What to watch for this weekend

McCord to see Georgia

ESPNU 150 defensive end Tyriq McCord (Tampa, Fla./Jefferson) will be taking his official visit to Georgia this weekend.

McCord has already taken official visits to Miami and South Carolina. TCU and USC will also get official visits in January. His final group of schools also includes Florida but the Gators won’t get an official visit.

“I’ve been there about six times already,” McCord said.

Georgia hasn’t been mentioned in McCord’s recruitment as much as South Carolina and Florida but the 6-foot-3, 223-pound senior will see a lot of familiar faces on his trip. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray and Orson Charles are both from the Tampa area and freshman linebacker Ramik Wilson was McCord’s teammate at Jefferson from 2008-2010.

“We’re like brothers really,” McCord said of Wilson. “He’s going to definitely be a big part of this weekend.”

McCord will make his final decision on Jan. 7.

Duke's last stand

ESPNU 150 running back Randy "Duke" Johnson (Miami Norland) will finish his season Friday afternoon in the Class 5A state championship game against Wakulla (Crawfordville, Fla.).

It’s Johnson’s final opportunity to erase last season's disappointing ending when Norland was defeated 44-34 by Jefferson in the state championship game.

Johnson had a tremendous game that day recording an interception and adding an 80-yad touchdown run. But the 5-foot-9, 180-pound senior says all he can remember was the loss.

“I remember being in the locker room and thinking I don’t want to feel this way again,” Johnson said. “Last year people said we were a surprise and weren’t expected to be in the finals but we knew how good we were.

“This year we had to be better.”

Johnson, an Under Armour All-American, has rushed for over 600 yards in the last two years. Last week with Norland trailing 20-0 at Palmetto (Fla.), Johnson rushed for 375 yards and three touchdowns.

“Last year I wasn’t healthy but it didn’t matter because I wanted to win,” Johnson said. “This year I’m healthy so we’ve got no excuses.”

FAU working locally

The recent hire of Carl Pellini to replace Howard Schnellenberger as Florida Atlantic’s head coach has reignited the Owls' local recruiting efforts.

This week, Florida Atlantic offered Royal Palm Beach (Fla.) athlete Tremane McCullough. The 5-foot-8, 165-pound speedster was one of the top offensive players in Palm Beach County this year. He rushed for over 1,600 yards and 22 touchdowns this season.

“It’s exciting to get that first offer and especially for it to be an in-state school,” McCullough said. “I’m looking forward to taking a visit and seeing the new stadium.”

FAU has also offered Norland (Miami, Fla.) defensive back Freddie Davey this week.

Johnson's legend continues grow

First Coast (Jacksonville, Fla.) freshman quarterback De’Andre Johnson has thrown for over 2,500 yards and 20 touchdowns this season to lead the Buccaneers to their first appearance in the state finals.

The freshman, who already has a verbal offer from Clemson, has not hesitated all season and isn’t expected too Friday night against Manatee (Bradenton, Fla.)

“He has been solid all year and we have a lot of faith in him,” said Under Armour All-American wide receiver Chris Black. “He’s not just a normal freshman.”

Johnson’s maturity has showed as First Coast has been involved in close playoff games with Fleming Island (Fla.), East Ridge (Clermont, Fla.) and Lakeland (Fla.).

“He’s already battle tested so we’re good,” Black added.

Central-Armwood battle of equals

Some of the state’s top underclassmen will be on display this weekend in the Class 6A final between Armwood (Seffner, Fla.) and Miami Central.

Central’s sophomore running back Joseph Yearby has carried the team offensively at times. In last week’s 17-7 victory over Mainland (Daytona Beach, Fla.), Yearby rushed for 160 yards and two touchdowns.

He has over 2,000 yards this season and is inching up on the school’s single-season record held by Florida State freshman running back Devonta Freeman.

“He’s a very impressive running back,” said Armwood head coach Sean Callahan. “He’s a kid that you have to keep your eye on at all times. He’s very exciting in the open field, a very tough runner.”

Armwood counters with Alvin Bailey, a junior wide receiver with offers from Florida, South Florida and Vanderbilt and safety Leon McQuay, who has close to a dozen major offers.

“We’ve got some good young kids and Central is always loaded with talent,” Callahan added. “I expect a battle.”