One of the area’s top football players plans to head north for his college career.
Jordan Miner, a rising senior defensive back at Wiregrass Ranch High School, has verbally committed to Penn State University, a Division I FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) program in State College, Pennsylvania.
He made the announcement on July 6, during a broadcast on Spectrum Sports Florida television network.
“I want to win states, so (making a decision) would be extra pressure off my back,” Miner said during the broadcast.
He added that academics was one of the biggest factors in his decision.
The four-star recruit — who claims nearly 30 scholarship offers — chose the Nittany Lions over University of Maryland, University of Oregon, University of Tennessee and University of Florida, among others.
In a later statement, Miner wrote, “…I would like to thank all of the coaches that took a chance on me in this recruiting process, but after all this time and prayer, I have decided it is best for me to attend college at Penn State.”
Miner (6-foot-1, 177 pounds) is widely regarded as one of the best players in Tampa Bay and throughout the state, based on various recruiting publications.
According to 247Sports, Miner is the nation’s No. 30 cornerback and the No. 49 prospect in Florida, ranked among the top 300 prospects for the 2018 recruiting class.
Other outlets, including Rivals.com, Scout.com and ESPN.com, have likewise rated Miner among the nation’s elite.
“Miner flashes impressive ball skills by high-pointing the ball, but also does a nice job of transforming into an offensive weapon once tucking it away,” a Scout.com evaluation report reads. “He also impresses with his ability to adjust and track the ball through the air. Miner has to continue to strengthen up his frame, but is a tough kid who is willing to come downhill with physicality. He does a good job of reading and reacting, and then closes on the ball in a hurry. Miner is not a blazer, but does a nice job of accelerating away from opponents.”
Miner, meanwhile, was one of the key pieces that helped guide Wiregrass Ranch to a 7-3 mark and playoff appearance last season — its first winning campaign since 2010.
He finished the 2016 season with 38 tackles, hauled in three interceptions and forced a fumble last season. Also a standout on special teams, Miner averaged over 33 yards per kick return.
He isn’t the only blue-chip football prospect in Wesley Chapel, however.
Isaiah Bolden, a rising senior at Wesley Chapel High School, is another highly rated, four-star cornerback prospect.
Bolden (6-foot-2, 175 pounds) verbally committed to the University of Oregon in April.
According to 247Sports, Bolden is rated as the nation’s No. 20 cornerback and the No. 37 prospect in Florida, and ranked among the nation’s top 200 prospects for the entire 2018 recruiting class.
All verbal commitments are nonbinding until prospects sign national letters of intent or financial aid papers. This year, prospects can sign as early as Dec. 20, due to the new early signing period. That 72-hour window runs from Dec. 20 to Dec. 22.
If Miner ultimately signs with Penn State, he will be joining one of the nation’s most recognizable college football programs — and one that’s on the rise under fourth-year head coach James Franklin.
Last season, Penn State went 11-3 and made a Rose Bowl appearance after winning the Big Ten Conference championship.
And, Miner likely won’t be the only athlete from The Laker/Lutz News coverage area on the Penn State football roster come 2018.
Gaither High School product Amani Oruwariye is entering his redshirt junior season with the Nittany Lions, as a defensive back.
Followers of the Pasco County prep football scene may recognize the Miner name.
Jordan’s older brother, Jaye Miner, was an All-State linebacker at Wiregrass Ranch High School from 2011 to 2014. He later played college football at Florida Atlantic University, a Division I FBS program in Boca Raton.
Published July 19, 2017