Nesta Silvera and Andrew Chatfield each showed up carrying Chucky dolls, like the evil doll from the famous movie series.
But each doll was wearing a different hat when it was time to pick their college destinations.
Silvera, the No. 2 defensive tackle in the nation by 247Sports, who had been committed to the University of Miami for nearly a year, stuck with the Canes when he signed his letter of intent at Plantation American Heritage on Wednesday morning.
But Chatfield surprised some when he pulled out a Canes cap, but then brought out a Gators hat and put it on ‘Chucky,’ declaring his intentions to join the University of Florida.
“The Chucky thing was just something between me and [Chatfield] because we always thought we’d play together in college,” Silvera said during ESPN’s live broadcast of the ceremony that included 11 overall signees for football and 32 overall from eight sports.
Many expected Chatfield for some time to join Silvera on the Hurricanes’ growing crop of talented defensive linemen. But he said in the end new Gators coach Dan Mullen and his coaching staff, who had recruited him while at Mississippi State since his sophomore year, convinced him to head to Gainesville.
“UF was just a more special place,” Chatfield said. “I just felt there was something different about the Gators. Every time I went there I felt like I was part of the family.”
Chatfield wasn’t the only surprise at Heritage on Wednesday morning.
Pat Surtain Jr., who many figured was going to LSU near where his father, Pat Sr., grew up, chose national champion Alabama instead.
“I picked Alabama because they win championships and I want to be a part of that winning culture,” Surtain Jr. said.
Surtain Jr. and Tyson Campbell, rated the top two cornerbacks in the nation by 247sports.com, sat side-by-side at the ceremony on stage.
Campbell ended up signing with the team that Alabama beat for the national title this past season when he picked the University of Georgia.
Silvera and Chatfield explained that carrying around the Chucky doll is something past UF players have done.
But Silvera said he didn’t care that it was a ‘Gators tradition’ and said he wanted to make it a Canes tradition.
“I ain’t worried about the Gators no more,” Silvera said. “I ain’t flipping nothing. It’s mine now. I don’t care about UF.”
Silvera said it resembled the kind of aggressiveness he hopes to bring to UM’s defense in years to come.
“Chucky is savage and he’ll kill anything and that’s my mentality on the field,” Silvera said. “I think [UM] is getting a hard worker. Someone that’s coming in ready to work. I just wanna learn from everybody, soak up as much as I can and be ready.”
Although Silvera was a strong addition, Chatfield, rated the No. 13 weak-side defensive end in the nation by 247sports.com, would have been a huge get for a Canes class that’s already beefing up its future defensive front, having already signed Champagnat Catholic’s Gregory Rousseau and South Dade’s Patrick Joyner.
Chatfield has recorded 38.5 sacks over the past two seasons while helping American Heritage win back-to-back state titles.
Surtain Jr. said the Hurricanes were among his final three choices along with Alabama and LSU. He said it was tough telling his former Heritage coach and current UM cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph on Tuesday that he wasn’t headed to Coral Gables.
“I appreciate everything coach Rumph, coach [Manny] Diaz and coach [Mark] Richt had done for me,” Surtain Jr. said. “But at the end of the day, it’s my decision and I’m just very blessed right now.”
Campbell is the latest Heritage star to sign with the Bulldogs following in the tradition of players such as Sony Michel.
“Last night in my room, I prayed on it,” Campbell said. “I sat there with my parents. And my coach said, ‘Just go with your heart and pick the school where you feel you will be the most successful at.’ ”
The SEC also nabbed another Heritage star as expected when wide receiver Anthony Schwartz stuck with Auburn.
Also from Heritage were athlete Miles Jones, who signed with Nebraska; outside linebacker Calvin Hart, who signed with N.C. State; defensive lineman John Alyn, who signed with Columbia; offensive lineman Zack Zambrano, who signed with Princeton; safety Dyllon Lester, who signed with UCF; and offensive tackle John Jack Fris, who signed with Lehigh.
“It’s gonna be crazy [with three of us in the SEC], but I’m proud of my guys,” Campbell said. “Everybody went with their heart and made the decision that was best for them.”
Miami-Dade and Broward signees
Booker T. Washington: Deltron Holloway (FAMU), Tavaris Phillips (NW Oklahoma State), Terrel Williams (Abilene Christian); Carol City: Aaron Morgan (Marshall), Gregory Grate (Middle Tennessee), Sherron Chester (Florida Tech), Mark Carter (Slippery Rock); Central: Davonta Wilson (Murray State), Michael Williams (Valdosta State), Seth McGill (Valdosta State), Malik Edwards (Valdosta State) Starreak Moncrieffe (Fort Lauderdale) Angel Lopez (Fort Lauderdale), Louis Williams (Middle Georgia State), Jaelin Creighton (Middle Georgia State), Tijuane Morton (Middle Georgia State), Amir Augustin (Florida Institute of Technology), Christopher Metayer (Florida A&M), Taurrian Stafford (Alabama State), Zeryus Coleman (Bethune-Cookman), Jeremiah Youngblood (ASA College), Rollansky Darote (Dartmouth College), Shawn Simeon (Eastern Michigan); Columbus: Tyler Harrell (Louisville), Robert Crockett (Dartmouth), Zack Castano (Morgan St.), Tony Mills (FAMU); Coral Reef: Jaylan Williams (Howard); Doral Academy: Myles Hayes (Livingstone College), Natavious Payne (Youngstown State), Antoine Rolle (West Florida), Khalonji Hill (Allegheny College), Christian Oliveros (Ft. Lauderdale); Edison: Corey del Prado (Ava Maria), Johnny Harris (ASA College); Goleman: John Correa (Brevard Coll., NC); Killian: Jalon Ferrell (UConn); Ryan Sanchez (West Florida); Krop: Lawrence Papillon (Marshall), Timothy Williams (FAMU), Edwin Reed (Mount Union), Christopher Fuzeme (Northwestern Oklahoma State); North Miami: Adler Mompremier (Coffeyville CC), Gary Britt (ASA College), Ronald Medar (ASA College), Derrick Jackson (Johnson C. Smith), Demetrie Massey (Franklin Pierce), Nicholas Days (NW Oklahoma State), Nick Louis (NW Oklahoma State), Wilfod Louis (NW Oklahoma State); North Miami Beach: Jean Desir (Northern Colorado), Marvin Francois (Morgan State); Northwestern: Nigel Bethel Jr. (UM), Rachad Wildgoose (Wisconsin), Terron Carey (Idaho State), Kiaryn Davis (Florida Tech), Sharod Oliver (West Florida), Avery Hall (NW Oklahoma St.), Davonne "Bo" Kendrick (FAMU), Billy Joseph (Independence CC), Nho Joyner (Ft. Lauderdale), Walter Fowles (Findlay OH), Andre Pinkston (Los Angeles Pierce College), Cortaland Faison (Edward Waters); Palm Glades Prep: Ashante Appleby (Buena Vista University), Ja’Morie Grier (Buena Vista), Marcus Spivey (Mesabi Range College), Frank Giralt (Mesabi Range), JaVonta Holmes (Mesabi Range), Bryan Mejias (Mesabi Range), Marc Franklin (Mesabi Range); Palmetto: Trey Flowers (Pennsylvania), Angel Martinez (RPI); South Miami: AJ Wright (Independence College, KS), Carlos Anderson (Mesabi Range), Elijah Woodley (Benedictine College), Kyle Fernandez (Westfield State), Julio Iglesias (Wisconsin Lutheran), Cameron King (Greenville University); Southridge: Jordan Dillard (FAMU), Herman Jackson (FAMU).
American Heritage: Miles Jones (Nebraska), Calvin Hart (NC State), Anthony Schwartz (Auburn), John Alyn (Columbia), Zackary Zambrano (Princeton), John Jack Fris (Lehigh), Dyllon Lester (UCF), Nesta Jade Silvera (UM), Andrew Chatfield (Florida), Patrick Surtain, Jr. (Alabama), Tyson Campbell (Georgia); Archbishop McCarthy: Carlos Ramos (Ave Maria); Calvary Christian: Robbie Evans (Delta State); Cardinal Gibbons: Carlos Sandy (Illinois), Ron Hardge (Illinois), Max Worship (Vanderbilt), Marquis Williams (Pittsburgh), Griffin Cerra (Southern Illinois), Evan Loesel (Columbia), Cam Stage (Bowling Green), Ryan Saddler (Bryant), Jordan Riggins (Morgan State); Chaminade-Madonna: Shaun Shivers (Auburn), Carlton Williams (Northwood), Xavier Williams (Alabama), Ezekiel Alexander (Northwood), Marvin Alexander (Kentucky), Thomas Bradshaw (Mount Union), Zachary Dixon (Georgia State), Logan Giordano (Eastern Michigan), Davaon Hawkins (Kentucky), Akeem Hayes (Kentucky), Tarique Livingston (Mount Union), Daniel Longman (Boston College), Cory Prince (Wofford), Justinn Richardson (Old Dominion), Sebastian Sainterling (South Florida); Coconut Creek: Timothy Scippio (Akron), Jean Estivern (Culver Stockton), Kerondo Gobern (Missouri Valley), Cody Ostillien (Ft. Lauderdale), Terry Michael (Johnson C. Smith), Chris Johnson (Johnson C. Smith), Rich Hall (Akron), Marcu Mykoo (FSU - academic scholarship; Cooper City: Michael McColgin (University of Ft. Lauderdale), Dillan Mornay (Mary-Hardin Baylor), Mark Brent (Florida Institute of Technology), Michael DiLiello (Florida Institute of Technology); Coral Springs Charter: Landon Thomas (Kentucky Wesleyan); Deerfield Beach: Kenny Bastida (Kansas), Kenneth Pickney (Whitenberg), Amari Ferdinand (Murray State); NSU University School: George Bubrick (Chicago), Antonio Revilla (Pamona College); Plantation: Eddie John (Kieser), Roshard Branch (Kieser); Pine Crest: Robert Fatovic (Cornell); St. Thomas Aquinas: Riley Allison (Valparaiso), Al Blades, Jr. (Miami), Nikolas Bonitto (Oklahoma), Cole Caterbone (Army), Coleman Crozier (Navy), Grayson Crozier (Navy), Adetutu Daranijo (Akron), Dejmi Jean (Louisville), Chad Keirnan (Mount Union), Tavares Kelly (Virginia), Jalen Mackie (Dartmouth), Kaleb McCarty (Pennsylvania), Elijah Moore (Mississippi), D’Andre Ragin (Toledo), Ryan Rhoden (Columbia), Asante Samuel (FSU), Darrell Shelton (Duke), Tyler Steen (Vanderbilt), Jason Swann (Tulane), Trenell Troutman (Louisville), Maximillian Zinn (Chicago); Somerset Academy: Armando McGee (William Penn); South Plantation: Jonathan Zuaznabar (U. of Fort Lauderdale), Markenson Mexena (Fort Lauderdale), Tyler Willis (Fort Lauderdale), Steven Greaves (Savannah State), Dawson Hill (Georgia State); West Broward: Devin Broughton (Ave Maria), Jacorey Washington (Mount Union).