Five Oxbridge football players take advantage of early signing period

11:40 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017 Sports
Five Oxbridge Academy football players sign national letters of intent during the early signing period Wednesday, December 20, 2017. The five players signing are (from left) Romello Tarver (Central Michigan University), V’Lique Carter (University of Pittsburgh), Jason McCleod (University of Pennsylvania), Keidron Smith (University of Mississippi), and Herman McCray (Georgia State University). (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

Two weeks ago, Keidron Smith, Romello Tarver, Jason McCleod, Herman McCray and V’Lique Carter were playing for a state football championship.

Wednesday, the Oxbridge Academy student-athletes became official college scholarship signees.

The five ThunderWolves standouts signed national letters of intent on the first day of a three-day early signing period for Division I football recruits.

The early signing period was approved in May by the the Collegiate Commissioners Association and runs through Friday.

The five Oxbridge players are among a handful of senior football players throughout the county who chose to take advantage of the 72-hour window.

Smith, a defensive back, signed with Ole Miss; Tarver, a defensive end, signed with Central Michigan; McCleod, a defensive back, signed with Pennsylvania; McCray, a tight end, signed with Georgia State; and Carter, a defensive back, signed with Pittsburgh.

None are expected to enroll early, and the five are expected to graduate with their class this spring.

“It’s a great day,” Oxbridge Academy coach Brendan Kent said. “I’m excited for them. It’s a good opportunity for them to go to the next level, get their education and continue their athletic careers.”

McCleod committed to Penn — an Ivy League school — before the season began and never wavered from his decision.

“This is a great opportunity, academically, intellectually and athletically — everything,” he said. “I’m excited for the opportunity I have at the university.”

Like McCleod, McCray also committed early, opting for Georgia State in August.

“When I took my visit, it felt like home,” he said. “The coaches made me feel like family. When I met with some of the players, they told me it was the place to be.”

Tarver and Smith committed to their schools in November. Both said Wednesday that signing early was the right decision.

“It’s a relief from all the college coaches talking to me day in and day out,” Tarver said. “It’s finally over. I’m happy it’s over, and I can go to a school where I want to go.”

“This is a dream come true, to get a free education and play at a big-time program,” added Smith. “I was thinking of enrolling early, but due to complications I won’t be. But I’ll still be an Ole Miss Rebel no matter what.”

Carter originally was headed to Iowa State, committing to the Cyclones last month. But he changed his mind Monday, flipping his commitment to Pittsburgh.

“I believe it’s the best fit for me,” he said. “For my mom, it’s more convenient with the traveling situation. The coaches really showed me love.”

All five Oxbridge players who signed Wednesday are ranked on the Post’s Class of 2018 Big Board.

Kent said he expects at least five more ThunderWolves to sign on national signing day in February.

For complete coverage of the Class of 2018 early signing period, click here.

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