Posted: 1:29 pm Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Recruiting: Nine Dwyer football players sign with colleges 

By Anthony Chiang

Two months after winning a state football title, Dwyer’s senior class had another big day Wednesday.

The group celebrated signing day with nine football players signing with colleges, setting a new school record. The previous mark was eight in 2009.

“This is a special class,” Dwyer coach Jack Daniels said. “Every year to see this program keep putting kids out is why you coach.”

Wide receiver Johnnie Dixon, who was not present for Wednesday’s ceremony because he is already enrolled at Ohio State, and safety Shawn Boone, who signed with North Carolina State, were the big names. But running back Alonzo Smith, who signed with Miami (Ohio), wide receiver Clint Stephens, who signed with Bowling Green, and wide receiver Ezra Saffold, who signed with Northern Illinois, were also some of the top recruits in the county.

Fullback Gerald Hearns and lineman Daikwon Fuse, who both signed with Florida A&M, cornerback Shawun Lurry, who signed with Blinn College, and lineman Tim Jackson, who signed with Wagner, rounded out the group.

Although recent times have been positive for Dwyer’s 2014 class, there have been some negative experiences along the way. Their sophomore seasons ended with a loss to Bradenton-Manatee in the state semifinals. And as juniors, Dwyer fell to Lauderdale Lakes-Boyd Anderson in the second round of the playoffs.

That’s in the past now, though, as Boone is happy to have the recruiting process behind him. The hard-hitting safety, who is ranked as the fifth-best prospect on the PBGametime Class of 2014 Big Board, announced his decision on Jan. 23, but he made it official Wednesday.

“It was an 18-month relationship,” said Boone, who received his first college offer from the Wolfpack as a sophomore. “That’s like having a relationship with a girlfriend or a wife. Why not be somewhere where they care about you for that long of a period of time?”

Unlike Boone, Smith waited until the last week before signing day to make a decision. The running back committed to FAU last week, but he switched it to Miami (Ohio) after visiting the RedHawks’ campus over the weekend.

“I bonded with all of the coaches,” Smith said of his trip to Miami (Ohio). “I feel like that’s the best place for me to go.”

While Dwyer set a record for most football players from one class signing with colleges this year, the number is expected to grow in the next few days. Linebacker Jerrad Ward and defensive lineman Mark Kelly are expected to announce their decisions soon.

“We talked about this ever since we were freshmen,” said Boone of the school record the 2014 class set. “We knew we were going to be great and it became a reality. This senior class is amazing. It’s going to be hard leaving.”

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