Florida Gators: Tyriq McCord

ACC enjoys big wins to start season

September, 7, 2013

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- The statement was made, and well, Miami simply could not contain its raw emotions, perhaps because this was all so new.

Al Golden sprinted across the field with 4.4 40 speed to shake Will Muschamp’s hand. His players gathered en mass in one corner of the end zone to celebrate with fans then sprinted across the field to the end zone on the other end of the field to celebrate some more.

In between it all, an inflatable alligator float lay deflating on the field, its snout taped shut.

“We’ve been through so much,” Golden said after his team’s 21-16 win over No. 12 Florida on Saturday afternoon. “It was almost cathartic, to be honest with you. It was just 26 months unleashed there.”

Miami, trying to take baby steps back to the top, had not been able to win a big game like this under Golden. The spotlight shined on the Canes last season in games against nationally ranked Kansas State, then unbeaten Notre Dame, then eventual ACC champ Florida State. Each time, Miami wilted or failed to show up, its defense exposed as a major liability, its toughness questioned.

Everybody inside the program knew it needed this win. But the Hurricanes were not the only ones who needed it badly. So did the ACC.

The league made a statement in Week 1 with Clemson beating Georgia, vaulting the Tigers to No. 4 in the rankings. Another win against a marquee team would send ACC officials dancing from press box tables. Especially a win from Miami -- a program that has underwhelmed despite the expectation it would enhance the league’s reputation when it joined in 2004.

The Gators went in favored and seemingly had the edge up front. Miami players heard all the talk and got more motivated, developing the proverbial and cliché chip on their shoulders. They didn’t need coaches preaching all week that they needed to be the more physical team. They knew.

They also knew this game meant more than suiting up against Florida Atlantic.

As linebacker Tyriq McCord said afterward, he came to Miami to play against a team like the Gators, to have the national stage, the national spotlight, a chance to begin Miami on its road back to a championship.

With a fired-up crowd filling Sun Life Stadium, the two rivals battled gamely in the final scheduled regular-season matchup between them.

Miami matched Florida hit for hit. For once, this team could believe in its defense. Florida racked up yards and first downs and owned time of possession but could not put points on the board. Because Miami was there to make the crucial play, time and again.

Florida turned the ball over four times inside Miami territory -- three times inside the red zone. The Canes had a crucial stand on fourth-and-inches from the Miami 16 in the second quarter. Florida kept driving, and Miami kept caving just a little bit. But the Canes refused to be broken.

Meanwhile, the Miami offense struggled for most of the game against the ferocious Florida front, a group quarterback Stephen Morris called “the best defensive line I’ve ever seen.”

[+] EnlargeMiami coach Al Golden and the Hurricanes beat Florida 21-16 on Saturday in their final scheduled regular-season matchup.
Charles Trainor Jr./Miami Herald via Getty ImagesMiami coach Al Golden and the Hurricanes beat Florida 21-16 on Saturday in their final scheduled regular-season matchup.
Morris and running back Duke Johnson are the two best players on the Miami roster. But improbably, it was the much maligned Miami defense that won the game for the Hurricanes.

“Without trust, you don’t have anything,” Miami cornerback Tracy Howard said. “If you make plays, you can talk. Trust is a big thing. The offense trusts the defense. The defense trusts the offense.”

Perhaps as improbably, the ACC went 2-2 against the SEC to open the season. North Carolina and Virginia Tech, the two teams that lost to SEC competition last week, rebounded with wins Saturday the way everybody expected against far inferior competition. Virginia did not have the same success against No. 2 Oregon on Saturday.

But the focus for the first two weeks was on the big headliners against the SEC, a conference that has owned the ACC on the field and the recruiting trail. Every single ACC team went in as the underdog, including the Tigers and Canes at home.

Many believed Clemson and Miami had the best shot at pulling the upsets. In the end, what stood out in both victories was the way they won -- with an aggressiveness and physicality that most folks associate with the SEC.

The ACC essentially out-SEC’d its conference rival in both wins. Some 755 miles to the north in Clemson, coach Dabo Swinney noticed. He ended his postgame comments after Clemson’s 52-13 win over South Carolina State by saying, “How about that ACC? Spunky little old league."

He flashed "The U" sign and walked out of the room.

Swinney has reason to brag. The ACC won only two games over ranked nonconference teams in each of the past three seasons. In just two weeks, the ACC has matched that win total. Miami linebacker Denzel Perryman put it bluntly when asked what the league’s 2-2 mark over the SEC meant:

“We ain’t no cupcake league,” Perryman said.

Two big wins in two weeks does not completely change perception, but it’s a start. The ACC should have three teams ranked in the Top 25 come Sunday. Miami has a shot to start 4-0 before a tough ACC game against Georgia Tech on Oct. 5. Florida State and Clemson also have a shot at being undefeated when they play each other Oct. 19.

As much as Golden wanted to sound a word of caution, saying this was only one game and only one win, a giddy McCord could not hold back.

“We’re back,” McCord said. "That’s all I can say. We’re back."

It appears the ACC is too.
Dalvin CookTom Hauck for Student SportsFlorida went into Miami's backyard to get a commitment from ESPN 300 RB Dalvin Cook, but the Hurricanes aren't exactly ready to concede him to the Gators.
Florida and Miami face off this weekend in what could be the last match up between these two in-state teams for the foreseeable future. The Hurricanes and Gators have had some memorable games on the field, but also some fierce recruiting battles off it. Here's a closer look at 10 recent recruiting battles -- five that Florida won and five that Miami won.

SAN ANTONIO -- Saturday’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl (1 p.m. ET on NBC) will include verbal commitments from 14 top prospects, six from the West roster and eight from the East.

ESPNU 150 defensive end Jonathan Bullard (Shelby, N.C./Crest) will be selecting from Clemson, Florida and South Carolina. Bullard (6-3, 255) is listed as the No. 11 defensive end and No. 83 player overall.

ESPNU 150 athlete Anthony Alford (Petal, Miss./Petal) will choose among Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Southern Miss. He would like to play baseball as well, and all three finalists have offered him the chance to do so. Alford (6-0, 210) is rated as the No. 14 athlete and No. 98 prospect overall. He’s played nothing but quarterback this week.

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U.S. Army All-American Bowl primer 

January, 6, 2012
Here's who to watch for in Saturday's U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio:

Time: 1 p.m. ET

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Trojans still impressing McCord 

January, 5, 2012
The defensive end position has been one of the more confounding spots for the USC coaches as they look to put together the class of 2012. Arik Armstead's decommitment left a huge hole at the spot that simply couldn't be filled by an in-state prospect. As a result, the USC coaches have set their sights on some top prospects from across the country. And in the case of Tyriq McCord (Tampa, Fla./Jefferson), way across the country.

McCord's final top five features four schools relatively close to home -- Georgia, Miami, South Carolina and Florida -- and one outlier -- USC. Although, the Trojans seem to be right in the hunt.

"Everybody knows from my top five or top six (schools) that USC is the best college I ever visited, and I explained that to them," McCord told ESPN HornsNation's William Wilkerson during Army Bowl practices. "I fell in love with the campus when I visited. I didn't really get too in depth with it -- that's why I am going to take an official (visit) there. The broadcast communication program is great. The tradition there -- they haven't changed their weight room at all -- I like that because it's a tradition, it's a legacy. So many people have gone through there and they haven't changed anything."

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GatorNation recruiting mailbag 

December, 21, 2011
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- It’s time to dip in to the GatorNation recruiting mailbag and answer the questions you want to know. Because of the amount of questions we’ve received, we won’t be able to get to all of them today, but we encourage you to ask your questions on our Insider fan forum, "The Chompions Club."

: With South Carolina losing Ellis Johnson to Southern Miss, do you think the Gators have a decent shot with Tyriq McCord?

A: It certainly doesn’t hurt Florida that Johnson has left the Gamecocks. McCord said after his visit to Gainesville for the FSU game that he felt closer with the players at South Carolina than he did at Florida. The loss of Johnson shouldn’t change that, but if South Carolina goes to a completely new defense, it is something McCord will have to think about.

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What to watch for this weekend 

December, 15, 2011
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.

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What to watch for this weekend 

December, 15, 2011
Two big visitors for LSU
It won’t be a big weekend, numbers wise at LSU, but there are two very big recruits officially visiting the Tigers in five-star safety Landon Collins (Geismar, La./Dutchtown) and athlete Anthony Alford (Petal, Miss.)

Collins, the No. 7 overall recruit in the ESPNU 150, made his official visit to Alabama back in November when the Crimson Tide hosted the Tigers. He was scheduled to visit Texas this past weekend but had to cancel that trip.

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ESPN 150 DE McCord doesn't get rattled 

December, 13, 2011
ESPNU 150 defensive end Tyriq McCord (Tampa, Fla./Jefferson) admits that he shut off his phone for much of his recruitment and didn't take any calls.

"I wanted to focus on the season and my schoolwork and everything else," McCord said. "There are so many distractions to begin with."

The process which the 6-3, 225-pound senior has described as "fun" and "stressful" will not come to an end when he makes his announcement on Jan. 7. He actually has two more official visits to take after that.

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Pantoni leaving to join Meyer

November, 28, 2011
GAINESVILLE, FLa. -- A source close to the Florida program confirmed that Florida Football Director of Administration Mark Pantoni has left the program and will join former Florida coach Urban Meyer at Ohio State.

Pantoni, whose primary responsibility was organizing recruiting efforts for the Gators, will accept the same position with the Buckeyes, the source said.

Rumors of Pantoni’s departure started spreading via Twitter Monday as some recruits learned of the move. Five-star offensive tackle John Theus tweeted: “Just learned that UF has got rid of their recruiting coordinator Mark Pantoni. He was definitely one of the best I dealt with. Big loss for UF.”

Four-star defensive end Tyriq McCord from Tampa (Fla.) Jefferson tweeted: “HELL NO!! Pls tell me its not true” after learning of Pantoni’s departure. McCord visited Gainesville this past weekend and he is considering Florida along with South Carolina.

Florida running back commit Mike Davis said he is sad to see Pantoni leave, but said he remains with the Gators.

“Mark was a great guy,” Davis said. “I can’t believe he left. Mark is very a very good friend and it’s sad to see him leave. It doesn’t change my status though.”

No official announcement has been made by either school.

After Florida visit, McCord names a leader 

November, 27, 2011
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Four-star defensive end Tyriq McCord (6-3/220, Tampa, Fla./Jefferson) visited The Swamp Saturday to watch Florida State beat in-state rival Florida 21-7.

McCord, who is ranked the No. 99 player in the country according to the ESPNU 150, said he enjoyed his time in Gainesville.

“The visit went pretty well,” McCord said. “That was a tough hard-fought defensive game. I’m not even looking at FSU, but it was great to see both teams go at it like that.”

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