Originally created 01/30/05

Prep recruiting notebook

There's a part of the recruiting game that doesn't take into account 40-yard times, height, weight or the ability to make things happen on a football field.

Laney's Curtis Sapp learned this month that there's a bit of poker to it.

Sapp had an offer from Ball State and a fine chance to become Laney coach Eric Parker's first Division I-A recruit straight out of high school in his eight years at the school.

Sapp, however, bluffed at the wrong pot.

"I was waiting around to see if any more offers came in," said Sapp. "When I called the coaches to tell them I was ready to take their offer, I was told the scholarship was no longer on the table."

Sapp had over 70 career catches for more than 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns at Laney. He carries a 3.7 grade-point average and a 920 on the SAT.

"I waited too long," Sapp said. "If they would have told me the offer wasn't going to be there forever I would have hurried. If I had to do it over I'd have committed when they first offered or when I was up there."

Sapp's only other offer is from Division II Fort Valley State.

Jefferson County's Willie Thompson can relate. He visited Louisville two weeks ago and felt it was going to be the place.

Then the 6-foot-7 tackle got a call on Martin Luther King Day telling him there was was no longer a scholarship waiting on him.

Thompson scrambled and found a home at the University of Alabama-Birmigham. Thompson and the Jefferson County coaching staff sent out a round of tapes after the Louisville disappointment.

UAB was one of the first to respond with a visit and offer.

"It's still Division I-A football," Thompson said. "But Lousiville made a mistake and will miss out. I'm going to show them God don't put together too many offensive tackles like me."

POKER PLAY: Glenn Hills defensive end Larry Knight mentioned a similar worry while trying to decide between Division I-A Central Michigan and Division I-AA James Madison.

"(James Madison) Coach (Mickey) Matthews told me these offers don't sit on the table forever," Knight said. "But he said he'd let me know when he needed an answer or they were going to go another direction. I'm thankful he said he would do that."

Knight visited the home of the I-A Chippewas this weekend.

NOT INTO FASHION: Glenn Hills linebacker Reggie Wesby had a unique thought when deciding to accept an offer with James Madison.

"I'm a mean cat so I'm not really into purple and gold," Wesby said. "Those aren't tough-guy colors. But I'll have a chance to help a team compete for a repeat national championship. It's about the football. Not the uniform."

NO BUDGING: Greenbrier standout Eugene Rogers accepted an offer from Liberty University. He had offers from Navy and Presbyterian College. Georgia Southern called Rogers this week with an offer and a hope he'd at least visit. He said no thanks.

"My mind was made up," Rogers said. "There wasn't one thing I didn't like about my visit to Liberty in Virginia."

ONWARD HO: A member of the Harvard coaching staff flew into town and saw Evans tailback Cheng Ho in action on the basketball court this week.

Ho will fly up to Harvard next weekend and weigh the specifics of an academic scholarship. Ivy League schools do not award athletic scholarships.

"It's such a great opportunity, it's kind of unreal," Ho said.

"They said they were going to offer some serious scholarship money."

Ho's only other offer was to be one of six preferred walk-ons at Georgia.

Ho, in the top five in his class at Evans, would qualify for the Hope Scholarship in Athens.

Clever as usual, he had little trouble weighing in walking on at Georgia or going Ivy League.

"Are you kidding?" Ho joked. "I would be the first guy to turn Harvard down if I walked-on at Georgia. That would be a funny story. I'd be the dumbest guy around."

REWIND: Laney's Robert Dunn has taken official visits to Albany State and South Carolina State. There's a good chance he will go the prep school route to improve his academic status for a big-time program.

Butler's Tyrese Harris committed to Division I-AA Charleston Southern this week. Teammate Antuanne Kerr plans to attend Fork Union Military to improve his academic profile.

Aiken's Terrance Smith committed to South Carolina State. Teammate George Mathis will attend Presbyterian College.

Lincoln County lineman Alex Wideman has also committed to South Carolina State.

Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or jeff.sentell@augustachronicle.com.


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