The one man found was former USF football player, Nick Schuyler. The other three include another past South Florida Bulls player William Bleakley, Oakland Raiders’ Marquis Cooper, and the current free agent Corey Smith.
Cooper is a five-year journey man linebacker, a 2004 third-round pick, and has played for a total of six NFL teams. Corey Smith is known as an undrafted seven-year veteran defensive end, and has spent the past three years with the Detroit Lions.
The four were out on a fishing trip off the coast of Florida on Saturday. Later that evening, Schuyler said that they anchored the boat as a storm rolled in. As seas got rough, the boat evidently flipped over, and Nick ended up being the only one that held on.
Since then, Schuyler, who was wearing a life vest, had been hanging onto the 21-foot vessel found by a Coast Guard cutter 35 miles off Clearwater. Nick was conscious but weak as the Coast Guard reached him. He is now reportedly in a serious but stable condition at the Tampa Bay General Hospital. Coast Guard Capt. Tim Close described the situation and the events that led to it as he stated that Nick may not have lasted another 24 hours.
Coast Guard photos showed Schuyler wearing a yellow jacket and orange life vest and sitting on the hull of the capsized boat as a rescue cutter approached. A helicopter lowered a basket to haul him aboard. The search area is now "substantially smaller," based on where they found the boat and Schuyler, Close said. Searchers had previously covered 16,000 square miles of ocean.
There were multiple reports saying that Cooper was found, BUT CG officials insisted that he has in fact not been located yet. Search & Rescue teams remain confident that all three men will be found soon.
We can hope for a few things:
1) The three remaining men missing are all together.
2) The men have found something to float on, or have found land (39 degrees in Tampa today).
3) More importantly - The three will be found, and soon.
Let’s remember that all four of these guys are either former college players and current trainers (Schuyler/Bleakley), or they are NFL vets (Copper/Smith). They are obviously extremely fit and strong dudes; we know that without even ever seeing them. They should be able to survive in the elements for quite a while and – in a worst-case scenario – swim to live.
We can only hope and pray that the other three-fourths of the puzzle are put together quickly.