Following its third season of existence, Inspiration Academy is sending a dozen players from its varsity and post-graduate teams on to the college ranks and honored the 12 athletes with a signing ceremony Friday in Bradenton.
Seven of the 12 will remain in Florida for their college careers, including Jeremy Luna, who officially committed to Division II University of Tampa. Jake Dominick and corner infielder Tanner Fults will move on to the junior college level at Ave Maria University, and pitchers Daniel Pierce and Anthony Espinal will join them at in-state JUCO schools. Pierce is committed to College of Central Florida in Ocala and Espinal will play at Miami Dade College.
Catcher Matthew Mackey, who batted .400 this season and led Manatee County in home runs, officially pledged to Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City. The JUCO program, which is based out of Metropolitan’s Maple Woods campus, is where Albert Pujols played before being drafted by the Cardinals.
Jerad Paparella, Derek Paparella and PJ Reed will also play at the JUCO level as teammates at ASA College in New York.
Taylor Briggs and outfielder Jake Taraska are the other two Inspiration players staying in the state for National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics programs. Briggs officially committed to Warner University in Lake Wales and Taraska pledged to Keiser University in Fort Lauderdale.
Chase Richardson rounded out the Lions’ signing ceremony at Inspiration Academy by committing to Johnson University, a National Christian College Athletic Association program in Kimberlin Heights, Tenn.