So here’s how Broward County’s best National Signing Day — possibly ever — went down on Wednesday.
Plantation American Heritage’s Brian Burns quelled Florida State fans’ worries early.
Coconut Creek’s Trayvon Mullen announced he was headed to national runner-up Clemson during a live broadcast on ESPN.
About an hour later, Deerfield Beach’s Aaron Robinson spurned the Florida Gators and joined defending national champion Alabama.
Flanagan’s All-American receiver Dredrick Snelson chose to be a part of UCF’s rebuilding process under new coach Scott Frost.
And Cooper City’s Rashad Weaver had arguably the most touching moments of the day when he found a place to play football and study medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.
In one of the largest National Signing Day turnouts in Broward County football history, those four stars were among 61 overall FBS scholarship recipients who signed letters of intent throughout the day.
It was hardly a shock that three of the county’s most successful programs — Hallandale (21 overall signees), St. Thomas Aquinas (20) and Flanagan (17) — had the largest groups of signees.
▪ Robinson spent the past eight months seemingly destined to go to Gainesville and become a Gator. But on Wednesday, the nation’s 57th-ranked cornerback flipped and signed with Southeastern Conference rival Alabama.
“I switched because I felt everything coach [Nick] Saban and my recruiting coach, coach [Mario] Cristobal, were saying about my future,” Robinson told the Miami Herald. “I felt like they cared more about my future than anyone else. I felt I was in good hands.”
The Gators also dropped the ball, according to Deerfield Beach coach Jevon Glenn. He said Florida coach Jim McElwain never had an in-home visit with Robinson even after Robinson knew McElwain was in town and had visited two other local recruits in Plantation American Heritage’s Brian Burns and Miami Southwest High’s C.J. McWilliams.
“Coach McElwain not coming to visit me, knowing I’m a Florida commit, it actually took a big part of me and my mother,” Robinson said. “We didn’t like it at all. It wasn’t the best thing. I didn’t feel secure after that.”
▪ There was no last-minute drama at St. Thomas Aquinas, but as always, there was an abundance of college-bound talent.
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.
Even Nicholas Plunkett (a Stetson signee) accidentally knocking over a table on 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.
Bosa got a surprise visit from his brother Joey, a St. Thomas alumnus who just completed his junior season at Ohio State and is preparing for the NFL Draft. Joey took a break from workouts to join Nick at the ceremony.
“It was awesome,” Nick Bosa said. “I definitely didn’t think he would make it over here.”
Bruce was committed to UM a year longer than Bosa was to Ohio State, but that didn’t mean the decision was as easy for him.
“I feel really relieved that I put that pen to that paper and [will] send it off,” Bruce said. “I’ll be in Coral Gables in a couple of months.”
▪ Hallandale’s large contingent that already had quarterback Tyler Huntley (Utah) and wide receivers Joshua Hammond (Florida) and Demari Simpkins (Utah) enrolled at their respective schools, was highlighted by running back Zack Moss making it official that he was also headed to Utah.
▪ At American Heritage, Burns chose FSU over Georgia and was one of 10 football signees and 27 athletes in nine sports overall that the Patriots sent to college.
“It was a real tough decision and I took some deep thought into it talking with my parents,” Burns said. “When I took my official visit to FSU I really felt like it was home for me.”
▪ Weaver, who had been a Michigan target for some time until recently when the Wolverines pulled their offer, signed with Pittsburgh and held back the tears as he made his announcement. Weaver, who wants to become a doctor after football, had 24 FBS offers.
“It means a lot because I just felt grateful to all my friends and family that helped me throughout this process,” Weaver said. “Not everyone has that kind of support. I feel like Pittsburgh is a program on the rise and I can go there and make an immediate impact.”
Miami Herald sportswriters Manny Navarro and David Furones contributed to this report.
Broward top 25 recruits
1. Nick Bosa, DE
St. Thomas Aquinas
2. Brian Burns, DE
3. Sam Bruce, WR
St. Thomas Aquinas
4. Binjimen Victor, WR
5. Trayvon Mullen, CB
6. Devin Bush, LB
7. Riley Ridley, WR
8. Malek Young, ATH
9. Nick Eubanks, TE
10. Joshua Hammond, WR
11. Dredrick Snelson, WR
12. Zack Moss, RB
13. Aaron Robinson, CB
14. Tyler Huntley, QB
15. Aaron Thompson, DT
16. Brandon Johnson, WR
17. Alexy Jean-Baptiste, LB
18. Deon McIntosh, RB
19. James Pierre, S
20. Devin Gil, S
21. Jaquwan Nelson, DE
22. Kenneth Ruff, LB
23. Dallas Jeanty, LB
24. Michael Irvin II, WR
St. Thomas Aquinas
25. Johnny Huntley, WR
Miami-Dade football signees
American: Jamal Smith (Youngstown State), Roy Baker (Buffalo), Antione Webster (UMass), Henry Pierre (Chowan); Archbishop Curley: James Ney Joseph (ASA College), Aaron Ashe (ASA College); Belen Jesuit: Tavish Rice (Princeton), Mario Robaina (Case Western), Pablo Venegas (Claremont McKenna College); Booker T. Washington: Darrius Scott (FIU), Jose Borregales (FIU), Raymond Flanders (Marshall), Gustavious Dames (Virginia Union), Marquis Decius (Virginia Union), Brandon Tobar (Chowan); Carol City: Stephen Calvert (Liberty), Steve Newbold (Tennessee State), Keelan Roberts (Toledo), David Hood (Toledo), Tyron Jones (Benedictine College), Tracy Thompkins (Mississippi Valley State), Dante Rose (Cincinnati Christian); Central: Keir Thomas (South Carolina), Donovan Thompson (Utah), Darnell Salomon (USF), Eric Mitchell (UCF), Kenny Turnier (Oregon State), Jamel Cook (USC), Jamal Hudson (Air Force), Kahmanie Carter (Coffeyville CC), Treyvon Brinson (Tuskegee), David Bradley (Gallaudet); Champagnat Catholic: Tevon Wright (Chadron State), Thierry Lafortune (Florida Tech), Edgardo Mendez (Sacramento City College), Kevin Chavez (Sacramento City College), Ivanio Martinez (Sacramento City College); Columbus: Kyle Mann (Bryant), Micheal Ricardo (Florida Tech), Jerron Rollins (Cincinnati), Josh Uche (Michigan); Coral Gables: Amir Rasul (FSU), Shakur Cooper (FIU), Robert Brown (Bryant), Jaylin Clark-McNatte (Ellsworth CC), Stanley Gee (Coffeyville CC); Coral Reef: Nicolas Jacquemin (Mississippi Valley State), Brian Castro (Benedictine College), Harvey Clayton Jr. (Illinois); Edison: Keldrick Cesar (Bethune-Cookman); Gulliver: Joseph Jackson (Miami), Dionte Mullins (Miami), Cedrick Wright (Miami), Dontay Mayfield (UCF), Brandon Shuman (Purdue), Charles Callender (Yale); Hialeah: Jarrett Miles (NW Missouri State); Homestead: Rashad Smith (FAU); Jackson: Shemar Smith (Oregon State), Desmond Phillips (Toledo), Carl Thompson (Alabama State), Javon Hunt (FAMU); Killian: Jeremy King (Independence CC); Krop: Vandrick Verdier (FAMU); Miami Beach: Randle Jones (Temple); Miami High: Keyshawn "Pie" Young (USC); Norland: Emmett Rice (Florida State), Vosean Joseph (Florida), Bryce Brown (UCF), Jordan Robinson (Northern Illinois), Sam Marc (Bethune-Cookman), Rodrick Robinson (Tennessee State), Joshua Green (Lincoln University); Northwestern: Corey Lane (Air Force), Steven Henderson (Lincoln), Christopher Othelot (Lincoln), Patrick Banks (Florida Tech); Palmetto: Malik Bell (Eastern Kentucky), John Pierce (Marist); South Dade: Boman Swanson (UCF), Jawon Hamilton (UCF), Max Charite (FAMU), Mike Davis (Alcorn State), James Wiggins (Cincinnati), Ivan Smith (Northern Illinois), Rakeem Terry (Mars Hill), Lee Lindor (College of Sequoia), Tariq Ballinger (College of Sequoia); Southridge: DiCaprio Bootle (Nebraska); Southwest: Christopher McWilliams (Florida), Ilan Jorge (MidAmerica Nazarene), Willie Brown (Shasta Junior College), Shemar Smith (Antelope Valley College); Varela: Ricky Matos (Waldorf), Jay Stringer (Waldorf); Westminster Christian: John Raine (FAU), Robbie Stewart (FAU), Oscar Patterson (Tuskegee), James Sutton (Colorado State), Elbre Gaiter (FIU), Akil Oliver (Lindsey Wilson).
Broward football signees
American Heritage: Bradley Clement (FAU), Christian Riffle (Cornell), Khalil Herbert (Kansas), Brandon Johnson (Tennessee), Nick Eubanks (Michigan), Brian Burns (FSU), Oren Milstein (Columbia), DeCarlo Hamilton (Liberty), Jacob Pino (FAU), Jarius Stuart (Hastings); Blanche Ely: Thomas Geddis (Cincinnati), Alex Smith (Eastern Illinois); Boyd Anderson: Michael Anderson (Liberty), Nicholas Shaw (Dodge City CC), Deonta Nelson (Garden City CC), Matthew Jones (Albany), Ricky Lewis (Garden City CC), Kiante Miller (Garden City CC), Kedrick Greene (Pittburg State); Cardinal Gibbons: Deon McIntosh (Notre Dame), Elisha Daniels (Maryland), Elijah Daniels (Maryland), Marquis Wilson (Lehigh), Carmine Scarfone (Colgate); Chaminade-Madonna: Justin Thomas (Army), Alex Feliz (Northern Michigan), Austin Laszewski (Louisville), Koley Stealy (Northern Michigan); Coconut Creek: Trayvon Mullen (Clemson), Malek Young (Miami), Binjimen Victor (Ohio State), Alexy Jean-Baptiste (Arkansas), Jhakari Harrison (Southern Illinois), Woodly Sully (Northern Michigan), Joshua Varona (NC Central); Cooper City: Rashad Weaver (Pittsburgh); Coral Springs Charter: Calvin Jackson, Jr. (Toledo); Cypress Bay: Andrew Parchment (Northern Illinois), Darrell Malone (Coastal Carolina), Christian Gomez (Army), Isaiah Sampson (Air Force), Bryce Briggs (Valparaiso), Deundre Dozier (Baker), Gavin Green (Baker), Tylor Clont (Wittenberg); Deerfield Beach: Aaron Robinson (Alabama), James Pierre (North Carolina), Riley Ridley (Georgia), Simeon Brown (Bethune-Cookman), Jefftey Joseph (Virginia Union), Jefferson Souza (Alcorn State), Mike Smith (ASA-Brooklyn); Dillard: Kenneth Ruff (Syracuse), Torian Williams (Bethune-Cookman), Aaron Thompson (South Carolina), McKinley Williams III (Syracuse), James Jackson (Dodge City); Everglades: Keenan Forbes (Iowa State), Javari Alvin (Virgina Union), Casey Adams (Crown College); Flanagan: Dredrick Snelson (UCF), Devin Bush, Jr. (Michigan), Devin Gil (Michigan), Joshua Metellus (Michigan), Jahcour Pearson (Western Kentucky), Jahvari Bourdeau (Army), Kato Nelson (Akron), Kassy Desir (Albany), Dennis Jackson (Lindenwood), Rocco Marucci (Albany), Natrone Ray (Florida Tech), Tyler Peppers (Florida Tech), Keith Coffee (East Tennessee State), Isaiah Murray (Livingstone), Tyler Goetz (Livingstone), Angel Trujillo (Livingstone), Nikolai Jahgai (Northern Iowa); Fort Lauderdale: Dallas Jeanty (Wisconsin), Jaquwan Nelson (Syracuse), Bryce Sampson (Webber International); Hallandale: Tyler Huntley (Utah), Romelo Webster (Iowa State), Drew Hines (FAMU), Zack Moss (Utah), Josh Hammond (Florida), Demari Simpkins (Utah), Jaelyn Faulk (Duquesne), Neru Nshaka (Toledo), Chris Cotto (Western Kentucky), Sam Huntley (Waldorf), L.J. Sutherland (Coffeyville), Kory Johnson (West Florida), Korrel Evans (Liberty), Eddie King (Waldorf), Maurice Wilson (Lindenwood), Raymond Crittendon (Eastern Illinois), Dante Adams (Waldorf), Devonaire Brown (Waldorf), Keyon Hodges (Lindenwood), Raymond Civil (Waldorf), Tarik Brown (Kansas Wesleyan); McArthur: Antonio Collier (Bethune-Cookman), Steffon Francois (Bethune-Cookman), Tyler Peppers (Florida Tech); Miramar: Terrell Lucas (Duke), Deshondre Pitts (West Florida), Shemar Jean Charles (Appalachian State), Korel Smith (FAU), Kyle Anthony (Howard), Gregori McCrae (Navy), Obinna Nwanko (FAMU); Pompano Beach: Michael Young (Florida Tech); North Broward Prep: C.J. Riley (N.C. State); Piper: Nickolos Madourie (Alcorn State), Michael Floyd (Edward Waters), Cedric Lewis (Edward Waters); Plantation: Archie Banton (Edward Waters); St. Thomas Aquinas: Louis Berkowitz (Colgate), Nicholas Bosa (Ohio State), Samuel Bruce (Miami), Dontye Carriere (Wisconsin), James Charles (FAU), Frank Coppett (Vanderbilt), Alvin Davis (Akron), Devontae Henry Cole (Utah), Michael Iamunno (Richmond), Michael Irvin II (Miami), Arjay Jean (Colorado State), Jaxson Kincaide (Nevada), Anthony Marucci (Central Connecticut State), James McCourt (Illinois), Colin Nace (Lehigh), Frank O’Dowd (Cornell), Nicholas Plunkett (Stetson), Dominic Thieman (Illinois), Mark Williams (Eastern Illinois), Justin Wright (Florida Tech); South Plantation: James Aiken (Chadron State), Anthony Julmise (Colorado), Johnny Huntley (Colorado), Ryan White-Boyd (Georgetown), Jerrot Insel (Suny Meritime); Taravella: Ken Hiteman (Florida Tech), Hunter Livingston (Florida Tech); University School: Eric Savotinsky (Florida Tech); Western: Tyler Monaco (Lehigh), Jalen Goldwire (Georgetown), Keaton Vannatta (Florida Tech), Sean Moore (Valparaiso); West Broward: Seth Thompson (Marist).
Andre C. Fernandez