Lakewood Ranch’s basketball practice Monday ended with a thunderous crash. Blauvelt Georges, a super-springy senior wing, soared through the air and slammed the ball through the hoop for the final bucket to give his team a win in a cool-down drill. At 6 feet, 1 inch and 183 pounds, he’s unmatched as an athlete, even on Lakewood Ranch’s state-championship contending basketball team. And until eighth grade, he says, he wasn’t even an athlete.
He was a natural on the hardwood and has become a critical cog for the Mustangs, but he was even more natural on the football field, parlaying his athleticism into a strong career at defensive back and a future in college. After only two years of playing football at Lakewood Ranch, Georges verbally committed to Angelo State University, a Division II school, on Sunday.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Georges said. “I can’t take it for granted.”
With National Signing Day on the horizon, Georges is part of a sizable group of Manatee County athletes in the midst of making their final decisions. Three others from the area made verbal commitments during the last week. Georges’, though, is perhaps the most surprising.
Georges only began playing sports a year before he went to high school and he didn’t go to the football field until the spring of his sophomore year, when friends were pestering the natural talent about his potential. This past fall, his performance earned him an offer from Stetson, a Football Championship Subdivision program, and during the last month Angelo State homed in on Georges.
Two weeks ago, Georges took an official visit to San Angelo, Texas, and by then he was comfortable with his future.
“It made me feel like I was at home,” Georges said. “I got connected with the players. They gave me a lot of good advice.”
News and nuggets
- Manatee linebacker Garrett Ware made his college choice Sunday, verbally committing to Stetson. The senior, who also contributed to the Hurricanes as a tight end, will play middle linebacker at the Football Championship Subdivision program, but could also be a long snapper to start his career. Ware is the second Cane to commit to the Hatters this winter, joining quarterback A.J. Colagiovanni. Ware chose Stetson over Valparaiso, another FCS program.
- Palmetto guard Corey Brady will continue the Tigers’ pipeline to Division II Carson-Newman University. The senior started at right guard for Palmetto and also chipped in as a defensive tackle. If he follows through on his verbal commitment, Brady will join former Tigers defensive lineman Brian Bembry in Jefferson City, Tenn. Brady had been offered by Davidson, a Football Championship Subdivision program, during the summer.
- Cardinal Mooney quarterback Tristan Hillerich helped the Cougars win eight games this fall with a breakthrough performance on the ground, and his playing career is now set to continue at Virginia. The senior finished the regular season as one of the area’s Top-10 runners, piling up 725 yards on the ground while averaging 8.8 yards per carry. The Sarasota native also scored 10 touchdowns.
- Southeast defensive end Darrien Grant has firmed up his commitment to South Florida following his official visit to Tampa during the weekend. The senior originally committed to USF during the summer, when Manatee alumnus Willie Taggart was still the head coach. After meeting with new head coach Charlie Strong and the Bulls’ overhauled staff, Grant feels locked in with USF entering National Signing Day.