way right now: Do you have a top-five or top-10 list of preferred colleges?
"No, not yet."
Do you have a deadline for making a decision?
"Not yet, no. I'm not really sure."
Are you getting tired of the recruiting process, or do you enjoy it?
"I'm enjoying it, I like it. It's not as crazy as people think it is. Not that many people are talking to me or calling me. I just enjoy it."
On a busy day, how many calls or texts do you receive?
"A busy day, probably 10 or more, from reporters or coaches messaging me on Facebook."
Do you have any kind of rule where you cut it off a certain time each evening and say, 'I'm not taking any more calls tonight?'
"No, not really. I mean, I kind of just go by the flow. If I want to talk to you, I'll answer. If I'm tired or busy, I'll just ignore you or try to get back to you."
How many positions could you conceivably play this season?
"Okay, I'll play receiver, quarterback, corner, safety, I'll be our holder. ... Does kickoff return and punt return count?"
"Okay then, that's it."
They can't find anyone else to hold?
"Coach (David Mitchell) just trusts me, I guess. I mean, I held last year. I wanted to hold, I told him I wanted to hold. ... So he was like, 'All right, go ahead.' And I did pretty good last year, so he just kept me there."
If a rule were suddenly implemented that limits players to only one position, where would you play?
What's your ideal pregame meal?
"Probably chicken and (yellow) rice."
Who makes it?
"My mom. ... I don't know what she does (to make it distinctive), but that would be my favorite meal."
What's the best advice your dad (USF special teams coordinator Vernon Hargreaves) has given you about the recruiting process?
"Don't necessarily believe what everybody has to tell you. Coaches, they want you to come to their school, so they're going to do whatever it takes, really. And just stay level-headed, don't get too big-headed because obviously that will lead to bad things. You'll start thinking you're the best or something."
Do you feel additional pressure to sign with USF, or do you think your dad feels additional pressure to sign you?
"I don't think it's either. My dad has been coaching for a very long time. Yeah, I'm a good player and I'm his son, but I'm not the only player in the country. I mean, there are other good corners out there that can do the same things I can do. So if I went to USF, he'd be proud, he'd be happy. If I don't, he's still going to be happy, he's still my dad."