Sony Michel has been one of the most sought after football players 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 seven weeks.
Both Plantation American Heritage All-American players decided they would like to continue their close friendship and attend college together, signing National Letters of Intent on Wednesday to play at the University of Georgia.
McKenzie’s announcement delivered the most intrigue among South Florida players. The four-star slot receiver and special teams returner picked Georgia over West Virginia, Florida and Mississippi after receiving an offer from Bulldogs coach Mark Richt on Monday despite never visiting the school.
Never miss a local story.
Michel, a five-star running back who has been committed to Georgia since March, stood up from his seat on stage in the school’s auditorium to give his Georgia hat to McKenzie, who had caps 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.”
Forty-seven student-athletes in 16 sports were honored at St. Thomas Aquinas with nine of the 12 football players heading to Division I programs.
Two players who will play close to home at the University of Miami are offensive lineman Nick Linder and defensive end Anthony Moten.
“I’m so pumped to be a Cane,” Linder said. “It’s a dream come true.”
Added Moten: “[The University of] Florida was right there, but like I said my family came into the picture. I wanted them to be at every game possible.”
Quarterback Wade Freebeck, who passed for 1,862 yards and 20 touchdowns, will play at Vanderbilt after flipping from Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Corey Holmes, a four-star wideout, is headed to Notre Dame. Running back Madre London signed with Michigan State. Offensive lineman Ryan Crozier travels to Connecticut, offensive guard Tyler Dever signed with USF and cornerback Al Harris Jr. will attend South Carolina.
Before announcing his own commitment to the Gamecocks, Chris Lammons thanked friends, family, coaches, teachers, and even the cafeteria ladies at Plantation High.
“I was just trying to find a place where I could go and play early,” said Lammons, the Colonels quarterback who will play cornerback in college. “And a place I just felt comfortable at with a good coaching staff. And I felt like South Carolina would be that for me.”
Defensive lineman/linebacker Richard Yeargin III was the only player among 20 student athletes left to publicly announce his college decision at Davie University School, picking Clemson over Notre Dame and Texas.
Cornerback Quincy Wilson (Florida) and quarterback Sean White (Auburn) both hope to get their teams back to the national championship status.
“[Auburn] is my dream school and I just can’t wait to get there,” White said. “I know coach [Gus] Malzahn will use my strengths in the offense and is going to make me a really good quarterback.”
Former football coach Roger Harriott, who now serves as an assistant head coach at FAU, did not attend the ceremony because of his new signing day obligations.
Speaking of coaching changes, Charlie Strong’s departure from Louisville to Texas left Cardinal Gibbons wide receiver George Rushing scrambling for information.
“When I committed to Louisville, Wisconsin was No. 2 on my list,” Rushing said. “I like the tradition, I like the things they do there. It’s a football town. The town is built around football and winning and going to the Rose Bowl.”
The quarterback who threw to Rushing for most of his career at Gibbons, Peyton Bender, also wants to win a Rose Bowl. But he will try to satisfy that quest while playing for Washington State.
In addition to Rushing, Trevon Lee signed with Duke, and Christian Blake faxed in his paperwork to Northern Illinois.
At Dillard High, star safety Randy Ramsey said University of Miami coaches were “too late” making a late push for his services, sticking with the University of Arkansas.
Ramsey shared the stage with two FIU signees, quarterback Lee “Bud” Martin and wide receiver Dennis Turner.
Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna had four of six student athletes sign National Letters of Intent to play college football with All-American defensive tackle Khairi Clark headlining the group of signees, making his commitment to UF official.
Cypress Bay saw eight student-athletes sign letters with Marquese Dudley-Gordon (FAU) and Kadeem Goulborne (SMU) leading the group. Offensive lineman Justin Goldberg and kicker/punter Jonathan Semerene will play for the Hurricanes as preferred walk-ons.
“That’s why you coach,” Cypress Bay coach Mark Guandolo said. “These young men and have an opportunity. That’s what it is, an opportunity. Hopefully they take advantage of it.”