After finishing his signing day ceremony in the morning, Clemson-bound South Fort Myers High defensive back Jayron Kearse made his way to Fort Myers High in the afternoon to watch friend T.J. Douglas ink with Duke.
At wide receiver. Also in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Meaning the two might literally meet again between whistles, perhaps on a crossing route somewhere over the middle.
“We’re pretty good friends from high school,” Douglas said. “I’m sure we’ll cross paths again.”
Douglas and Green Wave teammates Tate Hernly (UCF) and Steven Brosy (Air Force) anchored the signings of eight Fort Myers High athletes in four sports, although tennis player Hailey Grillo’s was ceremonial with her sport’s signing period in April.
Ace Brown received a rarity in cross country, a full athletic scholarship, to the Savannah College of Art and Design, while fellow runner Brendan McGonagle is headed to the University of Tampa.
“It’s really cool,” said Brown, who was being recruited by SCAD, then received an offer for a full ride after a new coach was hired. “It was really exciting the way it all worked out.”
Soccer players Alyssa Swett and Jordan Yandle signed with Division-I Stetson in DeLand and Division-II Pfeiffer University in North Carolina, respectively.
Swett fulfilled her desire to be away from home but still be close enough for family to visit easily. Her signing also means she’ll return to Southwest Florida periodically to face FGCU, an Atlantic Sun Conference peer to Stetson.
“It’ll be a good experience,” she said.
Douglas, primarily a quarterback in high school, is eager to play receiver at Duke, while offensive lineman Hernly, who committed to UCF in May, is optimistic about the Knights’ move to the Big East.
“It’s one of the up-and-coming programs,” said the 6-foot-4, 290-pound Hernly, who played center, guard and tackle for the Green Wave and will play center or guard at UCF. “The Big East will be a step up.”
Douglas expressed no fear of facing bigger, faster players at the college level.
“Football is football,” he said. “You’re going to get hit regardless. You’ve got to take the hits and keep going.”
Brosy knew he wanted to attend the Air Force Academy since the seventh grade, even if it meant having to walk-on to the football team at punter. But after receiving his U.S. congressional nomination in November, Brosy was offered a spot on the team on Dec. 24, one day before Christmas and his birthday.
“That was great,” said Brosy, a 5.1 GPA student who turned down preferred walk-on offers from Miami, Duke and others. “The experience I’m going to get at the Academy, and the feeling that you’re doing it for a higher purpose is just unbeatable. I can’t wait for that on Saturdays.”