Saturday afternoon, junior Maurice Hall sat in the Gibbs High School football offices with his coach, Antonio Knox, sifting through the hundreds of letters he's received from big-time college programs.
Oklahoma is the only school that's extended Hall a scholarship offer to this point, but Knox said the junior has seen interest pick up dramatically in recent weeks.
Hours later, surgeons at Bayfront Medical Center were removing a bullet, shot through Hall's right side, into his stomach and colon in a drive-by attack in his Florida hometown.
After a successful three-hour surgery, Hall gave a thumbs up to his coach, who received an unthinkable phone call Saturday night and rushed to the hospital, where he stayed seven hours.
Knox prayed that night the player he considers a son can still find a way out of St. Petersburg.
“My prayer that night was that everything works out and this kid gets an opportunity,” Knox said in a telephone interview with The Oklahoman. “Now he really sees that he's got to get out of here. He can't stay here.”
Hall comes from a rough background, and Saturday, while he and a friend walked home from a party at around 10 p.m., a car sped by and opened fire, hitting the Gibbs High linebacker, receiver and safety near his right hip.
In a video posted on the Tampa Bay Times' website, Hall, lying in his hospital bed, described the attack.
“A car came speeding in front of us, shooting,” Hall said. “So me and my buddy ran through the alley. When I got hit, he said, ‘Bro, you didn't get hit, bro.' I was like, ‘Yes I did, bro.'”
In three 2012 games, Hall had scored two touchdowns on offense and had a 12-tackle performance on defense. Knox expected lots of other offers to start pouring in before the shooting, which will cost the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Hall the rest of this season.
Hall apparently didn't know his shooters, and police haven't identified any motive for the attack, nor any suspects or witnesses.
The 18-year old's mother, though, said in the Times' online video that she believes some know more than they are telling police. The mother, who is not identified by name in the video, said she went to the party, which was near the crime scene, seeking more information.
“I went to the party and just went berserk,” she said.
“If I was to see somebody's child get shot, and that child laying down there, and I seen the people that did it, I'm gonna tell them,” she said.
Oklahoma coaches noticed Hall last year while they were recruiting Gary Simon, the now-true freshman OU cornerback who has already called to check on his former teammate.
“Gary said Mike (Stoops) was asking about it, but I haven't had a chance to talk to Mike,” Knox said.
Saturday, Hall's current teammates and coaches crowded the hospital, where the popular youngster is expected to remain for a week. Knox said he believes he'll return to football by spring practices.
“They thought it was a celebrity (in the hospital) because there were so many people coming,” Knox said.
“I think this is gonna make him real hungry. We talk about it all the time. ‘Hey man, we've got to get you out of here.'
“And he says, ‘I'm gonna get out.'”