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Recruiting Service Gives Some Back

Written by Anwar S. Richardson

Non Profit Group Helps Community

TAMPA - Louisville senior J.R. Russell is projected to be one of the top receivers in the nation this year, but he was barely recruited out of Gaither High. Russell led Gaither with 34 receptions, 465 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior. He al-so led the Cowboys to the sec-ond round of the region play-offs.

As a basketball player, the 6-foot-5 Russell averaged 20 points and seven rebounds, and guided his team to three consecutive district champions. However, Russell had little recruiting interest until he hooked up with All Sports Community Service in Tampa. "I had coaches who shouldn't be coaching. A lot of them didn't know what they were doing and weren't helping me get into college," Russell said. "Then I had a person who knew coaches, recognized talent and used his con-nections to get me looked at." Tyrone Keys, who played on the Chicago Bears' 1985 Super Bowl championship team, is the person behind All Sports Community Service. Keys founded the nonprofit organization in 1993 and has helped to send more than 400 students to college.

The organization charges a $50 application fee, and athletes are allowed to use the facility to put together their profile and highlight films and are given postage to mail the materials to coaches. They also can use office phones to make long-distance calls and contact athletic programs across the country. In return, participants must perform community service once a month. Some of those activities include attending birthday parties at the Joshua House, volunteering at the Boys and Girls Clubs and visiting juvenile detention centers. "I don't believe a kid who comes from very little should have to pay expensive fees for a promise. Some recruiting services make promises and the kids are not legitimate college players," Keys said. "We teach kids how to combine working hard and investing in themselves. If the kids invest in themselves, they take more of an interest than their parents doing it for them, because they are doing something for themselves. Ultimately, coaches are impressed to see a kid's effort, because a lot of times they don't want to hear from parents or recruiting services." Keys said his program has an advantage, because it is nonprofit. While Russell is looking forward to a probable NFL future, Keys' goal is to help athletes obtain a college diploma and a better life.

Nate Peoples graduated from Armwood in 1993 and played linebacker for East Tennessee State, but could not shake his aspirations of playing in the Southeastern Conference. Keys used his resources to help Peoples obtain a scholarship to Mississippi State University.

Peoples played sparingly for three years but graduated with a degree in fitness manage-ment and later obtained a graduate degree in sports administration. He is an assistant strength coach at Stanford University. "If you give back to the community, Tyrone will help you out. It's a blessing for kids to be around Tyrone and have that kind of a person who has that many contacts and knows that many people," Peoples said.

WHO: All Sports Commu-nity Service
WHAT: Recruiting service for high school athletes WHERE: 4732 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Suite 407, Tampa
COST: $50 application fee
CONTACT: (813) 348-3729 or visit