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Countryside's Filer a D-I talent but nonqualifier

FRANK PASTOR
Published February 3, 2004

Don't expect to see Countryside receiver Jermaine Filer, the Times' fifth-best bay area prospect, on a Division I field this fall.

"He does not have the test score right now," Countryside coach John Davis said.

Filer, a special-education student, doesn't have a high enough SAT score to qualify, so he can't be offered a scholarship under NCAA rules. As a nonqualifier, he can't practice or play his freshman year and will have three seasons of eligibility remaining.

But that doesn't mean he's out of options.

Among Filer's college choices, Marshall and South Florida have taken nonqualifers in the past and appear willing to do so again.

"(USF) coach (Jim) Leavitt told me last week they would definitely sign him, period," Davis said.

Filer's other choice, Kansas State, likely will ask him to retake the test or go the junior college route.

"I'd rather him get in a school that he can start working towards a degree at that particular school," Davis said. "I think in his situation, I think that would be better."

Though closer than Filer, Countryside running back Isaiah Gwyn has not qualified either. Gwyn said Sunday he is leaning toward I-AA Western Kentucky after Eastern Kentucky canceled a visit.

"It's a shame, because both of those guys have the ability to play D-I football," Davis said. "But, academically they've got some problems."

THIS STORY HAS TEETH: What do Tampa Bay Tech linebacker Maurice Crum, Notre Dame and an elf from an animated Christmas special have in common?

Would you believe dentistry?

Like Hermie (Crum's nickname), the elf in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Crum wants to become a dentist. He is enrolled in a predentistry program at school and hopes Notre Dame's vast alumni network will help him find a practice.

"They take care of their own," Tech coach Mike Bradley said.

Notre Dame's mystique, campus and academic reputation were other factors in Crum's decision, Bradley said. Coach Tyrone Willingham's larger-than-life presence didn't hurt either.

HOLDING OUT: After visits to Penn State and West Virginia, Pasco receiver Johnny Peyton said he knows where he will sign but won't say until Wednesday. Peyton acknowledged he has ruled out Miami, leaving South Florida, Penn State, West Virginia and Pittsburgh, where he orally committed in September.

"I've still got a verbal with Pitt," Peyton said. "That doesn't mean it's going to be Pitt."

FULL HOUSE: Don't be fooled by Blake's 3-7 record. By Wednesday afternoon, the Yellow Jackets could have as many players sign as any school in Hillsborough County.

Defensive end George Kearse (USF), wide receiver Tito Gonzales (West Virginia), defensive back Kevin Peoples (Hawaii), linebacker George Clark (Grambling), offensive lineman Kamal Nesfield (Pennsylvania) and offensive lineman Ronald Green (Mississippi Valley State) made oral commitments.

Quarterback Micah Brown is deciding among Mississippi State, South Carolina and Troy State. Brown ruled out Syracuse because it recruited him as a wide receiver, coach Ricky Reynolds said.

"It was one of our goals to try to get as many kids into school as we possibly could," Reynolds said. "and I think we're accomplishing that goal."

GETTING CLOSE: Seven Jefferson players are considering schools, but only cornerback Robert Baham (Cincinnati) and receiver Antonio Graham (Tennessee State) are expected to sign Wednesday.

IN THE LEAD: Co-national champions Southern California and Louisiana State are neck-and-neck in the battle for top recruiting honors. USC is slightly ahead of LSU in the opinion ofrivals100.com and ESPN.com analyst Tom Lemming. Theinsiders.com ranks LSU first and USC second. Florida State is fourth on both lists. Miami is ranked seventh by theinsiders and eighth by rivals. Florida is 11th and 15th.

THIS 'N THAT: Durant quarterback Fred Andrew orally committed to Delaware. ... Chamberlain quarterback Sidney Bryant and Jesuit tight end Kelby Taylor committed to Charleston Southern.

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