IMG Academy Celebrates Triumphant Year of Academic, Athletics, and Almuni Success in 2023
BRADENTON, Fla. (Jan. 5, 2024) - IMG Academy, the world’s leading sports education brand, had a year of unparalleled success in 2023, emphasizing remarkable achievements in academic prowess, athletic excellence, and the continued success of its distinguished alumni.
IMG Academy and its student-athletes accomplished outstanding academic achievements in 2023, solidifying its position as a global leader in sports education. Among the accomplishments:
IMG Academy garnered recognition on the international stage being named a top-three finalist for the World's Best School in the "Supporting Healthy Lives" category, marking the only finalist from the United States in the category.
The graduating class of 2023 earned a remarkable 100 percent college acceptance rate. Notably, six student-athletes were accepted to Ivy League institutions, 21 student-athletes gained admission to 11 colleges and universities listed on the US News top-100 Liberal Arts Colleges and Universities, and one student-athlete was accepted to a United States Service Academy. As of IMG Academy’s commencement ceremony, 265 of its student-athletes committed to play collegiate athletics at Division I, II and III and NAIA programs.
IMG Academy had two of its basketball student-athletes named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists in seniors Michael ‘Gerard’ O’Keefe and Giorgio Vittorio Garuzzo. Over the past five years, more than five IMG Academy student-athletes have consistently received distinctions as National Merit Scholarship finalists, semifinalists, and commended students, showcasing the Academy’s sustained commitment to shaping the leaders of tomorrow.
Soccer student-athlete Jason Pan achieved global recognition for being among 35 esteemed students worldwide who achieved a perfect score on the Macroeconomics AP exam. This accomplishment reflects IMG Academy's commitment to academic excellence and the cultivation of top-tier talent.
IMG Academy's commitment to developing well-rounded individuals is further evidenced by the 77 AP Scholars within the graduating class of 2023. These scholars represent a diverse group of students dedicated to academic excellence.
The fall 2023 National Letter of Intent (NLI) Signing Day witnessed an unprecedented number of college commitments for IMG Academy student-athletes, with 88 Division I commitments, three Division II commitments, seven Division III commitments, one Service Academy commitment, and one Historically Black College and University commitment. During the fall 2023 NLI Signing Day, four student-athletes committed to the admissions process for Ivy League institutions, exemplifying IMG Academy's dedication to fostering excellence in academics and athletics simultaneously.
IMG Academy continues to set the standard for academic excellence, and these achievements underscore its dedication to empowering student-athletes to excel both in the classroom and on the field.
In 2023, IMG Academy and its student-athletes were at the front of their sports as global leaders in sports development, with student-athletes and teams achieving extraordinary success across various disciplines. Notable accomplishments include:
In 2023, IMG Academy baseball was crowned MaxPreps National Champions and achieved a perfect 25-0 record with wins over five state champions and the first undefeated season in program history. As of commencement in May, there were over 50 baseball student-athletes who graduated from IMG Academy and committed to college baseball programs.
In 2023, IMG Academy basketball won several basketball tournaments and events across its boys and girls programs. Its varsity national boys team was consistently ranked inside the top-10 of the SC Next rankings and made it to the semifinals of the GEICO Nationals. Heading into 2024, both the boys varsity national team (ranked No. 5) and the girls varsity national team (ranked No. 7) were ranked inside the SC Next top-10. As of commencement in May, there were over 50 basketball student-athletes who graduated from IMG Academy and committed to college basketball programs.
In 2023, IMG Academy’s national football team went undefeated and was named national champions by the National High School Football Forum, its varsity program won its first SSIA State Championship title and its post-graduate team won its second-consecutive national championship. Five of its national team student-athletes competed in the Under Armour All-American game. As of commencement in May, there were over 60 football student-athletes who graduated from IMG Academy and committed to college football programs.
In 2023, IMG Academy’s golf program produced several No. 1’s in their respective age groups in junior golf both nationally and at the state level and won several Hurricane Junior Golf Tour events including the IMG Junior Tour, and events in Jacksonville, Tampa, and Orlando. As of commencement in May, there were over 40 golf student-athletes who graduated from IMG Academy and committed to college golf programs.
In 2023, IMG Academy girls lacrosse had two major distinctions including Natalia Raiszadeh, who was named All-Academic for USA Lacrosse and Ava Kitt, who was named All-American for USA Lacrosse. The boys lacrosse program participated in the national championship tournament. As of commencement in May, there were over 20 lacrosse student-athletes who graduated from IMG Academy and committed to college lacrosse programs.
In 2023, IMG Academy’s U19 boys soccer program won the 2023 United States Youth Soccer Elite 64 national championship, the first-ever for the boys program. Thirteen boys soccer student-athletes represented 12 countries’ national teams, including the Bahamas, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Egypt, Guatemala, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and Nevis, the United States, Venezuela, and the Virgin Islands. Twelve girls soccer student-athletes represented nine national teams, including Bermuda, Brazil, Denmark, Egypt, Puerto Rico, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States. Lara Dantas (’24) won the South American Championship and represented Brazil in the U-17 World Cup in 2022. As of commencement in May, there were over 50 soccer student-athletes who graduated from IMG Academy and committed to college soccer programs.
In 2023, IMG Academy had several student-athletes compete at the highest level in junior tennis including girls tennis student-athletes Sayaka Ishii and Ena Koike both advancing to the Wimbledon Championship singles quarterfinals and Wakana Sonobe winning the Eddie Herr International Tennis Championship singles title. In boys tennis, Danil Panarin captured the juniors Orange Bowl singles title. As of commencement in May, there were over 50 tennis student-athletes who graduated from IMG Academy and committed to college tennis programs.
Track & Field
In 2023, IMG Academy track and field program brought the largest competing class to the New Balance Indoor Nationals with 45 student-athletes competing across 96 entries. Across boys and girls programs, they finished with a combined 26 top-10s, seven top-threes and two champions. Between the boys and girls programs, they produced seven national champions or All-Americans, and a pair of seniors in Davonte Howell and Layla Haynes both won gold medals in the CARIFTA Games. As of commencement in May, there were over 30 track and field student-athletes who graduated from IMG Academy and committed to college track and field programs.
In 2023, volleyball became IMG Academy’s 15th sport and first new sport in nearly a decade with two teams – U18 and U16. Both teams went undefeated in their preseason play and won the first-ever IMG Academy Volleyball Classic. Two student-athletes have been given major distinctions with Amanda Mack being named an Under Armour All-American and Hazel Alevok being named Prep Dig No. 1 middle blocker in the country. As of the start of the 2023 season, five volleyball program student-athletes are committed to Division I volleyball programs.
In 2023, IMG Academy saw six alumni drafted in the first round of professional sports organizations. Class of ’21 graduate Michelle Cooper, made history by becoming the highest draft pick in IMG Academy history when she was selected second overall in the National Women’s Soccer League Draft to the Kansas City Current. The five other IMG Academy alumni that were first round picks include ’22 graduate Jarace Walker (eighth overall, Indiana Pacers, NBA), ‘22 graduate Jett Howard (11th overall, Orlando Magic, NBA), ’22 graduate Keyonte George (16th overall, Utah Jazz, NBA), ’18 graduate Nolan Smith (30th overall, Philadelphia Eagles, NFL), ’20 graduate Hosei Kijima (17th overall, St. Louis, SC, MLS).
In total, 18 former IMG Academy student-athletes were drafted by professional sports organizations in 2023 including:
Major League Baseball: Mac Horvath (Round 2, Baltimore Orioles), Jake Gelof (Round 2, Los Angeles Dodgers), Josh Rivera (Round 3, Chicago Cubs), TayShaun Walton (Round 4, Philadelphia Phillies), JP Ortiz (Round 17, Cincinnati Reds), Drew Cavanaugh (Round 17, San Fransico Giants) Stone Russell (Round 18, Kansas City Royals), Cam Johnson (Round 20, St. Louis Cardinals), and Will King (Round 20, Atlanta Braves).
Major League Soccer: Kijima (Round 1, St. Louis FC), Nathan Richmond (Round 3, Charlotte FC), and Ruben Mesalles (Round 3, Real Salt Lake).
National Basketball Association: Walker (Round 1, Indiana Pacers), Howard (Round 1, Orlando Magic) and George (Round 1, Utah Jazz).
National Football League: Smith (Round 1, Philadelphia Eagles) and DJ Turner (Round 2, Cincinnati Bengals).
National Women’s Soccer League: Cooper (Round 1, Kansas City Current).
IMG Academy’s sports programs continue to have unprecedent success in professional sports drafts and competition, and in collegiate sports competition. This year added several historic achievements for IMG Academy alumni.
This year marked the 17th year in the last 19 with an alumni selected in the MLB Draft and the 16th time in 17 years multiple alumni have been drafted in the MLB Draft. There have been 64 alumni drafted into the MLB across 27 teams with 37 selections directly from IMG Academy.
Fourteen IMG Academy alumni played in the NCAA Division I College World Series, including three alumni in the championship between Louisiana State University (Tommy White, Brady Neal) and the University of Florida (Rivera). White and Neal became the first IMG Academy alumni to win the College World Series.
This year was the fourth-consecutive year with an alumni selected in first round of the NBA Draft and 19 total alumni have been selected to the NBA Draft since 2005. It was the first time IMG Academy had two alumni selected as lottery picks in Walker (eighth) and Howard (11th).
The boys basketball program saw former student-athlete Zach Edey win three of the most prestigious college basketball awards in 2023 including the John R. Wooden Award, Naismith College Player of the Year Award and the Associated Press Men’s College Basketball Player of the Year Award. Edey became the first Wooden Award, Naismith Award and Associated Press Award winner in program history.
The basketball program had a record 20 alumni playing in the NCAA Men’s Tournament this year across 17 different Division I basketball schools.
This year was the fourth-consecutive year an alum was selected in the first-round in the NFL Draft, which no other high school has done this decade, and 18 total alumni have been drafted to the NFL Draft since 2014.
Heading into the 2023 NFL season, the football program had a record 22 alumni on opening day rosters.
The IMG Academy football program had seven alumni on the 2023 University of Georgia national championship football roster including Smith ’19, Warren Brinson ’20, Xavian Sorey ’21, Bear Alexander ’22, Aliou Bah ’22, Daylen Everette ’22, Terrell Foster ‘22.
This year Lacrosse had 14 alumni participate in the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament and had three part of national championship rosters including two in Division I and one in Division II.
This year included the highest overall draft selection in IMG Academy history for girls soccer in the NWSL Draft and three boys soccer alumni were taken in the MLS Super Draft, which was an IMG Academy soccer record.
Soccer program alumni Nathan Richmond ’22, was a part of the 2023 University of Clemson men’s soccer national championship roster.
Tennis trainee Michael Mmoh reached the third round of the Australian Open, won the opening round in the Wimbledon Championship, and reached the third round of the US Open.
Tennis trainee Sebastian Korda reached the quarterfinal of the Australian Open.
Tennis alumni and trainee Jerry Shang became the first Chinese male player to ever win a match in the Australian Open when he won in the first round.
After taking close to two years off the ATP tour, Kei Nishikori returned at the Challenger 75, 2023 Caribbean Open and won the title. He became the only player to win an ATP Challenger event while being unranked.
As IMG Academy looks ahead to 2024, its emphasis on student-athlete development in academics, athletics and personal development remain at the forefront, with a goal of helping its student-athletes win their future, preparing them for college and for life.
About IMG Academy
IMG Academy is the world’s leading sports education brand, providing a holistic education model that empowers student-athletes to win their future, preparing them for college and for life. IMG Academy provides growth opportunities for all student-athletes through an innovative suite of on-campus and online experiences:
Boarding school and camps, via a state-of-the-art campus in Bradenton, Fla.
Online coaching via the IMG Academy+ brand, with a focus on personal development through the lens of sport and performance
Online college recruiting, via the NCSA brand, providing content, tools, coaching and access to a network of 40,000 college coaches
To learn more about IMG Academy and its on-campus and online experiences, visit www.imgacademy.com.