By Eugenio Torrens
Four Land O’ Lakes student-athletes signed national letters of intent on Feb. 1 to continue their playing careers in college.
Kent Taylor was the most prolific signee. He was a highly touted prospect, considered the No. 1 tight end in the country. He chose one suitor out of a handful back in October.
On National Signing Day Taylor made it official he will be a Gator for another four years, picking the University of Florida (UF).
“I just thought it was the best place for me in every aspect,” Taylor said. He added the selling point for UF was the people, “I like the school obviously, because it’s a great education, but I think really just the people.”
Taylor plans to major in exercise science and become a strength and conditioning coach.
“It’s cool, I don’t have to change mascots,” Taylor said.
Football teammate Darin Patmon sat to Taylor’s right at the ceremony to sign with Columbia University.
Patmon visited the Ivy League school the weekend before signing and said he was still a bit “skeptical.”
“Once I got there, visited the campus, all the coaches, some of the players; I absolutely fell in love with it,” Patmon said. “It’s beautiful up there, you can get everywhere you want to just by walking, the people are out at all times. … I just loved it.”
Patmon may not have too much time to take in the lights, as he’ll be juggling rigorous academics and football. He plans to major in biology on the pre-med track.
“Once I got up there and they started explaining it to me, it’s much less strenuous athletically than it would be to go to like a Florida or Florida State,” Patmon said.
Football wasn’t the only Land O’ Lakes sport represented at National Signing Day. A pair of Gators boys soccer players also made their college plans official — Jake Frahm and Andy Garcia.
Frahm said when he started looking at colleges, he envisioned playing out of state in cold weather. When he realized money was an issue, he started talking to Florida colleges and he got in touch with the University of North Florida.
“I just can’t wait to get out of here, graduate and just start summer school,” said Frahm, who will major in engineering. “It’s going to be amazing.”
Frahm also revealed his college decision was partly based on North Florida coach Derek Marinatos’ contacts at the professional level.
“He’s a great coach, and I feel that he can bring me up into the next level after college,” Frahm said.
Garcia said he feels similarly about hoping to take his game past college.
“That’s my one goal, to play professional,” said Garcia, whose father and grandfather played in the pros.
Garcia signed with Palm Beach Atlantic University after hearing what he called a “great” offer and will study physical therapy.
“It was a really hard decision, but I’m happy with it because now I get to go to a private school, get a good education, there’s just nothing more I could ask for,” Garcia said.
He also cited a welcoming atmosphere, which he fell in love with.
Brad Hencke, who inked his letter of intent in the early signing period late last year, was also along for the festivities. Hencke will take the mound at the University of Tampa.
All the signees are happy with their decisions, they are also glad the recruiting hoopla is over.