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February 2, 2012
It was another banner year for the Panhandle and the prep football players that signed Letter of Intents on National Signing Day.
Fifteen players signed the dotted line to Division 1A or Division 1AA programs, with nine of the players going to either UCF, Alcorn State, or Grambling State.
UCF really hit the Panhandle hard this year, especially with the excitement of the Nights entering the BCS next season by going to the Big East. SWAC Program Alcorn State signed Pensacola's Eric Jordan and Shaquille Bush, Catholic's Michael Minton, and Escambia's LaDarian McGee.
Grambling State signed Pine Forest's Shaq Purifoy and West Florida Tech's Antawn Carter for their 2012 class. Grambling won the SWAC Championship this past season.
Headlining the rest of the signing day activities were Pensacola's Jalen Spencer signing with South Florida, Damarius Travis signing with Minnesota, and Coleman Johnson signing with Jackson State. Pensacola Head Coach Mike Bennett was able to get 13 total players to sign scholarships to play at the next level ranging from the D1 level to NAIA schools. It was almost a total of one million dollars in scholarship funds for his athletes.
Catholic's Ladarion Young is considered to be the steal from the area.
The defensive back battled a rough shoulder injury but bounced back to be healthy for this past season. Young signed his LOI to play for legendary coach Bill Curry at Georgia State. The other factor about Young is that he graduates from Catholic as a 16 year-old and still has room to grow. He's listed at 6'0", 170 lbs, and runs a 4.5 40 yard dash.
Rounding out the recruiting is Escambia's Stanley Tart signing with Southern Miss, and Michael Lovejoy signing with Florida A&M.
Ryan Bonifant works for ESPN 1450 in Pensacola. He can be heard talking high school and college footall from 4-7 PM Weekdays