A. One—but four get credit for it.
Some people get their kicks collecting stamps or raising geraniums, but Joe Terranova of Dearborn, Mich. gets his by evaluating the results of each year's college football recruiting wars. By watching high school game films and sifting through grant-in-aid tenders and the like, Terranova, a market researcher with the Ford Motor Company, rated USC's incoming crop of freshmen as tops in 1978 and 1979. In contrast, this year's rankings don't even put the Trojans in the top 10. Which shouldn't be taken to mean that Terranova's 1980 list of schools lacks familiar names. The rundown:
1. Alabama and Ohio State tied for first in Terranova's rankings. Defending national champion Alabama was, says Terranova, "aided by the obvious fact that Bear Bryant will become the winningest college football coach in history within the next four years." The Tide got two good quarterbacks in Andy Martin and Chuck Fields and one terrific receiver in Jesse Bendross, of whom Terranova says, "He may be the only player in 'Bama history to wear a target rather than a number on his jersey."
Ohio State's 1980 crop makes the 1967 haul of Brockington, Tatum, Kern, Still-wagon et al. "look like a group of CYO-league players." Four outstanding defensive backs and two tailbacks join Tight End Judd Groza, son of former Cleveland Brown star Lou, and Center Joe Apke, a product of powerhouse Moeller High in Cincinnati.
3. Texas A&M signed the most-heralded tight end in the country, Mark Lewis, and beefed up its offensive and defensive lines with the likes of Jerry Bullitt (6'2", 230 pounds), Thomas Graham (6'3", 215), Keith Guthrie (6'4", 245), Tommy Robison (6'5", 260), Scott Polk (6'4", 240) and Bruce Lawson (6'4", 250), who "are the kind of players that lift the back of the team bus when a tire needs to be changed, and they do it individually."
4. Texas wooed the Lone Star State's most promising fullback, Terry Orr, along with Running Back John Walker, a 9.5 sprinter, and Jeff Leiding, possibly the nation's top linebacker. "It's too bad the freshman-eligible rule exists. ABC would pay millions for the TV rights to an Aggie-Longhorn freshman clash."
5. Notre Dame "got help where it needed it most. Either Scott Grooms or Blair Kiel could end up the Irish signal-caller this fall. Kiel undoubtedly will do the punting and perhaps the placekicking, regardless of who runs the offense." Tim Marshall, the best defensive tackle in the country, is " Darth Vader in cleats."
Rounding out Terranova's top 10 are Florida, Georgia, Nebraska, North Carolina and Oklahoma.
ON THE RUN
According to police, about a mile into the Clearwater ( Fla.) Sun's 10,000-meter Fun 'n' Sun road race, one of the 1,200 runners left the course and entered a nearby convenience store. There he grabbed $34 from the cash register and fled on foot, unsuccessfully pursued in a very different kind of race by cops summoned by a store employee. Said one officer, "He simply outran us."