Local athletes get ready for Signing Day

jlembo@bradenton.comFebruary 5, 2014 

BRADENTON -- Consider today speculation comes to a close.

After months of commitments and promises and changing minds, today is National Signing Day, when student-athletes make their college choices official.

Of course, all of these commitments are subject to change right up until a document is signed.

Manatee will have the largest contingent as roughly a dozen players are schuedled to sign 8 a.m. in the school's auditorium.

The Hurricanes' starting offensive line will play in college, including three-year starters Jake Stickler (Georgia Tech), Michael Galati (USF) and Kyle Mauk (The Citadel). Brooks Larkin committed to Air Force on Tuesday and Dylan Beuchamp is headed to Divsion II Newberry College in South Carolina.

Trevon Walters, The Herald's All-Area Offensive Player of the Year and a Player of the Year nominee in Class 8A, is headed to Missouri, and wide receiver Brodrick Yancy will attend Temple.

On the other side of the ball, Demarcus Christmas will try to help Florida State University defend its national championship when he makes his way to Tallahassee. A three-year starter on the defensive line, Christmas committed to FSU last year.

Linebacker Greg Reaves, The Herald's All-Area Defensive Player of the Year, has chosen the University at Albany in upstate New York, and cornerback Darian Dailey will head to New Jersey to play for Rutgers.

Defensive end Raland Brewer will play junior-college ball at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas and another end, Daniel Doyle, will sign an instutional letter-of-intent after he was invited to be a preferred walk-on at Duke.

The group helped Manatee to a 37-4 record over the past three years, a run that included three district titles, two final four appearances and the Class 7A state title in 2011.

Over at Palmetto, Josh Hicks will lead a contingent of four football players when he signes with Rutgers at 9 a.m. in the auditorium.

A three-year starter at running back who also split time at defensive back the the last two seasons, Hicks crossed the 1,000-yard rushing plateau twice and helped the Tigers to three postseason appearances and the Class 5A state final four in 2011.

Defensive back Broddrick Waters is off to Division I-AA (now known as Football Championship Subdivision) Bethune-Cookman and fellow defensive back Deqwon Washington is going to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.

Luis Quinones, a defensive back and linebacker, has chosen Albright University, a Division III school in Pennsylvania.

Singning Day isn't exclusive to football players. Palmetto Soccer goalie Ashton Knopf will play with Division II Coker College in South Carolina and teammate Faith Rewis will go to Warner University, a NAIA school in Lake Wales.

Tigers' boys soccer star Gregorio Calvillo will play junior-college soccer at Eastern State College in Melbourne, and Palmetto girls golfer Jessica McMillan will take her game to Florida Atlantic.

Palmetto baseball player Tyler Bench has decided to stay local and will play at State College of Florida.

Southeast's Courtney Allen, who will graduate as Manatee County's second all-time leading rusher, will play ball at Independence Community College in Kansas.

Braden River girls soccer player Abigail Holmes has committed to Miami.

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