Six Jesuit High School student-athletes, including 2016 Guy Toph Award winner Malik Davis ’17 (University of Florida) and All-State football standout Travell Harris ’17 (Washington State) signed with the colleges of their choice Wednesday (Feb. 1) at an early morning signing ceremony in the Multi-Purpose Room (MPR) at Jesuit.
Family, friends, coaches, and media packed the MPR for the special event. Jesuit president Fr. Richard C. Hermes, S.J. and athletic director Terry Rupp ’84 first addressed the signees, encouraging them to continue to strive for excellence on the field and in the classroom. After Harris – who had not yet committed to a school – announced his intention to sign with Washington State, they all signed their National Letter of Intent.
Royce Pope – Soccer – Centre College (Ky.)
Rodney Higdon – Football – U.S. Air Force Academy
Malik Davis – Football – Univ. of Florida
Dalton Garrett – Football – Johns Hopkins
Jake Moore – Football – Univ. of Dayton
Travell Harris – Football – Washington State
It was one of Jesuit’s most anticipated Signing Day ceremonies, as Davis and Harris – who combined for 50 touchdowns this season, the most in the state by teammates, while leading Jesuit to the State Semifinal for the second straight year – were national-level recruits. Davis is Hillsborough County’s all-time leading rusher and owner of every Jesuit single season and career record for rushing yards and touchdowns. He committed to Florida in October as Jesuit was in the midst of its second straight unbeaten regular season.
Harris kept the suspense going until Wednesday, selecting Washington State of the Pac-12 Conference from a slew of Division I offers, including Syracuse, Missouri, Arizona, Purdue, and South Florida. Harris, who excelled on defense, special teams, and offense for Jesuit, is expected to play receiver and return kicks for the high-powered Cougars offense.
Three other football players signed: Higdon, a safety and three-year starter who missed much of his senior year with an injury, with Air Force; Garrett a linebacker, with Johns Hopkins; and Moore, a center, with Dayton. Higdon’s pledge marks the second straight year a Jesuit football player has signed with a service academy, following Zack Quilty ’16 (U.S. Naval Academy). Garrett, who made 72 tackles this year, is one of a handful of Jesuit seniors to never earn anything less than an A on his report card during high school. Moore is a three-year starter who earned 1st-team All-County recognition.
Soccer standout Pope, a four-year letterwinner who has helped Jesuit to four District titles and a Region title, was selected to the All-Tournament team at one of the nation’s most prestigious events, the Montverde Academy Soccer Tournament, in January, and he also scored the “Best Goal of the Tournament.” Pope has 21 goals and 13 assists in 24 games this season. Jesuit soccer begins the Region playoffs tonight.
This was the second of three college signing ceremonies scheduled at Jesuit for the 2016-17 school year. The third ceremony will take place April 12. Each year, about 20-30 Jesuit student-athletes sign Letters of Intent to participate in college athletics.
View a photo slideshow below from Wednesday's ceremony. Below that is video of the ceremony, and then video interviews with Harris, Davis, and Higdon: