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Sports briefs

By DEBI JONES, Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 7, 2001

UF offensive lineman reportedly going pro

Offensive tackle Kenyatta Walker made his early exit to the NFL a certainty by signing with an agent, according to the Gainesville Sun.

Although he has not made a formal announcement, the Sun reported that Walker signed with International Management Group.

"It's all right. He's ready to go," Florida coach Steve Spurrier told the Sun.

Walker discussed the possibility of a news conference to make his formal announcement as early as Monday with Florida sports information directors.

In addition, the Sun reported that backup tailback Chuck Marks and backup linebacker Todd Poiter planned to transfer, andformer signee Jonathan Colon has enrolled at Santa Fe Community College and plans to re-sign with Florida in February.

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Michigan State senior cornerback Renaldo Hill will pass on a chance for a fifth year of eligibility to enter the NFL draft. Hill, a three-year starter, could have petitioned the NCAA for a fifth year if he completed his undergraduate degree before the the opening of preseason camp in August. "With the academic course load I needed to carry to graduate, it would have been nearly impossible for me to get all of the work done," Hill said in a statement on the Michigan State athletic department's Web site. The 5-foot-11, 178-pounder anchored a secondary that led the Big Ten and ranked seventh nationally in pass defense, allowing 164.1 yards a game. He was fourth on the team in tackles with 71 (55 solos, 16 assists), second in interceptions (three) and was third in pass breakups (11). Hill had nine career interceptions. ... Georgia coach Mark Richt hired two more assistants, picking Brian VanGorder as defensive coordinator/linebackers coach and John Eason, a former colleague at FSU, as wide receivers coach. Eason was the offensive coordinator and associate head coach of Toronto of the CFL. He worked with Richt at Florida State coaching receivers from 1986-94. ... The Los Angeles Daily News reported that N.C. State offensive coordinator Norm Chow will accept the same job at Southern Cal this week. ... Ronney Daniels, who led Auburn in receiving the past two seasons, will make himself eligible for the NFL draft. Daniels, a 24-year-old sophomore who spent three years playing minor-league baseball, said his age factored into the decision. ... Wisconsin's Michael Bennett, the nation's third-leading rusher, will skip his senior year to enter the draft, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

COLLEGES: Florida freshman Nicole Bolt finished third in the final of the women's 1-meter springboard, and teammate Sarah Close from Dunedin High was seventh at the Georgia Invitational in Athens.

SOCCER: Hossam Hassan of Egypt played in his 150th game for his country, matching the international record.

TENNIS: Switzerland beat the United States 2-1 in the Hopman Cup final, with Martina Hingis downing Monica Seles 7-5, 6-4. After Hingis' opening victory, Roger Federer defeated Jan-Michael Gambill 6-4, 6-3 to clinch the best-of-three championship. Seles was trying to become the first player to capture this event for different nations, having won with Yugoslavia in 1991. "Monica is a great competitor," Hingis said. "She's such an aggressive player and she served very well and always had me under pressure. I definitely had to run today." Hingis, the world's No. 1 player, was making her fourth attempt at a title in the Hopman Cup, a tuneup for the Australian Open. She is unbeaten in 14 singles matches in this tournament but had been denied the title until this year.

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