Lakeland's Ricquan Southward Commits to University of Miami
Mon. November 07, 2011 at 5:29 a.m. | By Blake Hasenzahl
Lakeland's Ricquan Southward holds the school record for yards receiving and catches in a game. He set the mark in October. (Photo by RICK RUNION | THE LEDGER )
By Blake Hasenzahl and Ray Beasock
LAKELAND | Dreadnaughts' star wide receiver Ricquan Southward is taking his talents South — literally.
The senior verbally committed to the University of Miami late Sunday.
"I went down Saturday for the Duke game and I really liked the program," Southward said. "It's close to home and it's a good environment."
Miami won the in-state battle for Southward over Florida and Florida State. Southward visited both schools and is still planning on visiting Ohio State.
"All the offers really just started to roll in a few weeks ago," Southward added. "My first contact was from OSU and I still want to go visit."
A few weeks ago, the game-changing Southward broke the Lakeland High School record for receptions and receiving yards in a game. He credits that game to the offers he's received.
Miami might be a tough place to go and play with all the recent improper benefit allegations. That doesn't bother Southward.
"I had to discus that with my Mom," he said. "I'm going in to get a good education and play football. They want me to come in and work hard. Hopefully (I'll) get a lot of playing time as a freshman.
"I can really see myself in that offense and even pursuing a career after college."
Southward was recruited by defensive line coach Jethro Franklin.
His skils are being cultivated by Will Bahler, the Lakeland receivers coach.
"I'm happy for him. Ever since they saw his tape, they've been full-go on him," Bahler said. "Once his highlight tape was getting out to the colleges they've (Miami) been on him, probably harder than anybody. Ohio State and Miami have been recruiting him the most.
"He's definitely is excited about it. He didn't want it to be a distraction for this year."
Southward ranks third in the county in receiving yards this season with 678 and has six touchdown receptions. He also is a dangerous return man.