Six seniors from Jesuit High School signed with the college of their choice Wednesday (April 15) at an early morning signing ceremony conducted via video conference – Jesuit's first such virtual ceremony.
With Jesuit operating as a virtual school through May 1 due to coronavirus restrictions, the six student-athletes, along with four head coaches and school administrators, gathered together on video conference for the fourth and final college athlete signing ceremony of the school year.
Jesuit's Director of Communications, Pete Young, started the proceeding by announcing the signees and the college they will be attending:
Cade Freeman – football – Wabash College
Greg Gyenis – football – Tennessee-Martin
Nick Haggar – tennis – Loyola Maryland
A.J. Karabenick – baseball – Wesleyan University
Jalen Niles – baseball – Florida A&M
Jimmy Paradise – golf – Univ. of Connecticut
Jesuit's Director of Campus Ministry, Fr. Jay Hooks, S.J., said the prayer, and principal Barry Neuburger spoke to the signees about their accomplishment, and how they have thrived at Jesuit within a culture of high expectations.
Then athletic director Terry Rupp '84 gave the directive, and the signees put pen to paper to make it official.
Freeman, a three-year starter at kicker for Jesuit who received All-Area and All-State recognition, will play for Wabash in Crawfordville, Ind., an hour northwest of Indianapolis. Wabash, much like Jesuit, is a highly regarded all-men's school with an enrollment of a little more than 800.
Gyenis was slated to be a three-year starter but his senior season was derailed by injury. Nonetheless, he received several college offers and will play for Division I FCS Tennessee-Martin. The Skyhawks, who will face powerhouse Alabama this season, were 7-5 last season, including a defeat at Florida.
Freeman and Gyenis represent the 9th and 10th Jesuit football players to sign to play collegiately this school year after helping the Tigers advance to the State Semifinal the past two seasons.
Haggar was a key member of Jesuit's powerhouse tennis team, playing singles and doubles in helping the Tigers achieve a State runner-up finish in 2019, tied for the best State result in school history. The Tigers were 8-0 this spring against a rugged schedule before the season was suspended. Haggar will continue his education and tennis career at another Jesuit institution, Loyola University in Baltimore, where he has received $20,000 in merit scholarships plus a Jesuit 'Magis' Award.
Karabenick, the Jesuit student body president, helped the Tigers to the baseball State Championship in 2019, the program's fifth State crown. Karabenick will pitch for Wesleyan, a prestigious liberal arts school in Middletown, Conn., joining two Jesuit alumni on the Cardinals roster, pitcher Everett Lee '18 and catcher Jimmy Clifford '19.
Niles was an essential member of the 2019 baseball State Championship team, with his baserunning prowess having a major impact on several playoff games. The starting shortstop this season for the nationally No. 1-ranked Tigers, who were 9-0 before the season was suspended, Niles will join two other Tigers, Andrew Dansoh '19 (basketball) and Christian Jones '20 (football) in the Florida A&M athletics program.
Paradise, who initially starred in hockey at Jesuit, captured the individual District crown in golf in both his junior and senior years, shooting a 73 and 71, and was the Region runner-up last fall. During his four years in the program, Jesuit golf won four District titles, three Region crowns, and placed 4th at State twice, the school's second-best State result ever. Paradise joins a UConn golf program that placed in the Top 7 at five major tournaments last fall.
The signing ceremony took place on the traditional annual date, the first day of the NCAA spring signing period, and was Jesuit's fourth (and likely final) signing ceremony of 2019-20. Each year, some 15-30 Jesuit student-athletes sign Letters of Intent to participate in college athletics. This school year there have been 27 college signees from Jesuit.
Please view below a video and photos from Wednesday's ceremony.