Athlete of the Week February 7th - Eric Mayes

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SARASOTA - Wednesday was National High School Signing Day, and one Suncoast athlete had to choose what sport he would play: basketball or football, and then choose which school he would play for.

That was the quandary facing Eric Mayes of Booker High School, and he is our ABC 7 Athlete of the Week.

Mayes was a stalwart on the defensive line for the Booker Tornadoes these past few seasons, and now he will do the same for Willie Taggart's USF Bulls. "I chose USF because from the moment I met and talked to Coach Taggart, I felt like I was home."

His football coach at Booker, Johnnie Jones, played at USF as well, and his job was made easier with a player of Mayes' talent around. "It was pretty amazing that he understood the game and learning the fundamentals. He is a teachable kid so anything you tell him to do, he will put his mind to it and do."

Mayes is 6' 4'' and 250 lbs, so new USF head coach Taggart was happy to have him among his first recruiting class. Mayes felt similarly because Taggart was not concerned solely with football. "I love the fact that he was talking about my academics and that he waited for later in the conversation before bringing up football and what I want to major in."

Mayes also played basketball for the Tornadoes, and although he scored 13 points the other night, the Tornadoes lost in the district playoffs.

Mayes will play football at USF, but basketball is a passion for him too. "Well when I first came into high school, basketball was my favorite. I thought I would go to college for basketball until I met Coach Fred (Gilmore) and he was after me every day to come play football, but I never came."

Congratulations to Eric Mayes of Booker High School. He is our ABC 7 Athlete of the Week.