August 22, 2014

The Gridiron Report: Top 20 preseason poll breakdown

August 21, 2014

Miami Central ready to surprise some people on offense in Saturday showdown with Hoover

Everybody might be expecting a defensive battle when Miami Central visits Hoover (Ala.) Saturday at noon in a battle of high school football titans.

But Rockets coach Roland Smith said Thursday at practice his team could have quite a few surprises on offense for ESPN's national TV audience.

"I think our offense is going to show up and surprise a lot of people," said Smith, who has nine starters back on defense from last year's 13-1 Class 6A state champions, but only four back on offense. "We've got three running backs nobody ever heard of because  of the guys we had last year. But believe me these guys are good."

Those guys last year were Mr. Florida Football Dalvin Cook (Florida State) and tag team partner Joseph Yearby (Miami).

Yearby finished his career with 5,593 yards and 68 touchdowns, second-most behind only Bobby Washington in Miami-Dade history. Cook, who had 322 fewer carries than Yearby (721), finished with 4,267 yards and 64 touchdowns. Together, they were the most prolific rushing duo ever in Dade, and quite possibly the state, too.

The new guys are seniors Cedric Miller, Clifford Cooper and Malik Witherspoon. 

"We told them it's a system," Smith said. "If they stick to the plan and run our system they're going to have the same success those guys had."

Hoover has won eight national titles since 2000 including the last two state titles in Class 6A and 30 games in a row. Seven offensive starters are back including highly touted four-star tailback Bradrick Shaw (6-1, 193) and 6-4, 220-pound receiver Justin Johnson (Mississippi State). Defensively, Auburn-bound linebacker Darrell Williams (6-2, 225) and Alabama-bound defensive end Christian Bell (6-3, 216) lead the charge.

Hoover has won six games in a row against out-of-state opponents. The last time Central went to Alabama they won 49-28 over Pratville in 2010.

The Rockets also have some star power themselves. Four-star receiver Da'Vante Phillips (6-2, 204) has every school in the country recruiting him. Defensively, Florida State-bound safety Calvin Brewton leads the charge.

Receiver Anthony Jones, Cook's nephew, and junior quarterback Gerard Thomas are two other players to watch, Smith said.

"If you want to be good or you want to be great you've got to play the best teams out there," Smith said. "When we took over this program, [Telly] Lockett did a good job of doing that. Same thing with my other school, Northwestern. In order to be the best you have to play the best. We feel like we're one of the best teams in the nation.

"We're not fortunate enough to have teams come down here to play us so we have to go to their venue and also play with their refs, guys who could be graduates of their school. We just want to play football. The thing I always tell the referee is let our kids play. Let's let the kids decide the game not the referees."

-- MANNY NAVARRO

Talented Norland making a push in a crowded district

Norlandjpeg

By Larry Blustein
Floridakids1@aol.com
Nobody has to tell Daryle Heidelberg about building a football program. He knows exactly how to do it - and plans on getting it done again.

After finishing second and then winning a state title a few years back at his alma mater, Norland, Heidelberg and his Vikings sundered through a few lean years. Last year, he moved into a district that included nationally-rated Miami Central, Carol City, Northwestern and Homestead. While his team failed to grab a playoff spot, there was a move in bringing this program back in the spotlight.

Off season additions - including veteran Defensive Coordinator Luther Campbell - has put this program back in the spotlight, and while many of the experts are still not picking this team to be one of the two that qualify for the playoffs in 6A, Heidelberg likes that roll just fine.

"In the past I think our teams have done better when we are doubted - not counted on the be the team to beat," he explained. "I think people will be very surprised at the kind of talent we have on this team."

While everyone fully understands that Duke Johnson, Erick Flowers and Bam Brown aren't going to walk through the front doors of the school and immediately infuse this program, but for those who know what kind of athletes are available to program each year, know that talent is not going to be a problem.

The senior class will showcase a quality defense. One that features Ohio State defensive back commit Carlton Davis (6-2, 180), who leads a very talented secondary that also includes D’andre Smart (5-11, 175), Elliot Miller (5-10, 165), Cameron Cooper (5-10, 160) and Kevin Hollis (5-9, 170).

"We knew going into the season that our secondary would be very strong," said Davis. "I am very excited to work with Coach Campbell and real impressive group of defensive players."

The Vikings are also very strong up front on defense with end Rayshad Jackson (6-1, 190), and interior players Anthony Hall (6-0, 270), Jahim Lawrence (6-0, 205) and Dwayne Spencer (6-4, 290).

Offensively, the senior class boasts linemen William Gordon (6-4, 300), Jabari Barnwell (6-0, 320) and and Lowell Richardson, a 6-4, 275-pounder. In addition, talented and versatile receiver Steven McIntosh (6-0, 175) and Clarence Walker (5-6, 160), and running back Ruben Bresier (5-9, 175).

"We are happy about the seniors we have on this team," Heidelberg said. "They are going to be very productive and really lead our younger players as well."

The future of this program will indeed be with the gifted underclass. The Vikings do have a quality group of 2016 prospects - led by Rodrick Robinson (6-2, 175), running backs Chavis Wright (5-7, 170) and Tyson Dorvillier (5-7, 170), receivers Damian Barry (5-11, 180), Jordan Robinson (6-2, 175) and Terrell Scott (5-11, 170).

The Vikings also feature a number of impact linemen as well. Prospects such as Henry Pierre (6-1, 240), Deundre Gatlin (5-11, 240), Joshua Greene (6-3, 255) and even Class of 2017 prospect Kadeem Telfort, a 6-6, 310-pounder.

The Class of 2016 will also be a place where defensive standouts will make major strides this year. Linemen Eric Mitchell (6-2, 230) and Reoshard Donald (6-2, 190), linebackers Keon Holder (5-10, 185), Emmett Rice (6-3, 190), Edlet Satil (6-0, 220), versatile Vosean Joseph (6-1, 190) and Dejardins Paul (5-10, 185).

As the season begins, Norland may be the team on the outside looking in, but with a tremendous amount of talent and a coaching staff that knows how to teach and win, anything can happen - and the Vikings are banking on it.

We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. All you have to do is send a You Tube or Hudl link and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein at Floridakids1@aol.com.

Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.

OTHER INFORMATIONAL BLOGS
Fort Lauderdale Flying Ls make push toward the next level

Southwest Miami Eagles soar back to the top of the district

Coconut Creek adds to a crowded District 15-6A race

NMB, Jeff Bertani never far from the top

Booker T. Washington Wins National NFL HSPD 7-on-7 Tournament

Hollywood Hills wins Ocala 7-on-7 tournament

Cypress Bay looks to a number of quality underclassmen in 2014

South Florida Class of 2017 Football Prospects

Productive June Boosts UM's Recruiting Perception

8A Football: Monarch May Be The Biggest Surprise!

Bush, Flanagan Have Built A Quality Football Team

Columbus will rely on a more experienced team in 2014

Not Paying Attention To Miramar Would Be A Mistake!

August 20, 2014

AP Preseason High School Football poll

By The Associated Press

   The Associated Press Preseason Top 10 Florida high school football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records, rating points and AP poll 2013 final rankings:

Class 8A

                                               Record  Pts Prv

 1. Miramar (11)                               0-0     133 2 

 2. Apopka (2)                                 0-0     117 3 

 3. Dr. Phillips (3)                           0-0     115 4 

 4. First Coast                                0-0     97 RV

 5. Coral Gables                               0-0     74 NR

 6. Plant                                      0-0     69 7 

 7. Fort Pierce Central                        0-0     58 8 

 8. Palm Beach Gardens                         0-0     44 NR

 9. Charles Flanagan                           0-0     37 9 

10. Monarch                                    0-0     26 NR

     

   Others receiving votes: South Dade (0-0) 25, West Orange (0-0) 23, Lake Mary (0-0) 22, Manatee (0-0) 17, Winter Park (0-0) 8, Christopher Columbus Catholic (0-0) 5, Coral Glades (0-0) 4, Spruce Creek (0-0) 2, Vero Beach (0-0) 2, Cypress Bay (0-0) 1, Alonso (0-0) 1.

Class 7A

                                               Record  Pts Prv

 1. St. Thomas Aquinas (14)                    0-0     156 4 

 2. Dwyer (2)                                  0-0     126 1 

 3. Niceville                                  0-0     123 7 

 4. Kissimmee Osceola                          0-0     99 6 

 5. East Lake                                  0-0     89 2 

 6. Sickles                                    0-0     69 5 

 7. Fletcher                                   0-0     47 NR

 8. Port Charlotte                             0-0     31 9 

 9. Lake Nona                                  0-0     29 NR

10. Tate                                       0-0     26 NR

      

   Others receiving votes: Fleming Island (0-0) 17, Lakeland (0-0) 16, Pinellas Park (0-0) 15, Haines City (0-0) 11, Melbourne (0-0) 7, Lincoln (0-0) 7, Royal Palm Beach (0-0) 7, Lake Worth (0-0) 3, Plantation (0-0) 2.

Class 6A

                                               Record  Pts Prv

 1. Miami Central (12)                         0-0     155 1 

 2. Armwood (3)                                0-0     144 2 

 3. Mainland (1)                               0-0     130 5 

 4. Naples                                     0-0     93 RV

 5. Ed White                                   0-0     78 9 

 6. Miami Carol City                           0-0     58 10

 7. Columbia                                   0-0     45 6 

 8. Boynton Beach                              0-0     38 NR

 9. Heritage                                   0-0     20 3 

10. Pace                                       0-0     19 NR

 (tie)Springstead                              0-0     19 NR

  

   Others receiving votes:  Largo (0-0) 16, Hallandale (0-0) 13, Escambia (0-0) 10, South Fort Myers (0-0) 10, Jefferson (0-0) 9, Winter Haven (0-0) 9, St. Augustine (0-0) 8, South Lake (0-0) 5, Venice (0-0) 1.

Class 5A

                                               Record  Pts Prv

 1. Plantation American Heritage (16)          0-0     160 3 

 2. South Sumter                               0-0     132 7 

 3. Pensacola Catholic                         0-0     121 1 

 4. Lake Wales                                 0-0     73 NR

 5. Lakewood                                   0-0     65 NR

 (tie) Clay                                    0-0     65 NR

 7. Merritt Island                             0-0     50 4 

 8. Cardinal Gibbons                           0-0     40 NR

 (tie) West Florida                            0-0     40 5 

10. Palm Bay                                   0-0     34 RV

      

   Others receiving votes: Godby (0-0) 27, North Marion (0-0) 22, Bishop Kenny (0-0) 15, Wakulla (0-0) 12, Jesuit (0-0) 11, Pasco (0-0) 8, Suwannee (0-0) 4, Island Coast (0-0) 1.

Class 4A

                                               Record  Pts Prv

 1. Miami Washington (16)                      0-0     160 1 

 2. Cocoa                                      0-0     141 2 

 3. Bolles School                              0-0     131 NR

 4. Gulliver Prep                              0-0     86 NR

 5. Clewiston                                  0-0     69 5 

      

   Others receiving votes: Glades Central (0-0) 28, Florida (0-0) 13, Madison County (0-0) 6, Fort Lauderdale University (0-0) 6.

Class 3A

                                               Record  Pts Prv

 1. Trinity Christian-Jacksonville (16)        0-0     160 1 

 2. Clearwater Central Catholic                0-0     139 5 

 3. Westminster Christian                      0-0     115 3 

 4. Ocala Trinity Catholic                     0-0     89 RV

 5. Melbourne Central Catholic                 0-0     61 2 

      

   Others receiving votes: Tampa Catholic (0-0) 37, Delray American Heritage (0-0) 26, Lakeland Christian (0-0) 7, Pahokee (0-0) 6.

Class 2A

                                               Record  Pts Prv

 1. Champagnat Catholic (15)                   0-0     159 1 

 2. Victory Christian (1)                      0-0     140 NR

 3. North Florida Christian                    0-0     110 4 

 4. Indian Rocks                               0-0     72 RV

 5. University Christian                       0-0     60 3 

      

   Others receiving votes: Glades Day (0-0) 48, Warner Christian (0-0) 24, Carrollwood Day (0-0) 6, First Baptist (0-0) 6.

Class 1A

                                               Record  Pts Prv

 1. Trenton (13)                               0-0     157 4 

 2. Blountstown (3)                            0-0     142 1 

 3. Dixie County                               0-0     113 2 

 4. Lafayette                                  0-0     107 NR

 5. Union County                               0-0     84 3 

      

   Others receiving votes: Baker School (0-0) 15, Port St. Joe (0-0) 13, Northview (0-0) 9.

August 14, 2014

Fort Lauderdale Flying Ls make push toward the next level

James Gardner

By Larry Blustein
Floridakids1@aol.com
There is no getting around the fact that Fort Lauderdale High's football program has a rich history that dates back over 100 years. The problem for many of the alumni through the years is that the growth of Broward County has taken its toll on the talent.

While prospects have come and gone through the years, the Flying Ls have always attempted to play on the rich traditions of the past, but as more and more schools opened - and the population began to shift toward the west, this is a program that had to scramble to get football talent locally, which was a tough assignment.

As most of the coaches who have tried to get some kind of momentum going through the years, it took one of its proud alumni to come back and see that vision. It has been open that if you build a solid foundation and make it fashionable to wear those white and blue uniforms, players would stay home and take pride like head coach Richard Dunbar has.

A graduate of the school Dunbar came back over the past five years to set down that foundation. To show that playing football at this school would pay off in a major way, and it has.

As the Flying Ls head into this year's season, they are indeed one of the favorites to win a district. That news in itself has gotten players, coaches, fans and alumni watching once again. This school does not win football districts. In fact, the sport of football has never really been a priority.

"We came in to change this culture," Dunbar said. "We wanted the players and this school to have pride in this program and understand that we can win games if the young men buy into the system and stay home."

Fort Lauderdale has always had the athletes, but having enough of them has been the problem. When the program sent linebacker Jaboree Williams to Wake Forest this past season, it put the program on the map. Now, using that momentum, Dunbar and the Flying Ls are looking to keep that going as they will roll out one of the most talented and deep programs the school has had in years.

Led by 6-4, 190-pound University of Cincinnati commit James Gardner, the team certainly has a reason to be optimistic after a tremendous off season that saw several players compete on 7-on-7 teams as well as grade out well at camps and combines.

"Having a prospect like James, who is a polished receiver, only helps add credibility to this program." Dunbar said. "Like Jaboree the past few years, he jumps starts this program, but he is not alone."

Fellow seniors such as Pomeroy Francis (OLB/SS, 6-0, 195) and two-way lineman Wajih Albaroudi (6-2, 265) are special. Albaroudi comes to Fort Lauderdale from Somerset Academy.

In addition, 2015 seniors include defensive back Devin Brown (5-11, 195) and versatile center, long snapper and punter Andrew Hales (6-2, 225) are key to this team as well.

With a solid and experienced senior class, Dunbar and the Flying Ls will also look toward the future - with an impressive underclass, led by talented receiver Junior Demelien, a 5-9, 165-pounder, who was spotlighted a number of times during the off season. Receiver Bradley Fleurinord (6-1, 185) is another player who stepped up over the past six months as well.

"We feel great with those young men who will be with us for the next two years," Dunbar pointed out. "You can really see the attitudes in this program change a lot."

While Demelien and Fleurinord are players Dunbar is excited about, Kevin "K.T." Thomas is the prospect who really brings plenty to this program. Not only is a tremendous defensive back prospect, but is also a kept on special teams as well as an athlete who can play quarterback if needed.

Thomas has already picked up interest from schools such as Lafayette, Dartmouth, Bucknell, Louisville, and Army. KT has great academics and is a kid that every coach would want in his program.

One of the younger players that this program is very excited about as the season approaches is Class of 2017 sophomore offensive/defensive lineman Torri Young. This 6-1, 225-pounder is going to be special and the Flying Ls will have him for three seasons.

"We approached this year with an attitude that we are now starting to turn the corner," Dunbar pointed out. "Now, we have to play hard and make things happen in a positive way, and I believe we are ready to do that."

We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. All you have to do is send a You Tube or Hudl link and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein at Floridakids1@aol.com.

Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.

OTHER INFORMATIONAL BLOGS
Southwest Miami Eagles soar back to the top of the district

Coconut Creek adds to a crowded District 15-6A race

NMB, Jeff Bertani never far from the top

Booker T. Washington Wins National NFL HSPD 7-on-7 Tournament

Hollywood Hills wins Ocala 7-on-7 tournament

Cypress Bay looks to a number of quality underclassmen in 2014

South Florida Class of 2017 Football Prospects

Productive June Boosts UM's Recruiting Perception

8A Football: Monarch May Be The Biggest Surprise!

Bush, Flanagan Have Built A Quality Football Team

Columbus will rely on a more experienced team in 2014

Not Paying Attention To Miramar Would Be A Mistake!

August 07, 2014

Southwest Miami Eagles soar back to the top of the district

Southwest

By Larry Blustein
Floridakids1@aol.com
Before the 2013 high school football season began, all the players and coaches at Southwest Miami heard about was that Belen Jesuit was now part of District 15-8A and that things would soon change.

The stronghold that head coach Tim Neal and his team had started to have on the district was sure to loosen as the Wolverines, who had gone to the state title game in the past and had beaten schools such as Booker T. Washington, Norland and Miami Jackson, had this thing figured out and would jump up two classes to make things tough on the Eagles.

As any good program that was being built upon a solid foundation, Southwest Miami would hear no part of all those "experts" who figured they had it all figured out. This was not a team built on folding to better competition. Too much hard work and many hours were spent to ensure this program would be competitive.

From the start of the season, this was a team that had something to prove - reeling off impressive wins against Coral Park and district favorite Hialeah before that first ever district meeting with Belen. It was that game against Coach Rich Stuart's program that the Eagles thrust themselves into an elite spotlight. One that paved the way for convincing district romps over Sunset, Braddock, Ferguson and Varela, This team roared out to non straight wins.

"We knew that if we played our brand of football and kept the mistakes at a minimum, we could compete with anyone," Neal explained. "When you have the talent and the work ethic for the game like our young men had, things have a way of working out."

What last year's 9-2 season illustrated was that this was a team that could play at a high level. Football, while never a powerhouse at the school, has always had a way of producing key prospects and making things exciting. Even when the Eagles lost to its longest rival Coral Gables, 31-24, it was one of those games that remained close down to the end. In a series that has been more than one-sided over the years, Southwest Miami had finally closed the gap and earned the respect of a Coral Gables squad that was as talented as any 8A team in south Florida.

As the 2014 season unfolds, this is a team that is once again the favorite to reach the playoffs and chalk up another district title. Yes, Belen is loaded again, and many of the programs are better and will be up for the task, but the Eagles have several key prospects returning and younger players ready to step in and make a difference.

The senior class this year will really be the place to start on this team. This was the heart and soul of this talented unit a year ago with highly recruited quarterback D’undre Pickett-White (6-1, 190) defensive back Quindale Corker (5-9, 160), improved receivers Sam Flowers (5-9, 178) and Daquantay Smith (6-1, 190), and versatile all-over-the-field performer Trevon Sands (6-0, 180) making a huge impact.

"The core of what we have coming back is reason to make most coaches smile," Neal said. "But you also look at some of the other pieces and you feel a lot better as well."

Other seniors expected to make a major impact for the Eagles include receivers Jacob Nodarse (6-1, 175) and Dustin Suzara (5-9, 150), athletic Andres Perez (5-10, 175), linebacker Andres Pineda (5-9, 180), running back Kamari Flintroy (5-9 180), defensive backs Dimetri Rodriguez (5-9, 160), Justin Thomson (5-9, 175) and Wilson Palacio (5-10, 180), defensive lineman Disney Macias (5-11, 250), and offensive linemen Humberto Padraza (5-10, 215), Mario Treto (6-0, 215), Jake Perez (5-11, 200) and Christian Haugen (6-6, 270).

Class of 2016 juniors such as Varela transfer C.J. McWilliams (5-11, 170), linebackers Andrew Blanco (5-10, 180) and Willie Brown (6-0, 215), athletic James Barnes (5-7, 170), defensive back Austin Hudson (5-9, 170) and offensive linemen Tyler McVay (6-3, 240) will certainly add to the strength of this program.

Even the Class of 2017 will show up in the rotation with promising linebacker/safety Edwin Sosa (5-10, 170), kicker Antonio Garcia, quarterback/receiver Justin Worley (6-0, 165), receivers Manny Pineda (5-8, 160) and Amir Riviera (5-7, 150), defensive back Nathan Perdomo (5-8, 155), defensive lineman Ilan Jorge (5-11, 225), and offensive linemen Keanu Sullivan (6-1, 215) and Jonathan Reynoso (5-11, 230) making a difference. So will freshman safety Emanuel De la Nova (5-10, 170).

"We feel great about the upcoming season," Neal said. "There are a lot of key pieces coming back with a coaching staff that has worked very hard to get these players better."

We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. All you have to do is send a You Tube or Hudl link and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein at Floridakids1@aol.com.

Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.

OTHER INFORMATIONAL BLOGS
Coconut Creek adds to a crowded District 15-6A race

NMB, Jeff Bertani never far from the top

Booker T. Washington Wins National NFL HSPD 7-on-7 Tournament

Hollywood Hills wins Ocala 7-on-7 tournament

Cypress Bay looks to a number of quality underclassmen in 2014

South Florida Class of 2017 Football Prospects

Productive June Boosts UM's Recruiting Perception

8A Football: Monarch May Be The Biggest Surprise!

Bush, Flanagan Have Built A Quality Football Team

Columbus will rely on a more experienced team in 2014

Not Paying Attention To Miramar Would Be A Mistake!

August 05, 2014

Anthony Molina selected to High School Showcase at Wrigley Field

Anthony Molina

BALTIMORE - Under Armour, Inc. (NYSE:UA), the Baltimore, MD-based leader in sports performance apparel, footwear and equipment, announced the addition of Anthony Molina (Somerset Academy) to its roster for the 2014 Under Armour® All-America Baseball Game, powered by Baseball Factory. The game will be played at Chicago'’s iconic Wrigley Field on Saturday, August 16th at 6:05 p.m. CST. This will mark the first time in its seven-year history the Under Armour All-America Game will be played at night, creating the ultimate Major League experience for the players and their fans.

The Under Armour All-America Baseball Game showcases 38 of the best high school players, competing in an American vs. National team match-up. The players are selected by a committee of Baseball Factory scouts. The game will air nationally on MLB Network on Sunday, August 17 at 7:00 p.m. CST.

Anthony Molina’'s long, lean frame produces fastballs that sit in the low 90s with outstanding life. He also has the ability to reach back for more and touch the mid-90s. His curveball has depth and he has a good feel for his change. This is a very exciting young arm.

Since the game’s inception in 2008, 185 of the 208 draft eligible players from the Under Armour All-America Game were selected in the MLB Amateur Draft including 51 first round picks. Top players that went on to sign professional contracts in 2014 include Tyler Kolek (2014 No.2 Overall Pick, Miami Marlins); Nick Gordon (2014 No.5 Overall Pick, Minnesota Twins); Alex Jackson (2014 No.6 Overall Pick, Seattle Mariners); Touki Toussaint (2014 No.16 Overall Pick, Arizona Diamondbacks); Grant Holmes (2014 No.22 Overall Pick, Los Angeles Dodgers); Foster Griffin (2014 No.28 Overall Pick, Kansas City Royals); and Michael Kopech (2014 No.33 Overall Pick, Boston Red Sox).

For more information on the 2014 Under Armour All-America Baseball Game, powered by Baseball Factory, please visit www.baseballfactory.com/allamerica/2014.

About Under Armour, Inc.
Under Armour (NYSE: UA), the originator of performance footwear, apparel and equipment, revolutionized how athletes across the world dress. Designed to make all athletes better, the brand's innovative products are sold worldwide to athletes at all levels. The Under Armour global headquarters is in Baltimore, Maryland. For further information, please visit the Company's website at www.uabiz.com.

About Baseball Factory, Inc.
Baseball Factory has developed programs to provide players with world-class instruction and life-changing experiences, which when combined, lead to future success both on and off the field. Baseball Factory holds over 600 events nationwide each year in over 40 states and 100 cities. We pride ourselves on giving families an unbiased assessment of where they stand against other players nationwide. Baseball Factory events have featured more than 350 players who have played or are currently playing in the Majors and over 50,000 players have gone on to play at the college level. 99% of Division I, 70% of Division II and 60% of Division III programs have at least one Baseball Factory alumnus on their roster. Learn more at www.baseballfactory.com.

July 31, 2014

Coconut Creek adds to a crowded District 15-6A race

Malek Young

By Larry Blustein
Floridakids1@aol.com
Last year, when Kareem Reid looked at his Coconut Creek football team, he saw some talent and plenty of promise. This year, he views his Cougars as a program that can compete for a district title.

Playing in a district (15-6A) that is perhaps as prospect rich as you will find, Coconut Creek will look to improve on last year's 5-5 season that saw them drop key games in a district that was stacked with talent - including champion Dillard, runner-up Boynton Beach and a budding power in Hallandale, which was among the highest scoring programs in Florida. Add in Riviera Beach Suncoast and Stranahan - and this is a loaded district that may be as good as you get.

This off season saw Reid and his football program hit the group running. The Cougars - in "restoring the roar" - went out and added pieces to this already gifted program that could signal a change in some of those close games a year ago.

"We worked very hard in improving the roster and the attitude of this program," Reid said. "The athletes we had last year, combined with the key prospects added will give us the talent to stand toe-to-toe with anyone."

What the Cougars did in the off season was compete in everything from elite 7-on-7 events to working out and getting stronger and more talented.

While the underclassmen are going to be a huge part of the program, it's this group of seniors that will certainly make a huge difference. That experience and leadership may have been missing from last year's squad, but Reid insists, will be present this time around.

"We are very much counting on the senior class to provide that experience and overall leadership," Reid pointed out. "Players who have been through just about everything in this program."

Among the seniors what will be counted on heavily, includes transfers Korron Rozier (5-10, 185, Athlete) and linebacker Kermit Silva, a 5-11 210-pounder, who can give the Cougars a major lift.

In addition, players such as offensive lineman Huntley Sawyers (6-2, 300), defensive back/running back Marcus St. Louis (5-10, 175), linebacker Marcus Johnson (5-10, 205), defensive back Erskine Joseph (5-9, 160), receiver Aquani Barnes (6-3, 180) and defensive end David Wanliss (5-11, 195).

If you really want to see Reid and his staff smile, talk about the underclassmen. Prospects such as Class of 2016 standouts such as two-year starting quarterback Jhakari Harrison (6-0, 170) as well as nationally rated receiver Binjimin Victor (6-4, 170) and quality defensive back Trayvon Mullen (6-2, 170).

"We have an elite group of juniors, sophomores and incoming freshmen on this team," Reid pointed out. "We have to believe that this is as good a group of underclassmen as you will find."

In addition to Harrison, Victor and Mullen, the Class of 2016 will also feature versatile Malek Young (5-10, 175), defensive end Woodly Sully (6-3, 210), safety Alexy Jean-Baptiste (6-2, 190) and defensive lineman Darion St. Felix, a 6-1, 255-pounder.

The Class of 2017 has one of the nation's best in receiver Emmanuel Greene. This one-time youth football standout made a huge splash last season as a freshman and really caught fire in the off season with head-turning performances in the spring and summer, earning him many collegiate offers.

"Prospects like Emmanuel really make this program go," Reid explained. "While many have just watched him play 7-on-7, and have judged him off of what he did during those games, he is more impressive when the pads come on. He is truly an elite prospect and a pleasure to have in this program."

While there is plenty of optimism for the upcoming season, getting a playoff spot in this crowded district is certainly no guarantee, but the Cougars have shown that they are indeed ready to compete with anyone on the schedule!

We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. All you have to do is send a You Tube or Hudl link and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein at Floridakids1@aol.com.

Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.

OTHER INFORMATIONAL BLOGS
NMB, Jeff Bertani never far from the top

Booker T. Washington Wins National NFL HSPD 7-on-7 Tournament

Hollywood Hills wins Ocala 7-on-7 tournament

Cypress Bay looks to a number of quality underclassmen in 2014

South Florida Class of 2017 Football Prospects

Productive June Boosts UM's Recruiting Perception

8A Football: Monarch May Be The Biggest Surprise!

Bush, Flanagan Have Built A Quality Football Team

Columbus will rely on a more experienced team in 2014

Not Paying Attention To Miramar Would Be A Mistake!

July 24, 2014

NMB, Jeff Bertani never far from the top

Cedric

By Larry Blustein
Floridakids1@aol.com
Jeff Bertani has been around the sport of football all of hits life. You can say he was born into the game.

The son and grandson of head football coaches in Miami-Dade County, he has approached this sport in a manner of teaching, developing and winning. He learned - early on - as a player at North Miami Beach High - that you do not settle.

That approach has followed Miami-Dade's second longest tenured head coach through district titles and turning out perhaps more players to the next level and beyond than any other coach in south Florida.

Bertani's recipe for success is to give everything possible to the sport. He has demanded that from his players, coaches and of himself. That is the reason that every year, his North Miami Beach Chargers are in the mix.

When his team lost out on a playoff spot last year, it was something that didn't sit well with Bertani or his team. They all made a commitment to work harder than ever before - and the results - as approach the 2014 season - is that his team will be right in the mix.

With North Miami returning 16 starters from last year, the Pioneers head into this year as the favorite, but that tag has never meant much in a district that the Chargers have dominated through the years.

Even last year when North Miami finished unbeaten in the district and losing just once in the regular season, it was NMB that took them down to the wire. Look for the same thing to happen once again this year.

"The only thing that I have ever asked of my players is to give 100 percent and represent themselves in a first class manner on and off the playing field," Bertaini said. "I want the players on this team to be admired just as much for what they do in the classroom and in the community as what they accomplish on the football field."

With players like Louis Delmas now playing with the Miami Dolphins and others scattered around professional and collegiate football, Bertani is satisfied with what his players have learned throughout the years.

This year's edition of NMB football will once again be loaded with quality prospects that will play on both sides of the ball as well as participate on special teams. That is a trademark of this team that goes back to the beginning when he first started. He learned from the best - and has applied that during his time.

While there are a number of younger players who figure to keep the Chargers in the spotlight for years to come, it's all about this senior class that will assume the leadership role, which is very important to the success of this program.

"I have always looked to my seniors to help guide the way," Bertani said. "It is important to have people like Cedric Wiggins (QB/DB, 6-0, 190) to be a leader on this team.

Wiggins, the younger brother of former Charger standout Doug Wiggins, is a four year player who has already received offers from schools such as Alcorn State, UMass and UConn.

In addition to Wiggins, talented Emmanuel Lubin, a 6-1, 180-pound defensive back/receiver, is also a quality player with outstanding bloodlines. His brother E.J. Biggers, another NFL player, was tremendous for Bertani and there Chargers. Lubin currently holds offers from Arkansas, Illinois, Syracuse, Bowling Green and FIU.

Bertani coached teams have always had football players who give everything of themselves to help the program win. Seniors Bryan Soto (LB/TE, 6-0, 190), Duanne Jones (RB/LB, 5-11, 180) and Eric Fleurima (LB/FB,5-9, 180) are perfect examples.

Every year, NMB boasts some young players who will provide depth and leadership for the future. This year is certainly no exception - with a quality junior class - and a sophomore group that may be the best the school has had.

Class of 2016 prospects Voshon Reid (DL/ OL, 6-2, 250) and Kassy Desir (DL/OL, 6-2, 270) are already considered among the best in south Florida.

Sophomores Alvin Floyd (DB/WR, 5-11, 180), Tyrek Hepburn (DB/QB, 5-10, 175), Woodlyson Alcius (DL/OL, 6-4, 290) and talented Jordan Atkins, a 6-0, 190-pound linebacker/running back are as good as you will find. Atkins is the younger brother of one-time Charger standout Markeith Russell.

NMB is also starting a solid foundation with incoming freshmen Nickolia St.Fort (DB/WR, 6-0, 170) and linebacker/fullback Mitchler Morany (5-9, 190).

Have something to add to this Blog? Drop Larry Blustein a note at Floridakids1@aol.com.

OTHER INFORMATIONAL BLOGS
Booker T. Washington Wins National NFL HSPD 7-on-7 Tournament

Hollywood Hills wins Ocala 7-on-7 tournament

Cypress Bay looks to a number of quality underclassmen in 2014

South Florida Class of 2017 Football Prospects

Productive June Boosts UM's Recruiting Perception

8A Football: Monarch May Be The Biggest Surprise!

Bush, Flanagan Have Built A Quality Football Team

Columbus will rely on a more experienced team in 2014

Not Paying Attention To Miramar Would Be A Mistake!

July 20, 2014

Booker T. Washington Wins National NFL HSPD 7-on-7 Tournament

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Indianapolis, Indiana – For the second time in three years, the Booker T. Washington F-5 Tornadoes won the NFL HSPD 7 on 7 Tournament. The yearly event features representatives from all 32 NFL teams that play in an elimination tournament until one team is left. Each team must qualify by competing in a regional tournament in the host city, as well as completing the mandatory High School symposium.

Booker T. Washington qualified by going undefeated in the Miami Dolphins 7 on 7 tournament June 14th and 15th. They defeated Hialeah Gardens, American High, Western High twice and Champagnat Catholic before advancing to the quarterfinals at Sun Life Stadium on June 15th. After receiving a bye in the quarterfinals, they defeated Gulliver Prep 27-21 in overtime and then beat Miami Southridge 41-24 to win the Regional Tournament.

“Winning this game means a lot. We've got some great guys out there and they deserve this win,” Booker T. Washington coach Tim “Ice” Harris Jr said. "We've grown stronger as a team. We've worked hard and it's great to see that hard work pay off".

Advancing to the National Championship Tournament is nothing new to Booker T. Washington. In 2012, they went to Indianapolis under the pressure of trying to become the fourth straight Miami Dolphins representative to win the National Tournament. Booker T. Washington ended up beating the team representing the Detroit Lions to win the title and keep the streak alive.

After not qualifying for the National Championship in 2013, Booker T. went back to Indianapolis with one goal in mind and that was to bring the trophy back to Miami. In Pool Play, they dominated the competition by outscoring their opponents 272-86 and going 7-0. The scores for the games were:

Game 1: Miami Dolphins 38 New England Patriots 14
Game 2: Miami Dolphins 44 Buffalo Bills 7
Game 3: Miami Dolphins 38 New York Jets 14
Game 4: Miami Dolphins 41 Philadelphia Eagles 28
Game 5: Miami Dolphins 37 New York Giants 10
Game 6: Miami Dolphins 41 Washington Redskins 3
Game 7: Miami Dolphins 30 Dallas Cowboys 10

Tuesday morning, the tournament started off in divisional play with the Miami Dolphins playing against their AFC rivals in an elimination tournament. They beat the Buffalo Bills 31-10 and then the New England Patriots 34-28 to advance to the quarterfinals. In the quarterfinals they defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 37-17 to move on to the AFC Championship game against the Houston Texans.

The game against the Texans was close throughout with the score being 24-21 late in the second half. Maurice Alexander threw a touchdown pass to Mark Walton to give them a little cushion and then Terry Jefferson and Davante Davis sealed the game with back to back interceptions to give Miami a 37-21 victory. With the victory, Miami advanced to their fifth straight 7 on 7 championship game.

In the Championship, Miami played against Mallard Creek High School representing the Carolina Panthers. Alexander threw first half touchdown passes to Shaquille Green, Walton and Vaquan Smalls to give Miami a 24-7 lead at halftime. Carolina scored on their first possession of the second half, but that would be the last points they scored. Another touchdown pass from Alexander, this time to Antonio Callaway put them up 31-14 and then an interception by Callaway sealed the 34-14 victory by Booker T. and their second National Title in three years.

“To be able to not only go undefeated in the regional tournament but also the national tournament is a very impressive accomplishment”, Miami Dolphins Manager of Youth programs Troy Drayton said. “This is a team that won the district championship, state championship and national championship in 2013. To start off their 2014 football season this way is very exciting not only for the kids, but shows the hard work that the coaching staff is putting in.”

In the tournament, Booker T. went 12-0 and outscored their opponents by a total score of 445-176. They were led in receiving touchdowns by Walton with 15, Smalls with 11, Callaway with 11, Darius Scott with 9 and Green with 6. The defense was led by Jefferson who picked off 12 passes in 12 games. With interceptions counting as 3 points in the 7-on-7 format, Jefferson scored 36 points without playing a down on offense. Davis contributed with 4 interceptions and Ocie Rose and Callaway had 3 each.

Booker T. Washington will kick off their 2014 season in Chesapeake, VA against Oscar Smith High School and then will follow that up in Tucker, GA against Tucker High. They go into the season on a 26 game winning streak and have only lost once in the past two years.

OTHER INFORMATIONAL BLOGS
Hollywood Hills wins Ocala 7-on-7 tournament

Cypress Bay looks to a number of quality underclassmen in 2014

South Florida Class of 2017 Football Prospects

Productive June Boosts UM's Recruiting Perception

8A Football: Monarch May Be The Biggest Surprise!

Bush, Flanagan Have Built A Quality Football Team

Columbus will rely on a more experienced team in 2014

Not Paying Attention To Miramar Would Be A Mistake!

July 19, 2014

Hollywood Hills wins Ocala 7-on-7 tournament

By Larry Blustein
Floridakids1@aol.com
OCALA – When Hollywood Hills head football coach Al Lang found out that his Spartans weren’t going to be able to attend this year’s University of South Florida Sling & Shoot 7-on-7 event in Tampa, the veteran head coach scrambled around for a place for his team to head to this weekend.

After seeing that Belleview coach John Ivory was organizing an event in Ocala, he called to see if his Spartans could join a group of quality teams that were headed to the Ocala Sportsplex for a day-long 7-on-7 and linemen challenge.

“We called John to see if there was a way we could get our kids into this quality 7-on-7,” Lang recalled. “When he said yes, we made hotel reservations and plans to make the five hour trip from south Florida. We were excited to have a place to go.”

After finishing 2-2 in pool play, the Spartans really started to make noise once the single elimination took place. With programs such as Orlando Monteverde Academy, Tampa Blake, Ocala Forest, Spring Hill Springstead, Lantana Santaluces, host Belleview, Ocala Lake Weir, Gainesville Eastside, Melbourne Central Catholic, Jacksonville University Christian, defending 1A state champion Trenton, Lake Butler Union County, Fort Myers Bishop Verot, Ocala Vanguard, Tallahassee FAMU and Sparr North Marion, coached by former Miami Northwestern head coach Steven Field, the tournament was very competitive.

“We had played very well during the early portion of the event,” Lang said, but we really started to put it together once everything was on the line.”

The Spartans beat Springstead and North Marion, setting up a quarterfinal battle with unbeaten Trenton, a team that featured quality junior Hamp Cheevers and other players who returned from the state title. This team was one of the favorites to win it all.

Staying on the same field with Trenton gave the Spartans plenty of confidence, moving them into the semifinals against a very athletic Gainesville Eastside team. That narrow semifinal victory gave Hollywood Hills a chance at beating Tampa Blake for the title.

“We had lost to them early in the event,” said receivers coach Brandon Graham. “I think after we beat Trenton, this team felt that they could win it all.”

Playing without standout receiver Edward Aldred, who went out of the tournament early with a concussion, the Spartans looked to senior quarterback Darius Greene and receivers Winston Job III, Ronald Scriven and Miguel Montanez on offense – and Ronald Clayton Jr., Tony Henry, Terrence Williams and Jacarier Salter on defense.

The Spartans went ahead 6-0, only to see Blake tie the game at 6, but it would be the last time the Spartans would look back.

Leading 13-12, they came up with huge plays, scoring again and moving the score to 19-12, 26-12 and stopping Blake for a 28-12 win.

“This was a great win,” said Lang. “We came further than anyone else as a late entrant and really made a statement. I couldn’t be any prouder of this team.”

Job was voted as Offensive MVP of the event, Salter took home the Defensive MVP award, Clayton was one of seven players on the All-Tournament Defensive squad – and lineman Dusan Etienne was selected as Offensive Lineman of the challenge.

Winning Hollywood Hills Spartans included: Edward Aldred, Terence Williams, Darius Greene, Ronald Scriver, Jr., Miguel Montanez, Jacarier Salter, Deric Smith, Lamont Clarke, Toy Henry, Alejandro Duperon, Donovan Henderson, Winston Job III, Patrick Smith, Ronald Clayton II, Marvin Estrada-Campbell, Jakari Latimer, Nicholas Alequin, Branden Garcia, Dusan Etienne, Gerald Louis and Reginald Colson III.
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Have something to add to this Blog? Drop Larry Blustein a note at Floridakids1@aol.com.

OTHER INFORMATIONAL BLOGS
Cypress Bay looks to a number of quality underclassmen in 2014

South Florida Class of 2017 Football Prospects

Productive June Boosts UM's Recruiting Perception

8A Football: Monarch May Be The Biggest Surprise!

Bush, Flanagan Have Built A Quality Football Team

Columbus will rely on a more experienced team in 2014

Not Paying Attention To Miramar Would Be A Mistake!

July 17, 2014

Cypress Bay looks to a number of quality underclassmen in 2014

Guando
Cypress Bay's Mark Guandolo has been coaching high school football long enough to know that what you put into this game, you get back along the way.

No matter where he has been during his impressive coaching career, he has lived by the philosophy that hard work and dedication simply has no substitute.
 

While missing the playoffs in 2013 didn't sit well - especially the year after this football program advanced to the state finals for the first time ever - there is a reason that while this program may not be a favorite to win a competitive district, there will be no quit in the Lightning.

"If you play this game, you have to understand that there are no shortcuts," Guandolo said. "Any team that I have ever been involved with knows that when the season begins, the objective is to win every game and go as far as you can."

Even in a year where Cypress Bay a number of key prospects from that impressive 2012 team that dropped a heart-breaker to Apopka in the 8A title game, last year was a season that this team had numerous chances to grab a playoff spot. This year, even as Miramar and Flanagan go in as favorites to grab the top spot, sleeping on a team coached by Guandolo would be a huge mistake. He has a way of making the best outs of a situation that sometimes is tough on the surface.

The Lightning have a number of seniors coming back. Prospects that expect to grab leadership and help the talented underclassmen along the way.
  On offense, this senior class features quarterbacks Cale Berger (5-11, 200) and receivers Ryan Dugan (5-10, 170) and Cole Moxie (6-0, 175) as well as linemen Nathaniel Crowley (6-0, 230), Samuel Antoine (6-3, 265) and Mike Felix (5-11, 270).

On defense, there are ends Adam Cuellar (6-0, 195) and Matt Bukovi (6-0, 220), linebackers Esteban Delfino (6-3, 225) and Jake Truske (5-10, 185) and defensive back Nathan Seidle (5-11, 165).

The strength of this football team just may be in the quality underclassmen. Players like quarterbacks Kole Stealy (6-1, 170) and Jacob Carrio (5-9 165), running backs Jeo Rodriguez (5-9, 185), Davonte Gayle (5-10, 185) and Justin Nesmith (5-8, 195), receiver Anthony Courcelle (6-1, 170), and linemen Brice Biggs (6-4, 230), Justice Silvera (5-8, 215) and Thomas Mosca (5-9, 180).

Defensively, Cypress Bay boasts linebackers Alex Cassitta (6-0, 195), Christian Gomez (6-1, 200) and Jarrett Hanks (5-10, 190) - and impressive secondary performers in Joshua Beneby (5-11, 165), Darrell Malone Jr. (5-11, 165) and R.J. Rosario, a 5-11, 190-pounder.

With running backs Michael Epstein (6-0, 190), the Lightning have perhaps the most impressive Class of 2017 weapon in south Florida. This one time youth football standout elevated the team last year as a freshman.

In addition to Epstein, the sophomore class will feature defensive end Jake Lichtenstein (6-3, 190) and defensive back/running back Daniel Montoya (5-9, 180).

"I have followed Coach Guandolo at Chaminade, Pace, Miami Southridge, Miramar and now at Cypress Bay," said Dana Wiley of Prep Films. "This is a man who can get everything out of an athlete and bring out the best in them. When he almost beat Central that year with a number of 10th graders, he proved to many that you can never count his teams out."

We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. All you have to do is send a You Tube or Hudl link and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein at Floridakids1@aol.com.

Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.

OTHER INFORMATIONAL BLOGS
South Florida Class of 2017 Football Prospects

Productive June Boosts UM's Recruiting Perception

8A Football: Monarch May Be The Biggest Surprise!

Bush, Flanagan Have Built A Quality Football Team

Columbus will rely on a more experienced team in 2014

Not Paying Attention To Miramar Would Be A Mistake!

Top Prospects Start To Rise For The Class of 2018

My good friend Coach J has a pulse on the young football prospects in south Florida, and always keeps me updated on what players to keep an eye on.

While I have covered youth football for over 30 years, and have often promoted many before they ever reached high school, there are a number of quality coaches who have the opportunity to see many of these prospects at the ages of 7 and 8, and keep a close eye on their progress through the years.

Coach J has always been on the cutting edge, and sends me youngsters to keep on the radar. Today, we have some prospects for the Class of 2018 - the group of rising freshmen who figure rot make a solid impact at the varsity level - right away.

While these are just a few of the prospects who will emerge, we will continue to promote football talent that will enter high school and bring them right to you. Remember, it's all about getting the names out there for the over 2,000 college coaches who follow us daily and weekly.

If you have additional prospects to send our way, you can e-mail me at Floridakids1@aol.com and I will list them and send them on to Coach J as well.

CLASS OF 2018 ELITE 14
1. Cajun Smith, WR, W. Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy
2. Nikolas Bonito, DE, Fort Lauderdale University School
3. Samuel Llewellyn, RB, Fortt Lauderdale University School
4. Marlon Pelot, LB, Miami Booker T. Washington
5. Chatarius Atwell, Athlete, Miami Northwestern
6. Miles Jones, Athlete, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas
7. Jason Swann, OL, Pembroke Pines Somerset Academy
8. Shannardo Houston, RB, North Miami
9. Herman McCray, TE, W. Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy
10. Chad Kiernan, OL, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas
11. Sharron Chester, DL, Miami Carol City
12. Jamain Lovett, DE, W. Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy
13. Terrance Gray, OL, Miami Monsignor Pace
14. Jordan Johnson, RB, Plantation

July 11, 2014

South Florida Class of 2017 Football Prospects

Over the past 5 plus decades, our main objective is to promote as many prospects in south Florida as possible.

With the many avenues we have to reach college coaches across the country, getting the names of these prospects out is the only thing that matters. Thanks to coaches, players and our advantage of seeing so many athletes, we have compiled these lists for many years, resulting in scholarship offers down the road - helping in the process.

This list of Class of 2017 prospects will be one that will be viewed by thousands of coaches, prospects and fans who follow high school football.

This list is only designed to promote and give players the exposure that they deserve. We will continue to add to this list daily and also send out - with video links to college coaches from Florida to Hawaii and everywhere in between.

If you have a prospect that should be added to this growing list, please drop Larry Blustein a note at Florida kids1@aol.com.

In addition, we are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. All you have to do is send a You Tube or Hudl link and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein at Floridakids1@aol.com.

CLASS OF 2017 PROSPECTS
QB
Jake Allen, 6-1, 180, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons
Jason Brown, QB/LB, 6-2, 165, Plantation American Heritage
Tacarrius Brown, 6-0, 165, Hialeah Miami Lakes
Dylan DiBello, 5-9, 165, Miami Palmer Trinity
Andrew Hallman, 6-2, 175, SW Ranches Archbishop McCarthy
Orlando Hidalgo, 5-7, 150, Miami Christopher Columbus
Bryce Holiday, QB, 6-1, 180, Hialeah
Gary LaCount, Jr., 5-11, 160, Homestead
Marcelo Rodriguez, 6-2, 170, Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna
Stanford Samuels III, 6-0, 175, Pembroke Pines Flanagan
Murphy Theodore, 5-10, 165, Miami High
Malcom Vigille, 5-9, 175, Miami Edison
Justin Worley, QB/WR, 6-0, 165,Southwest Miami

RB
O.J. Armstrong, 5-9, 175, Miami Ransom Everglades
Jordan Atkins, RB/LB, 6-0, 190, North Miami Beach
Garrett Blackburn, 5-10, 175, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons
Neil Blanc, 5-7, 150, Miami Dr. Krop
James Bostic, 5-10, 180, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons
Patrick Brown, 5-9, 185, Miami Dr. Krop
Kyshaun Bryant, 5-10, 180, Plantation American Heritage
Robert Burns, RB/LB, 5-11, 200, Miami Gulliver Prep
Daniel Doriscar, 5-7, 155, Hialeah Mater Academy
Mike Epstein, 5-11, 180, Weston Cypress Bay
Giavante Evans, 5-9, 175, Deerfield Beach
Pedro Garcia, 5-10, 175, Miami Belen Jesuit
George Golden IV, 5-7, 170, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas
Yael Gomez, 5-7, 170, Miami Christopher Columbus
Kai Henry, 5-9, 185, Miami Edison
Zayin Henry, RB/LB, 5-8, 175, Sunrise Piper
Javis Johnson, 5-10, 170, Miami Southridge
Milan Lemon, 5-9, 160, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons
Kahvon Lovett, 5-10, 178, South Miami
Robbie Robinson, 5-11, 200, Miami Booker T. Washington
Dave Small, Jr., 5-9, 185, Plantation
Matthew Smith, RB/SS, 5-10, 175, North Miami
Bruce Un, 5-8, 155, Miami Braddock.
Michael Whyte, 5-8, 165, Miami Westminster Christian
Tajue Williams, 5-9, 170, Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson

WR
Andre Adams, 5-8, 170, Miami Edison
Andrew Block, 5-10, 155, Miami Dr. Krop
Dontavious Butler, WR/DB, 6-1, 175, Hallandale
Jimmy Dieujuste, 5-7, 145, North Miami
Kevaughn Dingle, WR/LB, 6-2, 185, Miami Dr. Krop
Darnell Durham, 5-8, 155, Homestead South Dade
Savion Edwards, 5-8, 160, Homestead South Dade
Richardson Fremond, 6-2, 170, Homestead
Kemore Gamble, 6-3, 180, Coral Gables
Ty Gamble, 5-8, 150, Homestead
Ben Garland, 5-9, 165, Miami Northwestern
Ja'Kel Gibson, 5-9, 150, Homestead
Anthony Gomez, 5-9, 170, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons
Natron Grayson, FS/WR, 6-3, 160, Miami LaSalle
Emmanuel Greene, 5-9, 150, Coconut Creek
Lorenzo Grigio, 5-7, 165, Coral Gables
Trevon Grimes, 6-3, 180, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas.
Michael Harley, 5-10, 150, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas.
Darnell Harrison, 5-5, 140, Hialeah American
Leroy Henley, 6-2, 175, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons
Tyrek Hepburn, WR/QB, 5-9, 150, North Miami Beach
Zaire Jacobs, 5-10, 170, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas.
Colson Jean, 5-10, 156, North Miami
Marco Jean, 5-10, 165, Homestead South Dade
Jerry Jeudy, 6-1, 174, Coconut Creek Monarch
Clinton Jewels, 6-3, 140, Miami Dr. Krop
Jordan Merrell, 5-10, 170, Fort Lauderdale Dillard
Anthony Mirabet, FS/WR, 5-10, 160, Miami Braddock
DeVante Mitchell, 5-9,170, Hialeah Champagnat Catholic
Diego Ortega, 6-1, 155, Miami Belen Jesuit
Manny Pineda, 5-8, 160, Southwest Miami
Amir Rivera, 5-7, 150, Southwest Miami
Kevin Romer, 5-9, 165, Coral Gables
Rodney Scott, 6-1, 170, Miami Southridge
Clevan Thomas, 5-10, 180, Miami Booker T. Washington
Lavarus Tigner, 6-2, 187, Miramar

TE
Corey Stoor, TE/DE, 6-4, 215, Hialeah

OL
Corey Gaynor, OL/DL, 6-1, 220, Parkland Douglas
Harry Hannah, 6-1, 245, Miami Northwestern
Kedonis Haslem, 6-4, 285, Miami Dade Christian
Robert Hawkins, 6-5, 250, Plantation
Dontavis Johnson, 6-2, 268, Homestead Barrington Christian Academy
Paul Lawless, 6-2, 210, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons
Andre Lopez, 6-4, 280, Miami Braddock
Jonathan Resnick, 6-1, 240, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas
Jonathan Reynoso, 5-11, 230, Southwest Miami
Carlos Rodriguez, LB, 5-10, 220, Homestead
Michael Sanchez, 5-10, 210, Coral Gables
Tedarrell Slaton, 6-5, 315, Plantation American Heritage
Keanu Sullivan, 6-1, 215, Southwest Miami
Zachary Sweeney, 6-3, 240, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas
Kyron Taylor, 6-1, 265, Homestead South Dade
Kadeem Telfort, 6-6, 310, Miami Norland

DL
Woodlyson Alcius, OL/DL, 6-4, 290, North Miami Beach
Jordany Bruny, 6-2, 255, Miami Dr. Krop
Jonathon Ford, DE, 6-3, 215, Fort Lauderdale Dillard
Matthew Hanson, DE, 6-2, 220, South Plantation
Chei Hill, DE, 6-0, 205, Homestead South Dade
Deandre Johnson, DE, 6-3, 220, Miami Killian
Ilan Jorge, 5-11, 225, Southwest Miami
Jake Lichenstien, DE, 6-3, 190, Weston Cypress Bay
Josh Pierre-Louis, 6-0, 225, Coral Springs Taravella
Anthony Marques, 5-9, 250, Hollywood Hills
Kevin Oliver, 6-2, 220, South Plantation
Brandon Penerton, 6-0, 280, Homestead South Dade
Sean Snyder, 5-11, 200, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons
Demetrius Taylor, 5-10, 180, Miami Northwestern
Guy Thomas, DE, 6-2, 200, Hialeah
Jose Valdevia, 5-11, 195, Miami Dade Christian
William Wallace, 6-0, 265, Coconut Creek Monarch
Deandre Wilder, DE, 5-10, 175, Miami Carol City
Jordan Wright, 6-3, 225, Fort Lauderdale Dillard
Torri Young, DL/OL, 6-1, 220. Fort Lauderdale.

LB
Zach Applegate, 5-10, 170, Coral Springs
Matthew Bethel, LB/RB, 6-0, 180, Miami Dr. Krop
Romelo Brooks, 6-0, 205, Miami Killian
Brian Charles, 5-9, 175, North Miami
Tyler Dunning, 6-1, 215, Fort Lauderdale Dillard
Khamal Ellison, 5-10, 165, Coral Gables
Jon Falcon, 5-9, 200, Hialeah
Nadarius Fatan, 6-1, 180, Coral Gables
Jonathan Francois, 6-0, 210, Miami Dr. Krop
Bernard Hudson, III, 6-0, 160, Homestead South Dade
Brandon James, 6-2, 180, Miami Southridge
Sammy Laster, 5-11, 180, Miami Booker T. Washington
Christopher Moll, 5-10, 170, Coral Gables
Hunter Moreno, LB/FB, 6-3, 215, Miami Gulliver Prep
Travis Murray, 6-0, 210, Miami Southridge
Franklin Natta, 5-8, 170, Miami Springs
Mike Nesbitt, 6-2, 185, Fort Lauderdale Stranahan
Brandon Oliver, 6-1, 205, Sunrise Piper
Deandre Richard, 6-2, 180, North Miami
Joseph Ruma, 5-8, 175, Cooper City
Denzel Simmons, LB/FB, 6-0, 175, SW Ranches Archbishop McCarthy
Edwin Sosa, 6-0, 180, Southwest Miami
Waynmon Steed, 6-1, 205, Miami Central
Fabian Thomas, LB, 5-10, 190, Hialeah
Isaiah Thomas, 6-1, 175, Coral Springs

DB
Trajan Bandy, 5-7, 165, Miami Christopher Columbus
Renard Bozeman, 5-9, 160, Fort Lauderdale Dillard
Latavious Brini, 6-2, 170, Hialeah Gardens Mater Academy
Henry Brito, DB/WR, 5-9, 185, Hialeah
Austin Chacon, 5-11, 160, Miami Christopher Columbus
Naytron Culpepper, 6-0, 165, Hialeah American
Shawn Davis, 5-11, 170, Miami Southridge
Brian Edwards, 6-4, 175, Miramar
Nadarius Fagan, 6-1, 170, Coral Gables
Alvin Floyd, DB/WR, 5-11, 180), North Miami Beach
Billy Gibson, 6-1, 170, Hialeah Champagnat Catholic
Logan Giordano, DB/WR, 5-11, 175, SW Ranches Archbishop McCarthy
Randall Haynie, DB, 6-0, 160, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons
Faion Hicks, 5-10, 185, Fort Lauderdale University School
Michael Hicks, 5-10, 155, Plantation American Heritage
Nathaniel Hidalgo, DB, 6-1, 180, Hialeah
Juwan Horne, 5-9, 170, Miami Killian
Jordan Jackson, 5-10, 160, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons
Allen Jones, 5-8, 150, Miami Central
Kevonte Lee, 5-7, 165, Miami Edison
Devonta Lopez, 5-9, 165, Hialeah Gardens Mater Academy
Anthony Machado, 5-10, 165, Miami Westminster Christian
Dedrick Mackey, 5-11, 180, Miami Booker T. Washington
De’Vante Mitchell, 5-9, 175, Hialeah Champagnat Catholic
Daniel Montoya, DB/RB, 5-9, 180, Weston Cypress Bay
Ray Moore, 5-10, 170, Miami Dade Christian
Diashun Moss, 5-10, 175, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons
Eligah Myrthil, DB, 5-10, 165, Hialeah
Marquise Parnell, 5-9, 165, Homestead South Dade
Marqui Passmore, 5-9, 175, Homestead South Dade
Nathan Perdomo, 5-8, 155, Southwest Miami
Vladimir Santana, 5-10, 170, Miami Braddock
Kaory Simmons, WR/DB, 5-11, 155, Sunrise Piper
D.J. Terry, 6-1, 170, Miami Dade Christian
Marco Wilson, 5-9, 165, Plantation American Heritage
Marquise Wilson, 6-0, 180, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons
Daniel Wright, 5-9, 170, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons

P/PK
Marlon Alonzo, 5-8, 145, Miami Northwestern
Antonio Garcia, 5-8, 170, Southwest Miami

Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.

OTHER INFORMATIONAL BLOGS
Productive June Boosts UM's Recruiting Perception

8A Football: Monarch May Be The Biggest Surprise!

Bush, Flanagan Have Built A Quality Football Team

Columbus will rely on a more experienced team in 2014

Not Paying Attention To Miramar Would Be A Mistake!

July 08, 2014

Aquinas RB Jordan Scarlett, WR Sam Bruce plan on recruiting South Florida after committing to UM

More on the UM commitments from Jordan Scarlett and Sam Bruce that could not make Wednesday's Miami Herald:

Scarlett before his announcement Tuesday afternoon of he and Bruce: “We’re just a good 1-2 punch. This year at St. Thomas, we’re going to do some great things together because you’re going to have to respect the run, and you can’t [defend Bruce] 1-on-1.

“We’re ready to do that [at UM] and hopefully with some other Florida guys, who can take care of business.”

Added Bruce: “We’re planning on bringing the University of Miami back.”

During Bruce's radio announcement, Scarlett called in from Oregon to say, "Bruce, man, you know I love you. I’m happy we’re doing this thing together at Miami, man."

Bruce's response: “Let’s make it happen.”

Their visit to Coral Gables on June 28 and playing close to home were instrumental factors in their pledges to UM. 

“It’s in my backyard and I know all my family will be able to attend my games,” Bruce said. 

Scarlett becomes UM’s 20th member of its 2015 class, which ranks ninth in the country by 247Sports. Bruce is UM’s fifth member to the 2016 class, which already has four-star studs wide receiver Dionte Mullins, quarterback Jack Allison and linebacker Shaquille Quarterman.

Scarlett, who had previous intentions to commit to a school after his senior football season, said he and Bruce are moving their focus to getting others to join them playing close to home.

“That’s why we’re definitely doing the commitment now,” Scarlett said, “so we can get some other guys’ attention, and hopefully we can get them.”

Added Bruce: If guys from Fort Lauderdale and further south commit to the University of Miami, there’s no way we can’t win a national championship.

On top of Scarlett’s list are Monarch High School stars and Alabama commits Shawn Burgess-Becker and Calvin Ridley, whom Scarlett has known since they played optimist football together.

“We definitely want to play together at the college level,” Scarlett said. “We’ve been talking about it. They’re trying to make me go to Alabama, but they said they’ll see how the season goes.”

Scarlett, Burgess-Becker and Ridley are among 14 players from South Florida participating at The Opening. UM’s three other running back commits Jordan Cronkrite (Miami Westminster Christian), Mark Walton (Miami Booker T. Washington), and Dexter Williams (Winter Garden West Orange) are also at the event.

Scarlett said he’s had casual talks with Cronkrite on Tuesday, but “not about Miami or anything like that.”

Cronkrite told the Miami Herald on Friday he “doubts” he’d stick with his commitment to UM if Scarlett were to throw his name in UM’s 2015 recruiting class.

After Scarlett’s announcement, Cronkrite said “I’m good right now,” while hanging out with Killian safety and UM target Jaquan Johnson. Cronkrite said he didn’t really have a reaction to the news and is just going to wait things out.

Williams – who is being heavily recruited by Florida, USC, Tennessee and OhioState – told 247Sports on Tuesday his commitment to UM “is high because that's the place I want to be.” Williams also said he’s not concerned with Scarlett’s pledge adding to the Canes’ running back competition because "It's football. You're going to have a couple players there that you're going to have to beat out for the position.”

Walton told the Miami Herald on Friday: “It doesn’t matter how many running backs are committed to the University of Miami. That’s where I’m committed to. If Jordan [Scarlett] decides to commit to us, too — if all four of us go in — at the end of the day I’m still going to be a hard worker when we’re all out there.”

Scarlett, who said "It's all about the U. It's just Miami. And I love it," when asked if he had any upcoming visits to other schools in the works told the Herald he has tentative plans to visit FSU during its camp on June 16-18, and South Carolina on June 25. Scarlett said he’s visiting the other schools that missed his cut so “I won’t have to worry about it later on in the process.”

Scarlett and Bruce were heavy FSU leans at one time, but Scarlett told 247Sports on Monday he had fallen out of touch with the Seminoles’ coaching staff.

“I feel like they are not stable with communicating with the recruits,” Scarlett said. “It is something they could work on, and maybe that could change my decision later on in the process.”

National Signing Day for Scarlett and other 2015 prospects is Feb. 4. For 2016 prospects like Bruce and Mullins, add another year.

“We just made that decision together that we would commit [Tuesday], and it was just the best decision for us,” Scarlett said.

July 07, 2014

Brandon Harris “NO FLY ZONE” Youth League 7-on-7 Flag Football Camp

BrandonHarrisYouthCamp_Instagram

MIAMI - Overtown Optimist Club Presents NFL Houston Texans CB Brandon Harris “NO FLY ZONE” Youth League 7-on-7 Flag Football Camp Championship Series, taking place at City of Miami Parks & Recreation’s Gibson Park, 401 NW 12th Street, Miami, FL 33136 - Saturday July 12th and July 19th from 9:00AM-1:00PM featuring South Florida’s top youth football teams in competition.

Overtown Optimist Club Presents NFL Houston Texans CB Brandon Harris “NO FLY ZONE” Youth League 7-on-7 Flag Football Camp Championship Series will take place in the City of Miami for the 2nd year to nurture sportsmanship, competition and athletic training to the youth teams from all over South Florida. Brandon Harris “NO FLY ZONE” Youth League 7-on-7 Flag Football Camp Championship Series will feature 2 weekends of Nike SPARQ Combine Training for ALL athletes participating and a South Florida Youth League Coaching Clinic hosted by the Defending National Champion Miami Booker T. Washington F-5 Tornadoes Football Coaching Staff on July 12, 2014 at 2:00 PM at Miami Booker T. Washington Senior High School Auditorium - FREE of charge. 7-on-7 football tournament championship play will commence on July 19, 2014.

The Brandon Harris “NO FLY ZONE” Youth League 7-on-7 Flag Football Camp Championship Series will feature former South Florida standouts & NFL Celebrity Guests/Drill leaders Allen Bailey, DeMarcus VanDyke, Lavonte David, Marcus Forston, Sean Spence, Travis Benjamin, Lamar Miller and Davon Johnson. 2013 Winners included Overtown Tornadoes, Richmond Giants, Liberty City Warriors and Gwen Cherry Bulls – All played in the Sean Taylor Classic Super Bowl & 3 were Pop Warner National Champions. Free food will be provided to all participants courtesy of JC Crump.

The Brandon Harris “NO FLY ZONE” Youth League 7-on-7 Flag Football Camp Championship Series is a FREE service to the community and all participants. Event Times will be 9:00AM-1:00PM. The Tournament Championship play will be devised of 4 age groups: Seniors (15-14), Juniors (13-12), Sophomores (12-11) and Freshmen (10-9). ALL South Florida Youth Football Leagues are invited. Sponsors are Overtown Optimist Club, Brandon Harris “NO FLY ZONE”, City of Miami, Nike and JC Crump. For more information – Contact: Tim “ICE” Harris timiceharris@gmail.com or Torian Bean torianbean@gmail.com.

The Overtown Optimist Club is a cooperative agreement amongst local organizations throughout South Florida to provide summer recreational/semi-competitive level flag football for participants ages 9-15. The camp strives to create a fun environment for youth to increase their physical activity, learn sportsmanship and skills that will help those succeed in future endeavors both on and off the field.

July 06, 2014

8A Football: Monarch May Be The Biggest Surprise!

When the 2013 high school football season came to an end last November, Monarch head coach Calvin Davis never had to give that season-ending speech. His players had already looked forward to 2014.

There was a feeling for this northwest Broward program that there would be enough talent returning to make a serious run in what already looks like a competitive 8A field that features Broward schools, Miramar, Flanagan, Cypress Bay and Deerfield Beach, a few programs in Palm Beach - and five Miami-Dade schools that have a reason to believe that Orlando is a realistic destination.

"When we finished that season with a loss to Miramar, there wasn't one of the 17 returning starters on this team that didn't believe that we should be in Orlando in December of 2014," Davis said. "I think while people were fixed on the tremendous skilled athletes we had coming back, they didn't pay attention to both sides of our line and our quality linebackers."

While having University of Alabama commits Calvin Ridley (6-1, 175) and Shawn Burgess Becker (6-2, 195) back on both sides of the ball was a given, this program did have enough underclassmen from last year to believe that there was more than just two players that would spark the Knights this coming season.

On offense, the senior class featured state-rated quarterback Michael Harris (6-1, 175), Ellex "Pooh" Davis (5-9, 160) and Brandon Pope, and returning running back Cavarri Morss, a 5-9 speedster, who had a huge spring.

What this program did in the off season was add depth at running back with bruising Brayon Parrish (5-11, 180) and two-way performer Deon Thompson (5-8, 205), who also plays linebacker. Offensive lineman Roberto Montanez (6-4, 270) was also a huge key.

"I think people underestimate the balance that we have on this offense," Davis said. "We showcase that in all our classes."

The senior class on defense is also a spot many took for granted. Led by quality secondary performers Ronnie Hoggins (5-10, 170) and Antone Hodge (5-9, 175), this is a strong and athletic unit. Add in defensive end Musa Abuzahrieh (6-2, 210) and linebacker Chauncey Edwards (5-10, 205) and things get interesting.

"Our defense is very underrated," said Hoggins, who is being looked at by schools such as Wisconsin, TCU and Louisville. "We are athletic, talented and have a reason to believe we can compete with anyone."

Where the Knights figure to make the biggest impact in 2014 will be with the depth that the underclassmen provide. The junior class features defensive lineman Matt Croyle (6-2, 250), secondary performers Isaiah McIntyre (5-9, 175), Buddy Lewis (5-9, 160), Javrick Taylor (6-0, 160) and Delmedris Berry, a 5-10, 155-pounder. Offensive linemen Phillip Douglass (6-2, 270) and Joshua Varona (6-4, 260), and speedy and versatile Cavin Ridley (6-2, 195).

"The true measure of a championship team is the ability to use all the players you have on the roster," Davis said. "We have to believe that there are very few programs that have the talent in all classes that we do."

Sophomore receiver Jerry Jeudy (6-2, 175) has already received numerous college offers - defensive lineman William Wallace (6-0, 265) is an up and coming standout.

Even incoming freshmen such as defensive end Keldrick Hooks (6-4, 270) and defensive lineman Karl Paul (6-0, 260), running back
Jalen Barther (5-10, 155) and linebacker K.J. Lewis (6-0, 180) figure to add to the mix of talent.

"There is really nothing that we are going to say to programs that are the favorites to get to Orlando," said Hoggins. "The only thing we will do is go out every week and show them that we are one of the teams to beat."

We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. All you have to do is send a You Tube or Hudl link and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein at Floridakids1@aol.com.

Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.

OTHER INFORMATIONAL BLOGS
Productive June Boosts UM's Recruiting Perception

Bush, Flanagan Have Built A Quality Football Team

Columbus will rely on a more experienced team in 2014

Not Paying Attention To Miramar Would Be A Mistake!

Jordan Cronkrite updates his commitment status with the University of Miami

More of my interview with Jordan Cronkrite that could not make The Opening story in Sunday’s paper:

Cronkrite, the Miami Westminster Christian running back who committed to UM in April, said Friday he doubts he will stick with his pledge to the Hurricanes if Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas back Jordan Scarlett were to commit to UM.

Scarlett decommitted from Florida Atlantic on June 27 and lists UM, Florida State, Ohio State and South Carolina among his favorites.

“I doubt I’d probably still be with UM,” Cronkrite said. “I’d probably look somewhere else.”

Cronkrite said he spoke with the UM coaching staff before the recent dead period started to see where he stood with the Canes.

“I had a talk with the coaches about the future,” he said. “And where I stand and where we stand at the running back position and all that. It was a nice talk.”

The topics of discussion?

 “If things were to change or more people commit to the school – not certain names – but just what would happen with me and how our relationship would be, and where I’d go on their board if certain people commit.

“They told me I’m still on top of their list right now.”

Cronkrite remains committed to UM in the meantime, and will wait to see how things will unfold in the months to come.

There are multiple reports regarding Dexter Williams’ family wants the Winter Park West Orange tailback to play at the University of Florida.

And the reclassification of Miami Booker T. Washington’s Mark Walton gives UM its most solid commitment at the running back position in the Class of 2015.

Cronkrite simply would prefer not to play in a loaded backfield with Walton, Scarlett, Joseph Yearby, Gus Edwards and Walter Tucker where carries will be scarce for all parties involved.

“[I’m] not running away from competition, but just being realistic,” Cronkrite said. “They said they’re bringing in two and there’s three. There’s more time for me to be seen for the next level after college.”

Cronkrite listed West Virginia, Ohio State, South Carolina and Florida as “the main” schools in contention for his potential services. Cronkrite said he has a close relationship with a coaching staff member from each of the first three schools on that list.

Cronkrite has tentative plans to visit South Carolina and Ohio State after The Opening, which ends on Thursday. He visited West Virginia earlier this summer, and has visited UF before.

July 05, 2014

Plantation American Heritage QB Torrance Gibson gets invite to Elite 11 after all

Plantation American Heritage quarterback Torrance Gibson left for Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon on Sunday -- a day earlier than his counterparts participating in The Opening.

Gibson -- who was invited to The Opening as an athlete and not the Elite 11 quarterback competition -- will participate in the Elite 11 after all, but not be in the running for the title crowing the country’s best high school quarterback.

Gibson will get to train and practice with the other 18 quarterbacks in the event on Sunday and Monday. He’ll move over to wide receiver when The Opening begins Tuesday and catch passes during the 7-on-7 competitions, according to Todd Huber, a personnel director for the event.

Gibson -- a five-star prospect who is deciding to attend Tennessee, Auburn, Ohio State, LSU, Oklahoma, Miami and Central Florida -- is taking his opportunity to show off his quarterback skills in stride.

“It means a lot!” Gibson said in a text message Sunday afternoon. “All I want to do is play QB and the Elite 11 is giving me the shot to play QB. It’s a humbling experience.”

***Stay tuned Saturday night for my story with the inside scoop on the three University of Miami running backs, and the Canes’ biggest target at the position, all attending The Opening.*** 

July 04, 2014

UM picks up two WR commits on Al Golden's birthday in Terrell Chatman, Dionte Mullins

Al Golden got himself two wide receivers for his 45th birthday.

The University of Miami picked up commitments Friday from Baton Rouge (Louisiana) Central’s Terrell Chatman and Gulliver Prep’s Dionte Mullins after both raved about their recent visits to the school.

Chatman visited UM on June 27, and came away impressed with offensive coordinator James Coley and wide receiver coach/recruiting coordinator Brennan Carroll, and the school’s campus. Chatman (6-3, 180) is rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.

“They sent a clear message that they wanted me," Chatman said to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "When I went down there it was everything I expected. I was surprised how small the campus was, but I really liked that. It's always been a school that I really liked.

Mullins, a 2016 freak of an athlete underrated with four stars by 247Sports, and his mother visited UM a day after Chatman, and came away wowed after their meeting with Coley, Carroll and Golden.

“It was a great meeting with had together – like a family meeting,” Mullins said Sunday during the Nike Football Festival event at Ransom Everglades High. “I felt like I was home.”

Playing close to home, family and friends were also an overwhelming factor for Mullins, who said the UM coaches made an impact keeping a focus on academics -- while football was the main topic of discussion, of course.

“They said I’d be a great weapon they can use,” said Mullins, who had more than 15 offers from schools around the country including Florida State and Alabama. “I kept that in mind a lot.”

Mullins may have also been leaning more towards UM after the coaching staff hired Gulliver offensive coordinator Jorge Baez to be its new assistant director of player personnel on Monday.

Baez, who was coaching the Gulliver Prep team on Sunday during its 7-on-7 tournament, said through a text message he took the UM job because “it was a great opportunity for me and my family.

Baez has had previous coaching experiences at the college level as the wide receivers coach at Southern University (Louisiana) and a quality control assistant at Ole Miss.

“After talking with Coach Golden and seeing how many changes he has done to the football facilities and the level of commitment the university has made to improve the program, it was a blessing to receive this opportunity,” Baez said.

Chatman becomes the 19th prospect to join UM’s 2015 class. On Thursday, UM picked up its 18th commitment in the 2015 class with Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons defensive end Richard McIntosh.

Mullins becomes the fourth recruit in UM’s 2016 recruiting class, which could add Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas receiver Sam Bruce to its list on Tuesday. Bruce is choosing between UM, FSU and Ohio State.

“It’s just a great opportunity to be in this situation right now,” Mullins said.