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December 28, 2008

McFarland responds to Times' story

MORE: Jamarkus McFarland interview | Army AA Bowl coverage | More all-star coverage

SAN ANTONIO - Lufkin, Texas, defensive tackle Jamarkus McFarland said parts of a class assignment referenced in a New York Times article detailing his recruitment were "spiced up," but the recruit and his mother stood by the remainder of the newspaper's story.

The Times documented McFarland's recruitment, culminating with a Christmas Day piece detailing his commitment to Oklahoma.

The Times article included inflammatory statements McFarland had written about the recruiting practices of Texas and LSU for a senior English class assignment.

McFarland said he embellished a passage taken from the English paper detailing free alcohol and drugs and topless women at a party of Texas fans in Dallas.

"Some things we knew were kind of mixed up because (the reporter) got a paper of mine," McFarland said. "The paper I wrote for an English class - it was spiced up a little bit for class. But a majority of it was correct.

"I could have said I just went to a party. For an English paper - I'm taking a college course - you've got to explain. It's brainstorming. If I knew he was getting it, I would have known what was right and what wasn't right."

McFarland declined to indicate what parts of his English paper were "spiced up," but reiterated no Texas players or coaches were at the party in Dallas.

He said he was not sure how the Times reporter obtained the English paper but suspected a family member had given it to him.

"I didn't know he had it," McFarland said, referring to Times reporter Thayer Evans. "He came to my house one time when I dropped LSU (from consideration) just to observe. I think he got it then."

A lavish party hosted by boosters, coaches or players during the recruitment of a prospect as McFarland described in his paper is forbidden by NCAA.

McFarland said neither he nor his mother have heard from the NCAA since the story was published. He said he has not spoken to Texas or LSU since the story ran.

Kashemeyia Adams, McFarland's mother, said she was quoted correctly in her criticism of Texas' recruitment of her son. Adams declined to correct or clarify any of her comments in the piece, standing by the comments.

"I don't have anything to add to it," Adams said. "We knew people wouldn't be happy. The truth is the truth. I have no reason to lie. I have nothing to change (about the story)."

Evans, a freelance reporter for the Times, covered McFarland's recruitment since early in the process.

"He's a good guy," McFarland said. "I'm glad I did it that way and no other way."

Evans did not immediately return repeated phone calls from Rivals.com on Sunday afternoon.

McFarland has had a difficult three days since the Times story was published. He said he received insulting messages on his Facebook page and by text message. Fans from Texas and LSU disparaged McFarland and his mother in blogs and message boards while Oklahoma has embraced them.

"I'm trying to get this to die down," McFarland said. "I don't want to say anything wrong about a school. I don't want to put that on my back."



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