For his big day, Freedom's Nate Godwin checked in with another former USF Bull signee, Tchecoy Blount, to see what he should wear.
Blount, who was the head coach at Freedom for Godwin's sophomore and junior seasons, suggested something dapper. Maybe a tie. In fact, Blount told Godwin, "when I signed with the Bulls in 1997, I wore a USF tie."
So Godwin borrowed it for Wednesday's signing day ceremony at Freedom, which Blount attended.
"I'm the first student-athlete he coached that signed with USF,'' said Godwin, who had 47 tackles and two interceptions last year. "I wanted to sign with USF and represent him."
Godwin was initially a Minnesota oral commitment, but flipped to USF shortly after Willie Taggart was hired as coach.
"i kind of wanted him to go away, just to get the whole college experience, get out from under being comfortable at home, eating all my food,'' said his dad, Ken Capers, laughing. "But Willie Taggart, he came in and swayed him. And you do always want the chance to see your son play, and at Minnesota that would have been tough."
Godwin was one of five Patriots to sign, joining football teammates Isaac Tanner (Western Kentucky), Rich Bisaccia (Middle Tennessee State) and Cody Coffin (Webber), as well as basketball standout Faith Woodard (Georgetown) and track star Sandra Akachukwu (Western Kentucky).
Tanner, a linebacker who had 4.5 sacks last season, stayed true to Western Kentucky, despite the departure of Taggart. "You committ to the school, not the coach,'' Tanner said. "I'm very happy to be going there, I loved it up there."
Taggart was replaced by Bobby Petrino, once one of the college game's hottest coaches until running into an off-the-field scandal. But Tanner said he's thrilled to have a former SEC coach directing him through college.
"I think he's a mastermind,'' Tanner said. "I plan on going up there and soaking in everything he says. It's a blessing having a coach like that. He might have a bad rap or some baggage, but I've spent alot of time talking with him and he's put together. Those days are behind him.''
Bisacciais the son of former Tampa Bay Bucs special teams coach Rich Bisaccia, who was with San Diego last season and joined Dallas last month.
Because he was in California last season, Bisaccia was only able to attend three of his son's games. But the Freedom linebacker, who had 4.5 sacks and an interception last year, said when his dad was there he "was awesome. He would be there on the sidelines helping coach me up."
The happy father was in attendance Wednesday. "He's proud of me,'' the younger Bisaccia said. "It's great to be going to the next level for football, but it's more important to be going to school. That's the big thing.''
Coffin was a starting offensive lineman for the Patriots.
Woodard is currently leading the Patriots girls basketball team towards a potential state title. Freedom is 22-2 and Woodard leads the team in scoring with 21.8 points a game and seven rebounds.
Akachukwu won four medals at last year's state track meet while competing in the high jump, long jump and 100 and 200 sprints and boasts a grade-point-average over 4.0.