By BRIAN LANDMAN
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 2, 2001
Quarterback Joe Mauer, the Gatorade National High School Football Player of the Year and USA Today Offensive Player of the Year from Cretin-Derham Hall (St. Paul, Minn.), orally committed to Florida State on Thursday.
Assuming Mauer wants to play college football, he figures to compete for the starting job immediately. He also is a standout baseball prospect and could be a first-round major-league draft choice. "There's three things that could happen," he said. "I could play football and baseball at Florida State. The next would be to sign a baseball contract and play football, too, and the last one would be just to sign (a baseball contract) and hope everything works out. You can't tell till the summer and see where you go."
Freshman Chris Rix sat out his first year. The Seminoles also have a commitment from Matt Henshaw (Brentwood, Tenn.) and expect Bradenton Southeast star Adrian McPherson to visit Tallahassee this weekend.
Anquan Boldin has been moved back to quarterback for the time being because of the dismissal of Jared Jones last week. How long he stays there is "a matter of how it works out and where he is needed the most," wide receivers coach Jeff Bowden said.
Playing for the high school that produced Chris Weinke, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Mauer threw for 3,022 yards, 41 touchdowns and four interceptions last season. He also considered Miami, Minnesota and Arizona.
CORAL GABLES -- The search for Butch Davis' replacement as Miami coach is down to "four or five" names, athletic director Paul Dee said, mostly college coaches, with Wisconsin's Barry Alvarez among the front-runners.
"I have talked to (Alvarez)," Dee told the Miami Herald from UM's basketball game at Miami Arena on Thursday night. "He called me today. But we have not begun any negotiations.
"I spoke to him six years ago (when Dee eventually hired Butch Davis), so I know him very well and have a pretty good idea of what he can do."
Earlier in the day, Dee held back from mentioning names of potential replacements but indicated that a published list was accurate. That changed later when he discussed Alvarez, interim coach Larry Coker and Colorado State's Sonny Lubick.
"We have a good feeling for some of these guys -- Barry Alvarez, Larry Coker, Sonny Lubick," Dee said. It was the first time Dee named Lubick, UM's defensive coordinator during Dennis Erickson's tenure, as a candidate.
Dee said he wants to have someone hired by Wednesday, national signing day for recruits.
Reached at the family's home, Alvarez's wife, Cindy, said her husband had not been offered the job, as was reported by a radio station in Madison, Wis.
But told that Dee spoke of getting Alvarez's call, she said, "That sounds nice. We love Florida."
ALABAMA: The NCAA's investigation of the program includes an inquiry into whether recruiting coordinator Ronnie Cottrell helped a Florida high school player find someone to take his college-entrance exam, the Birmingham (Ala.) News reported. Cottrell referred questions to school officials.
Alabama officials are working with the NCAA to investigate the recruitment of Tallahassee Florida High's Michael Gaines and Osceola (Ark.) High's Harold James Jr.
ARIZONA: Former coach Dick Tomey will receive $600,000, plus interest, in a settlement with the university after his resignation, the Tucson Citizen reported.
TANK BLACK ASSOCIATE PLEADS: A man accused of trying to bribe an LSU coach and a former player to steer players to sports agent William "Tank" Black has entered a plea agreement in Baton Rouge.
Randall Menard, 35, will plead guilty to one count of conspiring to commit public bribery and one count of violating Louisiana's athlete-agent law, district attorney Mark Dumaine said.
- Times correspondent Joe Frisaro and Times wires contributed to this report.