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December 17, 2003

Ayers Enjoys Unofficial UF Visits

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The chance that Bennettsville (S.C.) Marlboro County stars and cousins Robert Ayers and ReSean Dickey might play their respective sports at the same college has ultimately come to an end.

Last month, Dickey signed to play basketball for Georgia Tech. Ayers, a football star, has started to narrow his list down of perspective schools and Georgia Tech is nowhere on his list. But the two still might wind up in the same state or within driving distance.

Ayers has scheduled visits with Georgia (Jan. 9), Tennessee (Jan. 16), Florida (Jan. 23) and Florida State (Jan. 30, but does not have a favorite out of the group.

"I do not have one," Ayers said.

Ayers' last official visit is down to two schools, as of now.

"I am thinking about going to N.C. State or Maryland," Ayers said.

Ayers has received an in-home visit from Tennessee and Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong is scheduled to make a visit to the Ayers household. But since Tennessee was the first to make an in-home visit, Ayers gives them the nod as the team recruiting him the most.

"I would have to say Tennessee because they are the only school that has been to my house," Ayers said. "At one point it was South Carolina but they had all that trouble (with coaches being fired)."

Ayers highlights why each of the above mentioned schools make up his top four and are receiving official visits:

"Right now with Tennessee it seems like the school that I can play the fastest at out of the four schools. Tennessee and maybe Florida. So that is one reason I really like Tennessee and Florida."

"Florida State, I like them because they are like real. They are a top-notch school every year and they are always competing. "

"Georgia, they seem like a school even though they might be on top now but it feels like they are just going to get better. It seems like they are just going to get better and better and they have a real young coaching staff."

Ayers has been quiet on the recruiting front during his high school season but managed to take unofficial visits to Florida for games with San Jose State and Tennessee. However, Ayers' last unofficial visit was to see the Florida and Florida State showdown in Gainesville Thanksgiving weekend.

"It was the best game I have ever seen," Ayers said.

Ayers definitely gives the thumbs up to his last unofficial visit to The Swamp.

"When I went to the San Jose State game, I didn't have a bad impression it just didn't show me what it was like," Ayers said. "But when I went to the Florida State game it really showed me how supportive the Florida State fans are and how the Florida fans are too."

Ayers had an up close look at P.K. Sam's winning touchdown grab but unlike many others, he doesn't shoulder the blame on Gators free safety Guss Scott.

"I can't blame it on Guss because Guss had a really good game," Ayers said. "I mean he caused three fumbles so everybody does make mistakes so this is just one mistake that he made."

But Ayers also believes that Florida never should have been in that situation to begin with. He also puts some of the blame on the ACC officiating crew.

"Well I think that was another thing," Ayers said. "I think if they had different officials, Florida would have won that game."

Ayers did not have an agenda when he came to the UF-FSU game but was scouting both teams.

"I just wanted to see both teams play good," Ayers said. "I really was just focusing on the linebackers and where I would fit in at both schools."

At the game, Ayers talked with Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln senior linebacker Rodney Gallon who told Ayers a secret, which Ayers intends to keep.

"He is cool and everything," Ayers said. "I can't tell you but he told me one of the schools he was liking and stuff."

Ayers is pretty far along in the recruiting process now but one team is still making a strong push to sign Ayers.

"N.C. State came into the picture about a month-and-a-half ago," Ayers said. "They had offered me before but that is when they really started to recruit me."

Ayers is going to wait and see if he needs to schedule his fifth official visit but in the meantime, he will make these four official visits and hopefully get a good feel for each of the programs.

"Basically I am looking for a coach that I can learn from and help me get better," Ayers said. "I am trying to see how much the coaches can help me and how much I can help the team."

Early playing time is a concern for Ayers but there are other factors he is looking at as well.

"That is not the biggest but it is a big concern," Ayers said.


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