LAKE CITY — A soft-spoken Devaris Brunson wielded his pen firmly as he signed a national letter of intent Wednesday to play college football next season at East Carolina University.
The Lake City outside linebacker said he chose to stick with his commitment to East Carolina after visiting the campus.
“I got to do more things and see more of the campus and more of what the school was about. That was a big decision to stay with East Carolina,” Brunson said. “They have a family-type atmosphere and it really felt like home.”
Brunson, who also had scholarship offers from North Carolina State and Syracuse, will be an outside linebacker at East Carolina and said he looks forward to “going in and playing early.”
“On my last visit there, the coaches showed me the depth chart and said I would have a chance to play early,” Brunson said.
Lake City coach Jim Rowell said Brunson is a “great talent” who works hard and is easy to coach.
“Those are the things that give him the qualities to be the player that he is,” Rowell said.
In his senior season with the Panthers, Brunson had 86 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions returned for touchdowns. He also rushed for 839 yards and six touchdowns.
For his career, Brunson had 332 tackles, including 12 sacks, along with six interceptions and two touchdown returns. As a running back, he rushed for 1,132 yards and nine touchdowns.
“He’s improved every year. He always wants to get better and is very coachable and that is important in any player,” Rowell said. “He still has a great deal of potential left to reach for. I am happy for him and very happy to see him go to a program where he will be pushed to develop both on and off the field. He will be missed by our coaches and players.”
Brunson said the coaches, along with the support from school administrators and others, are some of the things he’ll miss about Lake City High School, but they have taught him to be “disciplined and ready for anything” in his college football career.
“His work ethic will benefit him,” Rowell said. “He’s going to work hard off the field in the weight room and other places and that’s going to pay off for him big.”
Rowell said Lake City has been fortunate to have several players move on to play in the Division I-AA and that it’s a big moment in the town.
“We always like to have our kids move on and do well and we know (Brunson) is going to represent Lake City well,” Rowell said.
“On a personal note,” Rowell added, “I will miss Devaris on the football field, but I will miss seeing his big grin every day a lot more. We are excited for his future and we know he will represent Lake City well.”