Focus and no distractions.
That’s how 17-year-old David Reese described juggling academics and football at Vero Beach High School. That dedication led him to earning a full scholarship to play football with the University of Florida Gators.
“You have to measure your time wisely and be mature about situations,” said Reese, of Fort Pierce. “My work and my grind comes before everything. I don’t let outside activities cloud my thoughts on goals I want to achieve.”
Reese, who holds a 3.7 GPA, was surrounded by friends, family, coaches, teachers and more Wednesday at the high school’s performing arts center during the signing. The defensive end is set to graduate next spring.
He said he’s excited and happy to move to the next level of his football/college career.
“It’s a blessing to see all my hard work pay off,” Reese said. “(Football) is what God blessed me with. It can put me in a situation to be able to provide for my family.”
Reese’s mom, two aunts, cousins and sisters were at the signing, along with about 100 more people inside the auditorium. Reese said his mom was proud of him being able to live out his dream and thanked everyone who helped him throughout his journey.
Reese said he plans to major in occupational therapy at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He said he began playing football with Vero Beach High School Fighting Indians during the spring of his junior year.
Head Coach Lenny Jankowski said Reese is a four-star defensive player that was a constant disruption to opposing offenses on the field.
“He has a unique combination of athleticism, speed, strength, smarts and football savy,” Jankowski said. “He has a very high character and is one of the more popular kids on campus. He’s a great human being.”
Jankowski said he has had a lot of good players, but none to ever sign on an SEC (Southeastern Conference) scholarship. Reese is the first to do so, Jankowski said.
“He was a very highly sought-after recruit and had more than 50 Division 1 offers,” Jankowski said. Jankowski is in his 7th year as head football coach at Vero Beach High School, 1707 16th Street.