Seniors' moment: Student-athletes around Brevard sign to play sports in college

Seniors' moment: Student-athletes around Brevard sign to play sports in college


Seniors' moment: Student-athletes around Brevard sign to play sports in college


Anfernee Anderson took a surprising direction when asked why he chose to sign a letter of intent on Wednesday to play football for Shaw University of North Carolina, immediately mentioning the biochemistry lab, libraries, computer labs and, just for good measure, the waffle makers in the cafeteria.

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Just signing was a surprise for Anderson, who only played a year of football at Rockledge as a tight end.

“I thought I was just going up there to check it out,” he said of his visit to the campus in Raleigh, N.C. But Monday, he walked in and told coach Larry Laskowski he was going to sign.

Down the hall from that signing, Danielle Phillips was signing papers to compete in track and field for LSU. The Tigers have a nationally prominent program, and Phillips has eight state medals. It had been her goal from a young age to join the Tigers.

Across the bridge on Merritt Island, four football players from a team that went 10-0 in the regular season signed to play for college teams you have seen and will see again on TV: linebacker Ty Schwab to Boston College, quarterback Nick Smith to Wyoming, defensive back John Batch to Air Force and defensive back Shaq Jones to Georgia.

They are all different, heading in different directions. All coming from the same place.

Head coach Jeff McLean has traveled this recruiting route before and he wanted to make a point to his soon-departing players on how they made this trip. Before anything else happened, he had them applaud their own parents and loved ones for their support throughout the years.

“It’s a tribute to the hard work that they and their parents put in,” he said of having so many athletes at the head table. “Hopefully, we’ll have some more as time goes on this year.”

Many more signed scholarship papers and will play in locations you could not find without your GPS. Yet, they will have wonderful experiences and further their educations, often for free.

Eau Gallie receiver Daniel Kroupa will head to Ann Arbor, Mich., in the fall to play football. No, not at the Big House. Kroupa will play for Concordia College, two miles from the hospital where his dad was born.

He and his family couldn’t be more proud, and for good reason, regardless of uniform.

Signing Day lasted the same 24 hours the day before lasted, but it is such a big day because of what it does for so many high school students and their families.

“I feel it’s God’s calling for him,” said dad, Greg Kroupa. “He’s going to where his roots are.

“He’s going to become the best man he can be by attending this university.”

Several players will simply drive down Wickham or Babcock for college. Cocoa’s Zach Debski will pitch for Eastern Florida State.

“I just wanted to stay local. They have a good pitching coach and seemed pretty promising,” he told our Chris Bonanno. “Everybody that goes there comes out great, a lot better.”

Most who aren’t staying home have at least found somewhere that feels like it. Cocoa linebacker James Folston: “I felt like Pitt was home.” Teammate Freddie Booth-Lloyd on Temple: “It made me feel like I was at home.”

None of them know this, but for those who stay long enough, all of these places will become home. Take it from somebody who unloaded his stuff into his dorm room as a new college freshman and that night drove the 60 miles back to his parents’ house, homesick. You’ve made big decisions today, probably saved your parents a big chunk of money.

As Eau Gallie athletic director Todd Oas told the students in the library to see Kroupa sign his papers, the deal is sealed.

Whether it was for the waffles, the education, the chance to move on to the NFL or the chance to play on television, do this one thing for all of us back in Brevard, especially those family members Coach McLean reminded you about today. Make us proud.


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