By Kyle LoJacono
Anthony Harrell was one of Freedom High’s defensive leaders last year, but the incoming senior has decided to follow his father, James, to Jesuit High. James confirmed the move July 22.
The elder Harrell became the Patriots’ coach last year and helped lead Freedom to a 7-3 record, the most wins in school history. He came to Freedom from Plant High, where the Panthers won two state championships with him as the defensive coordinator. Anthony was on one of those title teams.
The elder Harrell took the same position at Jesuit this spring. He had previously served as an assistant at the Roman Catholic school.
It was originally unclear if Anthony would be able to follow his father to Jesuit because the private school says it does not allow new students after their junior year. Phone calls to Jesuit were not returned, but the school’s website also says, “individual decisions are made for all applicants, with special preference given to students transferring from another Jesuit high school.”
James said Anthony met all the standards to join the schools. He said his son has a 4.37 weighted grade point average and is therefore qualified academically.
“When I got the offer to join Jesuit I couldn’t turn it down,” Harrell said. “We weren’t sure if Anthony would be able to come too, but that’s cleared up now and I can coach him his senior season.”
The Harrell’s still live in Lutz and the whole family practices Catholicism.
Last season Anthony led Freedom with 125 tackles while adding seven sacks and two interceptions as a linebacker.
Freedom’s new coach, Tchecoy Blount, said he had not seen Anthony during summer workouts. Anthony had been training on his own instead.
“We’re worried about who we have and we have the players to continue to have success here,” Blount said. “The best players who are here will play and everything will sort itself out.”