Dozens sign scholarships | News
Tampa, Fla. -- James Wilder Jr. has known for six months that he would sign a football scholarship with Florida State. But when the time came to sign the national letter of intent, excitement was an owerwhelming feeling.
"It's a big accomplishment," Wilder Jr. said. "It's just an honor."
As arguably the nation's best recruit, Wilder Jr. helped FSU haul in the nation's best class. Joining the running back with the Seminoles are Plant City offensive lineman Jordan Prestwood, who's already enrolled in Tallahassee, Ridge Community safety Karlos Williams and Tenoroc offensive lineman Terry Bell.
All across the bay area, state programs signed several players.
The Florida Gators signed four players, including Lakeland wide receiver Javares McRoy and Manatee running back Mike Blakely, who are both already enrolled. Tampa Catholic running back Hunter Joyer was a strong Gator commitment, despite the coaching change from Urban Meyer to Will Muschamp.
Nature Coast Tech wide receiver Ja'Juan Story had a tough time with his decision. He said he didn't know when he sat down to sign his national letter of intent whether he was headed to Florida or Ohio State.
He signed with the Gators, who he verbally committed to in the fall.
USF signed only two players from Hillsborough County this year, but Skip Holtz got a nice tandem. Jefferson wide receiver Andre Davis and Robinson wide receiver Ruben Gonzalez help fill a major void from the 2010 team.
"It's gonna blow up. Tampa Bay's gonna light up really, really soon," Gonzalez said about local players staying home to play at USF. "Coach Holtz and the Holtz era are gonna do big things."
The Miami Hurricanes also made major in-roads, with the biggest impact from Alonso defensive end Anthony Chickillo. He is the first ever third-generation Hurricane, following his father and grandfather.
"Coach (Al) Golden, he's everything I want in a head coach," Chickillo said. "We're gonna bring that sixth national championship back to Miami."
Lakeland Kathleen linebacker Gionni Paul also signed with Miami, making a late switch from Arizona State. No one can question Paul's desire to be a Hurricane. He has a "U" tattoo on his right arm.