Four top Manatee High football players headed to Division I colleges


— Three top defensive players from Manatee High's 2011 Class 7A state championship team have signed letters of intent with Division I colleges this morning on National Signing Day.

Manatee linebackers Darius White and Hershel Caywood signed with Iowa State and Brown, respectively, and defensive back Clinton Heaven made his commitment to North Carolina official.

The trio appeared in two state championship games with Manatee and helped the Hurricanes win the state title this year with a 40-0 blanking of Jacksonville First Coast.

Also signing today were running back Leon Allen (Western Kentucky) along with running back Antonio Agurs (Ferris State) and receiver Ryan Taylor (Ferris State).

White, a 6-1, 230-pound linebacker, ranked second on the team with 79 tackles, including 47 solos. He had two fumble recoveries for 55 yards, two pass deflections, an interception and a blocked punt. White had 11 tackles against undefeated Our Lady of Good Counsel of Maryland and 13 in regular season district win over Venice. He had a 55-yard TD on fumble recovery in a playoff victory over Largo Pinellas Park.

A cerebral player with a 4.3 GPA, Caywood combined his intelligence and physicality to lead the Hurricanes with 100 total tackles and 67 solos. The 5-11, 200-pounder had a team-high four fumble recoveries and five sacks, which led the Canes’ back seven.

Heaven played linebacker in Manatee’s 5-2-4 scheme, but will switch to defensive back in college, where he can use his size (6-0, 192), speed and athleticism. This past season, he was among the top three on his team with 77 tackles and had five pass deflections, one interception and two passes defended.

Read more about Manatee's signing day in Thursday's edition of the Bradenton Herald.

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