On Wednesday, as high school football players from around the country signed their National Letters of Intent, members of the Plant High School football team congregated at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa to formalize their college decisions. Ten members of the Panthers' team announced their college decisions after helping the school to an 13-1 record and a trip to the state title game in 2016.
"I think it's really special to be here at One Buc Place and be here at the Buccaneers' facility," said Robert Weiner, Plant's head coach. "I think one of the most important things about football is that football carves itself into the whole community and to have our high school program be associated with the professional program that's here in our own city is one that you can't compare anywhere else. It really is a special moment for my guys because we strive to be excellent in everything we do and then we come here to the finest facility in the NFL and are around the finest people in the NFL and to have this be the place to culimate their high school careers is something that's really, really, really special."
Players signing their NLI at One Buc included Davis Bak, Malik Bradshaw, Juwan Burgess, Bryce Jenkins, Aaron King, Whop Philyor, Jamil Thomas, Kyle Trina and Christian Watson. Dane Frantzen will also be playing at the next level, but has not chosen a school yet while Thomas Allen wasn't able to make the event. Philyor and Allen were both selected to USA Today's All-Florida team for their performances in 2016. Philyor and Frantzen were both All-State selections by the Tampa Bay Times.
According to MaxPreps, Plant finished the season as the No. 7 team in Florida and the No. 63 team in the country. The school has brought home several state titles recently, winning the championship in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2011.
"It was a tremendous season," Weiner said. "I don't know that I've had a season that I've enjoyed more. It wasn't just because we won a bunch of games, it was because we had kids that were really, really outstanding to be around so to end it this way was something that was really representative of what they did. This was a special year for us for sure."