Friday, October 19, 2018
Sports

Top 2016 recruit Nate Craig lands at Tampa Catholic

Sophomore phenom Nate Craig is transferring from Pasco to Tampa Catholic, his mother said Tuesday morning.

"It has nothing to do with football," said his mom, Nicki, while she was driving to drop off her son's paperwork so he can start at Tampa Catholic today. "It's all about education. That's what people need to understand."

Nicki said her job at a medical clinic in Tampa requires an hour commute from Dade City. That made it difficult for Nicki to drop by school to talk with a teacher or pick her son up in case of an emergency. She stressed that the decision was not football related and that her son was not recruited.

"It's about being close to him so if I need to meet with a teacher or something were to happen, I can get right to him," Nicki said.

Craig confirmed via text message that he will start at his new school today, the second day of classes at TC. He also said he will not be able to participate in spring football.

Craig has already established himself as one of the country's top recruits for the class of 2016. He holds offers from top programs like Florida State, Florida, Miami, Auburn and Ohio State. Scout.com considers him a five-star prospect. In August, the site pegged him as the state's No. 17 overall recruit, regardless of position or class.

In two seasons with the Pirates, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound receiver/defensive back has racked up more than 500 receiving yards, 41 tackles, four interceptions and 16 total touchdowns. TC graduates its top three receivers, including Justin Motlow (1,100 yards, 10 touchdowns) from a team that finished 10-3 and advanced to the Class 3A state semifinals.

Pirates coach Tom McHugh said he was disappointed with the move because he has coached Craig and his family for years. Craig's older brother, Josh Johnson, starred for the Pirates before playing defensive back at Purdue and earning a tryout with the San Diego Chargers. Craig's nephew, Trey Dudley-Giles, was the Tampa Bay Times' North Suncoast co-player of the year at Pasco in 2011 and has started 16 games at cornerback for UMass.

McHugh also expressed concern in the system — 7-on-7 all-star teams that give players and coaches from other high schools the chance to recruit talent like Craig and a state legislature that has "taken all the teeth out" of the state's recruiting and transfer rules.

"You can't do that in college," McHugh said of widespread transferring. "You can't do that in the pros. You can't do that in PAL. Where can you do that? I guess you can do it in high school."

Girls basketball

Freedom's girls basketball team will be formally honored as MaxPreps' state team of the week at Friday's home game against Wharton on senior night.

The Patriots (18-4) earned that honor by rattling off nine consecutive wins after suffering three losses in December. Steinbrenner snapped that winning streak last week by beating the Patriots 44-43.

Comments
District volleyball: Battle-tested Calvary Christian ready for region run

District volleyball: Battle-tested Calvary Christian ready for region run

TAMPA — Calvary Christian’s volleyball team looks tough, tested and ready for a strong run at a Class 4A state title.For proof, look no farther than the past two days when the Warriors defeated a tough Tampa Prep squad in three games, then followed F...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Football: Clearwater Central Catholic 14, Jesuit 6

Football: Clearwater Central Catholic 14, Jesuit 6

TAMPA — Rory Hicks is elusive and efficient. He can scramble to buy time in the pocket or take off to pick up timely first downs. The Clearwater Central Catholic senior also is careful with the football, rarely making a costly mistake. But of all the...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Football: Clearwater 27, Boca Ciega 26

Football: Clearwater 27, Boca Ciega 26

GULFPORT — Boca Ciega needed to gain 3 yards in the final six seconds of Friday night’s Class 6A, District 9 game against Clearwater to win its first district championship since 2007. But it was the Tornadoes who got the stop in a thrilling 27-26 win...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
Football: Zephyrhills 48, Wesley Chapel 0

Football: Zephyrhills 48, Wesley Chapel 0

ZEPHYRHILLS — The Homecoming crowd could not ask for any more, but they got it anyway. With a running clock winding down a district title and playoff-clinching victory, Zephyrhills fans got one last thrill as Tre’pavis Mobley ended the night with a 1...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Football: Tampa Bay Tech 51, Durant 14

TAMPA — Tampa Bay Tech’s district finale will mean something after all.The Titans rebounded from a mistake-plagued loss to rout Durant 51-14 on Friday night. The victory, combined with Plant City’s 24-10 victory against Bloomingdale, keeps Tech’s bid...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Football: Plant City 24, Bloomingdale 10

PLANT CITY — After a holding penalty around midfield, Plant City faced a big third and long late in the fourth quarter against district foe Bloomingdale. The Raiders had led all night, but now they were up by just one score, and the Bulls defense was...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Football: Steinbrenner 35, Alonso 19

TAMPA — Haden Carlson threw for three touchdowns and ran for another as Steinbrenner held on to defeat Alonso in a wild Class 8A, District 6 matchup that featured 28 penalties for nearly 300 yards, five turnovers, multiple ejections and a pair of sa...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Football: Newsome 49, Palm Harbor University 16

PALM HARBOR — Just imagine if Newsome had its full arsenal of weapons.Considering the 49-16 hurting the Wolves put on district foe Palm Harbor University on Friday, it’s hard to believe the visitors came into the game missing their top rusher in seni...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Football: East Lake 20, St. Petersburg (OT)

ST. PETERSBURG — Sitting outside the playoff picture and trailing 14-3 late in the third quarter, East Lake knew it needed to buckle down to have any hope of making the playoffs this season.And after a furious comeback, Micah Abraham, Isaac Gibbs and...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Football: Largo 49, Northeast 21

ST. PETERSBURG — Largo saw a 35-7 fourth-quarter lead suddenly become 35-21 with 5:43 left in the game Friday. Vikings running back Qezzy Guyden scored twice in less than two minutes. The first came on a 3-yard run, and the second followed a fumble r...
Updated: 1 hour ago