WEEKI WACHEE — The assembled crowd let out whoops and a few whispered "I knew its" as offensive lineman Marcus Applefield donned a black baseball cap emblazoned with a red R.
Applefield, the first athlete at Weeki Wachee to receive a Division I scholarship, announced his decision to attend Rutgers.
The 6-foot-6, 290-pound lineman had offers from Virginia, Purdue, Maryland and Vanderbilt.
"It's been an honor to be a Hornet for the last four years," Applefield said Friday.
Sitting behind a table swathed in Weeki Wachee green, Applefield thanked his coaches, teachers, family and school staff.
"Especially the lunch ladies who looked out for me," he said, eliciting chuckles.
Applefield, who is graduating early, will enroll in classes at Rutgers next month.
Hornets coach Mark Lee said he watched Applefield grow in height, muscle and as a person during his time with the team.
"This young man is going to put Weeki Wachee on the map and make everyone proud," he said. "He's a great football player, but he's a 10 times better person."
Applefield was a captain on the Hornets' team all four years of high school and made honor roll every year. He also started every game for four years.
Lee stood behind Applefield as he signed forms confirming he would accept scholarships offered by Rutgers. The coach mentioned that from now on when he sacked a star quarterback, it would be on television.
"He'll be a grounded, humble young man, and I look forward to what the future holds for Marcus Applefield," Lee said.