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Sunday, October 17, 2010
Mike Blakely still weighing his options

By Corey Long
ESPN Recruiting

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Friday came and went with no commitment from ESPN 150 running back Mike Blakely (Bradenton, Fla./Manatee).

The 5-foot-9, 190-pounder spent most of his team's 24-7 victory over Lakewood Ranch (Bradenton, Fla.) on the sidelines nursing an ankle injury.

But the few appearances he made in the game made a difference. Blakely's presence alone in the return game forced the opposition to punt away from him, usually short and of out bounds.

Blakely did score a touchdown to give the Hurricanes a 17-7 lead, but if anyone was expecting more out of the explosive talent it wasn't happening

"Nah, I'm not committing anywhere tonight," Blakely said. "I never planned on committing anywhere."

There were reports from various sources that said otherwise.

"It was just some communication issues," Blakely added. "I have a lot to sort out."

Auburn and Florida remain the top two schools on his list. Blakely is also intrigued by South Carolina and to a lesser extent Tennessee, Georgia and Southern Cal.

Blakely visited Auburn earlier in the year when the Tigers defeated Clemson and went to Gainesville last weekend for the Florida-LSU game.

"I had a great time in Gainesville, it was a fun game," Blakely said. "I like both places. I like the style of football and I love the atmosphere. They are both great places to play football."

As for South Carolina, the running back admits he was impressed with the Gamecocks' victory over former No. 1, Alabama last Saturday and he would like to take a trip to Columbia.

"It might be tough to get there," Blakely said. "I'm going to try, so we'll see."

Complicating matters is Blakely's schoolwork, which includes online classes so he can try to graduate in December and enroll at a program in January.

And it's likely that Manatee's season will extend into December with the playoffs and could end a week before Christmas if the Hurricanes make the state championship game.

"Right now I just have to keep looking at all of my options and just make sure I make the right choice," Blakely added.

It was also rumored that Blakely was going to take a second trip to Gainesville this weekend for the Florida-Mississippi State, game but Blakely denied that.

"I'm not planning on going anywhere this weekend other than to get treatment on my ankle," Blakely said. "Hopefully I'll be healthy enough for next week because it's a district game."

White changes game

Manatee junior LB Darius White came up big against Lakewood Ranch with a bone-jarring hit on QB Steven Ross on a third-down play that changed the momentum of the game.

The 6-foot, 210-pound linebacker was part of an impressive overall defensive performance and his hit gave Manatee a short field and a chance to extend a 10-7 halftime lead.

Clinton Heaven, a junior safety on the ESPN 2012 Watch List, didn't play and could be available to return for next week's district contest against Riverview (Sarasota, Fla.).