Deionte Gaines received his first college football scholarship offer last summer from the University of Cincinnati. Usually, a prospect's first offer means there will be more to come in the near future.
For the speedy Dr. Phillips slot receiver, however, all he heard were crickets; that virtual sound of silence during which you only hear the things you never othwerwise would have known existed.
Arizona broke that silence Tuesday, ending a near eight-month drought since his last offer, extending an invite to both Gaines and his fellow 2014 DP teammate WR Roderick Proctor.
“Yeah I was kinda starting to wonder,” Gaines said on Tuesday night. “There was a time when I used to sit and think about it. Then I kept seeing my friend Garrett Johnson picking up offers and I started wondering. After that first offer I thought I’d get a whole lot of others, so right now, me getting this Arizona offer, it makes me really happy.”
Johnson, the No. 8-ranked player in the Sentinel's 2014 Central Florida Super60, is the Winter Garden West Orange receiver who is more of a true receiver to Gaines' versatility. Johnson has offers from Arizona, Marshall, Northwestern, Boston College and USF.
Gaines, the No. 7-ranked player in the Sentinel Super60, isn’t too worried. He figures his time will come, eventually.
“I feel good,” he said. “I know one day they’ll just start reeling in if I keep making plays.”
He certainly makes plenty of those. DP is wise to use him in all facets of the offensive game, whether it be running the football, catching it or returning it on kickoffs and punts. He can do it all.
Last season Gaines ran the ball 59 times for 289 yards and three touchdowns, had 32 receptions for 338 yards and four touchdowns, and returned 19 kicks/punts for 381 yards and four more TDs. Altogether he accounted for 1,008 yards and 11 TDs.
Now he hopes there won’t be another drought. The Cincinnati offer came as a big surprise at the time. He was heading into his junior season and figured the offers would come after he proved himself on the field in 2012.
“Yeah, we went to Friday Night Lights at Cincinnati last summer and I wasn’t really expecting anything,” Gaines said. “My friend Alton Meeks (DP's senior quarterback) said he was going and asked if I wanted to come, so we went up there and they showed me the campus and everything and later on that day … Coach Butch Jones offered.”
Gaines said the offer still stands, even though Jones has moved on and Tommy Tuberville is the Bearcats new head coach.
“As far as I know the offer is still on table,” Gaines said. “They actually wanted me to come to Cincinnati this Saturday for junior day.”
He can't make that trip. He'll be participating with Proctor and Johnson and numeorus other Central Florida athletes with the Top Recruits Now 7-on-7 team at a tournament in Miami.
As for who might be next in line with an offer, Gaines said he has talked to a number of schools. So far he has had conversations with Mississippi State, Boise State, Kentucky, Michigan State, UConn and Ohio State.
“It feels pretty good,” Gaines said of the Arizona offer. “It’s the biggest school I got so far … hopefully a lot more start reeling in.”
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun