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Tampa Bay recruiting notebook

Wharton’s Marvin Murray was a first-team all-Western Conference pick but says a 3-7 season hurt his chances of getting noticed.

Special to the Times

Wharton’s Marvin Murray was a first-team all-Western Conference pick but says a 3-7 season hurt his chances of getting noticed.

As the class of 2011 rounds into final form before signing day Wednesday — Hillsborough's Jamie Knott and Andre Gunn, Plant's Eric Patterson and Bobby Richardson, and Hudson's Gary Myrick are taking visits hoping to nail down a decision — some Tampa Bay area standouts are still hoping to pick up their first offer, such as Wharton WR Marvin Murray.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder flew to West Virginia on Saturday morning, hopeful of landing an offer from West Liberty, which he said he would probably accept on the spot.

Murray is off the recruiting radar despite good size and speed and a senior season that resulted in 31 catches for 570 yards and seven total touchdowns.

He was the team offensive MVP for the Wildcats and a first-team All-Western Conference pick, but a 3-7 record didn't help raise his profile.

He doesn't describe the process as frustrating, and he has remained upbeat while looking for a school.

A month ago, West Liberty called him. Murray was told people there were impressed by the film on him and wanted him to visit.

"I'm excited," said Murray, who is visiting with teammate and S Tanner Stocker, whose father is a West Liberty graduate. "Being on a 3-7 team, it was kind of hard to get noticed. It's good to go a big-name school, but if you can go anywhere that gives you a good education and you can play football, you have to be excited by it."

West Liberty is a Division II school in West Liberty, W. Va., and last season was ranked No. 8 in the preseason.

The team finished 7-3, averaged 46 points a game and scored 82 in one of its regular-season contests.

Hilltoppers QB Zach Amedro threw for more than 4,000 yards, and the team had six players with at least 400 yards receiving, numbers that excite the offensive-minded Murray. He has done his research and likes what he sees.

"I don't want to jinx myself," he said.

QB Weatherford chooses Cincinnati

Land O'Lakes QB Stevie Weatherford, a former USF commitment, verbally committed to Cincinnati on Saturday. That ends a tumultuous two-month stretch during which he was suspended for the final two games of his prep career, decided to get away from the bay area and declined the USF offer. Weatherford, who graduated in December, is expected to sign Wednesday and enroll in March.

His Land O'Lakes teammate TE Kent Taylor picked up an offer from Florida State at the school's junior day in Tallahassee, said his prep coach, Matt Kitchie, who is now offensive coordinator at Hillsborough.

AS THE CROW FLIES: West Liberty All-America quarterback Amedro is graduating, but Murray said his possible replacement was joining him on his visit: former Countryside QB L.D. Crow, who signed with Stanford out of high school and was at UCF last season.

Crow, a three-star prospect, ended behind Andrew Luck at Stanford and Jeff Godfrey at UCF.

basketball: Ohio State is visiting Palm Harbor University 6-foot G Kristine Fuller on Tuesday. Fuller is averaging more than 20 points a game for the Hurricanes and had a game last week in which she was 18-for-18 from the free-throw line.

She also has received interest from Eckerd and Utah State.

"The biggest thing is, she's a 6-foot guard and can play either the point or shooting guard," PHU coach Darian Dublin said. "To have a girl that tall playing that position, you don't see that all the time. She can post up, she can face the basket, she rebounds and blocks shots and runs the floor very well."

John C. Cotey can be reached at (813) 406-0530 or johncotey@gmail.com.

Tampa Bay recruiting notebook 01/29/11 [Last modified: Saturday, January 29, 2011 9:45pm]

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