When Alonso senior defensive end Anthony Chickillo heard late Saturday night that University of Miami football coach Randy Shannon had been fired, he said "it felt like someone punched me in the gut."
When Chickillo committed to Miami in September, he spoke about how important his relationship with Shannon was. He was planning on being a third-generation Hurricane -- his father, Tony, played with Shannon at Miami and Anthony first attended 'Canes summer camp at age 5.
And while the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Chickillo fell just short of saying he has decommitted from Miami, the sudden news of Shannon's firing has opened his recruitment.
"It's changed everything," Chickillo said Sunday. "I had a really great relationship with the Coach Shannon and the other coaches at Miami. And I would need to develop that tight relationship with the new staff. I'm not saying I'm decommitting, but Miami doesn't have a coach right now, so I'm not sure."
Meanwhile, other schools have pounced on the opportunity. Chickillo said he's received roughly 50 calls and numerous e-mails and Facebook messages from other schools.
Among them was a call from Florida coach Urban Meyer, who called Sunday morning and told Chickillo he was personally taking over his recruitment from assistant Dan McCarney, who has reportedly taken the head coaching job at North Texas.
Chickillo, who had already planned on making official visits to other schools before Shannon's firing, said he will have to be more select in choosing which five colleges to visit. He said he'd would like to make visits to Oregon, Auburn and Alabama, as well as Florida, Florida State, USF, Georgia and Tennessee. The latter five schools were among Chickillo's finalists when he initially committed to Miami.
"A lot of the schools that called me are ones I've talked to from before, but there were some that haven't talked to me in a while," Chickillo said. "I know I have to be really careful with my visits now."
Chickillo said he was shocked to hear the news of Shannon's firing just hours after the 'Canes lost at home to USF Saturday afternoon.
"I know it's part of the business," he added. "Who knows what is going to happen now? Maybe the new (Miami) coaching staff comes in and doesn't want me. It's just crazy. I watched that game and I definitely thought Miami was the better team. I'm surprised about everything that's happened."
This season, Chickillo averaged 11.3 tackles a game and his 18 sacks were the most in the state, according to MaxPreps.
-- EDUARDO A. ENCINA (firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @EddieHometeam)