A combined four star student-athletes from Dr. Phillips and West Orange announced their intended college destinations last week.
Just ahead of the beginning of fall practice Aug. 1, several area athletes announced recruiting commitments to Division I programs.
Highlighting the local commitments was a pair of announcements from standout football players at Dr. Phillips High.
First, senior outside linebacker and defensive end Nick Smith chose North Carolina State July 25. Smith, who is 6-foot-3 and previously also played for DP’s basketball team, chose the Wolfpack over offers from a host of other schools, including North Carolina, Nebraska, Arizona and the University of Central Florida.
North Carolina State went 7-6 in 2015.
Two days later, senior Emare Hogan — who is being recruited as a wide receiver but has done a little bit of everything during his time with the Panthers — announced he would attend the University of South Florida.
Hogan, who also held offers from Bowling Green, Toledo and Western Michigan, among others, announced for the Bulls as part of a trio. Also announcing their intentions to suit up for college football in Tampa at a press conference July 27 was Apopka standout quarterback/wide receiver Demetri Berch and Cocoa High quarterback Bruce Judson.
Collectively, the trio of commitments marked quite a haul for USF coach Willie Taggart, whose Bulls went 8-5 in 2015.
A day later, on July 28, two West Orange High student-athletes announced non-football commitments.
Cole Beavin, a senior ace for the Warriors baseball team who had previously de-committed from South Carolina, announced he would be joining the program at East Carolina. The Pirates are fresh off of an appearance in an NCAA Super Regional, and head coach Cliff Godwin is known to have extensive ties in Central Florida after his time as an assistant at UCF.
Finally, Torey Baum — whose older brother Tyler Baum is preparing to start his freshman year as a pitcher at North Carolina — became the first Warrior to commit to Pac-12 powerhouse Southern California.
Baum, a sophomore, is a standout libero for a Warriors’ volleyball team that had its best season in program history in 2015, during which she started as a freshman. Baum plays her club volleyball for the recently merged Orlando Volleyball Academy — Tampa Bay Volleyball Academy.
“The coaches are amazing, and it’s a family-oriented program,” Baum said of the program at USC. “The girls are always outgoing and play at a high level — they’re always competing for a national championship every year.”
USC went 33-3 this past season and won a co-share of the Pac-12 Championship.
Contact Steven Ryzewski at [email protected].