By PATRICK CASEY
Marianna saw another of its high school basketball players sign a scholarship as Derrian Bell inked a deal with Chipola Junior College to play basketball at the school this fall. Bell was the starting point guard for the Bulldogs for the last three seasons, helping the team reach the 3A state semifinals in his senior season.
Walter Dix won his third consecutive 200-meter title and led the Florida State Seminoles to their third straight men’s team crown Saturday at the NCAA track and field championships. Florida State finished with 52 points. LSU and Auburn tied for second with 44.
The LSU women edged defending champion Arizona State for the women’s track and field championship, a race that came down to the meet’s final event, the 1,600-meter relay. LSU won its 25th women’s track title, 14th outdoors, but its first since Dennis Shaver replaced Pat Henry as coach in 2005.
Chipley High graduate and outfielder Zach Jadofsky has signed to play baseball at Enterprise-Ozark Community College in Enterprise, AL. Jadofsky hit .414, had six doubles, one home run, and 12 RBIs.
Melvin Ray told University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban last week that he will forgo the athletic scholarship the Crimson Tide offered the former Tallahassee North Florida Christian Eagles wide receiver to pursue a pro baseball career. Ray, who faced off against Walton in football in 2006 when he played at Tallahassee Chiles, was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 33rd round and appears headed to a baseball career.
Wewahitchka graduate Brandon Jones was called up to the Atlanta Braves last week. Jones, an outfielder who recently was with Triple-A Richmond, replaced Josh Anderson on the roster. The swap of players was a surprise to Anderson, who was batting .318 with two RBIs and two stolen bases in 11 games. Jones signed with the Braves out of Tallahassee Community College in 2004. He had his best season in the minors last season, when he had 15 homers, 74 RBIs and 12 stolen bases at Double-A Mississippi.
Louisiana Tech head coach Derek Dooley has announced that former Southern Miss quarterback Randy Hardin has signed a financial aid agreement and will enroll in school this fall. Hardin, who signed with the Golden Eagles last year and redshirted in 2007, will sit out this season and then have three years of eligibility remaining. The 6-foot, 195-pound Hardin played for The Bolles School in Jacksonville where he registered a stellar senior season, passing for 3,257 yards and 32 touchdowns while only throwing three interceptions. He led his team to a perfect 14-0 mark and the Florida Class 2A state title as a senior while earning first team all-state and all-district honors. Following his senior season, he was named the Florida Dairy Farmer’s Class 2A Player of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year by the Times Union, a Super 24 selection, and was named the Class 2A State Player of the Year. Hardin, who played as a freshman and sophomore at Panama City Rutherford High School, registered career high school totals of 7,463 yards passing and 76 touchdowns with only 18 interceptions. He was a three-star recruit by SuperPrep.com coming out of high school and ranked as the 72nd best quarterback by Scout.com and the 85th best quarterback by ESPN.com. His father, Steve, played football at Florida State and his brother, Matt, played quarterback at Jacksonville State University.
The World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame will be inducting Warrick Dunn on June 24 in Boise, Idaho. The organization honors three athletes annually for exceptional community service work. Warrick Dunn Foundation and Homes for the Holidays was one of the units chosen. Charlie Ward was a recipient of their Tradition of Excellence award this last winter. Warrick will join Vlade Divac (NBA) and Jimmie Heuga (US Olympic Skiing / 1964) in this year’s class. Other NFL players to have been honored by this organization are: Drew Bledsoe, Mel Blount, Warrick Dunn, Tom Landry, Steve Largent, and Steve Young.
Though I like college baseball, it is obvious that a lot of the most talented players are already in the minor or major leagues playing professional baseball, good pitchers especially. The game is fun to watch, but the “clink” of the bats just doesn’t sound right and the high-scoring games get tedious. College football still gets the best players, with basketball next, and baseball in third place in college athletics. The pro leagues keep college baseball from having a lot of the best 18-to-22-year old players with the NBA stealing college basketball’s best as soon as they turn 19. College football still gets the best athletes, and is the most competitive, as no one goes from high school to the NFL Draft. It is a shame we can’t have a 16-team football playoff to end the college football season. That would elevate college football far beyond the other two, though it already has the lead by a solid distance.
Contact Patrick Casey at the DeFuniak Herald with your local sports notes at: firstname.lastname@example.org.