Among the familiar faces at the South Florida Express tryouts this weekend was Class of 2014 running back Sony Michel (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage) observing and encouraging his friends.
The 5-foot-10, 190-pound prospect had his freshman season halted by a torn ACL, but he soon could return to the field.
"I'm looking at returning to the field in late April or early May," Michel said. "I'm not sure if I'll participate in full contact this spring, but I'd like to."
It's more likely that Michel will avoid the contact drills until the fall and that he will spend much of his spring working on regaining the speed and agility.
"I've been real happy with my recovery overall," Michel added. "I did rehabilitation on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays but now I'm done with that and strictly working with my trainer."
He's also been lifting the weights and is approaching 200 pounds.
"I've been working hard in the weight room," Michel added. "Really doing anything I can to help with my recovery."
Michel admits it was extremely tough to be relegated to the sidelines this season but his time off gave him a new appreciation for the game.
"I really got a chance to see what my life would be without football and it just makes me hungrier," Michel said. "I want to do more when I get back on the field, and it made me work harder in the classroom, because I realized there's more to life than just football."
Michel has verbal offers from Miami, FSU, Florida, Notre Dame, Alabama, Auburn and several others. He says that FSU, Miami and Alabama are among the schools recruiting him the most and that several coaches have kept in touch with him this year.
Overall Michel says he's not worried about that first contact. Instead he's actually looking forward to it.
"I think I'm going to return to the field as a stronger, faster, better player so I just want to get that first hit out the way and answer all those questions," Michel added.