Sony Michel has been the most sought after football player in South Florida since he was in the eighth grade.
Isaiah McKenzie, on the other hand, has become the most coveted Broward County athlete in the past 7 weeks.
Both Plantation American Heritage All-American players decided they would like to continue their close friendship and play together in college, signing National Letters of Intent on Wednesday to play at the University of Georgia.
McKenzie’s announcement delivered the most intrigue amongst South Florida players for college football recruiting fans. The four-star slot receiver and special teams specialist picked Georgia after receiving an offer from Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt on Monday.
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Michel, a five-star running back who has been committed to Georgia since April, stood up from his seat on one end of the table on stage in the school’s auditorium to give his Georgia hat to McKenzie, who had hats from Ole Miss and Virginia Tech in front of him before announcing.
“[Michel] told me a lot of things about the school, and everything he told me seemed great,” said McKenzie, who had 35 catches for 823 yards and seven touchdowns during his senior season. “If Sony Michel can get along with the coaches and the players, I can too.”
Added Michel, who finished his high school career with 81 touchdowns on 820 carries and 6,659 yards: “It feels awesome to be going to college with a teammate, and a lot of people don’t get that chance.
“I got it. We ran with it, and we’re going to try and show out.”
McKenzie’s recruitment –in the last two weeks – has been a whirlwind to say the least. He took official visits to West Virginia, Florida and Mississippi – all schools who coveted his explosive playmaking ability during the last month leading up to National Signing Day, but ended up picking UGA, a school he never visited but offered security with Michel’s signing.
McKenzie previously had intentions of committing to Notre Dame in October but did not have high enough test scores to do so. While McKenzie got qualifying ACT scores last month, Notre Dame chose to move on after the four-star player decided to take his final official visit to Virginia Tech and not to South Bend, Ind.
“I didn’t really try to recruit [McKenzie] too hard,” Michel said. “I just let him just make his own decision with whatever he was comfortable with. I told him to ‘Do it for you, don’t do it for anybody else.’”
Michel said Richt told him they were going to offer a scholarship to McKenzie – a secret he had a hard time holding on to before McKenzie received the offer.
“[Michel] was just informing me every day that [Richt] was going to offer,” McKenzie said. “And I was like if he offers me, I’m taking the offer.”
McKenzie and Michel were among seven Heritage football players to sign their National Letters of Intent. Defensive tackle Edgar Cerenord signed with Duke, cornerback Juwan Dowels with Syracuse, defensive tackle Justin Sibole with FIU, defensive back Carter Jacobs to Cincinnati, and defensive end Julian Perez to Princeton.
“I think these seven are more prepared [for college], and have set the foundation for the program,” Heritage coach and former Miami Hurricanes defensive back Mike Rumph said.
While Rumph is already working to lead the Patriots back to a state title game, he’s also proud of his star combo that secured the school’s first title last season.
“Sony is so mature, and Isaiah has been talking to him a lot [with his recruitment], Rumph said. “They’ve been feeding off each other, and enjoying the moment together.”