Manatee High School football players Cord Sandberg, Anthony Lauro, Marquis Dawsey, Blake Keller, Derrick Calloway, Thor Miller and Willie Smith signed to play college football on Feb. 6. The event was held in the Davis theatre at the school.
Cord Sandberg signed with the Mississippi State University Bulldogs. He's been playing for nine years, and played his senior year this year as the Hurricanes' starting quarterback. He visited MSU late last summer and immediately fell in love with it.
"The atmosphere was so exciting," Sandberg said, "MSU has some of the nicest people I have ever met."
Anthony Lauro signed with the University of Akron Kangaroos in Ohio. He's been playing for 12 years, and said he has wanted to go to the University of Akron since they stuck with him through his ACL injury. Another incentive for him is that he has family in Akron.
"The Lauros are everywhere," Lauro said.
Marquis Dawsey signed with the Ferris State University Bulldogs in Big Rapids, Mich. Dawsey, who's been playing for about six years, has wanted to go to Ferris since the university first contacted him about playing.
"I feel like it is where I belong," Dawsey said. "It is a good fit for me and I have an opportunity to play football and get a good education."
Blake Keller signed with the University of Central Florida Knights in Orlando. He decided on UCF because it was close to home and he felt like he belonged on the team.
"I want to go to play college football," Keller said, "and the free food. Go Knights!"
Derrick Calloway signed with the University of South Florida Bulls in Tampa. He's been playing for two and a half years, and only recently decided he wanted to attend USF.
"I want to go because of the character and the coaches," Calloway said, "and I get to play against Blake."
Thor Miller signed with the McNeese State University Rowdys in Lake Charles, La. He's been playing for eight years, and decided on McNeese State only three weeks ago because he loves their winning program and facilities.
"Their weight room and Hammer strength is better than LSU's," he said.