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Half-dozen Dragons make commitments

In all, 11 Jefferson players are expected to sign.

By FRANK PASTOR

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 8, 2001


TAMPA -- As starters on the offensive line, Robertville Louis, Eric Mandia, C.J. Sanderson and Ernest Jackson helped Jefferson roll up 4,000 yards of total offense this past season.

They were rewarded with scholarships.

Louis, Mandia, Sanderson and Jackson were among six Jefferson players who made commitments recently. Five teammates are expected to join them in the next few weeks.

"It's one of the biggest years I've ever heard of -- a team signing 11 out of 12 eligible seniors," Jefferson coach Mike Simmonds said.

"Hillsborough County is getting better and better as far as recruits coming out of the area."

Louis, a 6-foot-2, 280-pound guard, committed to Alabama A&M. Mandia (6-1, 260), a center, and Sanderson (6-6, 290), a tackle, signed with Concordia (Mich). Jackson, a 6-3, 285-pound tackle who runs the 40 in 4.8 seconds, will attend Hinds Community College (Miss.).

Wide receiver Tony Crissinger and free safety Cameron Rodgers signed with Florida Atlantic, where they will play for former Miami coach Howard Schnellenberger.

Crissinger caught 45 passes this past season, including 17 in two playoff games. Rodgers, who runs a 4.45 40, had five interceptions and more than 100 tackles.

Robert Wax, Tim Jackson, Carlo Thompson, Mike Gibson and John Jones are expected to choose schools in the next few weeks.

Assistant coach Lane McLaughlin said Jefferson benefitted from recruiting fairs in Brandon, Lake Wales and Spring Hill, where Dragons coaches showed videotapes of their seniors.

"Last year, we had one kid sign," McLaughlin said. "We put a real effort into it this year."

Jefferson's senior class went 21-5 during the past three years.

BRANDON SIGNEES: The Eagles had five players sign scholarships in recent weeks.

Three players -- linebacker Otis Grant, free safety Demetric Coakley and defensive end Keion Roberts -- signed with Tuskegee (Ala.) University. Wide receiver Mike Manza and running back Brian Burgman signed with Jacksonville University.

Brandon went 5-5 in 2000.

- Times staff writer Scott Purks contributed to this report.

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