Ryan Fines, a Bradenton native and 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive tackle who's verbally committed to Miami, was one of a handful of highly-touted prospects to take their talents to Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy over the offseason.
The three-star prospect is thankful for everything that Bradenton (Fla.) Manatee High School did for him during his first three years of high school. But the opportunity to join forces with a roster consisting of double-digit Division I prospects was a bit too sweet to pass up.
"(The adjustment) has been amazing and the competition is beyond anything I've ever done before," Fines said. "Your position is up for grabs every week, so you have to go every single play and they film everything you do.
"It was a great opportunity (to come here) and they have amazing facilities and the best coaching anywhere. It was just hard to look away from it."
Fines is still adjusting to everyday life with his new teammates and shaking off some of the rust on the gridiron, but was pleased with his initial outing with the Ascenders on Saturday night.
"I thought I played decent, but I definitely have some stuff to improve on because I had a few mental errors," Fines said. "For my first game, I thought I did decent, but there's always room for improvement."
Fines, whose offer list includes South Florida and Arizona as well, pulled the trigger in February and decided he wanted to suit up for Al Golden and the prestigious Miami Hurricanes, who can provide him with everything he needs to be a successful student-athlete.
"(I) just (liked) the family atmosphere at Miami and I felt completely comfortable," Fines said. "The coaches were all genuine and it's also the best academic school in Florida. The campus was beautiful and I really liked it.
"Just the tradition is something I really want to uphold there. I just want to bring them back to dominance and bring them their sixth national championship."