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Carousel shakes up process

Published Aug. 24, 2005

Coaching changes can throw a wrinkle into recruiting.

Just ask Alex Suber.

A month ago, Jefferson's standout running back placed Indiana and Ole Miss, both of whichhad offered him a scholarship, high on his list of possible schools.

Today, Indiana remains in the mix.

Ole Miss does not.

What changed? A lot, actually.

Both programs fired their coaches in December, but after the change only Indiana continued to call. That happened largely because new Hoosiers coach Terry Hoeppner decided to keep Troy Douglas, the assistant responsible for Suber's recruitment.

"He called me (recently) and said, "I'm still on staff,' " Suber said.

Douglas will visit Suber today.

Suber might visit the school this weekend.

Illinois, Middle Tennessee State and South Florida are also in the running. Illinois assistant Joe Wickline, a member of Florida's staff until last week, will make an in-home visit today. The Illini has yet to offer Suber a scholarship, but the player thinks one could come.

The 5-foot-8, 160-pound Suber was a Times first-team All-Hillsborough County pick. He capped his career by rushing for 225 yards against powerful Jacksonville Bolles in the Class 3A final.

A WATCHFUL EYE: The recruitment of Middleton O.J. Murdock, who lists Florida and Florida State as his favorites, has recruitniks throughout the country speculating about the receiver's choice. But one of the most interested parties is Murdock's younger brother, Sherod, a sophomore defensive back/receiver at Middleton.

"We're both having fun with it," Sherod said.

O.J. is one of the country's most wanted athletes, and Sherod is getting an up-close look at the world of recruiting. He, too, dreams of playing in college and is watching his brother go through the process, which could help down the road.

"I'm learning the business side of it," he said. "I can tell when (coaches) are just saying stuff or they actually mean it."

It's early, but Sherod says if he were choosing today his top three colleges in order would be: Miami, Florida, Florida State.

And as for his brother. "To tell you the truth, I have no clue," Sherod said. "It's up for grabs."

A TOUGH DECISION: Plant volleyball standout Lauren Taylor has narrowed her college choice to North Carolina, Vanderbilt, Virginia and Wake Forest. She expects to begin hearing from admissions offices this month. But it's safe to say things look good. Taylor carries a 6.24 weighted GPA (that is not a typo) and scored 1530 (with an 800 on the math) on her SAT.

The standout middle blocker, who helped lead the Panthers to three state titles in four years, isn't sure if she will play in college.

"I'm choosing a school based on academics," she said. "That's what is most important to me."

_ Keith Niebuhr can be reached online at or at (813) 226-3350.