Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida on February 4, 1999 · 69
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Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida · 69

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Thursday, February 4, 1999
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Signing Dm 6c TIMES THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 1999 r. m a SEC SIGNEES FLORIDA Name Pos. Ht Wt RanCarthon RB 6-0 210 Tony Charles DL 6-3 270 Daryl Dixon DB 5-11 180 MattFarrior LB 6-2 225 Derrick Gaffney WR 6-2 194 Rex Grossman QB 6-2 225 Byron Hardmon LB 6-3 215 Elgin Hicks WR 5-10 175 Dwright Jackson LB 6-1 195 Taylor Jacobs WR 6-0 180 TronLaFavor DL 6-3 245 Bobby McCray DL 6-5 225 Clint Mitchell DE 6-7 250 Mike Nattiel LB 6-1 218 Todd Poitier LB 6-2 215 Kiewan Ratliff DB 6-0 175 ArpedgeRolle DL 6-2 255 Roderick Royal LB 6-2 225 Marshall Schaap TE 6-3 235 LitoSheppard CBWR 5-11 190 Chris Stephens QB 6-3 205 Roy Williams DL 6-2 265 Alabama Dennis Alexander, ol, 6-5, 325, Westwood HS, Mnph, Tenn; Sentonio Beard, rb, H, 206, Pesrl Cohn HS, Nash-viH. Twin; Hindis! Bolden, db, 6-1, 190, Dothan Ala.l HS; Robot Branch, dt M, 305, Central HS, Tuicalooaa, Ala; Antonio Carter, wr, 5-9, 180, Rickarde HS HS, Tallahaaaoa; Gerard Clark, daob, (-7, 255, Mainland HS, Daytsna Baach; Gerald Dixon, d, 5-11, 175, Paint Branch HS, Buhoniville, Md; Dante Ellington, ol, M, 297, Colbert County HS, Leighton, Ala; Akmuo Ephraim, ol. (-3, no, Wenonen no, Birmingham, Ala; Leonard Fuljham, vwdb, 5-2, 185, Mon-tevello Ala.l HS; Michael Game, ta, S-3, 240, Flotilla HS, TaUahaaaaa; Cuty Gilbert, te, 6-4, 270, Paacagoula (Miss. HS; Brandon Greet, wr, 6-2, 195, Weathrook Chris-tian HS, Rainbow City, Ala; Tyler Harria, db, 6-1, 205, Andern County HS, Clinton, Tenn.,: Raymond Hudaon, wr, (-10, 190, Hoanea County HS, Bonrtey; Jarratt Johnaon, 01,6-4,268, Chiafland HS; Charlat Jones, db, 60, 170. Burke County (Ge l HS; Kenny King. lb. 63, 275, Daphne (Ala ) HS; MHo Lewie, cb, 60, 1(5, San Francisco City College, Mountainview, Calif; Matt Lomaa, ol, 6-4, 295, UMS-Wright HS, Mobile, Ala; Roberto McBrida, wrdb, 6 8, 168, Kathleen HS, Lakelend; Gary McNaaly, da, 8-8, 28, Taylor County HS, Parry; Brandon Mirer, rb, 62, 229, Wmton Woods HS, Cincinnati, Ohio; Joan Parker, tab. 6-4, 210, Wakulla HS, Cnmr-ferdviMe; Dave Peterton. lb, 64, 235, Liberty County HS, Bnttol, Term; Saleam Raeheed, h. 63, 225, Shedat Valley HS, Birmingham, Ala; Jeremy Walker, lb, 63, 240, Pratt-vide (Ala.) HS; Leslie Williama, ol, 6-5, 225, Stone Mountain (Ga.)HS. Arkansas Kevin Baker, db, 611, 170, Mesquite. Texas; Nathan Bad, ol. 65. 250. Room HS; Merk Bokermann, ol, 66, 310, DeSmet Jesuit HS, St. Louis. Mo; Gery Bresheers. qb, 65, 210, ClaiksviHe HS; Tony Bus, db, 60, 200, John Curtis HS, Hiver wage, u; money Clark, dl, 64, 295, Elaine HS.Zak Clark, qb, 62, 190, Fayetteville HS; Cedric Cooks, rb, 60, 217, Utile Rock Fair; Scott Davenport ol, 61, 290, Clarendon HS; John Geitner, ol, 6 5, 300, Santa Rosa (Calif.) JC; Sparky Hamil ton, wr, 64, 200, Lutkin, Texas; Ken Hamlin, db, 63, 195, Freyser HS, Memphis, Tenn; Corey Harris, db, 61 1, 200. Butler County (Kan.) CC; Eddie Jackson, db, 61, 1(5. Richardson. Texas; Bo Lacy, ol. 65. 280, Newport HS; Caleb Miller R, 64. 200, Sulphur Springs, Texas; Jeremy Mvtes, rb, 60, 220. Bastrop, La; Shelton Parker, db. 611, 175, Braaux Bridge, La; Caleb Perry, ol, 64. 275. Arlington, Texas; Jim Peters, ol, 63, 260, RusseMo HS; Justin Scott de, 63, 220. Gosnelt HS; Richard Smith, wr, 611, 178. Evangel Christian HS, Shreveport, La; J. Strain, te, 64, 235. Fayetteville HS; Fred Teller, rb. 6-9, 175, Long-view. Texas; Keith Turner, dl. 63, 220, Brother Martin HS, New Orleans; Corey Warren, lb, 62. 225, Sulphur, La; Eddie Williama, wr, (-4, 225, CoHayville (Kan.) JC; Marques Williams, db, 62, 190, Hamburg HS. Auburn Ryan Bushey. dl, 64. 255. MiHord (Conn.) Prep; Clay Cleveland, ta. 64. 240, Daphne (Ale.) HS; Monreko Crittenden, ol, 66, 310, St Jude, Montgomery, Ala; Ronnoy Denote, wr, 63, 21 5, Lake Walla HS; Phillip Gargis. qb, 6-1, 183, Homewood (Ala.l HS; Roahard Gihard, db, X 8-11, 188, White HS, jm Jacxaonvilie; Stave Gou- 9 la, ol.6(, 285, Murphy HS, jCeeae Mobile. Ala; Deandra - JrS Green, wr, 62. 210, Blount arlfTVaj I HS. Pritchard. Ala: Da- 1 nr l 11 tram Harria. wr, 62. 170, ' Westlaka HS, Atlanta; Brandon Johnaon, fb, 60, 220, Akna Bryant HS, Bayou La Batra, Ala; Robert Johnson, to, 66, 220, Jefferson Davis HS. Montgomery, Ala; Jerk Mcmtyra, wr, 6-1, 200, Tarnpa Catholic HS, Tampa; DeMarco McNeil, dl, 61. 300, Blount MoMo. Ala; Casalious Moore, rb. 60. 193, Anreston (Ala.) HS; Dexter Murphy, dl. 62. 240. LaGrange Ga.l HS; Mchael Owens, rb. 60. 210. Deshler (Ala.l HS; Don Page, defc, 63, 240. Foley (Ala.) HS; PhsMp Pate, db, 64. 190, Erwin HS, Birmingham, Ala; Mark Para, ol, 6-5, 290, Univarsity School, Memphis, Tenn; Trworks Robin-eon, wr, 8-10, 178, Coral Park HS, Miami; Ronald Samuel, og, 63, 255, Hardaway HS, Columbus, Ga; Stanford Simmons, db, 62, 200, Hargreves Military School; Dontamous Thomas, ol, 63, 190, Parry (Ge l HS; Allan Tiemen, qb. 62. 190, Newton (Miss.) HS; Reggie Torbar. rb. 63, 225. Robert E. Lea HS. Baton Ri uga, La; Randy Vkkers, db. 60, 190, Athens (Ga.) Hs; Frank Walker, dete, 63, 220, Hardaway HS, Columbus, Ga; MarcaH Willie, wr, 8-1, 178, Sandalwood HS, Jack- Georgia Kandrel Bel, h, 62. 240. Middle Georgia JC, Augusta, Ga; Josh BUtue, ol, 66. 300, GumoraviHe (Ala.l HS; Robert Brannon, ta, 64, 225, Independence HS. Chorions, N.C; Kevin Breedlove, ol, 65, 295, Daniel HS, damson, S.C; Reogia Brown, wr, (-2, 185, CarroUton (Ga.) HS; Decory Bryant, db, 8-11, 188, lake Highland Prep, Orlando; Dan-tra Clements, db, 6-11, 175, Eest Coweta HS, Sharpsburg, Ga; Kentrell Curry, db, 63, 186, Sta- phens Co. HS, Toccoa, Ga; vince Faison, db. 5-11. 192. Toombs Co. HS. Lyons, Ga; Demien Gary, wr, 610, 1(0. Clarke Cantral HS, Athena, Ga; Charles Grant lb, 64, 229. Millar Co. HS, Colquitt Ga; Daiuan Qrean, lb, 8-0, 190, Rainaa HS, Jacfceonvino; Chris Hewitt dl, 66, 250, Rome (Ga.) HS; Aku Jack eon, ol. 68, 310, Shanks HS, Ouincy; Michael Johnaon, wr, 64, 205, Union HS, Tulsa. Okla; Jonethon Kago, k, 62. 200. Pepperell HS, Silver Creek, Ga; Brett Kirouac, a, 61, 200, Dukith Ga. HS; Jessie Millar, lb, 61, 225, Washington Co. HS, TenniHe, Ga; Taverns Morgan, wr, 611, 1(5, Jackson G ) HS: Jason Radar, te. 65. 225, St. Albans (W Va ) HS; DureH Robinson, wr, 62, 200, Byrnes HS, Duncan, S C; Jonathan Sullivan, dl, 63, 265, Griffin (Ga ) HS; Bruce Thornton, rb. 60. 190, LaGrange (Ga.) HS; Ken Veal, dl, 63, 290, Cedartown (Ga. HS; Shedrick Wynfl, da, 63, 230, Lincoln Co. HS, Lincolnton, Ga. Kentucky Derek Abney, wr. 610. 165. Everest HS, Mosince, Wise; Draw Ashcratt ol. 65, 290. Paul Dunbar HS, Lexington, Ky; Jed Bessett db, 60. 187. Memorial HS. McAllen, Texas; Mike Beshara. lb, 63, 235, Highland HS, Dalles, Texas; Bobby Blizzard, ta, 6-7, 240, Hargrava (Vs Military Academy, Hampton, , fJ Va; Octavius Bond, wr, ' PSm 61. 185. Ml. Cermet HS. Chicago, IN; Tarrenca Calhoun, db. 510, 1(8, Reagan HS. Austin, Texas; Jonathan Chapman, rb, 61.1B8.PikevillelKv.IHS: Keith Chatelain, ol, 6-5, 325, Rummel HS. Konner, U; Ouerma Cumby. db. 61. 200. Clebume (Texaal HS; Jeremy Devia, lb. 63, 235, Fork Union Military Academy, Norlok. Va; Brandon DoggetL db. 54, 165, Valdosta IGa I MS. Menard Evans M, do, 6-4, 250, DuncanviHe (Texas) HS; Obs Grigsby. lb, 6-4 210, Judson HS, San Antonio, Texas; Charles Hamwright HI. db, 61 1, 180, Highland HS, elemental, N J; Jered Lorenren, qb. 64, 240. Highland HS. Fort Thomaa. Ky; Sylvester Miller, ol. 65. 290. Ml Carmel HS. Glanwood. M; William Orr, t 62, 240, AJbertveale (Ala I HS Artoee Pinner, rb, 611, 195. Hopkmrnlta (Ky.) HS aaady enroled); Brad Pyatt wr. 61, 188. West HS. Arvada. Colo: Sack Satze, dt 65. 255, Judson HS, Converse. Texas; Ernest Sanms, wr, 69. 165, Houston County HS. Warner Robins, Ga; Kip Sixbery. ol. 64. 315, Mullen HS, Littleton, Colo; Derek Smith, te, 6-6, 240, Highlands HS Saver Grove, Ky.; Derrick Tatum, db. 60, 190. Shaker Heajhts lOhnl HS; Duster Wyim, k. 68. 208, Middlesboro fly ) HS. Oamotto Voungbtood, dt 65. 240, North Clayton HS, Coeege Park. Ga. LSU Jonathan Autry. ol, 64. 290, Cecilia (La I HS; Paul Brousaard. ol. 64. 300. LaPorta Texas) HS; John CorbeHo, ol, 60. 205, St Thomaa More HS. Lafayette, La.; Jason Dan, ol. 64. 320, St Edmund's HS, Eunice. La.; Chna Daws. of. 60. 165. St Helena Cantral HS, Greensbunj, La; Dome Davie, dbrb. 610, 190. Braaux Bodge (La.) HS; Ranny Davia. da. 63, 215, St. Halene Cantral HS, Greene- Key West Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha New Smyrna Beach Ettrick (Va.) Matoaca Jacksonville Raines Bloomington (Ind.) South Jacksonville White Punta Gorda Charlotte Belle Glade Glades Central Tallahassee FAMU Fort Lauderdale Dillard Homestead Countryside Newberry Deerfield Beach Columbus (Ohio) Whitehall Miami Central B.Rouge (La.) Glen Oaks Belleview Jacksonville Raines Gainesville Buchholz DeLand burg. La.; Eric Edwards, ta, 65, 250, Ouachita Christian HS, Monroe, La.; Treverenca Faulk, lb, 63, 220, Lafayette (La. HS; Ahmad Harris, wr. 62, 176, University HS, Baton Rouge, La.; Demetrius Hookfm, db 611, 190, Kentwood U)HS;Bradie James, lb, (-3, 225, West Monroe U)HS;Daraoe James, h, 62, 239, Patterson (La.) HS; Prentie Jankina, lb, 60, 1(0, Holmes JC.Vida-Ka, La.; Donnio Jonas, p, 60, 200, Catholic HS, Baton Rouge, La.; Chad Lav alaia, tade, 1-3, 2(0, MarksvWa La.) HS; Norman LaJeuna, db, 62. 180, Brush (La.) HS; Jerel Myers, wr, 60, 175, Madiaon HS, Houston, Tens; Darya Patterson, db, 60, 1(5, dear Brook HS, Friendswood. Texas; Tarry Phillips, ta, 64, 295, Forest Brook HS, Houston, Texas; Rodney Reed, ol, 64, 265, West Monroe (la.) HS; Marvin Rkhey, dl, (4. 2(0, SW DeKalb HS-Berkshire Prep, Decatur, Ga.; Antral Seibar, qb, 61, 180, Independence (La.) HS; LaBrandon Toehold, rb, 60, 225, independence (La.) HS; Bryce Wyett, fb, 62, 230, Lake Charles, La., Bert HS. Mississippi Ian Bass, lblb, 60, 220, Brenwood Aca Nashville, Tenn; Las Binkley, pk. 69, 170. Northwest Mas. CC; Josh Cooper, de. 64, 220. Marietta (Ga.) HS; Lanier Goethie, , 60, 220, Appling County HS, Baxtey, Ga; Barnabas Harria, da, 63, 220. Eniley HS, Bimieigriem, Ala; Theo Harria, ol, 63, 290, Meigs Co. HS, Decatur, Tenn; Wmario Harrtz, rbdb, 611, 1(5, South Panola HS, Batasviba, Miss; Michael Hollinger, ol, 62, 300, Rummel HS, Materia, La; Von HutcMns, wr, 611, 1(5, Cathedral HS, Natchez, Miss; Let Jackson, wr, 64, 200, Marietta (Ga.) HS; Tommy Kerry, da, 67, 280, Provina HS, Jackson, Miss; EN Manning, qb. 64, 200, Newman HS, New Orleans; Kevin McKeiuic, ta, 65, 280, Arizona Western CC; Jeasa Mitchell, da, 62. 236, Moas Point (Miss.) HS; Jamil Northcutt, lb, 62, 235, Tullahoma (Tenn ) HS; Brandon Roddy, fbdl, 62, 255, RichwoodHS, Peoria, HI; Justin Sawyer, ta, 6-4, 275, Centrewee (Miss.) Aca; Was Scott, wrfs. 61, 1(5, University HS, Memphis, Tenn; Dannie Snyder, dl, 64, 265, Eudora (Ark.) HS; Tremame Turn er, rb, 610, 200, Springfield (Tenn.) HS; Justin Wada, lb, 64. 215, Jackson (Miss.) Prep; Robert Williams, rbkr, 5-9, 195, Gedaen (Ala.) HS; CNH Woodruff, da, 67, 255, Oxford IMiss.) HS; Marcus Woodson, db, 60, 180, Moas Point (Miss.) HS; Demetric Wright db, 611, 190, South Panola HS, BatesvMo, Miss. Mississippi St Wilke Blade, dl, 62 300. Butter Co. Kan. CC; Lennie Day. lb, 63. 240, Baker HS, Mobile. Ala; Kevin Fant qb, 62. 190, Moss Point (Mtis HS; Keshan Fudge, wr, 61, i(5, Hatrjeeburg (Mies.) HS; Toby Goiday, dl, 62, 295, Miss. Delta CC; Tamil Grindle, wr, 610, 170, Hettiesburg (Miss.) HS; Larry Huntington, dewr, 610, 1(5, East Miss. CC; Kamau Jackson, b. 61, 230, Douglas HS, Atlanta; Justin Jenkins, wr. 61, 200, Pearl IMiss.) HS; Adam Joiner, te, 63, 270, Jonea (Miss.) JC; Donakj Lee, lalb, 64, 226, Maben (Miss.) HS; Cory Milay, de, 64, 240, Mandarines (Mas.) HS; Jason Myers, 61. 64. 240, Vickabursj (Miss.) HS; Maaa Rancle, wr, 62, 190, Gentry HS, tndienola. Miss; Dwayna Robertson, to, 60, 220. Georgie Military Aca; Johnny Rutherford, db, 61, 190, Booker T. Washington HS, Atlanta: Kety Sdiumnart wr, 60, 1(0, Tupelo (Ms. HS; Fred Smoot, dt, 61, 176, Hinds (Miss.) CC; Derrick Thompson, ol, 64, 2(5, Leflore Co. HS, Itta Bene. Miaa; Eric Thompson, ol, 68, 295, Leflore Co. HS, Ma Bona, Miss: Donald Tucker, ol, 64, 308, Tupelo (Miss.) HS; Dontaa Wader, rb, 610, 200, Clinton IMiss.) HS; Tommy Watson, ol, 66, 300, Middle George Coeega; Zak West at, 61. 2(0, Carroll (Texas) HS. South Carolina Tan BaO, oL 62, 2(5, Holmes (Miss.) JC; Cleveland Pinckney, da, 62, 290, CopiaMJncoln CC, Sumter, S.C; Michael Ages, db, 611. 160, Morrow. Ga.; Jeff Barnes, dl, 65, 250, FayettaviHe (Ga.) HS.; James Bed. , 63, 230, Bishop McNarnaraHS.Fo-rastvilla, Md.; Ryan Brewer, rb, 5-10, 205, Troy (Ohio) HS.; Jason Capers, te, (-4, 242, Hartsvllla (S.C) HS.; Brian Bam, cb, 61, 1(0, North Augusta S.C.HS.;PatRaming,lb, 61, 220. Manning (S.C.) HS.;CJ.Ftya. 01.62, 290, Irmo (S.C.) HS.; Mlkal Oooctman, qb, (-3, 188, New Smyrna Baach HS.; Shane Hall, ol, 66, 299, Medford, N.J.; Joe Don Jordan, dl, 62, 290, RosweH, Ga.; Langston Moore, dl, 62, 275, Jamas Island (S.C.) HS.; Andrew Pmnock. fb, 61, 250, Woorrmekl (Conn.) HS.; Wrilw Swim, ol, 64, 280, Southwest MtMNsteppI aJC, Bradanton; Trevin Smith, rb, 60, 195. Berkeley (S.C) HS.; Isaac Stackhousa, qb, 611, 195, Dillon (S.C.) HS.; Rod Thomaa, (b, 61, 225, DeLand HS.; John Thompson, lb, 64, 230, Vermillion Catholic HS, Abbeville, La.; Derek Watson, rb, 61, 205, Palmetto HS, WiNiamston S.C; TreveUe Wharton, ol, 64, 300, Hitcraat (S C.) HS.; Tim Yarn, db, 8-10, 188. North Marion MS. Tennessee Greg Bamum, ol, 62, 2(0, Ellison HS, Killeen, Texas; Devon Davis, lb, 62, 225, McCallum HS, Austin, Texas; Troy Fleming, rblb, 63, 210, BatHa Ground Academy, Franklin, Tenn, Albert Heynesworth, dt 66, 310, HartsviHe (S C.) HS; Anthony Her-rera.ol. 62, 307. Barron Coliar HS, Naplaa; Ster-Hng Kaiaa, db, 62, 175, McArthur HS, Irving, Texas; Steven Lee, k, 611, 165, CHronotle (Ala.) HS; Eddie Moors, , 61, 210, S. Pittsburg (Tenn.) HS; Conatantin RHxmann, 8j,; S. da, 64, 240, N. Flonda Christian HS, TaHahaa- aea; Charias Robaraon, da, 68, 230. Craakside HS, Fan-bum, Ga; Anthony Sessions, db, 62, 215, Copiah Lincoln IMiss JC; Terriea Smalls, dl, 63, 330, Tkntoerland HS. St Pmevike, S.C; Chav Smith, (8. 63. 295. E Rutherford HS, Forest City. N C; Onterrio Smith, rbdb. 610. 180, Grant HS, Sacramento, CaW; AJ. Sugga. qb, 64. 205. McEach-am HS. Powder Springs, Ga; Scott Wets, ol. 64. 290. Brentwood Academy, Spring HW, Tenn; Kevin Young, da, 63, 240, Duncanville (Taxasl HS. Vanderbilt Mike Adam. , 63, 247, Wtwtnal HS. Hales Comer. Wis; KananAikan , ol, 67, 270, Paters Township HS, McMur-rey, Penn; Brett Beard, d 63, 260. Vestavia HS, Birmmg-ham, Ala; Duncan Cava, ol 61, 291, Navy. Greonevtae. Tenn; Ryan Cuttee, ath, 611, 190. Martin HS, Arlington, Taxea; MJ. Gar rett wr. 63. 195. Doneison kf-r Jtl Christian HS. Nashville; Roundrock HS, Roun-drock, Texas; Justin Gibo-ney, db, 60. 1(0, Cherry Creak, Englewood, Colo; Wee Guntar, te, 63, 235, Christian HS. Mobile Ala; Hunter HhWvneyer. fe. 64. 230, Montgomery Be Academy, Neshve; Maikeasua House, wr, 64, 200, Wononah HS, bVminoham, Ala: Mako Marrm. db, 0-10, 181, Jaauit HS, Tampa; Chria Mrtacek. rb. 611, 205. Cudehy HS. Cudehy. Wise; Jordan Perm, ol, 6-4, 274, Okve Branch HS, Olive Branch, Mas; Jonathan Shaub. rb. 60. 1(0, David Lipscomb HS. Brentwood, Tenn; Jason Tent ol, 63, 263, Herpeth. Pagram. Tenn: Ubnir Tebaaca, dl 8-3, 238, Pace HS, Mams; Benjamin. Wakar, qb 64, 206, Brentood Academy. Brentwood, Tenn; Doug Wottord, h, 63, 229, Lexington Catholic HS. Lennoton. Ky: Signed nanonal lettar but will not enrol until January, 2000 ft. ..v V3& No Mb Gators miss out on some big names, but fill their major need by stocking up on defensive linemen and linebackers. By JOANNE KORTH TlmaStflWritr GAINESVILLE It might have sounded like Florida coach Steve Spurrier was making excuses when he introduced his 1999 signing class on Wednesday. But he wasn't disappointed. Florida got everything it needed.' ( , V ' Just nothing more. "Maybe we don't need to be ranked No. 1 in the country in recruiting," Spurrier said. "I'd say we need to be at No. 5, 7 or 8 that's probably as good a spot as any. Then everyone's happy and away we go." The Gators' 22-member class includes three Parade Ail-Americans: linebacker Matt Farrior from Virginia, quarterback Rex Grossman from Indiana and defensive back Lito Sheppard from Jacksonville. Nineteen of the signees were named to various prep All-America teams. The Gators were in the running for the state's Mr. Football, quarterback Anquan Boldin of Paho-kee, and Parade All-America running back Nick Maddox of North Carolina, but both chose Florida State on Wednesday. "We always miss a bunch of guys," Spurrier said. "It amazes me we miss so many, too. I don't know how they pick the other schools, but they do But we seem to get the ones we really need." Florida's immediate need defense was met with 15 players, including six linemen and six linebackers. The Gators lost their entire front seven, plus two secondary players from the 10-2 team that beat Syracuse in the Orange Bowl. Only strong safety Rod Graddy and cornerback Bennie Alexander return. "It was crucial to sign some defensive linemen and some linebackers," Spurrier said. "We were able to do that. These young men could see the opportunity to play as freshmen on defense here." In addition to Sheppard and Farrior, the Gators signed several HOW THEY RATE Max Entfingar Nat Bhiachips Recruiting 1. Texas 2. Alabama 3. Georgia 4. Ohio State 5. (tie) Florida, Tennessee 7. (tie) LSU, Texas A&M 9. Mississippi State 10. (tie) Florida State, UCLA Bobby Burton, recruiting advisor 1. Texas 2. Ohio State 3. Notre Dame 4. UCLA 5. Texas A&M 6. Alabama 7. LSU 8. Tennessee 9. Miami 10. Michigan Tom Lemming, recruiting expert 1. Texas 2. Georgia 3. Notre Dame 4. Ohio State 5. Alabama 6. Texas A&M 7. UCLA 8. Michigan 9. Louisiana State (tie) Tennessee, FSU Recruit fromIC said. "When you go for the best, and nearly every one of these are, they won't commit quickly." Tuesday night, many analysts didn't expect the Seminoles to crack the top 25. Rankings differ because of numbers "Florida State would have swamped Texas (the consensus No. 1) ii it had as many scholarships," Lemming said but most analysts agreed that FSU, Florida and Miami will finish within the top 15. Florida was disappointed when it failed to sign Boldin and Maddox, and when New Orleans defensive back Albert Poree stuck with his oral commitment to Notre Dame. The Gators did sign Dillard linebacker Tron LaFavor, who chose UF over Miami, and Parade All-Americans Matt Farrior (LB), Rex Grossman (QB) and Lito Sheppard (WRDB). "Some will play as freshmen," coach Steve Spurrier said. "If you're playing a whole bunch of freshmen, it usually means you don't have a very good team. Our policy on freshmen is the same at fe fiHne ' ( Clint Mitchell of Countryside, above, follows in footsteps of brother Jeff in choosing UF. Lito Sheppard may be who Steve Spurrier had in mind when he talked about freshmen playing right away. !.rl,.i?"v:'fAi-v:i;:iV:'" 7 .' .. top defensive prospects, including Fort Lauderdale lineman Tron La-Favor the only player to pick Florida on the final day Jacksonville linebacker Byron Hardmon, Virginia lineman Tony Charles, Miami lineman Arpedge Rolle and DeLand lineman Roy Williams. y Vernon Carey, OL, Miami Northweste- Andre Johnson, WP Miami Senior all positions. If he can play and contribute, we'll play him." Miami signed 22 recruits, restoring the program to 85 scholarship players for the first time in coach Butch Davis' tenure. "It takes a lot of hard work to build a program to a point where you have 85 quality players," Davis said. NCAA violations stripped the Hurricanes of 35 scholarships from 1995-97, and Davis was allowed the full allotment of 25 scholarships for the first time last year. This year, he filled the slots with 14 Floridians, including two All-Americans: Offensive lineman Vernon Carey, who did not give up a sack during his last two seasons at Miami Northwestern; and Miami High's Andre Johnson, who is considered one of the top receiver prospects in the country. Miami also signed tailback Jar-rett Payton, son of NFL all-time rushing leader Walter Payton. All-America tailback Jason Geathers remained undecided between Miami and West Virginia. Texas solidified this season's top recruiting class when quarterback Chris Simms, son of former New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms, backed off a commitment to Tennessee and signed with the Longhorns on Wednesday. That gave second-year coach Mack Brown USA Todays Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year (linebacker Cory Redding of KEY Times Blue C I dAII-Amer:. S (All-Amerlcanc; bM fa? $$uwm th", ,4' A TlrraiiplXJto-JOANKAMLreVrON Special to the Timet "We're a speed team," recruiting coordinator Jim Collins said. "We prefer to get leaner type players and let them grow into their positions." Offensively, the Gators lost just three starters, which explains why Spurrier took losing Boldin and v I h I ) K ' "v ...i. '! i (i-rjiw 'a..,.-; , Stacking the chips Signees from Florida, Florida State and Miami who are All-Americans Parade, SuperPrep or USA Todafl andor members of the Timesf Blue Chip List this year: . Ettrick, Va. I LKo Sheppard, CC, Jacksonville Ralnc f Rex Grossman. - Bloomington, Ind aVltis, i I i X. Va; t-.'- ' J, ) Times photo - TONY LOPEZ Jesuit running back William Glover, a top area player, celebrates with his mother, Dorshae, after signing with Georgia Tech. Houston also signed). "We only called 35 guys and we got 28 of them," Brown said. "A lot of guys said they wanted to go to Texas. That made it easy." Said Lemming: "They got more blue chips than everyone else. They're not a runaway leader it's close with Georgia and Notre Dame but overall they deserve Maddox in stride. The Gators have plenty of quarterbacks and running backs, Spurrier said. So many, in fact, that former Chamberlain High tailback Eugene McCaslin, who started the last four games of the regular season in place of injured Terry Jackson, is moving to strong safety for his senior season. Returning sophomores Earnest Graham and Robert Gillespie will do the bulk of the rushing, Spurrier said. For the first time in Spurrier's nine years, Florida did not sign an offensive lineman. But four starters return all but left tackle Zach Filler and 14 offensive linemen already are on scholarship. Though Florida's recruiting! class might not be among the na-j tion's top five, it was unique to the Gators for a variety of reasons: After signing just five playersj from south Florida in the previous) three years, the Gators parlayed the exposure of playing in the OrJ ange Bowl into six recruits fromj that region this year. The Gators tried a different strategy with their on-campus visits, bringing nearly 25 players in on the same weekend in mid-January. "We were really nervous about that, but there was a camaraderie that developed among a lot of those players," Collins said. "They wanted to play together." Florida also signed four so-called 'legacies," players with relatives who played or coached for the Gators. Countryside defensive lineman Clint Mitchell's brother, Jeff, was a center on the 1996 national championship team. Jacksonville wide receiver Derrick Gaffney's father, Derrick, was a UF wide receiver and his uncle, Don Gaffney, a UF quarterback in the 1970s. Newberry linebacker Mike Nat-tiers uncle, Ricky, was a wide receiver in the 1980s. And Gainesville quarterback Chris Stephens' father, Jimmy Ray, is the offensive line coach. "I think it's a plus when you're sitting around here wondering whether or not to offer a player (a scholarship) and you realize he really wants to play for the Gators," Spurrier said. "Terry Jackson, Travis McGriff, Chris Doering all those guys had a Gator connection. Just about all of them really do well." A "JHjuan BovJLi, C I . Pahokee I Kendyil Pott, Lr Lake City Colurr.wr. JeffWomble,DT, Dunwoody, Ga. 2am ell Dockett, DZt Burtonsville, Md. - Nick Maddox, RB, - Kannapolis, N.C. Times art 9 s life it. They've got 28 kids, so it's a deep class as well." Notre Dame's top-three class included Jesuit tight end Gary Godsey, who played quarterback his senior year, and offensive lineman Jeff Faine of Sanford Semi- " nole, a Times blue chipper. Staff writer Pete Young and Times wires contributed to this report I ri -' m i n - ti .aiailO tfcl.ailitaiaii.a.

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