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Gator may take 'Nole to court

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 20, 2001

The attorneys for Florida tailback Earnest Graham said Wednesday they will take their case to court if Florida State defensive tackle Darnell Dockett isn't punished for his actions in a Nov. 17 game.

Graham retained Gainesville attorneys Robert Rush and Huntley Johnson last week to look into his allegations that Dockett tried to injure Graham on a play early in the third quarter.

Graham said Dockett attempted to twist his leg after he was tackled. He sprained a knee, missed the Tennessee game and hasn't practiced.

In a prepared statement, the attorneys said that if Florida State, the ACC or the NCAA fail to take action against Dockett, such as a suspension, "this case will proceed in a court of law to hold all persons responsible who participated, condoned or encouraged this activity."

FSU and the ACC have said they did not find evidence Dockett tried to injure Graham.

BULLS GET TOP RECRUIT: Tarpon Springs defensive back RoShawn Marshall orally committed to South Florida, turning down offers from Memphis, Michigan State and Tulane while opting to stay close to home.

Marshall (6-foot, 180) was a three-time Times All-Pinellas County pick. This season he had five interceptions, five touchdown receptions and two touchdowns on returns despite missing four games with an injured knee.

Marshall said other schools were planning to redshirt him or use him on offense. Those prospects were less appealing than the chance USF offered of competing right away for a defensive back job.

"They've got something going and I want to be a part of it. It was the best fit for me," said Marshall, who will get a chance at kickoff and punt returns.

Marshall said he has not met the NCAA's academic entrance requirements. His uncle, Otis Dixon, played fullback at USF from 1997-2000 and is tied for the team record for touchdowns in a season with nine.

IRISH SEARCH: Notre Dame has never had a black head coach in any sport. The Rev. Jesse Jackson urged the Irish to start with football.

"They should consider one, at least put credible black coaches in the mix," Jackson said. "A university of that magnitude, if they were to hire an African-American coach, it would be a huge breakthrough."

Jackson is working with the Black Coaches Association to help promote black candidates for all Division I-A openings. He issued a statement asking Notre Dame to hire a black coach Dec. 10, a day after the school introduced George O'Leary. O'Leary resigned five days later after admitting he lied about his athletic and academic background.

Meanwhile, South Carolina coach Lou Holtz said he wasn't a candidate to return to Notre Dame and recommended his son, Skip. He did add, "I can't say no to anything."

Annoyed by reports to the contrary, Steve Mariucci said that he still isn't interested in leaving the NFL's San Francisco 49ers.

LITTLE ALL-AMERICA: Record-setting quarterback Curt Anes, who passed for 3,086 yards and 48 touchdowns, was one of three players from Grand Valley State selected to the AP team. Receiver David Kircus and offensive tackle Dale Westrick were the other Lakers chosen.

MIAMI: Offensive lineman Anthony Wollschlager, who helped lead St. Thomas to the Class 4A championship game, orally committed.

MICHIGAN ST.: Coach Bobby Williams received a $50,000 raise and a two-year contract extension through 2006.

MINNESOTA: Players Steven M. Watson, 19, and Mackenzy Toussaint, 20, were acquitted of raping a woman at the team dormitory this summer.

MISSISSIPPI: Miffed that the Rebels were slighted by the bowls, an Oxford radio station has decided to give fans in North Mississippi a blast from the past. WQLJ-FM 93.7 will rerun the 1999 Independence Bowl between Ole Miss and Oklahoma at the time Alabama and Iowa State play this year's game in Shreveport, La. The Independence Bowl is 7 p.m. on Dec. 27.

VA. TECH: Assistant coach Jim Cavanaugh has been promoted to recruiting coordinator.

WESTERN CAROLINA: Bill Bleil was fired as coach after one of his players was charged with murder. Bleil, who will be reassigned, led the team to a 7-4 record, its best in nine seasons, and was selected Southern Conference coach of the year. On Dec. 10, fullback Toren Gordon was charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Corey Jermon Matthews at a North Carolina nightclub.

-- Times Staff writers John Schwarb and Antonya English contributed to this report.

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