Waisome takes in Florida-Tennessee

Even though he is just a junior, 5-10, 165-pound cornerback Nick Waisome of South Lake High School in Groveland is a prospect who has quickly generated a lot of buzz in recruiting circles.

Waisome has naturally generated a lot of interest from the University of Florida, particularly since the Gators have succeeded in recruiting past and future South Lake alumni like Carlton Medder, Jeff Demps and Jonotthan Harrison. Waisome already knows the Florida program, but Saturday gave him an opportunity to check out the Swamp as he traveled up with a few teammates to take in the Florida-Tennessee SEC showdown won by the Gators, 23-13.

“I had a good time,” Waisome said Wednesday evening. “The crowd was crazy. It was a big rivalry game so it was a good experience overall.”

This won’t be Waisome’s only opportunity this year to take in a big rivalry game. He plans to be in attendance Saturday at South Florida-Florida State in Tallahassee and has plans to take a number of unofficial visits scheduled over the course of the fall.

“The stadium, everyone screaming, it’s just a great opportunity (to check out a school),” Waisome said.

Coming up to Gainesville again gave Waisome another opportunity to interact with Florida defensive backs coach Vance Bedford, a coach that the talented defensive back admitted he gets along with pretty well.

“I talked to coach Bedford, let him know I was coming up. I talked to him after the game, and he wanted to know if I was pleased with the performance,” Waisome reported. “I talked to coach (Urban) Meyer as well.”

It’s sort of interesting to note that Waisome was just a bit player on the South Lake varsity a year ago as a sophomore. Even still, he made his presence known at a number of combines and camps over the spring and summer, emerging as one of the top young defensive back prospects in Florida.

Still, there were those who wondered if what Waisome showed during the camp circuit would translate to the football field this fall. Those questions have been soundly answered through three games.

“I’m happy with my performance so far,” Waisome said. “I wish we could come together as a team and come away with a victory though.”

Although South Lake is 0-3, it has taken on a small school power in Tampa Catholic (which handed the Eagles a 28-14 loss in the season opener) and a local rival in East Ridge (10-2 a year ago, the Knights defeated South Lake 34-21 in Week Wwo).

While the Eagles are still looking for their first victory, Waisome’s performances have been spectacular. To date, he has 7 receptions for over 200 yards and four touchdowns on offense while racking up an interception (against Tampa Catholic) and making several pass breakups on defense.

“I’ve been having a good season, both offensively and defensively,” he reported. “But I’m just trying to help this team get a win so we don’t go 5-5 again.”

On the recruiting front, Waisome picked up his sixth offer to date, and it was another one that came out of left field as North Carolina State extended an offer.

“That was another curve ball right there – I didn’t see it coming,” Waisome said with a laugh. “I don’t know too much about N.C. State, so I guess I’m going to have to read up on them a little bit more. They seem to be a good school, and they offered me early.”

Plus N.C. State might not be the only big-time power to come through with an offer this week. Another traditionally strong program has made it clear they are interested in Waisome as well, and it would be a huge offer for Waisome if it comes through.

“Notre Dame has a good history,” Waisome noted. “I talked to the defensive backs coach (Corwin Brown). He was pretty cool, and he wants me to get up to a game and learn more about their program. A Notre Dame offer would be nice. They’re a good team, and they have a good history of getting defensive backs to the league.”

Notre Dame, which already has a commitment from Apopka star cornerback Lo Wood for the 2010 class, looks as if it wants to cash in again at the defensive back position in Central Florida in 2011.

Speaking of Apopka, South Lake will take on the undefeated Blue Darters this week in a big game for the Eagles’ playoff hopes. The Blue Darters are 3-0 on the year, and coach Rick Darlington’s team runs a powerful Wing-T offense.

“I’ve been working on my stamina this week, so I can make those key plays on offense,” Waisome said. “Our defense should be ready – we just have to make those tackles.”

Making tackles on defense and a healthy dose of Nick Waisome on both sides of the ball seem to be as good a remedy as any to get South Lake back on track.