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A busy signing day in Pasco County

By JOHN C. COTEY, IZZY GOULD, and STEVE LEE
Published February 8, 2007


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photo
[Times photo: Danny Ghitis]
John Brantley has a laugh with Trinity High School football teammates as they do a mock signing with prospective universities.


Record number for Land O'Lakes

Joe Weatherford became the fourth Weatherford to sign a letter of intent after inking his name to play quarterback for UCF on Wednesday.

The Land O'Lakes senior joins brothers Will (Jacksonville), Sam (Fordham) and Drew (Florida State). Gators coach John Benedetto said he expects John Weatherford to be a scholarship prospect next season. Benedetto also admitted his will to fight off retirement is driven by the youngest Weatherford, Stephen, who is expected to attend Land O'Lakes as a freshman next year.

Land O'Lakes had four scholarship signees Wednesday, which Benedetto said was a record. Others to sign included Darrick Fullwood and Jerome Blyden, who both chose Fort Valley State in Georgia. Dontarrius Thomas also considered Fort Valley State, which was a 45-minute drive from his childhood home. Instead, he signed with Wayne State in Nebraska, where he'll play football and basketball. Thomas said one reason he chose the Midwest was because there was more fun things to do in Nebraska.

Cunningham to Furman; Ford to Charleston

Zephyrhills quarterback Sederrik Cunningham signed a letter of intent with Furman. He expects to move from signal caller to receiver, a transition he doesn't expect to be easy.

"That could change at any time," Cunningham said of playing receiver. "Of course it's going to take an adjustment, but if it helps the team you have to be happy with that."

Cunningham went from a third-string backup to college prospect in a few short seasons. And when he first pulled on a Bulldogs uniform he didn't expect to get a shot to play in college.

Over at Wesley Chapel, John Castelamare sent off one more of his boys. This time is was beefy lineman George Ford, who will play at Charleston.

Signees in other sports

Mitchell soccer stars Jon Koshko and Matt O'Shaughnessy signed letters of intent to play at Florida Gulf Coast. And back at Land O'Lakes, Anthony Santa was honored for his decision to play baseball at Saint Leo.

More coming?

Expect some more area players to sign with colleges in the coming weeks.

Gulf coach Jay Fulmer said kick returner and defensive back Anthony Jackson is being courted by Wayne (Neb.) State and Marcus Neeson could land at Northern Iowa, while also mentioning Joe Turnbull, Jacob Kinn and Shawn Williamson as strong possibilities. Williamson has orally committed to Pearl River Junior College.

And Wesley Chapel linebacker Vince Chalecki could end up at Jacksonville; running back Mario Melvin is being considered by several schools.

Hot water

The men's and women's swim teams from Saint Leo swept tri-meets at home Saturday and Brian Keissling set two school records. Keissling, a freshman, won the 200-yard freestyle in one minute, 56.28 seconds and the 100 breaststroke in 1:09.19. For the women, Saint Leo won with 170 points, Darton had 99 and LaGrange 73.

The Lions host Rollins on Saturday to close out the regular season. The Sunshine State Conference championships are March 2-4.

Don't lacrosse me

Saint Leo's team and fans were honored Monday by U.S. Lacrosse with the 2006 James "Ace" Adams Sportsmanship award. The second-year Lions, 3-9 last season, play their season opener Feb. 17 at Savannah College of Art and Design.

[Last modified February 7, 2007, 23:54:07]


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