VIDEO: Early Signing Day Held for Student Athletes at Several Brevard County Schools
By Alan Zlotorzynski, Assistant Editor // December 21, 2017
First year for college football early signings
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Space Coast Daily was on hand as Viera Hawks football players Brandon Mays, Tim Demorat, Miguel Rodriguez and Trey Schaneville signed letters of intent to play college football. Alan Zlotorzynski then speaks with new Viera High School football head coach Derek Smith about taking over the program and his first class of signees.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA — Verbal commitments from high school athletes to play sports in college for a specific university have become a modern-day soap opera.
Verbally committing makes a nice Tweet and re-Tweet, but in some ways, it holds hostage the schools and its fan base as they follow the athlete to make sure he or she does not de-commit.
The angst goes away and the exhales from sighs of relief can be heard out-loud on National Signing Day. Signing day is when the athlete inks his or her at the bottom of a national letter of intent. Once signed, it ends the recruiting process.
A “Letter of Intent” is a legally-binding contract which says the student-athlete will attend that college for a minimum of one academic year in exchange for an athletic scholarship. Once a high school student-athlete signs the letter, no other college can recruit that athlete. You can change your mind and go to a different college, but there are penalties.
On Wednesday, student-athletes from around Brevard County signed on the dotted line on Early National Signing Day.
The recruiting process is a grind of ups and downs, an emotional roller coaster for both athlete and prospective school.
The NCAA says that by mid-December, most prospects are far enough along in the recruiting cycle that they have their minds made up about where they want to attend. They are tired of incessant texts and calls and want to have some certainty about their college destinations shortly after the fall semesters of their senior years.
Space Coast Daily attended two early signing period ceremonies on Wednesday. One was on the campus of Melbourne Central Catholic where four players representing three sports signed, and the other was held at Pizza Gallery at The Avenues Viera, where Viera High School had four football players at the front of the room.
MELBOURNE CENTRAL CATHOLIC
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Alan Zlotorzynski interviews two Melbourne Central Catholic High School student-athletes who signed to play college sports. Lacrosse player Kyle Johnson and baseball player Ryan Coscerella both signed National Letters of Intent and discuss their thoughts on the day and their futures.
For MCC, lacrosse player Kyle Johnson, baseball player Ryan Coscarella and two members of the football team, LaVonte Valentine and Zamari Walton, made their verbal agreements official in a ceremony held in the gym.
Johnson, a three-year varsity starter, netted 46 goals as a junior for the Hustlers lacrosse team. The Marymount University commit won three straight district championships with MCC.
Coscarella will attend Florida A&M to play baseball for the Rattlers. Last season, the junior shortstop batted .476 and had a .946 fielding percentage. Even more impressive are his classroom stats. He’s a member of the National Honor Society and carries a 3.46 GPA. Coscarella will study engineering at FAMU.
On the Fourth of July, Zamari Walton and LaVonte Valentine verbally committed to play at Georgia Tech and South Carolina respectively. They did so live on Space Coast Daily TV. Walton and Valentine signed to play DI college football for the Yellow Jackets and Gamecocks in the fall.
ABOVE VIDEO: Space Coast Daily’s Alan Zlotorzynski interviews two Melbourne Central Catholic football standouts, running back LaVonte Valentine and defensive back Zamari Walton, as both signed National Letters of Intent.
Walton, one of the top defensive backs and athletes in Brevard County led the Space Coast with 11 interceptions this past season, including a 106-yard interception return for a touchdown. The future Yellow Jacket was also instrumental returning kicks for MCC and is expected to have a shot at early playing time in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Valentine, a speedy back who helped propel the Hustlers during their 2016 run to the FHSAA Class 3A state semifinals, battled injuries this past season. His little brother, LaAnthony Valentine, became a budding Brevard County star running over opposing defenses.
Headed to play for former Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp at the University of South Carolina, Valentine’s stock skyrocketed when became an FHSAA state track champ and ran the 100 meters in 10.52 seconds last February.
The Hawks have gone through some changes of late. Former head coach Kevin Mays stepped aside to become the athletic director at a new school opening in Osceola County in August. Hawks defensive coordinator Derek Smith was immediately promoted to continue to build on Mays’ 51 wins in seven seasons and fourth straight playoff run.
Both were in attendance at the Pizza Gallery in Viera. Mays had double duty as he said one final goodbye to many of his players but he was also there to see his son Brandon sign his letter of intent to play football at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
One of the best defensive players in the state, Mays was a tackling machine at Viera where he racked up 338 tackles as a three-year varsity starter with the Hawks.
Miguel Rodriguez, one of the premier defensive ends in the area, signed to play for the Southern Illinois Salukis. He registered 54 sacks and 26 tackles for a loss during his career.
ABOVE VIDEO: Alan Zlotorzynski of Space Coast Daily speaks with former Viera Hawks football head coach Kevin Mays about his new position as athletic director at Tohopekaliga High in Osceola County.
Hawks quarterback Tim Demorat is heading to Fordham to be a Ram. The Merritt Island transfer passed for 4,513 yards and 43 touchdowns with only 12 interceptions in two seasons in Viera’s offense.
Viera capped off the signing ceremony by sending a member of their special teams to play college football. Kicker Trey Schaneville is staying local, as he will kick field goals for Coach Steve Englehart and the Florida Tech Panthers.
Schaneville will be a welcome addition and have a shot at playing immediately as the Panthers kicking game has struggled in recent seasons. Schaneville is a second-generation kicker. His father, Todd Schaneville, is the wide receivers coach at Viera but kicked collegiately at Alabama and Auburn.
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