The man’s name was Don Zoloty. That’s really all Paul Henderson knew at the time.

The man approached as Paul and his son — 6-foot-7, 300-pound Justin — were leaving a football camp in New Orleans in the spring of 2014. Justin dominated the camp, whipping much older players and impressing, among others, this man named Don Zoloty.

He was a nice man. He complimented Justin’s performance.

Justin has exceptional potential, the man told Paul. He’s big and tall, powerful and strong. Paul listened as the man talked glowingly about his son. The conversation ended, and the two shook hands.

Zoloty returned several minutes later, rushing up to Paul just before the Hendersons left New Orleans.

“He said, ‘Look, I’ve been watching your son, and he’s got all of the tools and I want to tell you about this school in Florida,’ ” Paul Henderson remembered.

Four months later, Justin Henderson moved into dormitories on the plush, 500-acre campus of IMG Academy, about 45 miles south of Tampa.

Henderson spent just a year at IMG, having played his sophomore season there before returning to Denham Springs High School in the summer. The towering offensive lineman missed his family, friends and community too much, Paul said.

[RELATED: Justin Henderson liked his stint with IMG Academy, but missed community element]

“We’re not for everybody,” IMG coach Kevin Wright said. “And we tell our kids that.”

Justin Henderson was the first in what’s becoming a growing connection between Louisiana and that unique, shimmering, waterfront academy in central Florida. The upscale private boarding school houses some of the nation’s best teenage athletes in golf, tennis, soccer and now, America’s most popular, money-making sport: football.

Amateur tennis and golf stars — Maria Sharapova, for one — have flocked to IMG Academy for decades. They pay top dollar for an unusual setting featuring rigorous, hands-on academics and intense, around-the-clock athletic training.

Since the academy added football in 2013, the country’s most talented football players are beginning to do the same.

And Louisiana is not excluded.

Dylan Moses, the former University High star and the nation’s top-ranked 2017 recruit, enrolled at IMG Academy last month — a second blow to Louisiana’s talent crop in the past six months.

[RELATED: Jan. 14: University High star, nation’s No. 1 recruit Dylan Moses transferring to Florida academy]

Former Calvary Baptist quarterback Shea Patterson, then the No. 1 player in the state for his class, transferred to IMG Academy in the summer, playing his senior season there before enrolling at Ole Miss in January.

Two years. Two top players gone. And both to the same place, that curious school in Bradenton, Florida, that recruits high school players from around the globe.

“We’re getting a pretty good amount of buzz around the country,” said Graham Frey, director of academics and student affairs at IMG Academy. “What’s unique about IMG is the connection between an academic program and high-performing athletic program. You have a group of kids connected by athletics, and there’s a strong academic program in support of the achievement of their dreams.”

‘It’s five-star’

So what is IMG Academy? It depends on whom you ask.

For college coaches, it’s becoming a recruiting mecca, a campus crawling with recruiters evaluating a star-filled football team like no other in the country. It’s tough to determine who’s on the expansive campus more, a school employee told The Advocate last week: LSU defensive line coach Ed Orgeron or Tigers defensive backs coach Corey Raymond.

[RELATED: LSU football’s 2016 recruiting class is primed to be the nation’s best]

“It’s a one-stop shop for 50 Division I prospects,” said Barton Simmons, director of scouting for 247Sports.

How important is this place to college coaches? Michigan plans to begin spring practice at IMG Academy during its spring break from Feb. 27 to March 6.

“The college coach goes there because of the athlete that’s there, and there are some very, very talented guys there,” LSU coach Les Miles said.

For parents, it’s a dream school, where their children are 1) receiving an education in an intimate environment and 2) developing their athletic skills in an atmosphere equal to that of an NFL club.

“Whatever you have envisioned as the top-of-the-line everything,” Henderson said, “that’s IMG Academy.”

For professional stars — Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, for one — it’s one of the finest training facilities in America. IMG’s multi-million dollar facilities and endless resources aren’t only reserved for students.

“My son has worked out alongside NFL players,” Henderson said. “I know Cam Newton was there one time. (Tim) Tebow has worked out there. Celebrities go there, too. It’s a place where, if you’re a corporate executive and you want to get better at golf, you say, ‘Here’s my credit card number; I’m going to stay at a villa (on campus), eat at your executive dining hall and you’re going to teach me how to play golf.’

“It’s hard to believe such a place exists,” Henderson said, “but it does.”

For high school coaches — especially those who have lost top athletes to IMG — it’s a place you can’t compete with. It’s a flashy entity swiping the best stars in the prep sports world with, they say, an end goal of signing them to pro contracts later in life through the academy’s parent company — International Management Group, the global sports and talent agency headquartered in New York.

“How do you compare to all of the things that seem to matter to kids? What they wear and where they work out. It’s five-star. It’s the best of the best,” said Calvary coach John Bachman, who helped develop Patterson for two years before seeing him depart to IMG for his senior season.

“If I had a son coming up … I know I would entertain the thought of sending him (to IMG),” Bachman continued. “I don’t think it’s necessarily right, but, hey, it’s called change.”

‘We market’

Caleb Roddy, Denham Springs’ three-star defensive end who signed with LSU last week, passed on a chance to play his senior season of 2015 at IMG Academy, his high school coach said.

“They Twittered him and tried to get him,” Denham Springs coach Dru Nettles said.

IMG football coach Kevin Wright and the rest of the folks at IMG admit it: They recruit. But they use a different word to describe it.

“We market around the world,” Wright said.

That’s obvious after taking a gander at IMG’s roster.

A nation-leading 14 seniors from the 2015 team signed with a Football Bowl Subdivision program, including LSU signees Saivion Smith and Drake Davis. Eight of those players were four- or five-star prospects in 247Sports’ composite player rankings.

[RELATED: Gator-turned-Tiger Saivion Smith lured to LSU by DBU reputation]

IMG’s 2015 team included at least six players ranked in the top five at their position for the 2016 and 2017 recruiting classes. They had the top-ranked quarterback and tight end for 2016, the No. 2 safety for 2017, this year’s No. 3 inside linebacker, 2017’s fifth-ranked dual-threat quarterback and the 2016 fifth-ranked cornerback in Smith.

Wright said he met with a new midyear transfer earlier last week and asked him how many Division I-type players he faced to this point in his high school career.

“Three or four,” the player answered.

Wright shot back: “You’re going to have three or four that you’re going to go against every day at practice.”

LSU has offered scholarships to a whopping eight rising seniors at IMG Academy.

The talent is off the charts — and many of them are newly acquired players. What does that mean? Most of IMG’s highest-ranked stars transfer to the school before their senior seasons. They play just one season with the Ascenders and then depart for college, where many of them enroll in January.

In its first three football graduating classes, IMG has produced 25 players who signed with “Power Five” programs.

Of the 25, 22 played just one season — their senior year — at IMG. Two others transferred before their junior seasons and one before his sophomore year.

IMG plucked Maryland’s top-ranked recruit, linebacker Rahshaun Smith, before his senior season. It also grabbed the nation’s No. 1 tight end, Isaac Nauta, out of Georgia before his senior year, and it enrolled ESPN’s No. 2 2016 prospect, Shavar Manuel, from just up the road in Tampa, before his final year of high school.

But IMG doesn’t only seek the highly rated players, Paul Henderson and Anthony Smith said.

“The biggest misconception is they only take four- and five-stars,” said Smith, Saivion’s father.

“They’re going after three types of kids,” Henderson said. “One, like mine — raw, talent, size, getting them as freshmen and sophomores. That’s ideally what they want to do, but because they have so much pressure to produce immediately, they have to go after these juniors and seniors who are already four- and five-star players.”

And then the third kind?

“You have some kids whose parents have a lot of money,” he said.

The Ascenders finished the 2015 season 9-0 and ranked No. 9 in MaxPreps’ high school poll. They lost a preseason game 19-7 to American Heritage, the two-time Class 5A champion in Florida’s eight-class system.

IMG Academy is a part of the Florida High School Athletic Association as an independent. The Ascenders are not in a district and do not compete in the FHSAA playoffs because of their global recruiting efforts.

As part of its agreement with the FHSAA, IMG Academy cannot actively recruit Florida high school players. Those players must approach the school. The school can’t approach them, as it does with players in Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and, of course, Louisiana.

IMG had players from 24 states and six countries on the 2015 team, Wright said.

“We’re probably the only school of our kind in regards to football in the country,” Wright said. “That makes us unique. Basketball ... you’ve heard of Oak Hill (in Virginia) and Findlay Prep (in Nevada). There are some similar models in other sports, but I don’t think there’s any other model as us in football.

“It’s brought to the forefront because it’s new.”

Scheduling isn’t always easy. With no district games, Wright must find at least nine games each year. And who wants to play a team with more than a dozen four- or five-star athletes?

“We put up the map of the U.S., and we list by region all of the top schools,” he said, “and we go out and touch base with them.”

Last year’s schedule included three teams from New Jersey, two each from Texas and Florida, Baton Rouge’s Southern Lab and a Maryland school. Triple A Academy in Dallas forfeited its season-ending game against the Ascenders.

Two of IMG’s games were televised: one on ESPN2 and another on ESPNU. Road trips included games to DeSoto, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, and Oradell, New Jersey.

“We play a national schedule,” Wright said. “We’re going to get on a plane multiple times. You’re going to have to stay in a hotel. You’re not doing that on any other high school level.”

‘Limited’ financial aid

The tuition next year for a high school football player at IMG Academy is $72,900.

But not all of the 1,000 students — kindergarten through postgraduate — pay that amount. The school provides need-based aid for students.

“It’s no secret: We give a limited amount of financial aid,” Kevin Wright said. “At the same time, we are a for-profit, private school. People are paying money to come here. It’s just how much. That’s no different than any other private school.”

IMG declined to reveal specific details of the financial aid plan, only saying it’s “limited.” Frey was asked whether any football players are attending the school for free.

“We’re always protective of the kids,” Frey said. “We’d never talk about what we give out to an individual. There’s a very specific, arduous process. It’s built with appropriate checks and balances.”

Henderson declined to discuss financial details of his son Justin’s tuition at the school. Others, though, have indicated IMG alleviated much of the financial burden.

For instance, Miki Fifita, an offensive lineman from Hawaii, told his local newspaper in 2014 he had “accepted a scholarship” to IMG Academy.

Likewise, Evan Mallory, an offensive lineman from Indiana, told his local newspaper he received a “scholarship that covers everything but minimal incidentals,” the Hendricks County Flyer reported in 2014.

Anthony Smith, Saivion’s father, said he paid the full tuition amount because the school cannot offer in-state students financial aid as part of its agreement with the FHSAA.

“I had to sell a lot of motor homes,” said a laughing Smith, a motor home salesman in Tampa. “I’m still trying to sell them.”

He paid for what he got: a campus that rivals those from the Southeastern Conference and even NFL clubs.

There are two full-size practice football fields, a 5,000-seat stadium and a 40,000-square-foot field house with a locker room that’s as snazzy as the one inside Tiger Stadium.

Players work out in a 10,000-square-foot weight room, and they attend classes in a three-story, 72,000-square-foot, newly built academic center.

The academic center is part of a $200 million expansion to the campus. Other new buildings include a performance and sports science center that will house sports performance partners like Under Armour, the Gatorade Sports Science Institute, Motus Global and Hospital for Special Surgery, among others. It will also include a new weight room and suites for training disciplines like mental conditioning, nutrition and leadership.

Does your high school or your child’s high school have a “mind gym?” IMG Academy soon will.

Who pays for all of these facilities? The academy has a partnership with Under Armour, the popular athletic clothes line, and Gatorade.

“You go to campus carrying a Powerade, they’ll shoot you,” Henderson joked.

The school is also backed by its parent company, International Management Group. IMG is a global sports and talent management corporation with more than 3,000 employees. In 2013, IMG was acquired by William Morris Endeavor and Silver Lake Partners in a more than $2 billion deal.

The facilities don’t stop at football.

IMG Academy was founded in 1978 as a tennis academy. It added golf in the early 1990s. Soccer and baseball came a few years later, and the school began playing basketball in 2001.

There are 12 full-size soccer fields on campus. There’s a massive driving range and a championship 18-hole golf course. There are four baseball and two lacrosse fields and 50 tennis courts, including an indoor facility.

There are more than a dozen newly built three- and four-bedroom villas that are fully furnished and set around a pool and among palm tree-lined streets.

“The pictures don’t do it all justice,” Henderson said.

The school has a full-time nutritionist, strength and conditioning staff and a football staff totalling nearly two dozen people.

The football director is Steve Walsh, a first-round pick of the Cowboys in 1989 and a former Saints quarterback. Wright previously led powerhouse prep programs to three state championships and, before replacing former coach Chris Weinke last year, he served as offensive coordinator for Western Kentucky.

Outside of the six position assistants, there are 14 football support staff members.

Saivion Smith spent two football seasons at IMG Academy, and his father said the experience exceeded his expectations.

“It was more than what I expected,” Smith said. “If every football coach in America understands what IMG can offer, they’d be doing the kid a disservice by restricting him to go.”

“One thing I’ll give them credit for: They did everything they told us they were going to do,” Henderson said. “They had a lot (of) integrity.”

A perception

Venus and Serena Williams. Novak Djokovic. Maria Sharapova. Ernie Els. Michelle Wie.

All of these tennis and golf stars have at least one thing in common: They are represented by IMG.

Representing sports superstars is how IMG got its start in the 1960s, when then-Cleveland lawyer Mark McCormack signed Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player to deals, providing the foundation of what would become one of the world’s largest sports marketing industries.

In the business world, IMG is known today as WME-IMG after William Morris Endeavor acquired the company. It ranks 15th on Forbes’ 2015 list of the world’s most valuable sports agencies, bringing in commissions totaling $38.8 million in 2015, Forbes reported in September.

IMG’s agency centers around pro golf and tennis players — not team-sport athlete representation — but in 2011, the company signed Newton to a multi-year contract. It represents Newton in everything aside from his on-field contract.

IMG’s history as a sports agency is seen by some as a reason the academy is beginning to reel in highly touted high school football players.

“If Shea Patterson goes to the NFL, he’s going to need someone to represent him and clothes to wear,” Bachman said.

“Cam is doing all right,” he continued. “The marketing strategy I see is, they’re getting them young and younger. It’s just strategy. I can’t say I blame them. Do I like it? Not really. Do I understand it? Yeah.”

During IMG’s courting of his son Justin, Paul Henderson researched the company. He was trying to answer the question nagging at him: What’s in it for them?

“This is how they’re creating future clients,” he said. “They bring these kids in here, and when they turn pro, they’re looking for reps. Who brought them to the dance? IMG.

“That’s what I realized. They’ve got all these kids, and a percentage of these kids are going to go pro, and they’re likely to sign with IMG.”

Did IMG officials ever speak to Paul about representing Justin later in life? No, Paul said, but he told IMG his theory. Said Paul: “They basically said, ‘Yeah, you’re on the right track.’ ”

In interviews for this story, IMG officials vehemently denied Paul and Bachman’s theories. The two entities — the academy and the sports marketing agency — have “no connection,” Frey said. “There’s a very strict firewall that exists because of the integrity.”

Three professional baseball players (John Ryan Murphy, Chris Perez and Tyler Pastornicky) and two basketball players (Michael Beasley and Renaldo Balkman) who attended IMG Academy are not represented by WME-IMG.

No former IMG Academy football players are old enough to have turned professional since the academy fielded its first team in 2013. The most notable names in that first class are Alabama running back Bo Scarborough and former Penn State and current University of British Columbia quarterback Michael O’Connor.

“This is so new,” Bachman said. “We really won’t know the results until we get some data down the years.”

‘All above board’

Zoloty’s title on his LinkedIn page is “manager of football properties at IMG Performance.”

How he reached out to Henderson about sending son Justin to IMG Academy after watching him at that camp in New Orleans is just one way IMG recruits players.

Moses and Patterson were introduced to IMG while participating in 7-on-7 camps on the school’s campus over the summer. This happens often. Players tour campus while there, meet with officials and so on.

Many times, IMG officials message players on Twitter. That happened with Caleb Roddy and also with offensive lineman Evan Mallory, an Indiana native who transferred to IMG as a senior in 2014.

But nowadays, IMG doesn’t often have to actively recruit players, Wright said. The school’s football coach won’t reveal whether IMG recruited Moses.

“You assume that we reached out to him,” Wright said. “We have a lot of guys reach out to us. We’re never going to say what’s what.

“I’d never met Dylan. I never had talked to Dylan before he first showed up,” Wright said later in the interview. “It was kind of a last-minute deal.”

Moses’ father called Anthony Smith during the process.

“I shared our experience,” Smith said, “and it was a no-brainer for him.”

During this recruiting process, IMG officials do not contact the high school, coaches said. Bachman at Calvary Baptist and Nettles at Denham Springs were surprised when their players broke the news to them that they were leaving for IMG. U-High coach Chad Mahaffey did not return messages seeking comment.

IMG’s recruiting practices, though frowned upon by some, are perfectly legal.

“It’s all above board,” Henderson said.

After the meeting with Zoloty, the Hendersons took a spring break trip to Florida. They visited the IMG Academy campus and, weeks later, delivered the news to Nettles.

“It’s frustrating for a high school coach to develop a player for three years and lose them,” Nettles said.

Wright understands this. He coached at several private and public schools before taking over at IMG last year. Wright compares IMG’s recruiting efforts to similar ones carried out by private schools throughout the nation.

“You could look a lot harder at some other private schools across the country and say, ‘How does that work?’ ” he said. “Everybody is vying for kids.

“I understand both sides,” he continued. “I’ve been on both sides. At the end of the day, what’s happening across the country on the national level? Everybody is pushing school choice. When people come here, it’s not a decision based on football. It’s a decision based on the academic component. I get some of the criticism sometimes, but I think it sometimes comes from people who aren’t educated on what we do.”

And what’s that? It’s much more than athletics, Wright and Frey said.

IMG is accredited and “has all of the stamps of approval” from the Florida Council of Independent Schools, National Council of Independent Schools and Department of Education, Frey said.

When it comes to academics, the academy’s goal is a “delivery that optimizes a child’s ability to learn,” Frey said.

For instance, classes are 90 minutes.

“It’s a block schedule,” Frey said. “You can use a lot of experiential class work. It’s a different philosophy.”

A student’s schedule at IMG is split into two parts: academics (usually three periods from 7:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) and athletics (1:20 p.m. to 6 p.m.). A mandatory study hall begins at 7:30 p.m. each weeknight and ends at 9.

It’s a rigorous schedule — one that, for now, rivals Saivion Smith’s regimen during his first few weeks as a freshman at LSU.

“I talked to his dad the other day,” Wright said. “He’s got more freedom now (at LSU).”

The perception that IMG’s academics are below standard is simply not true, Henderson said.

“Justin really had to work hard to keep his grades up,” Henderson said. “Academically, they don’t cut any slack at all.”

Henderson said Justin’s biggest class at IMG was about 14 students, and many of them were not from the U.S. More than half of IMG’s students are from out of the country, Henderson said.

IMG also offers a bevy of summer courses — a reason several highly ranked football prospects are able to graduate in December and enroll, like Saivion Smith, in college in January. More than half of the school’s 14 FBS signees did that this year.

It’s one of the primary reasons Moses transferred from U-High, which does not allow students to graduate at the midyear.

IMG is far from the only school that allows mid-year graduates. For instance, LSU welcomed five mid-year enrollees in January: Davis and Smith from IMG, plus three others (one from a school in Texas and two from Louisiana).

That said, IMG’s ability to satisfy requirements to become an early enrollee is a substantial draw for prospects, as college coaches push them to join their programs in January as opposed to the summer.

Midyear enrollees get a five-month head start, are eligible to participate in spring practice and can solve roster management issues by joining the program that early.

The midyear enrollee trend is growing more and more popular. Southeastern Conference teams this semester welcomed 82 midyear enrollees — an average of 6.8 per team. Florida led the league with 12 followed by Auburn (nine), Alabama (eight), Ole Miss (eight) and Kentucky (seven).

For IMG players not ready to graduate in May of their senior year, the school has a postgraduate program, similar to what a prep school might have. They offer core curriculum classes through the University of South Florida.

“I was very impressed with the academic side,” Henderson said. “We could go online any time we wanted and keep up with Justin’s grades and assignments. If he missed an assignment, we knew immediately. Teachers were extremely active with teaching the kids and interaction with the parents.”

‘Home is home’

Isaac Nauta, the top-ranked tight end in the 2016 class, announced in October 2014 that he’d leave his Georgia home and transfer to IMG Academy.

Two months later, Nauta announced something else: He had committed to Florida State.

“Everyone assumed he’d end up at Florida State,” said Barton Simmons, director of scouting for 247Sports. “What happened with Isaac is he got down (to IMG Academy) and realized how much it meant to play football in Georgia and how much he missed the state.

“He’s enrolled in Georgia now,” Simmons said.

Nauta is an example of how a move to IMG affected a prospect’s college decision, but not in the way many expected.

Most believed Florida, Florida State and Miami would get inherent advantages in recruiting players from IMG, specifically the Seminoles. Former Florida State quarterback Chris Weinke, the 2000 Heisman Trophy winner, was IMG’s head coach in 2013 and 2014.

Three signing classes later, the same amount of IMG athletes (three) have signed with the Seminoles as Ohio State. That said, FSU and Miami are tied with the Buckeyes for the most IMG signees.

Just two other programs — LSU and Notre Dame — have signed more than one athlete from IMG in this three-year stretch. The Tigers reeled in receiver Davis and cornerback Smith, while the Irish got running back Tony Jones Jr. and safety Spence Perry.

Florida has signed no one from IMG Academy after defensive tackle Shavar Manuel, a Gators commitment, flipped to Florida State on national signing day last week.

“A lot of people, including FSU fans, thought they’d get every kid they wanted,” said Mike Farrell, national recruiting director for “Like with Drake Davis — he went to Virginia, then IMG and came back home.”

Davis, a four-star wideout, started his football career at The Dunham School in Baton Rouge.

“Home is still home,” Farrell added.

In fact, all three of Florida State’s and Miami’s IMG signees are from Florida, having transferred to IMG from within the state. Two of Ohio State’s signees are from Ohio and Indiana.

IMG hasn’t produced many flips, either. Of the 25 players IMG has sent to “Power Five” teams, eight were committed upon their enrollment at IMG. Seven of those eight eventually signed with that school.

“There’s no inherent advantage that Florida or local schools have, although they’re in Bradenton and there’s a bunch of Gators and FSU bumper stickers around,? Simmons said.

Simmons doesn’t believe IMG Academy’s business model — amassing all-star high school football teams — will spread like the trend Oak Hill Academy began in basketball in the 1990s.

Basketball-specialized academies are “popping up” all over the country, Simmons said, after Oak Hill popularized it two decades ago. So why not football?

“Football is different. So many more players and resources,” he said. “You’ve got to have a big-time financial investment.”

Others disagree. Farrell and Bachman see corporations — like, Nike, for instance — starting academies that specialize in football training, schools that recruit the nation’s all-stars to one place.

“There’ll be others crop up,” Farrell said. “There’ll probably be one crop up in California and Texas. Then you’ll start to see them compete for kids nationally. It will be an arms race.

“When something’s successful,” he said, “it will never be the only one of its kind.”

Success at IMG reaches beyond the school itself or the parent company. Players reap the benefits of being at a place that’s developing a lofty reputation.

For example, Mirko Jurkovic transferred from a small, private school in Indiana to IMG Academy in the spring of 2014, ahead of his senior season, with few scholarship offers. Five months into his stay at IMG — even before football season began — he had received offers from Missouri, South Carolina, Nebraska, Maryland, Arkansas and Florida.

Henderson wonders whether his son Justin would have been in that position — loaded with offers — had he stayed at IMG. Justin Henderson currently has offers from Central Florida, Kent State and Tulane.

“I would have loved for him to have stayed and graduated there,” Paul said. “I think he could have had his pick of any school in the country. I bet we’d be looking at 30 or 40 offers, but as it is, he’s still going to get a lot of offers, and he’s going to get some big schools offering. Still, just the experience and exposure at IMG is worth it.”

It’s unlike any other high school in the world.

“The day that I was there, the Chinese track team walked across the track,” Les Miles said. “I can see that there are a lot of experiences that somebody that would go to IMG would have over what would be an experience that I had in my simple high school.”


The 25

Since starting football in 2013, IMG Academy has had 25 players sign with FBS Power 5 football programs.



Transferred From

Transferred When

Status When Transferred

Signed With

RB Bo Scarborough*

Tuscaloosa County (Ala.)

Before senior season

Alabama commit


QB Michael O’Connor

Baylor School (Tenn.)

Before senior season


Penn State^

CB Matthew Boateng

Pickering (Canada)

Before senior season



*Scarborough spent just one semester at IMG Academy, transferring back to Tuscaloosa County in the spring of his senior season; he did not enroll at Alabama until the following spring after he failed to qualify

^O’Connor transferred from Penn State last month, landing at University of British Columbia

#Kansas dismissed Boateng just before last season



Transferred From

Transferred When

Status When Transferred

Signed With

QB Deondre Francois

Olympia (Fla.)

Before senior season


Florida State

DT Hjalte Froholdt

Warren G. Harding (Ohio)

Before senior season

Arkansas commit


OL Tyree St. Louis

Tampa Bay Tech (Fla.)

Before senior season



DE Scott Patchan

Freedom (Fla.)

Before senior season

Miami commit


OL Mirko Jurkovic

St. Joseph’s (Ind.)

Before senior season


Ohio State^

OL Miki Fifita

Baldwin (Hawaii)

Before senior season

Oregon State commit

Oregon State

DT Ryan Fines

Manatee (Fla.)

Before senior season

Miami commit


OL Evan Mallory

Brownsburg (Ind.)

Before senior season



^Could not enroll because of “academic issue” and eventually signed with Georgia; at first, committed to Nebraska after a few months at IMG



Transferred From

Transferred When

Status When Transferred

Signed With

QB Shea Patterson

Calvary Baptis

Before senior season

Ole Miss commit

Ole Miss

TE Isaac Nauta

Buford (Ga.)

Before senior season

Florida State commit


CB Saivion Smith

Lakewood (Fla.)

Before junior season



DT Shavar Manuel

Howard W. Blake (Fla.)

Before senior season


Florida State*

LB Rahshaun Smith

St. Frances (Md.)

Before senior season



WR Drake Davis

Fork Union Military (Va.)^

Before senior season



OL Tyler Gerald

Sciotoville (Ohio)

Before senior season

Ohio State commit

Ohio State

DE Malik Barrow

Tampa Bay Catholic (Fla.)

Before senior season


Ohio State

RB Tony Jones Jr.

St. Petersburg Catholic (Fla.)

Before junior season


Notre Dame

CB Khalil Ladler

Stephenson (Ga.)

Before senior season


Virginia Tech

S Spence Perry

Auburn (Ala.)

Before senior season


Notre Dame

LB Jango Glackin

Lebanaon (Ohio)

Before senior season



RB Jack Wegher

Bishop Heelan (Iowa)

Before sophomore season



K Ricky Aguayo

Montverde (Fla.)

Before senior season


Florida State

*Committed to Florida in the summer before flipping on national signing day

^Attended Dunham in Baton Rouge as a sophomore

# Committed to Florida after first few months at IMG before de-committing over the summer

The future

LSU has offered scholarships to eight players who will be seniors at IMG Academy this coming season. Five of them transferred to the school this year, and seven of the eight are from different states.


Transferred From

Transferred When



WR Jhamon Ausbon

St. Thomas (Texas)

In January 2016

Baylor Commit

No. 16 WR nationally

OL/FB Cesar Ruiz

Camden (NJ)

In July 2015


No. 1 C nationally

DE Josh Kaindoh

Mount Carmel (Md.)

In July 2015


No. 1 WDE nationally

DT Cam Spence

Gilman (Md.)

In January 2015


No. 12 DT nationally

LB Will Ignot

Buckhorn (Ala.)

In January 2016


No. 4 ILB nationally

LB Dylan Moses

University (La.)

In January 2016


No. 1 prospect

LB Santino Marchiol

Cherry Creek (Col.)

In January 2016


No. 16 OLB nationally

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