Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Clemson Has Lost Its Grip on Raines

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Clemson Has Lost Its Grip on Raines

Article excerpt

Forgive Rick Stockstill if he considers Raines his personal territory.

And forgive Florida and Georgia if they don't care.

As Clemson signed a parade of Raines recruits the last 10 years -- from Patrick Sapp to Brian Dawkins to Darrel Crutchfield -- Stockstill spearheaded it all. The former Florida State quarterback recruits the Jacksonville area for Clemson, and has enjoyed a great deal of success at Raines. But this season, Stockstill has found a tougher battle for Raines recruits than he ever has seen at the school.

The Vikings will have at least six and perhaps as many as eight Division-I signees, and by the time major recruiting powers such as Florida and Georgia were finished selling their programs, Stockstill found himself in the picture for only two of them.

"I was surprised there weren't more Raines guys looking at Clemson," said Raines defensive end Corey Brown. "They are very high on my list. Clemson has sent more than one Raines player to the pros."

Along with Brown, Clemson also is recruiting Vikings tight end Kevin Youngblood. But the others -- Lito Sheppard, Maurice Harris, Derrick Gaffney, DeJuan Green and Thornton Chandler -- are looking in another direction.

"Clemson was involved with Sheppard early on, and Green as well, but no longer," said Phil Kornblut, who covers Clemson recruiting for the South Carolina Radio Network. "I guess Rick found out he didn't exactly own the place [Raines]."

Stockstill played at FSU from 1977-1981 and began his Clemson coaching career in 1989.

GATOR NOTES -- Florida's recruitment of defensive players could be helped greatly by the Gators' exiting talent. The early departures of Jevon Kearse and Reggie McGrew mean Florida will have first-year starters across the entire front seven next season. That many open positions can be very attractive to prospects, even though returning Gators such as Gerard Warren, Derrick Chambers and Alex Brown have significant experience. …

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