There’s never any drama, hat tricks or recruits going back on commitments at St. Thomas Aquinas’ National Signing Day ceremony, but every year it remains a show unlike any other.
Headlined by Nick Bosa, the five-star defensive end headed for Ohio State, and four-star UM-bound receiver Sam Bruce, a total of 45 senior student-athletes in all sports signed letters of intent Wednesday.
Even Nicholas Plunkett accidentally knocking a table off the stage at St. Thomas’ gym upon getting up from his signing didn’t disrupt the ceremony’s flow and elegance. It provided the comical splash that was the only thing missing.
For Bosa, he finally got to make it official with the school he knew he would attend since growing up a Buckeyes fan.
“It was easy for me because since my freshman year coach [Urban] Meyer offered me on my birthday,” Bosa said. “I pretty much knew this was where I was going to go. I looked at my options, but my mind never really got changed.”
Bosa’s brother Joey, a St. Thomas alumnus who just completed his junior season at Ohio State and is preparing for the NFL Draft, took a break from workouts to join Nick at the ceremony.
“It was awesome. I definitely didn’t think he would make it over here,” Bosa said. “Getting him to come down and show up was cool.”
Bruce was committed to UM a whole year longer than Bosa was to Ohio State, but that didn’t mean the decision was easy. Bruce’s roller-coaster ride of recruitment finally concluded Wednesday.
“I feel really relieved that I put that pen to that paper and send it off,” Bruce said. “I’ll be in Coral Gables in a couple of months.”
Bruce was rumored several times since his July 2014 commitment to the Hurricanes to be looking into flipping to another school. He did take official visits to South Carolina in January and Ohio State in October while also having UF in the mix, but he never backed off his pledge despite various transpirations that could have drawn him away.
“I was always committed to Miami, even with the coaching changes — Coach [Al] Golden being fired, [wide receivers coach Kevin Beard] being fired — I stuck with it,” said Bruce, who last week reaffirmed on the radio that he was sticking with the Canes for good. “[Mark] Richt has brought in an incredible coaching staff.”
Bruce expects to contribute right away and wants to do it in multiple roles — not only in the slot where the agile 5-8 speedster specializes but also in the return game
“This year coming up it’s in full effect,” he said. “University of Miami is going to get a dog out of Sam Bruce — complete dog. Starting with Day One, complete dog. Refuse to be stopped by anybody.”
Bruce will be joined at UM by Aquinas teammate Michael Irvin II, who will play tight end in college after playing wide receiver at St. Thomas.
Other Football Bowl Subdivision signees at Aquinas on Wednesday include Dontye Carriere (Wisconsin), James Charles (FAU), Frank Coppett (Vanderbilt), Alvin Davis (Akron), Devonta’e Henry-Cole (Utah), Arjay Jean (Colorado State), Jaxson Kincaide (Nevada), James McCourt and Dominic Thieman (both Illinois).
Also signing football scholarships: Louis Berkowitz (Colgate), Michael Iamunno (Richmond), Anthony Marucci (Central Connecticut State), Colin Nace (Lehigh), Frank O’Dowd (Cornell) Nicholas Plunkett (Stetson), Mark Williams (Eastern Illinois) and Justin Wright (Florida Tech).
The ceremony didn’t stop with football — in fact, it didn’t start with football. Twenty-five non-football student athletes sent in their letters of intent Wednesday before the 20 football players took over the show.
Aquinas had four baseball signees — Cameron Krzeminski (FGCU), Anthony Mulrine (Samford), Andrew Garcia (Maryville College) and Tyler Suellentrop (Polk State College) — and three softball signees: Katherine Thais Gonzalez (Michigan), Shannon Harrington (Catholic University) and Brianna Stella (University of Montevallo).
Girls’ basketball player Mary Katherine Moore signed to Bucknell and Christopher Metzger is headed to Flagler College in boys’ basketball. Soccer players Gianni Serio (Belmont Abbey College) and Riley Tennant (Valdosta State University) inked with their college programs.
Ten lacrosse prospects accepted scholarship offers. The boys: Michael Adler (Saint Joseph’s), Nicholas Borodiak (Tampa), Matthew McCawley (Young Harris College) and Louis Yovino (Furman). The girls: Carley Adams (Arizona State), Madison Cunningham (Penn State), Sara Gianino (Saint Leo), Logan Millican (Arizona State), Caroline Rowand (Lenoir-Rhyne University) and Madison Woodall (Arizona State).
The girls’ track team’s Khalifa St. Fort signed to UCLA, volleyball player Kaylie McHugh is on board with Tulane, cross-country star Alexa Cruz is Alabama-bound and water polo player Alexander Pullin went with Bucknell.