By Kyle LoJacono
Carrollwood Day School (CDS) had a pair of athletes participate in National Signing Day on Feb. 1.
Girls soccer player Taylor Tippett and football player Deuce Gruden signed with the University of South Florida (USF) and Lafayette College, respectively, becoming the second and third Patriots to ever sign letters of intent.
Tippett, who started playing around age 5, committed to USF almost a year ago and said it felt good to finally sign.
“It was a feeling of relief because of all the work it took to get here,” said Tippett, who will major in biology. “Now I can accomplish my next goals at USF.”
She described the day as “unreal” with the entire school watching her sign with the Division I program.
“I’ve seen people signing on TV before, and I never really thought much about it until I was up there signing,” Tippett said.
Tippett had a team-high 18 goals while adding six assists to help CDS finish with a program record 12 wins as a senior. She will likely play midfield for the Bulls, who play in the Big East Conference.
Gruden, who started playing at age 10, said it’s been a dream of his to play college football.
“Now I get four more years to play,” Gruden said. “It’s a great honor to go to a school like Lafayette. It’s a great day.”
Gruden played a little bit of everything for the Patriots and said Lafayette will play him at various positions to see which he takes to best.
“Slot receiver, running back, throwing the ball, defense, special teams; just wherever they need me,” Gruden said.
Gruden played quarterback his last two years, completing 57 percent of his passes for 3,050 yards and 32 touchdowns to nine interceptions while adding another 794 rushing yards. He also had 130 tackles and five sacks the last two seasons as a safety.
Gruden plans on studying exercise science with the goal of becoming a strength and conditioning coach.
Lafayette is a Division I program in the Patriot League.
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