By PETE YOUNG, ANTONYA ENGLISH, MIKE READLING, BRANT JAMES, FRANK PASTOR and BRIAN LANDMAN
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 8, 2001
SEFFNER -- Armwood broke out all the bells and whistles -- literally -- as seven Hawks signed football letters of intent Wednesday. Six signed with Division I schools.
Signing were: Antwan Allen (Iowa), Carl Jones (Cincinnati), Joe Stephens (Pittsburgh), Keith Watts (Kansas), Chris Murray (North Carolina State), Josh Chilsom (East Carolina) and Ron Buskey (Division I-AA Florida A&M).
Midway through the carnival-like celebration, which included parents and relatives of every signee and three television stations, a fire alarm went off, reverberating through the hall where coach Sean Callahan orchestrated the event. The alarm stopped after about a minute, but 10 seconds later a bell began ringing to dismiss students from class, and many still were in the parking lot due to the fire alarm.
When everything settled down, the seven players, who hold a cumulative 15 school records and led the team to the Class 3A state semifinal, signed nearly $1-million in scholarships.
"We had fun with (recruiting) together, but I'm glad it's over," Chilsom said. "It's time for us to move on to the next level."
Said Callahan: "I've never seen anything like this anywhere. I still think we've only scratched the surface with these kids. If these kids stay on track, they can become very special people who will be recognized nationally."
HE'LL GET THERE: Billy Henderson of Pinellas Park, the Times' No. 23-rated area prospect, did not sign Wednesday. His father, Ed, said Henderson has committed to South Florida but will not sign until he gets the required standardized test score.
"They offered a scholarship, and we're waiting on the test results," Ed Henderson said. "We should get (SAT results) back next week."
Henderson, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound running back/defensive back, also has been considering Missouri and Tulane. He rushed for 1,193 yards on 120 carries (9.9 average) and 10 touchdowns in eight games last season.
COMFORT COUNTS: Hernando High two-sport standout Dee Brown signed with Central Florida, choosing the school he said made him feel "most comfortable about playing both baseball and football."
Brown (6-1, 235) batted .515 with a school-record 15 home runs as a junior and rushed for 1,001 yards and 11 touchdowns last fall. He was an all-state centerfielder last year and an All-Suncoast linebacker as a senior, making 123 tackles.
"I wanted to go where I was most wanted, and UCF seemed like it was that place," Brown said.
Brown, who also was recruited by Tennessee, Miami, South Florida, Georgia and Mississippi, said he expects to play fullback as a freshman and perhaps switch to linebacker next spring.
HAPPY DAYS: Clearwater Central Catholic coach John Davis watched five of his players sign, including his son Jay, who will play quarterback at North Carolina State.
"It's really a neat feeling to watch. Obviously, this is a very special group for me," said Davis, who has coached CCC for seven seasons. "I'm obviously very close to them. It's hard for me to talk to them. I start to tear up."
The other signees were: wide receiver Marcus Edwards (South Florida), defensive lineman Eduardo Sanchez (Lafayette), running back James Sommers (Lafayette) and offensive lineman Mike Kaprat (Gannon, Pa.).
Davis said he expects Tom Statsick, Carl Wahlbeck and Jon Simmons to sign in the coming months.
I'LL PROVE MYSELF: Another CCC player, linebacker Vinny Capogna, and Gaither offensive lineman Cesar Paz will be preferred walk-ons at South Florida.
SOCCER SIGNEES: Florida State signed five players.
Central defender Katie Beal, from West Potomac (Va.) High, tops the list. She started for the United States under-16 national team in 1999 and 2000.
Where the Times top 25 area prospects signed:
(Player, pos., ht, wt, high school, college)
1. Lydell Ross- RB- 6-2- 215- Gaither- Ohio State
2. Chris Murray- WR- 6-3- 185- Armwood- North Carolina State
3. Jay Davis- QB- 6-2- 200- CC Catholic-North Carolina State
4. Andra Hoston- LB- 6-3- 235- Hillsborough- Central Florida
5. Andrew Harris- UT- 6-3- 195- Northeast- UCF
6. Matt Meinrod- OL- 6-4- 270- East Lake- Florida State
7. Xavier Beitia- K- 5-10- 185- Jesuit- Florida State
8. Bob Williamson- TE- 6-4- 240- East Lake- Clemson
9. Mawase Falana- DL- 6-3- 270- Northeast- Virginia
10. Joe Bain- WR/DB- 6-3- 190- Pasco- South Florida
11. Dwight Ellick- DB- 5-10- 175- Wharton- Notre Dame
12. Clark Green- RB/LB- 6-1- 205- Robinson- Kansas
13. Andre Hall- RB- 5-10- 180- Dixie Hollins- unsigned
14. Antwan Allen- DB- 5-10- 160- Armwood- Iowa
15. Dee Brown- LB/FB- 6-1- 235- Hernando- Central Florida
16. Ken Huebner- DE- 6-3- 225- Gaither- South Florida
17. Bruce Youmans- DB- 5-10- 175- East Bay- Tulane
18. Mike Lynche- DL- 6-2- 270- Gibbs- Central Florida
19. Marcello Church- LB- 6-1- 200- Lakewood- Florida State
20. Jon Wilson- OL- 6-3- 295- Hillsborough- Appalachian State
21. Josh Chilsom- LB- 5-10- 210- Armwood- East Carolina
22. Ron Buskey- QB- 6-5- 190Armwood- Florida A&M
23. Bill Henderson- RB/DB- 5-10- 185- Pinellas Park- unsigned; USF
24. Keith Williams- RB- 5-9- 180Hillsborough- Central Florida
25. Marcus Edwards- WR- 6-0- 185- CC Catholic- South Florida
Jahmile Addae- DB- 5-11- 200- Riverview- West Virginia
Bryan Bass- WR- 6-1- 185- Seminole- Alabama
Adam Butcher- C- 6-4- 280- Admiral Farragut- Central Florida
Chris Carothers- OL- 6-4- 290 -Clearwater-South Florida
Derek Carter- TE- 6-4- 220- Jesuit-South Florida
Darren Felder- RB- 5-9- 200- Lakewood-Pittsburgh
Carl Jones- DB/RB- 5-10- 175- Armwood-Cincinnati
Cedric King- WR- 5-11- 170- Gibbs- South Florida
Omar Laurence- DB- 6-0- 175 -- Largo- Central Florida
Charlie Ross- RB- 6-2- 240- Riverview-South Florida
Brandon Rottmayer- OL- 6-4- 240- Countryside- Tulane
Terrence Royal- LB- 6-2- 210- Wharton-South Florida
Joe Stephens- WR- 6-1- 180- Armwood-Pittsburgh
Keith Watts- DL- 6-0- 250- Armwood-Kansas
Victor Cernius- OL- 6-6- 295- Tampa Catholic- Florida International
Jerry Daniels- RB/LB- 6-1- 205- Central-Bethune-Cookman
Derryck Davis- LB- 6-3- 255- Brandon-Hinds (Miss.) CC
Wes Erbe- LB- 6-1- 210- Admiral Farragut-Lafayette
Nick Gillman- LB/RB- 6-1- 215- Jesuit-Holy Cross
Adam Gorman- FB- 6-1- 225- SP Catholic-FIU
Kevin Hobbs- DB- 6-0- 165- Tampa Bay Tech-Texas Southern
Lance Holland- LB- 6-4- 195- Central-Bethune-Cookman
James Hopkins- WR- 6-0- 165- Tampa Bay Tech-Texas Southern
Byron Jackson- OL- 6-1- 250- Gibbs-Dana College (NAIA)
Mike Kaprat- OL- 6-2- 260- CC Catholic-Gannon (Pa.) (Div. II)
Dusty Keseleski- OL- 6-1- 280- Gibbs-Bethune-Cookman
Glenn Lee- OL- 6-6- 240- Clearwater-Fordham
Matt Lichtenberg- DE- 6-2- 220- East Lake-Appalachian State
Jonta Mention- LB- 6-0- 220- Tampa Bay Tech-Alabama A&M
Fred Middlebrooks- DB- 5-9- 175- Gibbs- Delaware State
Marcus Russell- DB- 6-1- 180- Gaither-Fordham
Eduardo Sanchez- DL- 6-2- 260- CC Catholic- Lafayette
James Sommers- RB- 5-10- 175- CC Catholic- Lafayette
Brandon Stancil- WR- 6-4- 195- Blake- Tuskegee Ins. (Div. II)
Chris Thomas- UT- 5-10- 175- East Lake- Appalachian State
Sam Weatherford- TE- 6-5- 225- Land O'Lakes-Fordham
Larry Woods- RB/DB- 6-0- 200- SP Catholic- Bethune-Cookman
Stephanie Freeman- Countryside- Florida
Kerry Gordon- Clearwater Central Catholic- William & Mary
Reagan Jones- Hillsborough- Notre Dame
Michelle Mione- Osceola- Auburn
Devon Sibole- Palm Harbor University- Pennsylvania
Jennifer Walters- Palm Harbor University- Auburn