Two Gulf Coast High football players ensured their collegiate shots during Wednesday’s first Signing Day in the school’s library.
Kicker/Punter Danny Acuna will boot the ball at Baldwin College, a Division III program in Bera, Ohio, while lineman Mike McKeekan will ship off to SUNY Maritime, also a D-III program, located in Throggs Neck, N.Y. The decision to go with SUNY Maritime, where he’ll focus on the offensive line, over Maritime Academy and Florida Atlantic didn’t take long for the 5-foot-10, 220-pound McKeekan. The fit is perfect. His dad, Graham, is from New Zealand and bought the family a boat when it moved to Southwest Florida nine years ago.
“I’ve always loved being on the water,” said McMeekan, who played for the North team in the Rotary Club of Naples All-Star Classic. “I’ll be going into maritime transportation, which will allow me to travel as well as be on the sea. Very big dream.”
A Division III program, SUNY Maritime was 3-6 last season but 8-2 in 2011.
“I’m really excited for him,” Gulf Coast coach Pete Fominaya said. “This is a passion for him, to get in the service industry and get involved in building and those kind of things.
“Now he’s got an opportunity to play football as well. We’re really proud of him.”
Also a strong soccer player, the 5-foot-7, 155-pound Acuna chose Baldwin over Ohio Wesleyan.
“They really reached out to me and it was a great feeling,” said Acuna, who visited the campus a week ago.
The decision to choose football over soccer wasn’t as easy. But an ACL tear during his junior season helped him settle on the gridiron.
“I preferred to play soccer,” Acuna said. “This season I wanted to play, but my parents told me not to because of the ACL. It was not in my best interest to take a chance on tearing it again. And this is a great opportunity to play college football.”
Acuna said he won’t redshirt.
“They’re giving me the opportunity to be able to compete for the position,” Acuna said.
Fominaya likes his chances.
“He’s a very special player,” Fominaya said. “They’re really excited about him. When he went up there, they really loved him and he’s really moving to the top of their depth chart.”