RALEIGH — When it came time for Leesville Road standout Braxton Berrios’ commitment announcement Saturday, the lights dimmed in the school’s auditorium.
When they came back on, Berrios exclaimed, “It’s all about ‘The U’ baby,” donning a Miami hat, forming a “U” with his hands and solidifying his verbal commitment to Miami.
“I felt like everybody was a family (at Miami), and I felt that the guys treated each other as a family,” Berrios said.
Last week he narrowed his list of prospective schools to five, including Kentucky, Tennessee, Oregon and South Carolina.
Berrios said the choice was the hardest decision he’s ever had to make, and he even contemplated postponing the commitment date. His decision wasn’t final until Friday, he said.
“This isn’t a four-year decision, it’s a 40-year one,” Berrios said. “I’m not just going there just for athletics, I’m going there to further my education because that’s the most important thing there is. Football can only carry you for so long.”
Berrios, a 5-foot-10, 181-pound four-star recruit, received more than 20 offers from schools over the past 18 months.
Berrios said he told Miami coach Al Golden of his commitment about an hour and a half before his public announcement.
“Growing up a Miami fan, I’ve seen them when they’re good, I’ve seen them when they’re all right and I’ve seen them when they’re not great at all. I think they’re on the rise again,” Berrios said. “I think they’re coming back. They’re 13th in the nation and undefeated, and I want to win a ring.”
Berrios, who has played several positions at Leesville Road and started at quarterback this year, is expected to play slot receiver at Miami.
Lee Berrios, Braxton’s mother, said the recruitment process was exciting, fun and exhausting.
“He agonized over it. All five schools were awesome choices,” she said. “My first concern was academically, and they were all five good academic choices, and then we looked at depth charts. It was important for him to know how soon he would get on the field and then how much he would be used on the field. He’s not a sideline guy.”
Berrios has been a four-year starter for the Pride. He led Leesville Road to three convincing wins to open the season, averaging 142.5 yards rushing and scoring nine touchdowns before being injured in a nonconference contest against Panther Creek last month.
Berrios, who was recently named an Under Armour All-American and to the annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas team, did not wear a protective boot during Saturday’s announcement but said his return to the Leesville Road field is day-to-day.