Surrounded by family, friends, coaches, and media inside the Tiger Palace, six Jesuit High School football standouts signed with the colleges of their choice at a special ceremony Wednesday (Dec. 18), the first day of the football early signing period.
National recruits Connor McLaughlin (Stanford University) and Jonathan Odom (University of Florida), along with Lex Capitano (Furman University) and a trio of Army West Point signees – Brett Gerena, Raleigh Oxendine, and Spencer Williams – signed their National Letter of Intent.
School president Fr. Richard C. Hermes, S.J. and athletic director Terry Rupp addressed the signees, encouraging them to use what they have learned at Jesuit to continue on a path of leadership as 'Men for Others.'
The six seniors helped Jesuit to three State Semifinal appearances in their four seasons and a 42-10 record in that span under head coach Matt Thompson. This fall, Jesuit won 10 straight games, defeated Tampa Catholic for the 20th straight season, and won another Region crown en route to the State Semifinal.
McLaughlin, a 6-7, 270-pound offensive lineman, chose Stanford over dozens of offers including Notre Dame, Iowa, UCLA, and USC. Odom, a 6-6, 245-pound tight end, chose Florida over LSU and Alabama, among others. Odom’s father, Jesuit assistant coach Jason Odom, also played for the Gators.
Capitano, a 5-9, 170-pound wide receiver, joins former Jesuit standout Braden Gilby ’18 at Furman in South Carolina. Gilby, a linebacker, was second on the Paladins in tackles this fall while helping Furman to a runner-up finish in the Southern Conference.
Gerena, 6-1, 220-pound linebacker who led Jesuit with 166 tackles this season, will follow in the footsteps of his father, Jesuit assistant coach Joe Gerena, who played quarterback at Army. Joining Gerena at West Point are Oxendine, a 6-2, 266-pound defensive lineman who led the Tigers with 24 tackles for loss this fall (one more than Gerena), and Williams, a 6-0, 182-pound defensive back who made two interceptions in the first three games before an injury cut short his senior season.
This is the second of four college signing ceremonies scheduled at Jesuit this school year. The third will take place Feb. 5 (it will include additional football signees), and the fourth on April 15. Each year, 20-30 Jesuit student-athletes sign to participate in college athletics.
Please see below a photo slideshow from Wednesday's signing ceremony, and below that is a video.