Fri. May 25, 2012 at 2:00 a.m. | By Solange Reyner
By SOLANGE REYNER
Lakeland's Jocobe Stafford has some pent up frustration he's ready to take out on the football field, built up from having to miss his senior season because the Florida High School Athletic Association ruled him ineligible before the start of last season after it said he falsified paperwork to get into Lakeland.
Going through that ordeal fueled him to play again, something he will do at Adrian College, a Division III program in Michigan, with Chandler Brunson, who had the same issues as Stafford.
"I'm still upset about all that," Stafford said. "But we're still getting the chance to play football in college, so this opportunity means a lot to me."
Added Brunson: "These coaches trust that we can do good work for them. We're going to prove that."
The pair were one of three at Lakeland's signing ceremony Thursday.
John Madden and Ian Bacon committed to Ave Maria in Naples and Erick Andre and Alec Nutting to Wittenberg in Ohio. All four played football and will do the same in college.
Ave Maria is a member of the NAIA and competes as an independent program. Wittenberg competes in the North Coast Athletic Conference in Division III.
Nutting, an offensive lineman who also qualified for the state tournament in wrestling, says the change will be good, but cold.
"I'm going to freeze," said Nutting, who will study sports management and music.
"I'll probably jump in a trash can and go sledding the first day it comes down, though."
Eric Moody, a standout on the basketball team, and Danny Mack, a four-time state qualifier in tennis, also took part in the ceremony. Mack, a three-time PolkPreps.com player of the year, will play at UNC-Greensboro in the fall.
Moody, a first-team All-County player this season, heads to Eckerd College in St. Petersburg.
He joins George Jenkins forward Jerrick Stevenson, who signed with Eckerd last week.
"I knew he was coming, we kind of talked about it," said Moody, gold on his teeth peeking out as he smiled, gold he put on for prom.
"It will be cool to have Jerrick as my roommate."