Twenty-five IMG Academy players expect to play Division I football next year, but only one was in Bradenton to sign Wednesday. Jordan Anthony, a four-star outside linebacker in 247sports.com’s composite rankings, signed with Michigan at IMG Academy after spending two seasons as a running back and linebacker at IMG.
The Ascenders’ other 24 D-I-bound athletes have early enrolled at their schools. Kellen Mond, Jhamon Ausbon and Robert Congel are at Texas A&M, Broc Bando is at Nebraska, Jack Camper is at Michigan State, John-Marcus Carruthers is at Baylor, Grant Delpit is at Louisiana State, Robert Hainsey is at Notre Dame, KJ Hamler is at Penn State, Isaiah Pryor and Marcus Williamson are at Ohio State, Cesar Ruiz is already with the Wolverines, Dante Sparaco is at Colorado, Elvis Hines Jr. is at Kent State, Elijah Watson is at Miami (Ohio), and Thomas Fletcher and Dylan Moses are at Alabama. Josh Kaindoh and Tre McKitty are both staying in state at Florida State, and Emmanuel Greene is at Central Florida.
Tristan Hillerich is one of only two players from the area heading to a Power Five Conference program. The Cardinal Mooney quarterback committed to Virginia, where he will be a preferred walk-on. The senior was a key component of the Cougars’ run-heavy offense, rushing for 725 yards and 10 touchdowns on 82 carries during the regular season.
He was joined in the signing ceremony by Vinny Conetta, a safety and running back from Bradenton, plans to continue his career at Division II Assumption College in Worcester, Mass.
Alex Virgilio led a Saint Stephen’s trio with a commitment to Division II Wingate University in North Carolina. Virgilio was a three-way starter at times during his career in Bradenton, contributing as a fullback, linebacker and kicker. As a senior, Virgilio was a first-team All-Sunshine State Athletic Conference choice for his kicking. He will continue in that role with Wingate.
Two other seniors plan to continue their careers at the Division III level. Peyton Vining, a two-way starter at wide receiver and linebacker, committed to play at Denison University in Granville, Ohio. Defensive back Lethario Jones Jr., a second-team All-Area selection by the Herald and second-team All-SSAC pick, plans to play at Sewanee: The University of the South in Tennessee.