The wait was long.
But the main attraction among four Deerfield Beach High senior football players announcing their official commitments was what hat would all-purpose running back Jaylan Knighton wear.
Before a packed crowd of family, teammates and friends at Duffy’s Sports Bar and Grill on Tuesday, Knighton committed to Florida State University.
Knighton, who is the No. 4 ranked player nationally at his position by rivals.com, chose Florida State University over Ohio State, Clemson, Miami, Alabama and Oklahoma.
Knighton had been an Oklahoma commit during his junior year before decommitting in January.
“This was the hardest decision of my life,” said Knighton, who rushed for 2,099 yards and 28 touchdowns last season. “I loved all the schools that were recruiting me, but it came down to one, and it was Florida State.”
Knighton (5-10, 193-pounds) said his decision to attend FSU came after his visit to the Tallahassee campus and that he wanted to be part of the rebuilding program there.
“What my Dad had taught me I figured I’d be where I am now,” Knighton said. “My athletic ability all came from my dad.”
Knighton’s goals might be lofty as he wants to rush for 3,000 yards and 40 touchdowns. He said that would hopefully lead the Bucks to the schools’ first state title.
In two of his first three years, the Bucks reached the Class 8A state semifinals, only to fall short.
Knighton is on pace to become the Bucks all-time leading rusher. He already holds the single-game record of 347 yards set against Taravella as a junior.
Bryce Gowdy, a 6-2, 205-pound wide receiver made his commitment to Georgia Tech.
“It wasn’t a no-brainer, and it was hard to select Georgia Tech over Syracuse,” Gowdy said. “They both throw the ball and need a receiver. I loved both schools’ coaching styles and that was a big thing for me.”
Gowdy said he’s 100 percent healed after a sustaining a fractured ankle in a late season game against Monarch.
The senior heads to Atlanta as a rivals.com four-star athlete. He’s ranked 40th nationally at his position.
Deajaun McDougle, a 5-10, 175-pound wide receiver, made his commitment to Maryland.
“It was a long process to make this difficult decision,” McDougle said. “I found home at Maryland, and that’s what I was looking for.”
McDougle gives the Bucks a strong route-runner with plenty of breakaway speed.
Kervins Choute, a 6-4, 260-pound defensive lineman transfer from Boyd Anderson, made his commitment to Central Florida. He chose the Knights over South Florida.,
“Central Florida is all about family, and the work environment is great, and that’s why I chose to go there,” Choute said. “I liked the coaching staff at the school, and they told if I worked hard, they’ll find a way for me to get the field as a freshman.”
All four of the Bucks commitments will graduate in December and will head off to their schools for spring drills.
“I’m elated for all the hard work these guys have put in,” Deerfield Beach coach Jevon Glenn said. “Florida State did a great job recruiting Jaylan. A lot went into his decision.”