Winter Park wide receiver Gabe McClary received his first college football scholarship offer Tuesday night from a team that has grown quite fond of players from the Orlando suburb.
USF, which is already expecting fellow Wildcats receiver Dvario Montgomery on campus this summer with the recruiting class of 2012, and is still awaiting decisions from 2013 quarterback Asiantii Woulard and 2013 safety Blake McClain, is now the first school to offer McClary.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound rising junior was part of one of the best receiver trios in the state last season, teaming up with Montgomery and Xavier Amerson, who is headed to Ellsworth (Iowa) Community College, for 129 catches for 1,609 yards and 15 touchdowns. McClary, just a sophomore this past season, had 30 catches for 364 yards and three touchdowns.
Woulard actually committed to USF in February, then decommitted to look at other options, but still is high on the Bulls, while McClain seems to have USF as his favorite.
The pipeline from talent-rich Winter Park to Tampa might be getting stronger now that the Bulls have set their sights on McClary, who was offered by USF Tuesday evening.
"It's great to get an offer from them especially when Dvario, Asiantii and Blake already have been offered," McClary said. "I look up to Dvario because he taught me everything that I've learned and just to get an offer from a school that he's going to is a great opportunity for me."
The offer proved to be a nice present for McClary (6-3, 190), who was also celebrating his 16th birthday Tuesday.
"Besides from being with my family, this was the best present I got," he said. "It's really big to me. I wasn't expecting an offer until maybe January of 2013 and especially not such a big school. It's a blessing."
His performance during the 2011 season and strong showing at USF's passing tournament over the summer prompted the Bulls to continue their dedication to the Central Florida school and offer McClary.
Not your typical recruit, McClary has phenomenal grades (3.5 unweighted GPA, 4.6 weighted) to go along with his outstanding measurables, meaning he will likely become one the area's top recruits by the time he's a senior.
Knowing that he could be in line for more offers, McClary will not immediately jump on the USF offer and will wait to see what other schools come along. After all, he is technically a sophomore.
Still, McClary said it will be hard to overlook USF when the time comes.
"I think it will because I have those anchors at that school that I'm used to being around," McClary said. "I've known Dvario for two and a half years, Asiantii for three, so it would feel like family going back there."
Brendan Sonnone is the Sentinel's recruiting correspondent and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Brendan on Twitter at @BSonnone or Facebook at Brendan Sonnone or at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting.