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Around & about / News and notes

Michigan's new focus: Keeping QB

Denard Robinson's high school coach heard from so many coaches trying to recruit the dual-threat quarterback by Wednesday afternoon that he was on his third cell-phone battery.

"Every school wants Denard -- trust me," Art Taylor, who coached Robinson at Deerfield Beach (Fla.) High School, said in a telephone interview. "I've heard from at least 10 to 15 schools already.

"Denard loves Michigan, but he has to do what's best for him because this is a big decision."

Robinson chose to play for college football's winningest program because it was led by spread guru Rich Rodriguez. The first player in NCAA history to throw and run for 1,500 yards hasn't commented since Rodriguez was fired last week and replaced by Brady Hoke, who hopes to persuade Robinson to return for his junior season.

"We have got a special guy in Denard," Hoke said. "He is a guy that can do an awful lot for your football program and I know he loves the University of Michigan. When you have talented players, it's your job as a coach to mold that into what's best for your football team.

In other college football coaching news, Rocky Long has been named as Hoke's successor at San Diego State. He was the defensive coordinator there under Hoke. And Les Miles, whose named surfaced as a possible candidate at Michigan, was given a new seven-year contract by LSU.

Nadal, Wozniacki top Aussie seeds

Rafael Nadal and Caroline Wozniacki top the seedings in the Australian Open, reflecting their No. 1 rankings in men's and women's tennis.

With seedings no longer done on organizers' discretion but purely on rankings, nine-time Grand Slam winner Nadal got the top spot, followed by Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic for the men. Vera Zvonareva is seeded No. 2 in the women's field, followed by Kim Clijsters and Venus Williams.

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Briefly

*The Sony Open, the first full-field event of the PGA Tour, begins today in Honolulu. There are 26 rookies set to play, 10 of them who have never teed it up in any PGA Tour event. Ryan Palmer is the defending champion, and the field features four players from among the top 15 in the world, most of whom were at Kapalua last week for the Tournament of Champions.

*Marc Coma in bikes and Nasser Al-Attiyah in cars built up hefty leads after the 10th stage of the Dakar Rally to close in on the overall victory as the race returned to Argentina ahead of Sunday's finish.

From News and wire service reports.

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