By Andy Warrener
The Laker/Lutz News Correspondent
Gaither football player Ernest Suttles summed up the feelings he and teammates Dom Neglio and Shug Oyegunle had on Feb. 6, National Signing Day.
“Excitement, that’s the only way I can describe it,” said Suttles, who inked with Nebraska. “I wish I could leave today. … I’m ready to climb the ladder. Hopefully sooner than later.”
Suttles had praise for both the school administration and second-year Cowboys coach Jason Stokes in assisting his high school career. The 6-foot-5 defensive lineman amassed 88 tackles, 31 for loss, and 12 sacks this season while receiving The Laker/Lutz News Defensive Player of the Year honors.
While Suttles stuck to the defensive line, Neglio and Oyegunle played all over the field during their time at Gaither.
Neglio, who signed with NAIA Bethel College in Kansas, moved from running back to linebacker in his senior year, helped fill a team need and finished with 85 tackles at linebacker.
“(Bethel) had that hometown feel to it, I guess I’m a hometown personality,” Neglio said. “They made me feel at home.”
Neglio said it was like getting “a monkey” off his back when Bethel offered him a spot on the squad.
“It’s been a lifelong dream to play college football,” Neglio said. “To get that opportunity is just unbelievable.”
Oyegunle played quarterback, running back and receiver, while returning kickoffs and punts, during his four years on the varsity squad. He had 1,336 total yards and 16 touchdowns his last two seasons with the Cowboys.
The versatile Oyegunle will stay in state after signing with Division I Florida International.
“(Finding a school in Florida) was a huge deal,” Oyegunle said. “Fans and family can still come and see me play. It worked out well. … When that offer came down, it was a real blessing.”
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