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    Local football stars sign to set futures in motion

    By BOB PUTNAM, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published February 6, 2003

    Hundreds of football players across the country -- and several in north Pinellas County -- made official commitments to a college on Wednesday, the day oral commitments become binding pledges.

    Tops among area athletes to sign was Clearwater Central Catholic safety LeRue Rumph, who chose North Carolina State University, a public school in Raleigh, N.C.

    The Wolfpack was 11-3 last year, its best ever season, finishing with a 28-6 victory over Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl.

    Rumph, rated as one of the best prospects in the country, received 50 letters a week from colleges before making his decision.

    "It was an opportunity I couldn't pass up," said Rumph, who faxed in his letter of intent at 9 a.m.

    The same was happening about the same time at Clearwater High, where offensive lineman Louis Frazier signed with Wake Forest, a private school in Winston-Salem, N.C.

    Countryside High had two notable signees, Chase Hobby and Andrew Blumenthal. Hobby, a kicker, signed with Navy at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and Blumenthal, a defensive lineman, signed with the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Mass.

    Largo High's Torian Johnson signed with Lafayette College in Easton, Pa.

    National signing day is the first opportunity under National Collegiate Athletic Association rules for high school players to make an official commitment to a college.

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