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Archive for Sunday, September 8, 1996

FULTON MISSES LUCK OF THE IRISH

September 8, 1996

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If Termaine Fulton had waited a day before committing to Kansas University's football team, he might have had Irish eyes smiling down on him.

Instead, Fulton -- a 5-foot-10, 160-pound wide receiver from Topeka High -- will have to tell the Irish to take a hike.

Fulton, who caught 44 balls for 919 yards as a junior last year, gave KU a verbal commitment on Friday. Later in the day, he received a recruiting flier from perennial power Notre Dame.

"He got a big deal from Notre Dame," Topeka coach Frank Walton said, "and he's like, 'Oh my God.' I said, 'It's over pal. You made up your mind.'"

Even if the Irish hadn't come calling, Fulton would have been sold on the Jayhawks. He picked KU over Kansas State, Oklahoma and Colorado.

"It was a pretty easy decision because I like KU," Fulton said. "I like their program. I liked the things they said. I thought I fit in well there. It's just what I wanted to do. I know KU's my college now. Notre Dame doesn't matter. It's done. It's solid."

Verbal commitments are not binding. The signing period for football will come next February.

Fulton has not yet met NCAA initial-eligibility guidelines, but Walton said Fulton was just a point short on his ACT and was confident Fulton would qualify.

"I'm pretty sure he will," Walton said. "He's working on it at school and he has a tutor. Plus, by making his decision early, he can concentrate on his grades and his ACT. And he doesn't have to go through all the hoopla, all the crap, that goes on with a major-college deal."

Fulton likely would have generated his share of hoopla. The Trojans' starting basketball point guard and one of the state's premier sprinters in track, Fulton drew plenty of interest already.

"He can run, number one," Walton said. "Number two, he's got soft hands. And he adjusts well. He catches balls he shouldn't catch. I've had a lot of great wide receivers. I sent one to Georgia Tech. This kid can catch a ball any distance away."

Is he one of the state's best?

"I'm not sure he's not one of the best in the country," Walton said.

Fulton is the second known early oral commitment to KU's football team. Olathe North kicker Joe Garcia committed last month.

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