Columbia football has new UF connection

Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 12:09 a.m.

Gator fans, the hiring of Craig Howard as the new football coach at Columbia means you could be watching many future Florida players if you make the trip to Lake City on Friday nights in the fall.

"I am really close to the Gator coaches," said Howard, who coached Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow at Ponte Vedra Beach Nease. "I want to make (Columbia) a pipeline to the Gators."

In the past the Tigers have sent numerous players to FSU (defensive end Reinard Wilson and safety Jerome Carter to name two), but not many to UF. Howard added he would help a player go wherever he wanted, not just Florida.

The last Columbia player to sign with UF was safety Tre Orr in 2000.

DISHING: Eastside sophomore point guard Dennis Mavin has developed into one of the most enjoyable to watch local players.

But who would he pay to watch play (he wasn't allowed to select himself or a teammate)?

"I'd say Kenny (Williams, Columbia's senior)," said Mavin, who scored 15 points in the Rams' victory against Gainesville High School last Friday. "He and I play the same position, and I like the way he plays and what he can do.

"Also, I like watching (GHS junior shooting guard) Greg (Gantt)."

DUCKY: Former Taylor County running back LaGarrette Blount has signed a national letter of intent to play for Oregon.

Playing the last two seasons at Scooba (MS) East Mississippi Community College, the 6-foot-2, 235-pound Blount became one of the nation's most heavily recruited JUCO players.

Blount listed Southern Mississippi, Florida State, Kansas State, Louisville and Memphis as his other finalists.

A ROCK: Vytas Sulskis, a 2007 first-team all-state swingman for The Rock, is having a pretty good freshman year at Division I Youngstown State.

Through 18 games, the 6-7 Sulskis is averaging 8.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists. He scored a career-high 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting (4-of-6 from three-point range) in an 80-68 victory against Illinois-Chicago on Jan. 3.

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