Defensive tackle Tyler Davis, the No. 1-ranked player in the Sentinel’s 2019 Central Florida Super60, capped a record-setting National Signing Day for the Wekiva Mustangs, announcing he will continue his football career at Clemson.
Davis, who made his choice public during a Wednesday ceremony that saw what is believed to be a Central Florida-record six Football Bowl Subdivision signees from one high school, picked the Tigers over FSU and Ohio State.
Wekiva fell two games short of playing for the Class 8A state championship this season and had an 11-2 record a year after going 12-2 and finishing in the state Final Four.
Mustangs linebacker Rian Davis signed with Georgia, cornerback Renardo Malcom Green signed with FSU, safety Brandon Hill signed with Pittsburgh, defensive tackle Norell Pollard signed with Virginia Tech and cornerback Malik Dixon signed with UConn.
Rian Davis was not at Wednesday’s ceremony. He was in Mexico for the Xenith Pro Football Hall of Fame World Bowl at Azul Stadium in Mexico City, which will be played Saturday. Davis, whose senior season was cut short by a torn ACL in a Week 4 game against Olympia, will not play in the game, but he opted to take part in the week leading up to it.
Third-year Wekiva head coach Rich Bedesem was like a proud father watching the five players sign at the school auditorium.
“It’s a great group. You come in and lay out a plan for them … you get stronger, you get your grades up, you have a good high-school career and you go off to college,” Bedesem said. “That was the plan and the vision from Day 1 and these guys have worked extremely hard on and off the field and they get to live their dreams now.”
Still on the board for Wekiva with the possibility of inking FBS scholarship papers in the future are linebacker James Lynch, receiver Terrence Moore and receiver Malik Tolbert, who continue to mull their options. All three players have had FBS offers, although those offers may no longer be options as things change during the course of the recruiting cycle.
It was not lost on the players what they have accomplished as a group and it was something they had set out to do since they started playing together, even before high school, according to Hill.
“We came into high school all playing on varsity [as freshmen], so it’s just a good feeling that we’re all doing great things and we’ll all be playing at the next level,” Hill said.
Tyler Davis said, “We came in and we said we wanted to make history and that’s what we did. Just the fact that we put Wekiva on the map, it’s great.”
But no one summed it up better than the way Pollard put it.
“It feels good. It’s a blessing, because now I feel like we’re global. All my boys … we’re global now,” he said. “Because it all started as a dream and now we’re like really here.”
As for the 6-foot-1, 280-pound Davis, he said the fact that FSU, by Seminoles’ standards, had a horrendous season and failed to make a bowl game for the first time in 36 years had nothing to do with his decision.
“No, my decision weighed heavily on just how [the coaches and players] responded to me and everything,” Davis said. “I felt more comfortable with Clemson. They’re both family oriented and it was very difficult. I really like [FSU] Coach Odell [Haggins] and Coach [Willie] Taggart, but, for me, I thought Clemson was the best choice for me.”
He said there was a point when he did think he was headed to FSU, but eventually Clemson won him over. Davis said the decision-making process was difficult, but in the end he just knew he felt right at home with Clemson.
“I feel like I connect better with their players and I like coach Dabo [Swinney] a lot and I like Coach [Brent] Venables the defensive coordinator and the D-line coach [Todd Bates]. I feel like I just like what they’re doing right now.”
The last Central Florida player to sign with Clemson was Orlando First Academy H-back Garrett Williams in 2015. Williams is now a redshirt junior for the Tigers.
Chris Hays covers college football and recruiting for the Sentinel. Reach him at [email protected].