6 Jacksonville high school athletes at USA Today National Sports Awards – The Florida Times-Union

From the 5-kilometer course to the gridiron, half a dozen Northeast Florida athletes are among the nominees for national honors coming July 31 at the USA Today National Sports Awards.
The ceremony will be streamed live online, recognizing top performers from all across the United States. Pro Bowl tight ends Vernon Davis and Rob Gronkowski are scheduled to host the national event.
For Northeast Florida, six athletes are up for USA Today national player of the year honors:
In addition to athlete of the year winners by sport, the USA Today National Sports Awards will recognized several other honorees at the ceremony.
Oakleaf rising senior forward Fantasia James announced her commitment to Florida International for women’s basketball.
A two-time All-First Coast honoree who helped the Knights to the Florida High School Athletic Association Class 8A final four in the 2020-21 season, James averaged 18.4 points and 6.7 rebounds during her junior season.
Listed at 5-9, she has scored 1,111 career points through three seasons at Oakleaf.
She’s not the only Oakleaf prospect drawing significant attention in the 2023 girls hoops class. On Friday, rising senior guard Kaylah Turner, a lock-down defender on the perimeter, announced her commitment to Alabama A&M.
Turner, who had gathered multiple offers from NCAA Division I programs, recorded 14.2 points and 3.0 assists per game last year, while ranking among the state’s leaders with 5.0 steals per game.
The week was a busy one for Oakleaf sports even away from the basketball court. On Wednesday, Knights rising senior infielder Mariyah Sanchez, an All-First Coast selection this year with a .471 batting average, announced her commitment to Mercer softball.
Yulee junior wide receiver Zack Drawdy committed to Connecticut, announcing his decision on Twitter.
I’m a Husky. #committed #soicy❄️❄️ #CutDifferent #HuskyRevolution pic.twitter.com/NZWaNF4bbh
The rising senior wide receiver selected the Huskies ahead of Central Michigan and Colorado State.
An All-First Coast wideout rated as a three-star prospect, Drawdy has been among Northeast Florida’s most productive pass-catchers over the past two seasons. He caught 38 passes for 580 yards and four touchdowns as a sophomore, and followed with 49 catches for 647 yards and six scores last year. 
Former Suwannee infielder Hueston Morrill, at Oklahoma State last year, signed a free agent contract to join the New York Yankees’ minor league system. … Sandalwood junior outfielder Blake Pacheco committed to Florida A&M baseball. … Mandarin senior infielder Aidan Callahan committed to Auburn-Montgomery baseball. … University of North Florida women’s soccer announced that Ponte Vedra’s Gabby Daly is transferring to the program from Notre Dame. … Raines named Joacquina Waters-Jones as the school’s new athletic director, and Ribault named William Griffin as its athletic director. They assume the roles formerly held by Tony Bannister and Aviance Wright, respectively. … Oakleaf named Mark Detoro head wrestling coach. … Beachside named Lauren Huss and Cyro Tavares as its inaugural swimming coaches. … University Christian is planning to field its first girls swimming team this fall. 
Clayton Freeman covers high school sports and more for the Florida Times-Union. Follow him on Twitter at @CFreemanJAX.


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