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Feb. 09, 2009
Feb. 09, 2009

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Feb. 9, 2009

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This is an article from the Feb. 9, 2009 issue

Sign Language

As Russell Shepardof Cypress Ridge (Houston) prepares to ink his letter of intent to LSU, checkout SI.com for complete coverage of National Signing Day, including StewartMandel's wrap-up and a look at the recruiting rivalry between Alabama and LSU.Plus ...

• Rivals.com'steam-by-team recruiting list

• Recruiting blogand the top prospects for 2010 by Andy Staples

FOR MORERECRUITING NEWS AND COLLEGE FOOTBALL ANALYSIS, GO TO SI.COM/CFB.

FEATUREDWRITERS

DON BANKS
Inside the NFL
What's next for the Cardinals and the Steelers
SI.com/banks

TED KEITH
Inside Baseball
Jeff Francoeur's comeback from a horrendous 2008
SI.com/keith

CHRIS MANNIX
Inside the NBA
Trade-deadline predictions for each of the 30 teams
SI.com/mannix

COLLEGE HOOPSMIDSEASON

DanceRehearsals
Can Oklahoma sophomore Blake Griffin lead the Sooners (21--1) to their firstNo. 1 ranking in 19 years? This week SI.com has everything you need to knowabout the college basketball midway point, including SI.com's MidseasonAll-America Team, the top five front-runners for player of the year, AndyGlockner's Bubble Watch and the 10 Things to Look for in the Second Half.

> Check outSI.com's photo galleries at SI.com/photos.

SI VAULT
YOUR LINK TO SPORTS HISTORY

FROM SPORTSILLUSTRATED
FEBRUARY 19, 1996

Besieged by anarmy of college coaches urging him to sign letters of intent to play for theirschools, bewildered Brooks County (Ga.) High defensive end Marcus Stroud madean 11th-hour decision to reneg on a commitment to Florida and sign withGeorgia. SI writer Tim Layden described the frenzy that is signing day.

STROUD PLANNED toplay at Georgia but committed to Florida after Bulldogs coach Ray Goff wasfired in November. New Georgia coach Jim Donnan came back at Stroud in January,attacking from three angles: the chance to start (versus a likelyapprenticeship at talent-rich Florida); the chance to play next to his cousin,Travis Stroud, a junior defensive lineman; and the chance to play in his homestate. It was 1:15 a.m., and Florida would be expecting his letter in a matterof hours. "These guys, the recruiters, they're good, professionalsalesmen," Marcus said. "We're just kids. And I'm really confused. Atthis point, I might just take a Georgia hat and a Florida hat with me toschool, and maybe I'll just flip a coin."

> Check outthe latest classic SI story at SI.com/classic.

> For yourfavorite stories and covers, go to SI.com/vault.

Cover
PHOTOGRAPH BY AL TIELEMANS

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PHOTOROMEO GUZMAN/CAL SPORT MEDIA (SHEPARD)TIGER CUB Shepard aims for the Bayou.PHOTOGINA HOUSEMAN (KEITH)PHOTOGREG NELSON (GRIFFIN)PHOTOJIM GUND (STROUD)TWO PHOTOS