UPDATED: Eight athletes commit to colleges
Across the country, senior athletes will sign National Letters of Intent today, on Wednesday, Feb. 1. Each letter serves as a binding, written agreement to play a sport for each university and is the final step in the recruitment process.
UPDATED: Eight Terriers signed this year, up from just last year. Signees are Fitzhugh Rawls, Tim Elko, Jarrod Cande, Duran Bell, Leon Gatlin, Daneesha Davidson, Savyon Toombs and Zachary Carter.
Rawls, who plans to swim for Washington and Lee, a Division III school next year, placed sixth in the state in the 50 free this year.
“Probably like 5th grade or 6th grade I started to get serious about [swimming],” Rawls said. “And in high school I really liked the team atmosphere, and that really made me want to go faster.”
Cande expects to sign to play baseball at Santa Fe College, a junior college in Gainesville. The center fielder hit .314 with 15 runs batted in and three home runs last season, but he didn’t receive his first college offer until the fall. “I didn’t think I’d get an offer towards the beginning of the year,” Cande said. “I ended up getting a few and this is where I decided to go.” For him, Santa Fe felt like the clear choice. “I like the school, I like the environment, and I like the coaches, so it seemed like the best fit.”
Gatlin will likely sign to play safety on a full scholarship at New Mexico Military Institute, a junior college. “It feels great to know that I’m going to college and I get another chance to play football,” Gatlin said.
Elko has already signed to play baseball at Ole Miss, but he also is projected as first/second round Major League Baseball draft pick.
Bell has verbally committed to play running back at USF. Davidson and Toombs, both track runners, are expected to sign with the University of Central Florida and Georgia Southern University respectively.
For Carter, signing with a university represents the culmination of years of dedication and commitment. “I’ve been waiting to sign my whole life,” said Carter, a University of Florida verbal commit. “I can’t believe it’s really my time. My dreams are finally coming true.”