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Duke makes Jesuit star feel right at home

By KEITH NIEBUHR, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 28, 2003

Running back Aaron Fryer likes Jesuit so much he wanted to find a college just like it.

"That's exactly what Duke is," Fryer said. "When I went there, it felt a lot like Jesuit."

Fryer committed to the Blue Devils last week, one day after Duke coach Carl Franks made an in-home visit. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Fryer, a four-year starter, also considered Boston College, Pittsburgh, South Florida and Vanderbilt. Fryer rushed for 1,978 yards and 24 touchdowns last season for the 11-2 Tigers.

"I wanted a smaller student population," Fryer said. "I really liked USF and its coaches. But in the end, I couldn't pass up an opportunity to go to Duke. ... You have to take advantage of the opportunities you're given."

Fryer's father, Artie Fryer, played basketball at Florida State.

"It's great knowing that he has this opportunity," Artie Fryer said. "He worked hard to earn the right. Duke seems to be an extension of what he experienced at Jesuit. It's a small environment that's private, offers a good education and gives him the opportunity to play football."

ON THEIR HEELS: Wharton linebacker Larry Edwards no longer is a North Carolina commitment.

On his visit to UF last weekend, Gators coach Ron Zook shocked Edwards by offering a scholarship. Now, the Times' No.2-rated Tampa Bay area prospect says he's considering Florida, UNC, LSU and USF. Edwards is a lifelong Gators fan.

"I didn't think I was the caliber player Florida was looking for," Edwards said. "But Coach Zook said he needs players like me that are willing to come in and work and do anything for the football program. And that's the type of player I am."

ELIMINATION DAY?: Lakewood defensive end Julian Riley (6-4, 263), the Times' No.7-rated Tampa Bay area prospect, will choose between Florida and Pittsburgh, possibly as early as today. He dropped Wisconsin from consideration.

"Both are really great," Riley said. "They have every single thing I'm looking for. Both are great academic institutions, both have great academic services and both football teams are looking up. I'm looking at everything right now. They're just so evenly matched."

DAH-DA-DAH: Representatives from ESPN confirmed Monday that Jefferson wide receiver Andre Caldwell, the Times' No.1-rated Tampa Bay area prospect, will make his college intentions known at 6 p.m. Feb.5 live on SportsCenter. Caldwell lists UF, LSU and Miami as his favorites. Caldwell is the country's top-ranked wide receiver prospect by several recruiting services.

ON HOLD: Clearwater Central Catholic safety LeRue Rumph (6-2, 210) postponed his visit to North Carolina State last weekend because of bad weather in Raleigh. He said he remains a Wolfpack commitment and will visit N.C. State this weekend, but USF is in the picture.

Bulls coach Jim Leavitt, defensive coordinator Rick Kravitz and offensive line coach Greg Frey visited Rumph in his Brandon home Monday night.

"If I go to USF, I'll be a lot closer to my college than my high school," Rumph said. "It takes 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes on bad days to get to school. It's a hike, I'll tell you that. USF is 10 minutes down the road."

Rumph is rated the Tampa Bay area's No.5 prospect by the Times.

TRAVEL DELAY: Plant quarterback Stephen Reaves, scheduled to visit Southern Cal last weekend, instead will leave for Los Angeles on Thursday. The left-hander lists Auburn, Louisville, Michigan State, South Florida, USC and Wake Forest as his favorites.

ODDS AND ENDS: Current team rankings: 1. Southern Cal, 2. LSU, 3. Oklahoma, 6. Miami, 8. UF, 50. FSU, 55. Central Florida, 69. South Florida. The site does not include Hillsborough linebacker Ronnie McCullough among USF commitments, though McCullough told the Times he'll play for the Bulls.

-- Times staff writer Pete Young contributed to this report.

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