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Ex-Gaither star hopes to shine

Lydell Ross will take part in today's Florida-Georgia all-star game.

By FRANK PASTOR

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 16, 2001


TAMPA -- Lydell Ross already has committed to a college. Two, in fact.

So the former Gaither running back is not playing in today's Florida-Georgia All-Star Football Classic to make a name for himself.

He wants to make a name for his new school.

"He's been working out very diligently and hard every day," Ross' father, Melvin, said.

"He told me personally, "I'm going up to the all-star game on fire. I want to put Ohio State on the map."'

Ross, Hillsborough County's single-season and career rushing leader, is one of three Hillsborough County players participating in the game, which will be held in neither Florida nor Georgia for the first time in its 17-year history.

Florida State-bound kicker Xavier Beitia of Jesuit and linebacker and Tuskegee (Ala.) signee Phillip Marshall of Plant City will join Ross.

Because of sponsorship and venue problems, the game -- which has featured NFL stars Daunte Culpepper, Emmitt Smith, Warren Sapp and Deion Sanders in past years -- will be played at 5 p.m. at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn.

It is part of a doubleheader with the Tennessee-Kentucky all-star game, which follows at 8.

The Florida-Georgia game will be televised on tape delay by the Sunshine Network. The first showing will be at 7 p.m. Friday.

Georgia leads the series 7-6-3. The state's 14-10 win last year was its third in a row.

Ross set county records for regular-season (2,150), single-season (2,698) and career rushing yards (5,120) as a senior. He orally committed to Notre Dame in January before signing with Ohio State two weeks later.

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