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Finding the right fit for college

TAMPA — The annual signing day chaos won't be the same this season. This year, most of Hillsborough County's top prospects have already made their oral commitments. Heck, former Plant quarterback Aaron Murray and former Gaither running back Jarvis Giles are already studying college playbooks and enrolled at Georgia and South Carolina, respectively. But with just two weekends until National Letter of Intent Day on Feb. 4, a handful of Hillsborough County football players have yet to make their college decisions. And as schools and athletes narrow their choices we present the county's top 10 list of the best remaining recruits.

1. Orson Charles, Plant

Position: WR, TE

Height/weight: 6-3/220

Considering: FSU, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, USC

Down to the wire: The ultimate matchup nightmare at receiver, big-name coaches like Florida State's Bobby Bowden and USC's Pete Carroll visited Plant last weekend to speak with Charles, who made visits to FSU and Florida the past two weeks and has plans to visit Georgia, Tennessee and USC the next three weekends.

2. Dontae Aycock, Chamberlain

Position: QB

Height/weight: 5-11/215

Considering: Louisville, Georgia Tech, Illinois

Down to the wire: Chiefs coach Billy Turner said Aycock will likely wait for signing day to announce his decision. The biggest question is where Aycock's future lies on the football field, at quarterback or running back.

3. Jairus Jones, Wharton

Position: RB, DB, KR

Height/weight: 6-2/210

Considering: Michigan State, Iowa, Oklahoma State

Down to the wire: Jones said he has offers from those three schools. Notre Dame and Syracuse have offered, but Jones said they are "a little late coming to the table." He will travel to Iowa today and Oklahoma State next weekend. Then expect a decision.

4. Petey Smith, Armwood

Position: LB

Height/weight: 6-1/245

Considering: Alabama, Auburn

Down to the wire: Smith said Thursday he has canceled a visit to Auburn this weekend. He walked away from his visit to Alabama impressed. His mother, Lakisa, said one of Petey's dreams is to line up head-to-head against older brother Eric, a running back at Auburn, in the Iron Bowl.

5. Hunter Stout, Wharton

Position: OL

Height/weight: 6-4/266

Considering: Louisville, Auburn, Colorado

Down to the wire: Better to bloom late than never. Stout visited Louisville last week and has plans to visit Auburn this weekend.

6. Anthony Williams, Chamberlain

Position: WR

Height/weight: 6-2/205

Considering: Troy, Rutgers, Toledo

Down to the wire: The big-play receiver who caught 13 touchdowns this season received an offer from Toledo this week. He is visiting Troy this weekend and Rutgers the next.

7. Darren Baker, Hillsborough

Position: OT

Height/weight: 6-5/265

Considering: FAU, Marshall

Down to the wire: Baker was close to committing to FAU in recent days, but Hillsborough coach Earl Garcia said Marshall just emerged Thursday and Baker will make an official visit there today.

8. Cole Gilliam, Durant

Position: OT

Height/weight: 6-5/310

Considering: Idaho, FIU, Elon

Down to the wire: Big tackle recently picked up offer from Idaho and should have more to come. FAU, Charleston Southern, Fordham and Texas Tech have also been interested.

9. Andrew Clifford, Wharton

Position: QB

Height/weight: 6-3/215

Considering: South Carolina, several others

Down to the wire: Clifford received a visit this week from Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier. No scholarship offer was made, but Clifford was invited for an on-campus visit.

10. Rob Jones, Armwood

Position: WR, KR, PR, QB

Height/weight: 5-10/170

Considering: Middle Tennessee State, Delaware, Georgia Southern

Down to the wire: Speedy open-field talent is Armwood quarterback Mywan Jackson 2.0, and colleges honing in on Armwood's name recognition have taken notice late in the recruiting season.

Five more to watch:

Hunter Baldwin, Plant: Western Michigan has offered the DB, but he might choose Georgetown or Elon.

Luis Polanco, Middleton: OL has tremendous upside, finalists of FAU, Western Kentucky and Tennessee Tech.

Javon Mention, Plant: County's sack leader (23) owns offers from FIU, Elon, Georgia Southern.

Antonio Wallace, Tampa Bay Tech: Multidimensional WR/DB has offer from South Dakota.

Ed Williams, Alonso: Attending three schools in two years hurt WR. Louisville, Connecticut and Troy have shown interest.

Finding the right fit for college 01/22/09 [Last modified: Thursday, January 22, 2009 11:58pm]
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