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Gibbs graduate sets All-America goal

Gibbs graduate Bryan Odom, a sophomore at Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College, has his eyes set on earning All-America recognition at a four-year college and going on to a career in the National Football League.

Odom, 6-3, 270 pounds, is a defensive tackle with the No. 8 team (4-1) among the nation's junior colleges. He has been named defensive player of the week four times this season.

"What I try to do _ step 1 _ is beat the man in front of me," said Odom in a telephone interview. "Then, after I dominate him, I go for the ball carrier. But basically, in our defensive scheme, linemen try to create a lane for the linebackers to come up and make the tackle."

The University of Nebraska is No. 1 on Odom's list for his final two years. "I'm also being recruited by the University of California," Odom said. "And I've got to give some consideration to the Florida colleges because it would be nice if my parents had a chance to see me play. But I'm just going to continue to play good this season then sit down with them in the spring and decide. Hopefully, I'll make All-America somewhere and get a chance to play in the NFL."

Odom is on full scholarship at Fort Scott , studying business administration. He credits former Gibbs coach Jack Erwin, his junior year coach, with helping him develop good work habits.

More football: Northeast graduate Dante Gilliam, a teammate of Odom's last year at Fort Scott, transferred to Hofstra University where he is starting at outside linebacker for the 2-3 Division I-AA Flying Dutchmen from Hempstead, N.Y. He's credited with 20 tackles this year and three passes broken up.

Clearwater High graduates Kevin Jackson and Matt Valone are continuing as teammates at Delta State, a Division II program in Mississippi. Jackson starts at linebacker. He's 6-1, 240 pounds, and a transfer from Northwest Mississippi Community College. Valone, 6-1, 260, is a backup offensive guard.

Another former Clearwater Tornado, Ragen Gregory, has made an immediate impact with the Copiah-Lincoln Wolves of Wesson, Miss. The first time he carried the ball last Saturday, he ran it for a broken field 65-yard TD score. He plays wide receiver and wing back.

"Ragen has a tremendous amount of speed and acceleration," said Bob Ricketts, an assistant coach at the junior college. "He's doing a real good job here, even though he's playing with a hip pointer. There's one thing about players that have come here from the Tampa Bay area over the years _ they are tough and come to play. It's obvious Ragen hasn't been babied; he's had good, stern high-school coaching."

Soccer: Tarpon Springs graduates Kristie DeMeritte and Tanya Naumann are still teammates in college. They play for Lees McRae, an NAIA college in Banner Elk, N.C. The team is 9-2 with DeMeritte playing midfield and Naumann is a defender.Seminole graduate Michelle Demko, a former Times Player of the Year, scored the winning goal for Barry University last week in the Buccaneers' 3-1 victory over Lewis University.

Cross country: Boca Ciega graduate Dan Clark, a junior at the University of Florida, placed fourth of 99 runners in Saturday's Barnett Bank Invitational at Gainesville as the Gators swept the first five places.

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