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HILL: A recruiting free-for-all

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Randy Hill

Veteran columnist Randy Hill is a frequent contributor to FOXSports.com.
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No Sharpies were harmed during the college football signing day that inspired this column. And here's the column's premise: The pen is mightier than the BCS computer. For one day. But one day was enough for college football's recruiting free-for-all to land the lead position in this episode of The Friday Rewind. According to at least a couple of experts, the recruiting crops that deserve vigorous circling have produced mighty harvests for USC, and UFG (Florida-Gainesville). Because high school prospects have few opportunities for head-to-head confrontations with their peers, prospects often are rated on their ability to run and drink a 40.
SIGNING DAY 2003
ANALYSIS
  • FOX 50: Tracking the top recruits
  • BURTON: Top 10 recruiting classes
  • RICHARDS: USC snags big recruiting haul
  • Which school got the best JUCO players?
  • 2003 Recruiting All-Name Team
  • Recruiting 101: How-to guide for recruiting
  • LSU, USC roll by keeping recruits home
    VIDEO










  • Longtime recruiting expert Tom Lemming bestowed his top ranking upon , saluting coach Nick Saban for "locking up" the top talent in Louisiana. With no evidence to hold them, these brand-new Tigers should be out in time for fall practice. The strength of its visitation schedule enabled USC to snag the No. 1 tag from recruiting analyst Allen "SuperPrep" Wallace, who sometimes is confused with Rick "SuperPrep" James. The Trojans, whose February fight-song lyric is "Sign on for old 'SC," received a recruiting boost from Troy legend and Heisman Trophy winner O.J. Simpson. According to sources due west of USC, O.J. pitched in by calling prospective recruits and assuring them he intends to continue living in Florida for at least the next five years. For the record, USC also was credited with the top recruiting class for incoming song girls on a list compiled by actor Rob Lowe. Florida's first big post-Steve Spurrier haul included the signing of highly regarded quarterback Chris Leak. This coup created much rejoicing among newspaper headline writers who figure to have several options involving "Leak" and "The Swamp." -San Luis Obispo just missed cracking the top 10 recruiting classes, but the Mustangs did sign quarterback Tyler Mariucci, the son of coach Steve Mariucci. SLO didn't announce this signing until Johnnie Cochran called Dennis Green to see if the unemployed NFL coach has a son who's a senior quarterback. Unlike many of my reporting peers, I've maintained a keen interest in football and basketball recruiting. But I also understand how the big-business aspect of signing day is perceived as unsavory. These high stakes include a full-page, national newspaper ad placed by Old Spice. The well-intentioned promotion honors 50 high school players for their performances inside the red zone. With Red Zone established as a star on Old Spice's deodorant team, I thought most of these kids would have signed with Pitt.

    NFL

  • As you probably figured out, the filled their vacancy by hiring the aforementioned Mariucci. According to at least one league insider, Mooch's proven head-coaching track record made him a solid minority candidate.
  • So, with things looking up in Motown, the next move for the Ford family is to announce a recall of Barry Sanders.
  • An ugly spat starring Indianapolis kicker "Iron" and (for now) quarterback teammate has been downgraded by the participants. In case you haven't been following along, Iron Mike started it by crowing about how Peyton and coach Tony Dungy were softies.
  • Manning responded during a Pro Bowl sideline interview with Lynn Swann, during which he referred to Vanderjagt as an "idiot" who was "liquored up." When informed that their remarks were "uncalled for," Mike and Peyton decided to end that assessment with telephone correspondence. According to insiders, Manning didn't exactly apologize and now considers this call as nothing more than an audible.

    Lebron James

  • An Ohio judge issued a temporary restraining order allowing basketball hotshot LeBron James to resume his high school career. The High School Athletic Association had ruled James ineligible for accepting high-priced Gale Sayers and Wes Unseld throwback jerseys as gifts from the owner of a sporting goods store. According to his attorney, James believed the jerseys were a reward for his stellar work in the classroom. In the most recent grading period at St. Vincent-St. Mary High in , James recorded an A average in the three Rs — runnin', reboundin' and restrainin'. The first question I have concerns the Unseld jersey. Considering his ability to start a fast break, shouldn't the Wes throwback be sold at an outlet mall? By the way, LeBron's reinstatement may soothe the debate over an -based rallying cry. For now, it no longer matters if signs read "Free LeBron James" or "Free, LeBron James."

    Golf

  • In an unfortunate bid to honor the skill of a PGA pal, referred to ' Nike equipment as "inferior." A Nike spokesperson responded by reminding golf fans that Mickelson's remark does not qualify for major concern.
  • NASCAR

  • The wife of driver has been charged with harassing a woman she suspects of, well, wooing her husband. These alleged phone threats were linked to Mrs. Bodine, whose reported telemarketer-style sneak attack fizzled when she asked to speak with "the home-wrecker of the house."
  • College basketball

  • smoked on Wednesday night to secure the 800th career victory for current Red coach Bob Knight. Actor Brian Dennehy, still in character several months after portraying Knight for ESPN, responded to the news with the following comment:
  • "That's just bleepin' great."

    NBA

  • Miami coach Pat Riley spent part of Wednesday night dictating a sequel to his last work of fiction, "The Whiner Within." After losing to the Portland , Pat's post-game chat included the following observation:
  • "It was an absolute officiating travesty. I thought I was at the Comedy Store watching some kind of comedian out there laughing with the Blazers and talking to them and smiling with them." The league did little to diffuse the Comedy Store remark by informing reporters that the referee in question, Derrick Stafford, is a "stand-up guy." Stafford, who advised Riley to "go on TV crying," said that considering the Blazers' legal history, it was his duty to provide several bail-out calls.
  • Part-time Toronto Raptor did not follow the lead of two Eastern Conference All-Star starters who offered their first-string spot to good, ol' . Jordan, who politely declined to accept offers from and , would have done the same if Carter, once considered the next MJ, had made the gesture.
  • A source who has seen Jordan on TV reminds us that "Jordan would have refused because he doesn't want to be known as the next ."
  • Fans with tickets for NBA All-Star Friday in Atlanta were thrilled to hear that the Village People would be performing at this event.
  • The NBA has no idea which songs the recording legend will retrieve from their vast catalog, but the league has announced that the police-officer role could go to . Randy Hill can be reached at his e-mail address: rhill@foxsports.com.
    Tagged: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Lions, Colts, Raiders, Mike Vanderjagt, Peyton Manning, Heat, Magic, 76ers, Trail Blazers, Wizards, Raptors, Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, Indiana, LSU, Florida, Ohio, Akron, Detroit, Texas Tech, Nebraska, Portland, Indiana, Akron, Ohio, Florida, LSU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Nebraska

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