Athletes, coaches, athletic trainers, family and friends – even St. Petersburg mayor and Lakewood alumnus Ken Welch – filled the Lakewood gym on Wednesday (2/2/22) to cheer on five athletes who signed to play college football.
The Spartan marching band played at the start of the event, booming with school spirit. It was a happy day for everyone, but especially for Spartan athlete Ramon Davis, who overcame a major injury he suffered in September to sign with Trinity International University in Deerfield, Ill.
“It was a major comeback as it was hard. … So, I had to stay focused mentally and physically. (Head athletic trainer Erika) Miller and the staff helped me throughout the whole process, as well as my mom,” Davis said.
Davis played safety for the Spartans and was injured on Sept. 3, 2021, during a game against Palmetto High School when his teammate accidentally hit his leg. He broke his fibula and tibia in the fourth quarter six minutes before the end of the game. He had to have surgery and spent weeks in physical therapy.
“As far as his rehabilitation, he transformed from a young boy to a young man. I have never been more proud of him,” mother Tiffany Davis said at the signing.
Also signing on Wednesday were:
– Camari Berry, Cornell University in upstate New York
– TJ Adams, New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, N.M.
– Pharee Reed, Valdosta State University, in Valdosta, Ga.
– Jaden Shorter, Valdosta State University, in Valdosta, Ga.
These five are in addition to four other football players who signed in mid-December: Emmanuel McNeil-Warren (Toledo University), Terrell Crosby (Iowa State University), Mike Evans (Austin Peay State University) and Amari Niblack (University of Alabama).
Head football coach Cory Moore said he was excited to see the young men move on to the next level in their lives. Though this was a big group of student athletes to sign, he has had more in one year in the past.
“I am still proud of each and every one of them,” he said.
Mayor Ken Welch, who graduated from Lakewood 41 years ago in 1981, made a special appearance.
“We’re counting on y’all and we’re so proud of you,” Welch told the athletes. “Go out and do great things. God bless you.”