Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Talent Attracting Diverse Group

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Talent Attracting Diverse Group

Article excerpt

Byline: Chase Goodbread, Times-Union sports writer

The list of Division I-A colleges recruiting local football talent has been uncommonly diverse this year. If even a fraction of those efforts culminate with signatures next month, a handful of colleges will be getting their first taste of Northeast Florida talent in years.

Already with commitments from area players are Northwestern, North Carolina State and Ole Miss, three schools that haven't signed a Jacksonville-area player in a decade or more.

Mississippi State and Iowa coaches don't know their way around Jacksonville either, but they will bring Mandarin prospect Brian Dennison in for official visits. MSU also is recruiting Mustangs lineman David Price.

Vanderbilt hasn't signed a Jacksonville player since White lineman Myron Murray in 1994, but this year the Commodores are staying in touch with Episcopal's Albert Chester, Bolles' Brandon Sharp and Suwannee's Lyn Gross. Chester made a conditional commitment to Stanford, which has never had a Jacksonville player, during the summer. But the Eagles quarterback has kept his options open.

For the usual out-of-state suspects recruiting in Jacksonville -- Louisville, Clemson, Georgia Tech, et al -- the competition is stiffening.

And diversifying.

SWITCHEROO -- First Coast DB Devin Blake has changed his commitment from Tulane to Wake Forest.

"There was just more of an emphasis on academics there," Blake said. "At Tulane, they were pretty much just selling the city of New Orleans, but at Wake it was more about the school."

South Florida and Cincinnati continue to recruit Blake, but the cornerback said he will not take any more official visits.

ETC. -- White DB Demetrice Webb, the Times-Union Super 24 Player of the Year, has been named to USA Today's first-team All-America team. …

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