Clearwater fetes a transformative class of 2017
Clearwater coach Don Mesick became emotional when he announced the seven players who were signing their letters of intent during Wednesday’s ceremony.
Those seven, along with plenty of others, helped transform a program that went 0-10 four years ago to winning two straight district titles and posting the school’s first undefeated regular season since 1970 this past year.
“It’s hard not to be emotional when you’ve spent as much time with these kids as this coaching staff has over the years,” Mesick said.
The signees were: defensive backs Jatavious and Jaquez Byrd (Warner), quarterback Austin Day (Marist), offensive lineman Zachary Hauschild (Youngstown State) receiver Jacquez Jones (Tennessee), punter Shane McDonough (Marshall) and defensive lineman Tramar Reece (Indiana).
Many of the signees overcame setbacks off the field. Hauschild was bullied in middle school. Jones had a turbulent childhood filled with family drug and jail woes. Reece’s mother died from a heart attack at the end of last season.
“I’m proud of these guys,” Mesick said. “A lot of them had to get through some difficult situations in their lives. But they stayed focused and worked hard on the field and in the classroom. They are an example to others of what hard work can do to help you get through tough times.”
Running back Adarius Lemons also signed with Florida late Wednesday afternoon and defensive lineman Kane Taylor was expected to go to a Division I program or a junior college depending on how much he’s able to raise his GPA.
In all, Mesick said the school will have nine of 23 seniors play in college.