Pahokee students commit to colleges on signing day

Special to the Lake Okeechobee News/New Era Prep
Pahokee senior Tamarick Best and his family celebrates his signing with Florida International University.

PAHOKEE– Four Pahokee Blue Devils from the varsity football team signed letters of intent to continue playing at college on National Signing Day on Feb. 5.

Octavious Bouie Jr. signed to East Tennessee State University (ESTU), Delonus Kabir signed with Florida A&M University (FAMU), Antonio Kelly signed with St. Thomas University and Tamarick Best signed to Florida International University (FIU).

“I would like to thank my parents for every sacrifice they’ve made,” said Bouie in a post announcing his decision. “I would also like to thank my family, coaches, teachers and friends that helped me develop as a student athlete. I’m forever grateful for you all.”

Bouie joins ESTU program with a lot of youth heading into the 2020-21 season and has an opportunity to make an impact as a red shirt freshman.

Kabir chose to sign with Florida A&M University over the University of Central Florida and Southern Miss. He’s one of five offensive linemen who committed to the school this year.

“We’ve put in a lot of work over the last couple of months, identifying prospective student-athletes, hosting them on official visits and really showing them what FAMU has to offer,” said FAMU head coach Willie Simmons. “The guys we’ll add to the program today, we’re very excited about. We look forward to getting them here this summer and seeing what they can do as they help us begin our quest to winning a MEAC championship.”

Antonio Kelly is part of St. Thomas University’s second football signing day class school history. Once at the school he’ll join another lake area player, Moore Haven’s Andrew Fish who signed to the school last year and took part in the program’s inaugural season.

“The first few recruiting classes to build the program are extremely important,” St. Thomas University coach Bill Rychel. “We added great depth, as well as character, all across the field to create competition and set standards to contend for national championships.”

Tamarick Best said he made the decision to commit to FIU after making an unofficial visit to the school early 2019.

“I fell in love instantly with the campus,” said Best in an interview with New Era Prep shortly after signing. “My whole family liked the school. I’m glad to be playing under Butch Davis and the rest of the coaching staff.”

The Pahokee Blue Devils came within one point of claiming the state title this year, bouncing back after a slow start to their season. The Blue Devils had jumped out to a 28-17 lead by the third quarter of the title game and looked to be on the verge of pulling off the upset before Madison County roared back to win 37-36 and claim their third state championship in three years.

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