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Announcement will wait for all-state linebacker

By JOHN COTEY
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 22, 2002

Brodrick Bunkley knows what school he will be attending next fall, but he isn't saying.

Yet.

After watching the Lydell Ross ordeal last year, in which the former Gaither running back seemingly committed to a new college every week before deciding on Ohio State, Bunkley has decided to proceed with extra caution.

So while the Chamberlain all-state linebacker says he doesn't plan on changing his mind, he isn't ruling it out. Therefore, the word is mum.

"Watching Lydell last year is not the primary reason I'm not saying, but it's a big factor," Bunkley said Monday. "Look at Ross and what happened. I'm not saying they (media and fans) did him wrong, but he kind of messed up committing."

Ross is not alone. Dozens of recruits change their minds every year, some more than once. In the past, a recruit only had to deal with the local newspaper calling for answers. Now, with myriad recruiting Web sites out there and increased interest among fans, the local prospect can expect more than just one call here and there.

"I get all kinds of calls from people, newspapers, newspapers in other cities," Bunkley said. "Friday I did a radio show in Tallahassee."

It's enough to make a player tell one person one thing, and another person something altogether different, like in 1998 when John Capel committed to five schools.

Bunkley doesn't plan a repeat. His choices are pretty clear and he plans on being careful who he tells, admitting only his family knows. He has already visited Michigan State, Florida and Florida State but says he will stay in state.

Which leaves the Gators and Seminoles, right? Not exactly. Bunkley still has visits to Miami and Florida Atlantic planned.

"I just want to keep it quiet, just in case I make a change," Bunkley said.

Bunkley is not alone. Seminole linebacker D'Qwell Jackson said two weeks ago that Maryland is far and away his frontrunner, and after visiting North Carolina State last week nothing changed.

With no other visits planned, and Maryland as his favorite, do the math and you get Jackson in a Terrapin uniform next season.

Or do you?

"I have an idea of where I want to go," Jackson said. "But I think it may come down to the last days. I'm the same way (as Bunkley); I got it in my mind but I want to be absolutely sure."

Jackson's hesitation is understandable, considering Louisiana State coaches visited him in St. Petersburg last week and coaches from Maryland and North Carolina State plan on doing the same next week.

DAVIS ON VISITS: Not only has St. Petersburg Catholic All-American quarterback Chris Davis been tight-lipped about his college choice, he won't even reveal his visits.

Davis said Monday he is looking into a trip to Southern Cal, and his other visit probably will be between Florida State and Clemson.

GOOD OR BAD: Davis' teammate Mike Ross, an all-state linebacker projected to play safety in college, canceled his trip to South Carolina this weekend and instead went to USF, according to rivals100.com.

A DECISION!: While Davis and Bunkley keep everyone guessing, Countryside kicker Jon Peattie made his decision Sunday night when he got back from Miami: "I'm a Hurricane."

Peattie has favored Miami from the start, but he said a visit to Northwestern made his decision more difficult.

"I saw Northwestern and was just blown away by them," said Peattie, who kicked five field goals of more than 44 yards this season. "But I wanted to visit them first so I wouldn't go to Miami and just commit right away.

"It's awesome. It's a great feeling to know you'll start on top (with the national champions)."

OPEN OPTIONS: After visits to South Carolina, Maryland and North Carolina State, Chamberlain all-state middle linebacker Ollie Hoyte continues to leave his options open.

Hoyte, a 6-3, 210-pounder who led Chamberlain to the Class 5A state final, also has trips planned to Virginia and USF in the next couple of weeks. He said he won't pick his school until all his recruiting trips are taken.

"So far I've liked all the schools I've visited," Hoyte said. "I really couldn't pick one over the other."

Hoyte is taking the SAT this weekend in hopes of raising his score to make sure he qualifies for college.

"I just need to raise it a little bit," he said. "I'm right there."

-- Staff writer Scott Purks contributed to this report.

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