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HomeEducationNature Coast’s Magnificent Seven Sign With Colleges

Nature Coast’s Magnificent Seven Sign With Colleges

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When Head Coach Robert Kazmier began his career as a 19-year-old assistant coach at Nature Coast Tech, he made a name for himself in recruiting. With Thursday’s signing of seven Sharks football players, some of which were not on campus until last year, the coach has continued to build that reputation heading into his second year as the head man at NCT. The players that will carry the Sharks’ legacy with them include:
DE/HB Aiden Orta—Monmouth College
G/DT Michael “Hill Will” Hill-Williams—University of Dubuque
C/DT Chase Murray—Concordia University
S/OLB Carlos Mendez—Methodist University
CB/WR Carlos Rodriguez—Brevard College
ILB/SS/RB Connor Riggins—Brevard College
G/DT Immanuel “Manny” Cardoza—Brevard College
Thursday’s signing brings the total of athletes from
Nature Coast’s 2023-2024 season that will play ball at the collegiate level to nine. RB/ILB Christian Cromer already pledged to play for Navy earlier this year, and NG/RB Donovan Mangozho was set to take part in Thursday’s festivities, but his family could not make it. He did not want to participate without them.

“I just think it is great,” said Coach Kazmier. The core group of these guys, they were the heart of the team, obviously […] Everything we were able to do this year really ended up being the result of them coming out and believing in us and just gelling into the system. It ended up being huge, but that core group of guys that have been here, a few of them are three-year starters. It is just a testament to their hard work.”

 

 

At the signing ceremony, the Sharks’ head coach took a moment to highlight the signees in more detail. “Manny” and “Hill-Will” became the starting guards for the team in Columbia blue despite neither player getting practice experience with the new staff until spring of 2023. For Cardoza, that was due to him having recently moved into town. For Hill-Williams, he was just coming off a bad shoulder injury and spring was the earliest he could get back out on the field. They would both end up meshing with the staff and become major pieces of Nature Coast’s 9-3 season.

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Coach Kazmier credited the road graters as key parts of their success in the ground game. So too did he praise Riggins for spelling Cromer when the Navy signee was not on the field. His coach marveled how the athlete “hurt his ankle in practice and ended up getting faster.” He racked up 490 yards with 8 touchdowns on 73 carries as Nature Coast toted the rock with purpose in 2023.

Chase Murray’s success earned him a social media following and interest from over 30 schools. He was so highly sought after that he will not only be receiving a full ride scholarship, but extra money in his pocket every semester as well. “It is probably the best experience of my life,” Murray noted of the process leading to this moment. “All the memories I have made up to this point, and I am excited to make more in the next chapter, for sure.”

Nature Coast Principal Toni-Ann Noyes complimented the players for their contributions to the school and offered words of encouragement as they embark on this bold new chapter of their careers. “Football season starts the year off,” said Noyes. “If you have a good season, we have a great school year, and you guys made this a great school year.” The principal noted that the players are welcome to come back whenever they like and ended off her speech with, “Once a Shark, always a Shark.”

From day one, a primary focus for Coach Kazmier has been academics. He emphasized the importance of grades for admittance into the various tiers of colleges outside division one, and his athletes responded. They raised their GPAs, and it opened the doors to places like Monmouth, Concordia, and Brevard. With one of the largest signing classes in recent memory for a Hernando County school, in year one under a new staff no less, Coach Kazmier and company are building upon the culture of excellence at Nature Coast and taking it to new heights.

“I think this raises the bar around here and it just shows the culture of this school and the expectations,” the Sharks’ head coach said. “If they want an opportunity, we are going to push them to get it. That is always a big thing for me. College is not for everybody, but if they want to go for it, then we will make it happen.”

G/DT Michael “Hill Will” Hill-Williams—University of Dubuque
G/DT Michael “Hill Will” Hill-Williams—University of Dubuque
S/OLB Carlos Mendez- Methodist University
S/OLB Carlos Mendez- Methodist University
CB/WR Carlos Rodriguez—Brevard College
CB/WR Carlos Rodriguez—Brevard College
C/DT Chase Murray—Concordia University
C/DT Chase Murray—Concordia University
G/DT Immanuel “Manny” Cardoza—Brevard College
G/DT Immanuel “Manny” Cardoza—Brevard College

Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch is a Graduate with Distinction, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He's written numerous articles reporting on Florida Gators football, basketball, and soccer teams; the sports of rugby, basketball, professional baseball, hockey, and the NFL Draft. Prior to Hernando Sun he was a contributor to ESPN, Gainesville, FL and Gator Country Multimedia, Inc. in Gainesville, FL, and Stadium Gale.
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