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USF gains third commitment from Armwood

Armwood offensive guard Jake Griffin followed the path of two high school teammates, orally commiting to South Florida on Sunday.

The 6-foot-4, 295-pound captain of the Hawks' 2003 state championship team made his decision after an official visit to Tennessee.

"I think it was a huge weight off his shoulders," Armwood coach Sean Callahan said. "USF has just recruited our guys so much more intensely than any other school, which was nice to see."

Griffin joined defensive lineman Jariette Buie and wide receiver/defensive back Mike Williams, both of whom committed this month. Griffin received offers from more than 30 Division I schools, including Florida State and LSU. He was scheduled to visit FSU, but will not take the trip.

The Bulls received a second commitment from Lake Mary's Randy Jackson (6-2, 260). Jackson, who picked USF over Southern Miss and Troy State, played primarily offensive line but is expected to play defensive tackle for the Bulls.

FSU GETS MR. FOOTBALL: Daytona Beach Seabreeze quarterback Xavier Lee (6-4, 200 pounds), Florida's Mr. Football and the state's third-best prospect according to the Times, orally committed to Florida State, warchant.com reported. Lee announced his decision at his high school banquet. He is the second Florida quarterback to commit to FSU, joining Drew Weatherford of Land O'Lakes.

"When it came down to it, I had to go where my family is and where my heart is," Lee told the Web site. He also considered Auburn and Texas.

Melbourne Palm Bay wide receiver Xavier Carter (6-3, 190), the Times' Blue Chip (top prospect) player of the year, orally committed to LSU, floridatoday.com reported. Lee, who plans to play football and run track, chose his mother Michele's alma mater over Florida, FSU and Miami. "I just feel like LSU's offense fits me because they pass the ball down the field," Carter told the Web site.

TRACK AND FIELD: UF's Candice Scott set the collegiate record in the weight throw, and the men's 4x400-meter relay team of Sekou Clarke, Reggie Witherspoon, Rickey Harris and Kerron Clement had the nation's fastest time (3:09.42) at the SEC Invitational in Gainesville. Scott's throw of 74 feet, 10{ inches topped the 74-6{ set last week by teammate Kim Barrett.

BASEBALL

Beleaguered A-Rod named captain

Alex Rodriguez was appointed captain of the Rangers after a tense offseason in which the team almost dealt the American League MVP to the Red Sox. Rodriguez met for five hours with owner Tom Hicks, general manager John Hart and manager Buck Showalter. "I definitely think I'm going to be here for a long time," Rodriguez said.

NO MORE FOR MO: Injured Mets first baseman Mo Vaughn said Friday his major-league career is over. "My career is over. I have an injury no doctor can fix, but I have no regrets," Vaughn said, according to a Boston Globe report. Vaughn announced Jan. 8 he would not play this season and was doubtful for 2005 because of his arthritic left knee.

URBINA CASE DISMISSED: A Venezuelan judge threw out charges against former Marlins closer Ugueth Urbina, who was arrested for firing gunshots into the air in a Caracas neighborhood. Judge Ludmila Pinto ruled Urbina fired his gun in self-defense when a man on a motorcycle tried to rob him, the pitcher's lawyer, Andres Peinado, told El Universal newspaper. Police arrested Urbina early Friday for firing a gun out the passenger window of a sport utility vehicle.

OBITUARIES

Netherlands Olympian won four golds

Fanny Blankers-Koen, who won a record four golds in track and field for the Netherlands at the 1948 Olympics, died in Amsterdam. She was 85. The International Association of Athletics Federations named her the best female athlete of the 20th century in 1999. She won four of the nine track and field events at the London Olympics. The only others to win four golds in track and field in a single Olympics were Jesse Owens (1936, Berlin) and Carl Lewis (1984, Los Angeles). Another medalist at the 1948 Games, Lennart Strand, died in Stockholm. Strand, who was 82, won silver for Sweden in the 1,500.

MOTORCYCLES: Jason Ciarletta, 19, was killed Saturday during an AMA Supercross qualifying race in San Diego, flying over the handlebars and crashing as his parents watched from the stands. It was the first death in Supercross.

SOCCER: A striker from Hungary's national team died after collapsing on the field during a Portuguese league match. Miklos Feher, 24, died of cardiac arrest, UEFA said on its Web site.

ET CETERA

GREYHOUNDS: Cayman Went continued streaking Saturday, posting his 14th straight win in a track-record 30.02 seconds. In an earlier Sprint Classic qualifier, WW Apple Jax tied the mark of 30.15 set by Talentedmrripley. Round 2 of the Sprint Classic is Wednesday.

SOCCER: Brazil was eliminated from the Athens Olympics after a 1-0 loss to Paraguay in South American qualifying in Chile. Brazil has won the World Cup a record five times, but has never won Olympic gold. MLS' Chicago agreed to a deal that would give the team a $70-million stadium. Since its inaugural season in 1998, the Fire has played mostly at Soldier Field, home of the NFL's Chicago Bears.

_ EMILY NIPPS, PETE YOUNG, FRANK PASTOR

VERA FILIPELLI, TIMES WIRES

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