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QB does what he can to catch on

Allen Suber has no doubt he could play quarterback in the NFL.

But he isn't taking any chances.

Despite setting numerous records at quarterback for Bethune-Cookman, the 5-foot-9, 185-pound Suber is making a bold move with the hope of catching the eyes of professional scouts.

He's no longer under center.

Meet the new Suber, a wide receiver and return specialist.

"I'm not going to be boneheaded," Suber said. "I know what I have to do."

Suber, a Tampa Catholic graduate, will have a chance to showcase his skills today at the Villages Gridiron Classic, an all-star game for potential NFL players that features many of last season's biggest college standouts.

"I'm excited," Suber said. "They say we'll all pretty much play the same."

During his stellar career at B-CC, Suber became one of the most prolific offensive players in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference history. He passed for 4,957 yards and rushed for 2,897 to rank among the all-time conference leaders in both categories.

Suber, 23-8 in three seasons as a starter, twice was named MEAC offensive player of the year. As a senior, he was a finalist for the Walter Payton Award, given to the nation's top offensive I-AA player.

He also produced in the clutch.

In one such moment in November, Suber led B-CC from a 19-point deficit to a 39-35 victory over Florida A&M in the Florida Classic. The Wildcats needed the win to reach the playoffs.

"He truly is an outstanding football player, and I'm sure all the MEAC folks are happy to see him leave," FAMU coach Billy Joe said after the game.

Not long after the season ended, Suber signed with Tampa's All Fame Sports, whose representatives include Kenny Kim and former Bucs cornerback Ricky Reynolds. Through Reynolds, Suber was introduced to another ex-Buc, receiver Mark Carrier.

Carrier began working with Suber to refine his pass-catching skills. Suber practices with Carrier three or four times a week in Tampa.

"He has been a lot of help," Suber said. "This is pretty much brand new to me. Pretty much everything I know, he showed me. It has been learning experience, but a fun learning experience."

Having played quarterback, he thinks, hasn't hurt.

"It's a big asset. I know how to read coverages," Suber said. "And I see things before they happen."

Suber played in the Las Vegas All-American Classic two weeks ago. He caught no passes but returned a kickoff 21 yards. This week, he had a strong showing at practice as pro coaches watched from the sideline, Kim said.

"He has been getting a lot of feedback from scouts," Kim said. "Basically, he works hard, he has good hands, he's running good routes, he is very athletic. He's a playmaker. Teams are always looking for that."

Suber just wants a chance.

He knows he can make it.

"This has really been a learning experience," Suber said. "The greatest challenge is not just having people take a closer look, but getting them to say, "This guy can play. Maybe we should take a chance.' "

TODAY: GRIDIRON CLASSIC

WHEN/WHERE: Noon; Villages Polo Stadium, the Villages.

TV: ESPN.

COACHES: North _ Barry Alvarez (Wisconsin) and Doug Graber (Frankfurt Galaxy/NFL Europe); South _ Mark Richt (Georgia) and Pete Kuharchek (Rhein Fire/NFL Europe).

ODDS AND ENDS: The format has changed. In past games, Floridians (seniors who played at state colleges or state high schools) went against players from outside the state. Now, it's just a regular all-star game. After a five-year stint in Orlando the classic was moved to the Villages last summer by Florida Citrus Sports, the game's organizing group. Since 1999, the classic has raised more than $875,000 to find a cure for paralysis by supporting the Buoniconti Fund, the national fundraising arm of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. Richard "Batman" Wood, a former Buc and later head coach at Wharton, is on the North squad's coaching staff. He's defensive line coach for the Frankfurt Galaxy. The game is sold out (12,300 tickets).

_ Compiled by Keith Niebuhr.

Tampa Catholic's Allen Suber starred at QB at Bethune-Cookman but says he'll switch positions if it improves his NFL chances.

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