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County athletic director targets Zephyrhills football program for recruiting

A recruiting investigation at Zephyrhills has resulted in the removal of a volunteer football assistant and could result in further action, Pasco County athletic director Phil Bell said Friday.

Bell, who is leading the investigation, declined further comment when asked if Jerrell Cogmon remained head coach.

Zephyrhills assistant Abel Robinson was let go Thursday after admitting to improper communication with students at Wesley Chapel. Robinson said football players from Wesley Chapel, where he is an instructional aide for special education and coached last season, contacted him via text message once he took a coaching post with Zephyrhills.

Cogmon, who was hired in April after longtime coach Tom Fisher retired, had no comment.

The Florida High School Athletic Association prohibits contact between coaches and athletes from different schools. The FHSAA also prohibits students from following coaches to new schools.

"They asked where I was at and why I wasn't on 7-on-7, things like that," Robinson said. "Yeah, I was talking to kids. I talk to everybody. It's the same way I talk to kids at Zephyrhills that I coached at the middle school."

The investigation began after Wesley Chapel alleged Robinson had recruited sophomore-to-be Jamal Roberts to Zephyrhills. Robinson adamantly denies recruiting anyone but admits he did communicate with students, including Roberts.

Robinson said Roberts moved into Zephyrhills' district to live with his grandfather because of discipline problems.

"(His mother) said: 'That's it. I'm out of here (Wesley Chapel). I don't want you hanging with those kids,' " Robinson said. "They live in Pasco's zone, but she didn't want him going to Dade City so she had him move in with his grandpa."

Investigators also asked Robinson about recruiting Wesley Chapel senior-to-be and tight end Chris Pierre Charles.

"Chris and I had an in-depth conversation about him not transferring," Robinson said. "He told the guy at (Florida International) he was going to go to Pasco. The guy from FIU said if you transfer I'm going to take your scholarship away. … We talked about him not even leaving Wesley Chapel."

Izzy Gould can be reached at igould@sptimes.com.

County athletic director targets Zephyrhills football program for recruiting 08/07/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 5:41pm]
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