Originally created 05/21/05

Laney's Dunn boosts grades



He scored about every sixth time he touched the football for Laney this fall. Ten of Robert Dunn's 20 touchdowns came in the Class AA football playoffs.

But the most important numbers of his career have came the past three months in class.

Auburn University noticed and offered Dunn a scholarship contingent on his academic standing.

Dunn has made quite a comeback in the classroom spending up to 12 hours a day in class, tutoring or study sessions. His final semester grades are in, and he has a solid shot to avoid a prep school year.

"We were told he needed a 3.0 grade-point average, which he is what he got," Laney coach Eric Parker said. "He got an A in social studies that really helped. We hoped for a B, but he got an A."

Official word will come from the NCAA Clearinghouse, which will certify his Division I-A eligibility.

"There's no time frame for how long it takes," NCAA spokesman Eric Christianson said. "The goal is for the student-athlete to get a decision as quickly as possible."

Dunn is expected to have close to a 2.5 grade-point average in his core classes and an 850 on the SAT. Those numbers, if met, would meet the qualifying standard on the NCAA sliding scale.

"He's made substantial progress, but I won't brag about it," Parker said. "He knows how I feel about it. I'm not going to pat a kid on the back for coming through with what he was capable of all along. I hope he goes out an whips the world at Auburn, but he was capable of solid B's all along and never having to cut it this close."

Dunn would be the first Laney player under Parker to qualify for a Division I-A scholarship straight out of high school.

TOPPLERS OF CHAMPIONS: Aquinas, Richmond Academy and South Aiken each won state boys soccer titles this year.

Greenbrier did not, but found a measure of pride in how they did against the champs this year.

The Wolfpack who finished ranked seventh in Class AAAA, beat Aquinas, 4-2, and ARC, 1-0, in back-to-back games in late March. Greenbrier also tied South Aiken, minus star forward Jamal Geathers, 1-1.

"We mentioned it at our banquet the other night because it showed we played the toughest schedule around," Greenbrier coach Chip Warren said. "Of those three I'd say South Aiken was toughest. We played well, and they didn't play their best. We were fortunate to tie them."

Lakeside deserves mention for its clashes with champions. The Panthers tied Aquinas and Class AAAA champion Woodward Academy. Lakeside also beat Greenbrier, 1-0. The Panthers, who finished 5-8-5, were fighting for their playoff lives against a Greenbrier team that already clinched the top seed in the region. But that doesn't discredit the effort.

SIGNING DAYS: The end of the spring semester had brought a flurry of college signings. Hephzibah's Victoria Burch accepted a track scholarship to Savannah State. Classmate Casio Grider will attend Darton College in Albany on a baseball scholarship.

Westside football player Ra'Strallius Garnett signed an offer to attend Albany State earlier this week. The defensive lineman was second-team all-area last fall.

North Augusta baseball standout Alex Franklin accepted a baseball offer from Erskine College. The 2005 Yellow Jackets Team MVP and all-Region 4-AAAA pick could play infield or outfield with the Division II school.

ANOTHER CHAMPION: Wardlaw Academy's softball squad earned another area spring sports title with its defeat of Andrew Jackson last Saturday.

Wardlaw, under coach Ron Conley, won South Carolina Independent Schools Class A championship with a shutout.

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



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