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December 1, 2003

Gators Hope Grace Follows Good Friend

In last year's recruiting class, the Florida Gators signed heralded cornerback Dee Webb out of Jacksonville (Fla.) Ed White High School. The Gators are going back to Ed White again this year to try and persuade Webb's friend and former secondary teammate Dawayne Grace to come play for the Gators.

"He is still pretty good friends with Dee," Ed White head coach Dan Disch said.

Grace missed about four games in the early part of the season with a high ankle sprain. He was back to full strength in time for the playoffs, but Ed White bowed out in the first round.

"It's good now," Grace said about the status of his ankle.

On the season, Grace rushed the ball 40 times for 440 yards and 10 touchdowns from the quarterback position in limited time due to the injury.

Grace has 15 offers and has set up three official visits. He will visit Maryland on Dec. 5, Florida on Jan. 16 and Miami on Jan. 19.

"Tennessee and probably Florida State," Grace said about his last two official visits.

Grace was also one of the many prospects in attendance for the Florida-Florida State game on an unofficial visit. Grace had these comments on why he likes Florida, Miami and Maryland.

Florida: "The coaches."

Miami: "Great school."

Maryland: "Chance for me to play early."

Grace does not have a favorite at this point but did hint that is was going to be extremely tough to get him out of the state of Florida.

"Probably," Grace said of his chances of staying in state and playing for one of the state schools.

Most schools are recruiting Grace to play defensive back, but the Seminoles are recruiting Grace as a wide receiver.

When Grace visits The Swamp Thanksgiving weekend for the UF-FSU showdown, it will be his third time attending a Florida game this season. Grace has been to Gainesville to watch the Gators play San Jose State and Tennessee.

But even with his many unofficial trips to Gainesville, Grace restates that he doesn't have a favorite team and doesn't intend to announce a verbal commitment to any school, anytime soon.

"I am going to wait until January," Grace said.

But Grace does have an idea of what is going to be the clincher in making a decision.

"Wherever I fit in," Grace said. "I will have to see when I go on my visits."

Grace has been a great fit for Disch at Ed White the past couple of years.

"He is really just a great athlete," Disch said. "He has a lot of ability and speed."

Grace has been clocked at 4.4 in the 40-yard dash, a speed that he utilizes to match up with some of the best receivers in the state, including Neptune Beach Fletcher's Kyle Jackson.

"Most people are recruiting him as a corner or athlete," Disch said. "He is going to be a great cover corner. He has enough talent to tackle and do those things."

While he may need some time to adjust to playing cornerback full-time in college, Disch does not have any doubts that Grace is going to pay dividends for the college he signs with.

"The kid can run," Disch said. "You can't teach style, you can't teach speed. He is going to be a good player. He can be a big contributor within his first or second year."


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