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College football around the nation

By BRANT JAMES, Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 8, 2001


Ex-USF tackle Condron moves to Division III

Former South Florida offensive lineman Joe Condron will renew his football career at Division III Chowan College in Murfreesboro, N.C.

The 6-foot-81/2, 360-pound Brooksville Central grad was named Rookie of the Year at USF in 1999 but left during the ensuing offseason.

He did not play in 2000 and briefly re-enrolled at USF this January before leaving again.

Chowan offensive coordinator Dan Dieringer said Condron is expected to attend when camp opens Aug. 16.

"This is definitely a Division I-caliber kid," Dieringer said. "Any time you can get someone like that, someone who has fallen through the cracks, you're fortunate to work with him.

"We know Joe comes via a couple of places, and he's had some time off, but we expect him to be here and to play for us."

Family looks for answers

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Rashidi Wheeler was remembered Tuesday as a young man who brightened the lives of everyone he met, and his family promised to find out exactly how that life ended last week on a practice field.

Several hundred people crowded into a church on Northwestern's campus to listen as Wheeler's teammates, coaches, family and the Rev. Jesse Jackson paid tribute to the 22-year-old who died Friday after having an asthma attack during a conditioning drill.

Jackson said Wheeler's parents have asked him to be their spokesman as the death is investigated further. A final report could take more than two months.

"There are many eye witnesses to the last hour of his life who have raised questions about the way this was handled," Jackson said.

"There are real questions that at the appropriate time they want pursued."

Neither Jackson nor the family specified who they want to conduct the investigation.

Northwestern already has said it plans a full evaluation of Wheeler's death as well as the team's conditioning policies.

Earlier, Wheeler's mother, Linda Will, voiced her support for the school, although she, too, said she had questions about how it was handled.

ARKANSAS: Returning players reported and freshmen continued two-a-day practices.

ARKANSAS STATE: Coach Joe Hollis led 41 new members through their first day of two-a-day drills.

The Indians move to the Sun Belt Conference this season, and Hollis said he is eager to see the fresh talent on the field.

"We're real pleased at the numbers," Hollis said after the second practice.

"We worked hard at getting all 25 scholarship players here on campus and being academically sound and also in looking at walk-ons who have an opportunity to help us."

NEBRASKA: Coach Frank Solich suspended kicker Josh Brown for one game for the player's conviction on misdemeanor assault charges from a fight this summer.

Brown, who was left off the 105-man roster that was allowed to report last week, will miss the Pigskin Classic on Aug. 25, against Texas Christian.

"I believe that him not being part of the 105 and missing a game is pretty strong, but certainly appropriate," Solich said.

Solich also ordered Brown and running back Thunder Collins into counseling for anger management.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Running back Derek Watson played touch football with his teammates during his suspension -- a practice coach Lou Holtz said he didn't regulate.

Watson participated in touch-tackle games with teammates "a few weeks ago," Holtz said.

Holtz said the touch-tackle games were voluntary.

"It's all voluntary. I can't say, "You can't do that,' " Holtz said.

The junior running back had been suspended after he was charged in May with simple assault and battery. Watson has applied for Richland County's Pretrial Intervention program to resolve the charge.

The school readmitted Watson as a student on Friday, and reinstated on the team Sunday, according the Greenville News Web site.

That came after Watson's latest brush with the law -- charges of driving without a license and playing his car stereo too loudly. Watson was fined $425 in his hometown of Williamston July 28.

TEXAS; The start of coach Mack Brown's fourth season began as 26 newcomers participated in their first official workout at Frank Denius Fields.

The newcomers opened and closed the practice by working on all phases of the kicking game and spent the 40 minutes in between working on individual position and one-on-one drills. Before the field work, the newcomers were tested for strength and conditioning and were put through a battery of agility tests that kicked off with a 6 a.m. wake-up call.

Junior-college transfer Alfio Randall and freshman defensive back Rufus Harris both missed the morning practice for precautionary reasons.

UTAH: Offensive lineman Ed Ta'amu has been suspended for the first three games for his role in a July 4 fight, coach Ron McBride. Ta'amu faces a misdemeanor assault charge.

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