Bartow's Stevenson Commits to FSU
Wed. July 04, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. | By Solange Reyner
Bartow's Freddie Stevenson gets dragged down by a Fort Meade defender Friday night at Bartow. (Photo by George Aycrigg / News Chief. Friday, October 01, 2010. )
By SOLANGE REYNER
LAKELAND | Freddie Stevenson created his own fireworks on the 4th of July by announcing his commitment to play football for Florida State University, one of the big three Division I powerhouses in Florida.
Stevenson, a linebacker who will most likely play on the outside in college, called FSU coach Jimbo Fisher and informed him of his decision at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
“He was really excited,” Stevenson said. “He said he would scream if he didn’t think it would blow out my eardrum.”
The 6-foot-2, 230 pound rising senior had over 20 offers and had narrowed his list to FSU, Texas A&M, Penn State and Florida although the Gators never offered him a scholarship. He chose FSU because he felt at ease during his visit to a camp there in mid-June.
“I felt like that was the place I needed to be. They looked me not only as an athlete but a student,” Stevenson said. “When I met with coach Fisher he told me they liked me on film but that my character meant more to them.”
Stevenson is one of several local athletes bucking the national signing day trend, an event that takes place February 1 where many football players announce where they are headed for college.
Lake Gibson has three athletes: Eric Carter, Tyler Brown and Kennard Swanson, who have committed early. Mulberry’s Kyle Jones pulled the trigger with his choice well before the summer started.
“I wanted to do it,” Stevenson said about his commitment, one he says he won’t waver on.
Bartow’s football coach, Brett Biggs, said interest started picking up in Stevenson early during his junior year.
“We were always sending film out and he was constantly getting letters, phone calls,” Biggs said. “His film spoke for itself so I think that’s what really started the process.”
Stevenson didn’t play in this year’s spring game because he was still recovering from a broken fibula, an injury he sustained last November. He had surgery in January and said he is close to 90 percent.