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Kentucky school lures more county players

By BRANT JAMES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 22, 2002

BROOKSVILLE -- Eastern Kentucky has a history of mining Hernando County's talent, and the program could be close to another mother lode as national signing day, Feb. 6, approaches.

The NCAA Division I-AA Colonels officially have offered a scholarship to Hernando High defensive lineman Steve Cassell, according to Leopards coach Bill Browning. Central High linemen T.J. Hedick and Willie Winslett Jr. are scheduled to visit the Richmond, Ky., campus this weekend, said Bears coach Steve Crognale.

"I think he's leaning toward (Eastern Kentucky)," Browning said of Cassell.

None of the three players could be reached Monday for comment.

Hernando alums George Floyd (a member of the National College Football Hall of Fame), Rodney Byrd (later Hernando athletic director), Jason Byrd, Mike Wagers and Eddie Warren helped the Colonels win their first national championship in 1979.

Hedick, a 6-foot-4, 290-pound center, visited NAIA-member Tiffin (Ohio) last weekend while Winslett, a 6-4, 270-pounder named to the Sunshine Network All-Gridiron Team, visited I-AA Bethune-Cookman, where Central grad Jerry Daniels redshirted last season.

Winslett had 42 tackles and a sack last season, but was most effective as a pulling guard. Tiffon already has offered Hedick a spot, Crognale said. Hedick may also visit Air Force, Crognale said. "I think it was just a mutual thing -- who's showing the most interest," Crognale said.

Cassell, 6-4, 240, is scheduled to visit Connecticut, a third-year Div. I program, this weekend, Browning said. Central Florida, where former Leopard Dee Brown played as a freshman last fall, also has shown interest.

Cassell had 47 tackles last fall, while spending most of the season as an emergency replacement at running back.

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