Local high school football stars sign with colleges (w/video)

Brion Carnes had a change of heart.

Ace Sanders did not.

But what both Manatee seniors did do Wednesday morning was sign national Letters of Intent in the high school's media center, with Carnes picking Nebraska and Sanders inking with South Carolina.

A quarterback, Carnes verbally committed to Western Kentucky during an official visit over the weekend.

"I felt like I made that decision because a couple of people were telling me that would be a good place for me instead of thinking for myself," he said.

"This process is about me. This is where I'm going to be the next four years. And I really thought about it and I'm happy with my decision. I love Coach (Willie) Taggart (WKU's head coach and a Manatee graduate) to death - he's from my hometown and he's an alumni of Manatee, and he knows my family.

"But this is for me."

Southeast High School

At Southeast High School, Jonathan Dowling saw his decision through.

The Seminoles' stellar defensive back signed with the University of Florida on Wednesday.

Considered one of the best players in the nation, Dowling committed to the Gators after visiting Gainesville over the spring.

Southeast players LeTray Fagins (Towson University) and Waymon Bowden (Grand Rapids CC) also signed Wednesday.

Palmetto High School

And at Palmetto High School football players Ty Scott and Donald Campbell thought it might be fun to continue being teammates at the next level. The duo made that a possibility when they signed Wednesday national letters of intent to attend Western Kentucky University.

The two will play for former Palmetto High head football coach Ray Woodie, who recently became an assistant at WKU after leaving his job at Palmetto.

Other Palmetto High football players who put their commitment in writing Wednesday were defensive end Kerchal Byrd, who signed with Tulane, and defensive back Brian Ackerman, who signed with Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan.

Carnes has family ties to Huskers

Carnes' cousin, Tommie Frazier, was a standout quarterback at Manatee who won two national championships while playing for the Cornhuskers.

Carnes verbally committed to USF, but opened his options after the Bulls fired head coach Jim Leavitt on Jan. 8. While visiting WKU, Carnes was told by new USF head coach Skip Holtz the scholarship offer had been withdrawn.

It was a little less dramatic for Sanders, who committed to the Gamecocks last week and saw the decision through Wednesday, signing his letter while wearing a South Carolina T-shirt and hat.

"People are friendly up there," Sanders said. "Everybody loves football, kind of like with Manatee - everybody loves Manatee football."

Sanders was told by Gamecocks' head coach Steve Spurrier to expect to play right away as a freshman.

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