TAMPA — Four players from Plant got together early Wednesday morning with coach Robert Weiner and sat down for a relatively quick, but deeply appreciated signing ceremony (moments before rushing off to take semester exams).
"This group of guys are the poster children for what you want this day to be all about," Weiner said. "They work hard and do all the right things and were a pleasure to be around. They all deserve this moment so much."
The four Plant signees on Wednesday included quarterback Jordan McCloud (USF), defensive lineman Judge Culpepper (Penn State), linebacker Micah McFadden (Indiana) and linebacker/running back Brandon Brooks (Navy).
McCloud, the brother of Clemson running back Ray-Ray McCloud, says he liked the idea of staying close to home and he also got a really "good vibe" from USF coach Charlie Strong.
"As soon as I met (Strong) I thought this would be a good place to be," McCloud said. "He was up front and honest."
McCloud, who threw for 2,426 yards and 26 touchdowns for Plant last season, also said Strong's philosophy suited his passing/running style.
Culpepper, the brother of current Syracuse quarterback Rex Culpepper and son of former NFL lineman Brad Culpepper, said his decision involved a desire, "To spread my wings and go my own way."
Culpepper's father, after all, played defensive tackle for the University of Florida, a school that had also recruited Judge.
"But after visiting Penn State I said, 'This is it,' " said Culpepper, who had a long list of Division I-A programs recruiting him. "I think Penn State is on the rise."
McFadden, who led Plant with an average of 15.1 tackles a game, will join several former Plant players at Indiana, including receiver Whop Philyor, defensive back Juwan Burgess, linebacker Thomas Allen and kicker Stephen Yaffe.
Brooks, meantime, will take his versatile talents to Navy after a strong senior year where he averaged 9.2 tackles a game and rushed 22 times for 178 yards and two touchdowns.