Plenty of area talent remaining

Published: Thursday, January 29, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 29, 2004 at 12:56 a.m.

Football's National Signing Day is just six days away, and I'm about to go crazy asking all these kids, coaches and parents about college.


Area commitments

The following local high school football players have made college commitments:

  • Andre Copeland, Columbia, RB, 5-9/185, South Florida

  • Yannick Brown, Columbia, LB, 6-2/185, Troy State

  • Derrick Fulton, Columbia, CB, 5-10/175, North Carolina

  • Marcus Edwards, Lafayette, WR, 6-0/165, South Florida

  • Immanuel Hutcherson, Palatka, OL, 6-3/270, Connecticut

  • Donald Fondren, Chiefland, DT, 6-4/290, Charleston Southern

  • Antonio Hall, Bradford, DL, 6-2/252, Florida Atlantic

  • But with the kind of senior class the area has this year, those phone calls and sit-downs are a very necessary part of the job.

    Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be one of those Internet goofballs creating rumors and thus, giving themselves the power to cause temporary heart tremors for fans all the way from Coral Gables to Tallahassee, reaching all points in between.

    Ethics won't allow me to tell you Hawthorne's Cornelius Ingram will be attending Florida State because the football and basketball standout also wants to add baseball to his resume and the Seminoles are the only ones OK with that.

    That would be a lie (and also would have the Gator Nation furious with Pat McMahon).

    However, I can speculate on where some of the area's top remaining uncommitteds might land. So, here goes:

  • Rashaun Jones, Columbia DB - An FSU fan since childhood, Jones dropped the Seminoles very early in the recruiting process because he was unhappy with what he felt was the unfair treatment of former teammate Eric Thomas. For those who don't know the story, Thomas said he had a scholarship offer from FSU last year only to be ignored for months by Seminole coaches. He signed with South Florida, and the Tigers left behind vowed revenge. My guess is Jones will sign with Miami, although teammate Derrick Fulton's recent commitment to North Carolina could make the Tar Heels more appealing.

  • George Timmons, Columbia RB/DB/WR - A longtime Miami fan, Timmons has an offer from the Hurricanes, and I expect him to sign there. Again, UNC will be enticing, especially if Jones joins Fulton there.

  • Eric Rutledge, P.K. Yonge RB/OLB - The longtime Gator fan got the offer he wanted last Sunday, and my guess is it's only a short matter of time before he commits to UF over East Carolina and South Carolina. An in-home visit from Ron Zook on Wednesday night may have sealed it.

  • Marcus Baker, Hawthorne WR - One of the best stories of this recruiting season, Baker entered his senior year unheralded and practically unknown but showcased himself when college coaches came out to watch Ingram. Now, an offer from Florida could be forthcoming. I expect Baker to slide an orange and blue cap on his head Feb. 4.

  • Cornelius Ingram, Hawthorne QB - This is the trickiest situation of all to read. The country's No. 1 athlete now lists FSU, Florida and South Florida even, according to Hornets' coach James Haynes. It would have been easy to assume last Sunday that the Seminoles would be dropped from consideration when Daytona Beach Seabreeze's Xavier Lee became FSU's second quarterback (along with Land O'Lakes' Drew Weatherford) to commit. However, a day-long visit from Bobby Bowden on Monday helped Ingram realize even more why he thinks so highly of the Seminoles, even though he lives just 20 minutes from Gainesville. And with Zook visiting the school and attending Hawthorne's banquet Wednesday, Ingram probably began to think even more about how much he has enjoyed being around the Gator program for many years. A trip to gaining-momentum-fast USF Wednesday night and Thursday surely will give Ingram even more to ponder.

    I've talked to Ingram many times about recruiting and he's always been polite with answers to questions he probably gets asked hundreds of times daily. And looking at his face, you can tell he is torn, but also feels whatever decision he makes is a can't-lose. My guess is Florida, but nothing would surprise me.

    Now, let's get signing day over before I'm committed.

    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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