By Kyle LoJacono
The Sunlake football team had a record-setting day on Feb. 15.
That’s when the fifth-year program had four players sign to play in college, a record for a single Seahawks football recruiting class.
Nick Morrison will play linebacker at Morehead State University, a Division I program in Kentucky. Cornerback/running back Rashaud Daniels, fullback/defensive end Jerome Samuels and quarterback Jacob Jackson will attend Central Methodist University, an NAIA school in Missouri.
“They’ve been a huge part of building the program,” said Sunlake football coach Bill Browning. “They’ve persevered and all their hard work paid off. They’re great leaders for their new programs and great role models.”
Morrison was the team’s leading tackler each of the last three years, posting 366 career tackles and nine fumble recoveries. He did that despite playing most of his junior year with a torn ACL in his right knee.
“I’m blessed to keep playing,” Morrison said. “I had the knee injury, and to be able to keep playing after that is exciting.”
The other three said getting to play together at Central Methodist, which went 5-5 last year, was a reason why they became Eagles.
“Now we can bring a little bit of Sunlake to our new school,” Samuels said.
Daniels added, “I wanted Jerome to come there too because he’s like a brother of mine. Then getting to play with Jacob again makes it even better.”
Jackson, who transferred from Gulf as a junior, graduated last year. He originally signed with the College of DuPage but wound up going to Bluefield College. He will use his remaining three years of eligibility at Central Methodist.
Jackson threw for 1,258 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2010 while adding 1,058 rushing yards and 12 more scores.
Jackson said he was “relieved” when Sunlake made the postseason for the first time in 2011 even though he wasn’t with the program.
“I called coach Browning right away when they beat Land O’ Lakes for the first time and then when they made the playoffs,” Jackson said.
Samuels and Daniels have attended the central Pasco County school since their freshman year, a season when the Seahawks went 1-9. Sunlake went 10-2 this season, including making its first postseason.
“This has been a great process here because now I’m going to a school that hasn’t gotten to its top yet,” Daniels said. “I have the chance to go there and help them get to their top.”
Samuels had a team-high 536 rushing yards last year on 93 carries while adding 39 tackles and five sacks. He will likely play running back in college.
Daniels led the team in minutes played the last three years, posting 35 touchdowns, scoring nine two-point conversions and picking off seven passes during his career. He’ll start out at cornerback at Central Methodist.
“I’m ready to go out there to Missouri now,” Daniels said. “As a Florida boy I’m going in there with some swag and try to get a starting position.”