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SPRING HILL – Will Allen headlined a group of five Springstead athletes to sign college letters of intent Thursday morning.
Allen, one of the best linemen to come through the North Suncoast, went through a rigorous recruiting process, gaining attention from many different programs. In the end, the 6-foot-7, 278-pound senior chose to play football in the fall at the University of Albany (State University of New York).
More than 20 programs, including SEC schools, showed different levels of interest in Allen since his junior season. He was classified as a two-star recruit by Rivals.com. Besides Albany, Allen had firm offers from Georgia Southern, Bethune-Cookman, Harvard, Penn and Alabama State. He was also told by coaches at UCF, Vanderbilt and Florida that he would have preferred status should he choose to walk on at their schools.
“It was more about following my heart than the sales promotion stuff you hear during the process," Allen said. "The Albany coaches knew a lot about me and made me feel valued. It came down to whether or not I wanted to develop on the field in game conditions or in practice. I am not really interested in becoming the best practice player I can be. The game is what matters.”
On the heels of being the first Springstead football player to ever be named a FACA all-star, Allen will head to New York to play for one of the nation’s longest-tenured coaches at the Division I-AA program in Bob Ford. Ford has coached the Great Danes for the past 40 years, amassing a 255-159 record.
Brandon Brosher completed his recruiting process by signing with Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla.
The senior, who plays third base, first base and pitcher, has been one of the top baseball players on the North Suncoast since middle school, playing at the time for Hernando Christian Academy.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound standout was given a top fastball rating by scouts during offseason tournaments and was named to the 2011 Rawlings Top Prospect list.
In his five prep seasons, Brosher has hit a combined .401 with 22 home runs and 101 RBIs. He is also 13-3 with a 1.20 ERA with 163 strikeouts in high school.
Two-time Times all-North Suncoast Golfer of the Year Megan Berube officially signed with Indiana State in Terre Haute.
Playing competitive golf for the past 10 years, Berube has averaged 265 yards off the tee and shot as low as 69 for 18 holes with an average of 39 for nine holes as a senior.
Sophomore Amanda Smith led the Indian State with a 78.5 average for 18 holes last season, showing Berube has a good chance to crack the lineup right away.
The final two signees were softball player Hailey Drawe and soccer player Kyle Bugden.
Drawe will head to Division II Newberry College in South Carolina. The senior shortstop/third baseman was a key member of two district titles for the Eagles, while hitting .401 over the past three seasons. That mark is the highest such statistic in school history. She is also on pace to set Springstead records in games, runs, hits and RBIs.
Bugden is on his way to Division II Ohio Valley University in Vienna, W.Va. At 6-foot-3, 180 pounds, the senior split time as the Eagles’ goalkeeper this season with Matt McDuff, and prior to that split time with former keeper Jordan Leathers. This season, he was key to a defense that earned seven shutouts, including four in a row at midseason.