November 12, 2007

A hot Winter on the football field

Does the quarterback make the receiver or the receiver make the quarterback? In the case of Tampa (Fla.) Plant High School, the common denominator in some huge passing numbers is wide receiver Derek Winter. The 2008 receiver has put up big numbers in consecutive seasons with two different quarterbacks and may soon be reaping the rewards on the recruiting trail.

As a junior, Winter's play helped land his quarterback Robert Marve a spot on the Miami roster. Marve threw for a state record 48 touchdown passes that season, and Winter hauled in 20 of them. In addition, Winter had 1,290 yards on 90 catches on the season.

In the 2007 season, there is a different quarterback at the helm but the same old results for Winter. Junior quarterback Aaron Murray has taken over the starting role behind center but he has had plenty to work with in the way of pass-catchers. Through nine games, Winter had 52 catches for 1,082 yards, landing him among the top of all receiving categories in the state of Florida.

"It's kind of a receiver's dream playing in this kind of offense throwing the ball all of the time," Winter said. "Not only do we have one receiver with a lot of yardage, we've got two or three."

Winter has been deservedly receiving plenty of interest from college coaches based on his production. While he holds scholarship offers from South Florida and Army, there are more schools in the mix.

"West Virginia is talking to me," he said. "Georgia Tech I talked to the other day. Florida has been showing me interest."

Though no official visits are planned, Winter has had a chance to see some of his favorites.

"I've been to USF, Florida and I've been up to Georgia Tech and West Virginia," he said. "I'm gonna try to narrow it down. Right now I'm just trying to narrow it down to the schools that are showing the most interest."

And what is it going to take to get Winter on campus?

"I'm pretty open," he explained. "Academics. If I can mix that with football then that's ideal."

Winter, who has strong test scores and a 3.7 GPA, should have plenty of opportunities to perform in the classroom and on the field at the next level, but there is still business to be taken care of in high school: A state championship.

"That's definitely our goal and that's what we're working towards," he said. "That's what every team is working towards. We have the experience now so we feel like we can do it."





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