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Published: Tuesday, 1/15/2002

Barringer picks UM

BY STEVE JUNGA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Senior cornerback/running back Willis Barringer of Scott High School will play college football at the University of Michigan, choosing the Wolverines' over Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest.

Barringer, a 6-0, 195-pounder, was recruited by UM as a cornerback, and said he verbally committed to the school late last week. He cannot sign a letter of intent until Feb.6.

“It's close to home and it offers real good academics,” Barringer said. “Plus they've got a national TV audience and I want people to see me play.

“It was a real hard choice because they all offered the same things. But Michigan offered me [the chance to be] close to home, and one of the best teams in the country. It also offers me a chance to raise my level academically as well as athletically.”

Barringer, who garnered All-Blade, All-City League and All-District honors as a senior, possesses an attractive combination of speed, strength and coverage ability. He has run the 40-yard dash as fast as 4.3 seconds, and last track season ran a 10.5 in the 100-meter dash. He also bench-presses 300 pounds. According to Barringer, his 3.0 grade-point average and 19 on the ACT college entrance exam qualify him to play as a freshman at UM.

Meanwhile, Ohio Division II offensive player of the year Rodney Gamby of St. Francis de Sales is still weighing his college options after helping the 13-1 Knights to a state championship in November.

According to Knights coach Dick Cromwell, Gamby has received scholarship offers from three Mid-American Conference schools - Toledo, Bowling Green and Kent State - but has yet to decide.

The 5-10, 186-pound Gamby rushed for 2,409 yards and scored 31 touchdowns as a senior, including 200 or more rushing yards in six of his last eight games. He was also St. Francis' only full-time two-way starter, doubling at safety. Gamby was the All-Blade player of the year.

Bowling Green is the place for a third All-Blade team member, as Liberty Center senior lineman Matt Leininger has verbally committed to the Falcons.

The 6-4, 275-pound Leininger, a first-team DivisionV All-Ohioan who helped the Tigers to a 25-2 record the last two seasons as a tight end/nose guard, was recruited by BGSU to play defensive tackle.

“I picked Bowling Green because I like where the program is going and I like coach [Urban] Meyer,'' said Leininger, who also had offers from Ohio University and Eastern Kentucky. “He's a good guy and the kind of coach I want to play for.''

Leininger said he will qualify academically for BGSU with his ACT score of 20, unless his cumulative grade-point average drops below its current 2.2.



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