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Kruger looking forward to using football recruit

Steve Spurrier is getting a better deal than Lon Kruger on this one _ but only because the football coach is going to get Tony Davis for a full season.

Davis, a 5-foot-10 senior at Chipley High, is considered by some to be the best prep running back in the state. Others say he is one of the best point guards in the state. Either way, he is Florida's most heralded two-sport athlete in a few years.

Davis, after some last-minute waffling, signed with UF last week to play football full-time while dabbling in basketball in the off-season.

"If he's playing strictly basketball, he's as good as any of the guards Florida has got now," Chipley basketball coach Rickey McCullough said. "An (assistant coach) from Connecticut said he was up and down the East Coast and Tony was as good a guard as he had seen. They were ready to sign right then."

Davis, the half-brother of former FSU running back Amp Lee, is averaging 28 points and 10 assists a game in basketball after rushing for 877 yards and gaining 700 yards receiving during the football season.

McCullough said Davis may decide to concentrate on one sport later in his career but was adamant about playing both as a freshman.

Kruger was not overly encouraging when wide receiver Willie Jackson walked on with the basketball team in 1990-91. Jackson never even got in a game last season. But Jackson is not as highly regarded as Davis.

"Tony has all of the tools. He shoots the three very well, he's very quick and has great vision on the floor," Kruger said. "When football finishes, we'll welcome him to the basketball team. It'll be a hard transition, but there are people around the country who have played both sports well. We'll throw him right into practice and we'll understand it'll take time to get acclimated and comfortable."

Going for No.

1: After getting off to a 5-0 start, the UF baseball team is ranked second, one point behind top-ranked Wichita State (0-0) in the Collegiate Baseball Top 25 poll. The Gators are third in the Baseball America poll, behind Miami (3-0) and Wichita State.

Stick to football: While awaiting training camp for his second season with the WLAF's Orlando Thunder, former UF quarterback Kerwin Bell is keeping busy as a girls high school basketball coach in Gainesville.

Bell's wife, Cosette, is the varsity girls basketball coach at Eastside High and hired Kerwin as her junior-varsity coach and varsity assistant. His JV team started off the year 3-8.

A second center of attention: The more than 10,000 people who jammed into the O'Connell Center last Wednesday were captivated by LSU behemoth Shaquille O'Neal. But LSU coach Dale Brown was impressed by the other center on the court: Florida's Andrew DeClercq, a freshman from Countryside High.

"I told DeClercq after the game he's going to be a great player in this league. He's one of the best freshman around," Brown said. "I know it may sound stupid after we won by 20, but by his senior year, he'll be a star.

"We were shocked at how well he ran the court because we think no big man runs the court as well as Shaquille. But he beat Shaq down a couple times."

Final recruiting word: Now that he's gotten his 25 recruits signed, Spurrier can afford to joke about the perilous process of wooing high school football players.

Spurrier: "There are a lot of reasons why a young man would choose a school. I keep reading where they all want to feel comfortable on their visits. We're going to get a bunch of comfortable chairs around here, I guess."

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