Ingram hasn't ruled out Gators

Published: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 at 1:15 a.m.

When Florida got a commitment from Charlotte Independence's All-American quarterback Chris Leak, much of the sting an 8-5 season and the late play-calling blunder in the Outback Bowl loss to Michigan had on the Gator Nation was lessened.

UF fans were happy again, but what about one potential Class of 2004 recruit?

Hawthorne's 6-foot-5 quarterback/basketball swingman Cornelius Ingram is well-known as someone both Ron Zook and Billy Donovan would love to have in orange and blue. And Ingram, while never saying the Gators are No. 1 on his list, has never been shy about saying Florida is a place he is very seriously considering.

Did Leak's decision impact Ingram's future?

"Not really," Ingram said after Friday night's hoops victory against P.K. Yonge. "But when (Leak) did make his announcement, I did think about it. (Counting returning Gators Ingle Martin, Gavin Dickey, Patrick Dosh and commitments Leak and Punta Gorda Charlotte's Justin Midgett) that's going to be a lot of guys at my position and (all but Martin, who will be a junior) will be just sophomores (or redshirt freshmen) when I get there.

"Florida's still right around the lead, but the decision is going to be pretty hard for me."

SWINGING GATES: The 2004 senior class is shaping up to be possibly the most highly-touted group of athletes in area history.

In addition to the expected great deal of Division I signings in sports across the board, Ingram already has found himself listed by floridakids.net as the No. 1 football prospect in the state (and second in basketball by break-down.com), P.K. Yonge volleyball player Marcie Hampton is rated tops nationally by studentsports.com, and now, Buchholz's Bobby Gates, Jr. has been named the world's No. 2 junior boys golfer by golfweek.com.

Gates, with a 69.80 rating, is just behind Oklahoma State signee Tyler Leon of Dallas, who has a 69.58 mark - which, for now at least, means Gates could be considered the No. 1 high school junior on the planet.

Gates is 24-1 against the rest of the world's top 25 junior golfers.

BRANDON FAN: Gainesville High's 171-pound junior standout Nick Davis (22-0 after winning his weight class at "The Storm of the Century" last weekend) has a lot of respect for the program at Brandon High School, which has won more than 350 consecutive dual meets.

In fact, Davis's appreciation for the Eagles goes beyond just admiration from afar.

"They're in the top 20 in the nation, and I think they could be top 5 if they traveled to big out-of-state meets," Davis said. "Half of the team is All-Americans and they have a lot of past and potential state champions. What a lineup! I mean seriously (pointing to the 189-pound final), Matt Juncal is a beast and one of the best there is. The whole team is almost like that.

"I actually told my dad (Jeff) that I wanted to wrestle for them this year. I would have loved to have moved to that area to be a part of that team.

"But, I do like it here, and I think (the coaches at GHS) do a great job."

Incidentally, one of the three weight classes Brandon did not have a finalist at "The Storm of the Century" was 171.

VISITS: Suwannee running back/safety/linebacker Lyn Gross, The Sun's 2002 large school player of the year, says he has a pair of visits set up.

Gross will see Florida State on Jan. 24 and Florida A&M the next weekend. He says trips to Florida, Georgia and Vanderbilt may also happen.

John Patton is The Sun's high school sports editor. You can reach him by calling 374-5074 or by e-mail at pattonj@gvillesun.com.

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