Aquinas won the state championship in 2008 and claimed a national championship as well that year. This past season they did it yet again defeating Plant 29-7 in the Florida 5A State Championship game along with claiming another national title for the second time in three years.
One of the key contributors on this year's team was Dami Ayoola, 5-foo-10 and 195-pound running back who finished the year with 89-carries for 582-yards and 10-touchdowns to go along with 14-catches for 298-yards and two more touchdowns.
Winning another state championship felt good to Ayoola but also makes him hungrier for next year.
"It felt great to win my second state championship in high school and also my second national championship. I think it gives me confidence but at the same time it makes me hungry and humbles me as well. So next year I'm just looking to repeat and do the same thing."
There is plenty of glamour that comes with playing at Aquinas but according to Ayoola that doesn't come without the hard work that is done during the offseason that nobody sees.
"Playing at St Thomas Aquinas," Ayoola began. Everyone sees all the glamour but it definitely comes with a price in the off-season. People don't see the work behind the scenes, we actually work really hard. We pride ourselves in being the best, the most powerful, the strongest, just being the best at every aspect. That's how it pays off on the field not only as a team but individually as well."
The hard work is paying off for Ayoola who claims two verbal offers from Iowa and Rutgers and is receiving attention from Alabama, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Florida, Florida State, Miami, USC and Northwestern as well. Those are some big time programs but Ayoola says he is waiting on two more schools to jump in on him including one that is one of his dream schools.
"I'm waiting," Ayoola said. "I want Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to recruit me. Oklahoma is actually one of my dream schools. Oklahoma and UM (University of Miami) are two of my dream schools. So, I would love for Oklahoma to recruit me."
It appears that Oklahoma's tradition of winning year in and year out like Aquinas definitely sticks out to Ayoola as he talked about what he likes about the Sooners.
"It just seems like a college town," Ayoola stated. "It seems like everyone is family oriented and really focused in on football and what the goal is on being successful year in and year out. Being in the Big 12 I know it's known as a passing conference but they continue to put out great running backs like Chris Brown and Demarco Murray. They got a great running back right now in Finch. He looks pretty good and everyone knows about Adrian Peterson. I just feel like they always put out great backs despite being in the Big 12 and so does Oklahoma State."
Like Oklahoma, OSU has piqued Ayoola's interest as well due to their history of putting out good running backs.
"I've always liked Oklahoma State. They always put out good running backs. They got a running back this year in Kendal Hunter. They got two more backs and I know they'll do a great job next season. I'm looking to just go out there and see what's going on, see how football is, how life is and see how the fans are. And maybe in turn become a part of that."
Ayoola, who runs a 4.58 forty and a 4.22 shuttle says he is an explorer even though staying close to home will be in the back of his mind come decision time.
"To a certain extent it matters but if you want to be great I think you have to make great sacrifices like going away from home or something like that. When I make my decision I think staying close to home will be in the back of my mind but at the same time I've never been a ‘stay at home' kind of guy you know. I like to explore so that shouldn't bother me," Ayoola said.