Pinellas Park's Jeremi Powell stays with Florida; Iman Smith picks Middle Tennessee

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Wed. February 1, 2012 | Bob Putnam | Email

Pinellas Park's Jeremi Powell stays with Florida; Iman Smith picks Middle Tennessee

As expected, Pinellas Park linebacker Jeremi Powell stuck with his initial commitment by signing with Florida during a ceremony at school on Wednesday.

Powell also scheduled a visit to Marshall this past month but it was not enough for him to waver from the commitment he made to the Gators nearly a year ago.

"I took another trip because I could but I also wanted to make sure the decision was right," Powell said. "It tripped my mind just a little but I knew I was still going to be a Gator."

Powell chose Florida in February 2011 in part because he has family who lives near Gainesville. He will play outside linebacker.

Powell will be joined by Lakewood defensive lineman Dante Fowler, who pulled a fast one by signing with Florida instead of FSU.

"I wasn't that surprised with Dante," Powell said. "I knew he was going to be a Gator. I would ask him all the time about it and he would just start smiling and laughing."

Powell's teammate, Iman Smith pulled the surprise by signing with Middle Tennessee State over Florida Atlantic and Florida International.

"I went up there (Middle Tennessee State) with an open mind," Smith said. "I got along with the players and clicked with the coaches. It was cold, but I kind of liked that."

It was quite a transformation for Smith, a basketball player who started playing football two years ago. Former Largo standout Dexter McCluster, now with the Kansas City Chiefs, attended the signing ceremony because he knows Smith's family.

"I was thinking how amazing this was the past few days," Smith said. "I always thought I'd be doing this with basketball. But it all worked out for the good."

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