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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Only 27 days remain until national signing day, the first day high school seniors are permitted to sign a national letter of intent with a college football program.
By JOEY KNIGHT and SCOTT PURKS
Published January 11, 2007
Only 27 days remain until national signing day, the first day high school seniors are permitted to sign a national letter of intent with a college football program. Until then, some local stars will make an oral commitment to a school, some will de-commit and others will publicly contemplate their futures with more misdirection than the wing-T. In other words, we can assume nothing. We can, however, make some educated forecasts. The following is a look at where some of the county's top players appear to be headed, based on what we've been told. This outlook is subject to change.
Etched in Stone
The players who have made firm commitments to colleges:
Stephen Garcia, QB, Jefferson: Publicly committed to South Carolina in early December and, according to Dragons coach Mike Fenton, has enrolled at USC for the winter semester to be eligible for spring practice. Fenton said Garcia leaves for Columbia on Friday.
Torrey Davis, DL, Armwood: Committed to Florida during 2006 preseason and reaffirmed that commitment this week. Still trying to qualify academically.
Marquise Branton, FB, Armwood: Committed to Middle Tennessee, which he had been leaning toward throughout the fall.
Darren de Rochemont, P/K, Armwood: Committed to Tulane.
Jermaine Doster, RB, Robinson: Committed to Vanderbilt last summer and hasn't wavered, Knights coach Mike DePue said Tuesday. The younger brother of former Knights/Commodores tailback Kwane Doster has qualified academically.
Etched in Pencil
The players who are leaning heavily toward a school, but still have their options open:
Colin Boss, OL, Berkeley Prep: According to Buccaneers coach Frank Sullivan, Boss has settled on Middle Tennessee, but will wait until his official visit to Murfreesboro later this month before formally committing.
Sherod Murdock, DB, Middleton: Committed to Alabama before Mike Shula was fired as Crimson Tide coach, but reaffirmed his commitment last week when Nick Saban was hired. We'll keep Murdock in this category until he learns more about Saban, and vice versa.
Michael Peterson, DB, Jesuit: Committed to Boston College last year, but it's uncertain how the school's recent coaching change affects Peterson's decision. Neither he nor Jesuit coach Joe Ross could be reached Wednesday.
Etched in Crayola
We still don't have a solid read on these guys:
Robert Marve, QB, Plant: Panthers coach Bob Weiner said Marve will visit Alabama this weekend and Miami the following weekend. Options are still open, however, with South Florida, Maryland and Purdue in the mix. Alabama, where Marve originally committed over the summer, appears the frontrunner after last week's hiring of Saban.
Greg Ellingson, WR, Robinson (left): According to DePue, Central Florida, Boise State, South Carolina and Florida Atlantic have expressed varying degrees of interest in the Knights' most versatile player. Ellingson has qualified academically.
Chaz Hine, OL, Newsome: Hine's powerful singing voice and run-blocking technique have generated interest from the likes of Florida Atlantic, the Citadel and Charleston Southern, Wolves coach Kenneth Hiscock said. A baritone-tenor, he's also pursuing musical scholarships, auditioning for one last fall at the University of Florida.
Rudontae Ashley, RB, Leto: The Falcons' sturdy 1,000-yard rusher will visit Eastern Kentucky the weekend of Jan. 20 and Florida Atlantic two weeks later, Leto coach Hugh Denhert said. Ashley, whose frame (6-1, 220 pounds) and game-week workouts drew interest during last month's Hillsborough County East-West All-Star contest, is trying to qualify academically.
Josh Jones, LB, Wharton: The son of ex-Gators tailback James Jones will visit Elon, the Citadel and Charleston Southern in upcoming weeks, Wildcats offensive coordinator Craig Rainey said Wednesday.
Joel Miller, RB, Wharton: The Wildcats' top rusher, like Jones, has visits planned to the Citadel and Charleston Southern, Rainey said.
Chris Kuzdale, DB, Plant: Weiner said the Times' Hillsborough County defensive player of the year is looking "at several Division I and I-AA schools."