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Recruiting notebook: McFarland's football physique takes a back seat to basketball leanness for now

Blake's Mike McFarland received a booklet in the mail from the Florida Gators, the team he inked with, shortly after national signing day.

Fifty or so pages thick, it contained workout routines and diet suggestions.

"They want me to put 10 to 15 pounds of solid muscle on before I get there," said McFarland, a 6-foot-6, 240-pound tight end.

What Florida did is nothing new. It is common practice for the major programs in just about every sport. Because schools are making an investment in the athlete, they expect the athlete to arrive in tip-top condition, and that's something McFarland intends to do.

"I got it two weeks ago," McFarland said. "I want to start it so bad."

He can't — yet — but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

As much as McFarland would like to get started on his football future, he isn't quite ready to let go of the present.

Thursday night, McFarland, also the starting center on Blake's basketball team, scored 17 points (second on the team) in a win over Palmetto in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs. On Tuesday, the Yellow Jackets face Lakewood.

During basketball season, McFarland's goal hasn't been to bulk up, but to stay lean. In fact, he's only lifting weights twice a week. Once basketball is over, however, football will become his top priority.

McFarland, who will start his Gators career at tight end, plans to arrive at Florida in June and already is looking into the possibility of majoring in exercise sports science.

"I think I want to become a coach," McFarland said.

INTEREST GROWING FOR CCC'S COOPER: Junior Lindsey Cooper, younger sister of former Clearwater Central Catholic and Florida star receiver Riley Cooper, is starting to get some attention from major colleges. Cooper, a standout forward for the soccer team, made unofficial visits to Florida and Florida State in recent weeks. Both schools seem interested, and each wants to see her play more at the club level (she competes for the Clearwater Chargers).

The wild card: Cooper also is an excellent sprinter.

"I want to do both (in college)," she said.

By the way, Riley's little sister isn't so little; she's 5-foot-11.

SHORT STUFF: Receiver Andre Davis (Jefferson), offensive lineman Tyler Moore (Countryside) and defensive end/running back James Wilder Jr. (Plant) are being tabbed by the major recruiting services as the area's top football prospects next season, but it wouldn't be a shock to see defensive end Anthony Chickillo (Alonso), tight end Jordan Prestwood (Plant City) and receiver Ja'Juan Story (Nature Coast) also get top-100 consideration come fall. …Admiral Farragut quarterback Josh Burch, who signed with Navy earlier this month, also plans to compete for the track team. He is a state champion long jumper.

Recruiting notebook: McFarland's football physique takes a back seat to basketball leanness for now 02/20/10 [Last modified: Saturday, February 20, 2010 11:17pm]

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