The winter sports season is barreling through the playoffs, but it’s a fall sport that gets the attention of this week’s Numbers Game.
That’s because Wednesday is National Signing Day. The day generates tons of buzz for high school and college fans alike.
We get to find out which college program has the best incoming recruiting class, and we’re treated to locals continuing their football dreams at the next level.
Some past names include Southeast High’s Peter Warrick, who starred at Florida State University, and Manatee High’s Tommie Frazier, who delivered memorable performances at Nebraska.
More recent names include Southeast’s Brian Poole, who is preparing for Sunday’s Super Bowl with the Atlanta Falcons.
Before his jump to the NFL, Poole signed with the University of Florida out of Southeast High.
There’s plenty of other examples, and Wednesday’s ceremonies across Manatee County might be football-centric, but it’s also a day that soccer players can ink their national letters of intent with college programs.
We’ll dabble across the area to get you primed with the following digits that make up this week’s Numbers Game.
Percentage of high school football players that become a college football player based on NCAA research. An even smaller amount, 1.6 percent, make it to the NFL. It’s a cold reminder just how difficult the road is from high school athlete to pro athlete. This year’s class should produce 20 signings for football players from Manatee County public schools. As of this writing, Braden River (six), Manatee (four), Southeast (four), Palmetto (four) and Lakewood Ranch (two) are expected to have multiple players sign. That can increase by Wednesday’s ceremonies for each school.
The last year Manatee County, outside of IMG Academy, produced a Power Five Conference signing on National Signing Day. The Ascenders boast a regular list of who’s who talent heading to major Division I programs, but more on them later. In 2015, Saint Stephen’s Wyatt Knopke signed with Boston College. He was the lone county player from the 2014 season to sign in February with a Football Bowl Subdivision program, let alone a program in one of the major five conferences. BC plays in the Atlantic Coast Conference. That year did see Manatee High’s Kelvin McKnight sign with Division I’s Samford, of the Football Championship Subdivision. And Palmetto High’s Brian Bembry had his choice of D-I suitors, but opted for Division II Carson-Newman due to his faith.
While Palmetto quarterback Jack Allison went to Miami in 2016, the signal-caller didn’t sign on National Signing Day. He enrolled early with the Hurricanes. And speaking of early graduates ...
Amount of early enrolled football players from IMG Academy at Division I programs. Dylan Moses (Alabama), Cesar Ruiz (Michigan), Marcus Williamson (Ohio State), Isaiah Pryor (Ohio State), Grant Delpit (LSU), Robert Hainsey (Notre Dame) and Kellen Mond (Texas A&M) played last fall, before early enrolling at their respective schools for this semester. That leaves Jordan Anthony as the lone football player to sign Wednesday at IMG Academy. And the linebacker/running back is slated to sign with Michigan.
Football players expected to sign with a D-I program on Wednesday from the county’s public schools. Braden River quarterback Louis Colosimo, Lakewood Ranch offensive lineman Sam Jackson, Manatee quarterback A.J. Colagiovanni, Manatee offensive lineman Seth Walter, Manatee linebacker Garrett Ware, Manatee wide receiver Tarique Milton, Palmetto offensive lineman Christian Kalish and Southeast defensive lineman Darrien Grant are expected to sign with D-I programs on Wednesday.
Soccer player scheduled to sign with a Division I program on Wednesday. Lakewood Ranch’s Gi Krstec, an attacking midfielder, is set to sign with the University of Maryland during the Mustangs’ ceremony on Wednesday.
National Signing Day
- Who: Various ceremonies around Manatee County
- When: Wednesday