CLEARWATER — Calvary Christian's Amari Burney knew for months when he would announce his college commitment.
The senior wide receiver/defensive back decided on June 1, the birthday of his grandfather who passed away two years ago.
The tougher choice was figuring out which school to attend.
It did not come until 11 p.m. Wednesday when Burney called Florida coach Jim McElwain to say he was picking the Gators over Ohio State and Virginia Tech.
"The decision was close between all three," Burney said. "It was a big relief."
Burney (6-foot-1, 215 pounds) is a four-star prospect ranked the 25th player in the state for the 2018 class by 247Sports. His decision continues Florida's trend of landing top recruits in the area.
The Gators have four locals from the 2017 class: Jesuit's Malik Davis, Clearwater's Adarius Lemons, Hillsborough's Zachary Carter and Tampa Bay Tech's Daquon Green. They also have a commitment from Largo standout Jaquaze Sorrells, one of the state's top prospects in the 2019 class.
"When we took this job a couple years ago, this was an area we wanted to really get back in the recruiting piece," McElwain said last month while in Clearwater talking to the Pinellas County Gator Club. "We were able to sign four really quality players from this area I'm really excited about. We've got to continue that. There's a lot of Gators down here. Obviously this means a lot to us."
Burney said he likely will be used on both sides of the ball.
"Mainly defense, but (McElwain) said he'll have a few plays for me on offense," Burney said.
For the past three seasons, Burney played at Clearwater Central Catholic. In January, he transferred to Calvary Christian, a decision he said was based on coaching.
On Thursday, he officially announced his college decision in Calvary Christian's gymnasium. He said he plans to graduate early and sign during the new early signing period in December.
"I'm the glad this is out of the way," Burney said. "Now it's time to recruit more players to Florida."
Times staff writer Matt Baker contributed to this report.