Wyatt McLeod and Chris Pearcey, two Lakewood Ranch football players who had to overcome obstacles this past season, announced their college plans Friday.
Earlier, McLeod verbally committed to Miami of Ohio, but when a new head coach rescinded the offer late in the recruiting season.
The 6-foot-2, 240-pound tight end has since signed with Ohio Dominican, an NCAA Division II school in Columbus that competes in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
"I feel it's actually a better deal. The atmosphere is more to my liking," McLeod said. "It's a better fit for me. I like the kids more. They share the same qualities that I have."
McLeod displayed his versatility last season, catching 14 passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 84 yards and three touchdowns.
After a stellar junior year, Pearcey missed all of last season with a torn ACL. The running back was still sought by colleges and recently accepted an offer to be a preferred walk-on at Wake Forest.
Three other Lakewood Ranch football players announced their college plans. Terrance Luckett, a cornerback, will be at Concordia (Chicago); defensive lineman Andrew Schackelford will play for NAIA Peru State College in Nebraska; and defensive lineman Caleb Loppe plans to play for Maryville College in Tennessee.
Lakewood Ranch swimmer Sydney Panzarino said she has plans to compete for Nova Southeastern in Fort Lauderdale.
BR big man commits
Braden River big man Michael Braxton has signed a scholarship to play basketball at NAIA Thomas University in Georgia.
Braxton is a late bloomer whom Braden River coach Matt Nesser said has big upside because he is so new to the game. He missed all of his junior year because of a broken ankle.
Braxton said he has grown two inches since the basketball season ended and is now 6-8. He led the Pirates last season with 132 blocked shots and averaged 8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.
"I feel excited and can't wait to play. I think I have a lot of room for improvement because I am still growing and haven't played a lot. I was 6-1 when I was in the ninth grade," Braxton said.