Suncoast student-athletes sign on the dotted line for college

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SARASOTA - All around the Suncoast Wednesday, nearly 100 student athletes signed letters of intent to play sports at universities across the country on National Signing Day.

The first signing of the day was at Booker High, and it was a good one, as 3-star recruit Eric Mayes decided to play defensive end for the new head coach at South Florida, Willie Taggart. “I chose the Bulls because when I went up there to visit, I talked to Coach Taggart, and from the moment I spoke with him it was like that comfortable feeling, like this is my home,” said Mayes.

Then onto Cardinal Mooney, where Christina Warren signed on to row at Princeton. Hannah Howard, the goal-scoring machine for the Cougars soccer team, will play at Elon in North Carolina, while Trey Laporta will continue his lacrosse career at Rollins College, and Victoria Krupa will play lacrosse at Huntingdon.

Down at Venice High, the state champion baseball team had 5 players sign: 2 Tysons, a Tyler, a Josh and a Colton, while 4 girls will play college soccer. Faryn Duff will swim at FIT and Kale Youtzy will play football then serve our country from West Point.

Over at Manatee, Anthony Lauro, Thor Miller, Willie Smith, Blake Keller and Marquis Dawsey will all play football in college, along with defensive tackle Derrick Calloway who was talked into playing at USF by the silver-tongued Taggart.

Manatee four-star rated quarterback QB Cord Sandberg is headed to Mississppi State. “It was just the overall atmosphere at Mississippi State; you know, coaching staff, great fans…Starkville is an exciting place right now,” said Sandberg.

Southeast High School was next on the list as wide receiver Jacob Sannon and safety Jordan Grabski will play together at Idaho. Grabski also punted for the ‘Noles.

At Riverview High, Kasey Gamble will play soccer for Southern University, and she was joined on signing day by football players Jaden Adams and Peter Hubert who will both play at Minot State in North Dakota.

At Palmetto High, Megan Peterson, Cassandra Ordonez and Jenna Steininger will all play soccer in college, while Cory Crawford will play any skill position at Temple, and EJ Burston and Shaq Daddy Harris will both catch passes at UMass.

At Lakewood Ranch, Olivia Ortiz, the cross country sensation who broke her leg as she was about to win a state championship, has recovered and will play at Alabama, while being joined in higher education and athletics by six of her schoolmates.

Finally, down at Charlotte High, one of the best area running backs, Clyde Newton, will join Booker grad Ricky Jones Jr. at the University of Indiana.

One late addition was Hannah Howell of St. Stephen's Episcopal School. She will play soccer in our nation's capitol for Georgetown.

Congratulations to all of our local athletes!