While some local post season all-star games receive very little attention this time of year, the Nike South Florida High School All-Star Football event (Miami Dade vs. Broward) is much more than a few top players going through the motions.
What this 14th annual game represents is pride, talent and the knowledge that everyone will be watching – from colleges to fans. It is a showcase event that attracts some of the top talent the two tradition-rich areas have to offer. College coaches make plans to be there and fans mark down the date months in advance.
On Friday, Jan. 15, the game will kickoff at Flanagan High School (12800 Taft St., Pembroke Pines) at 7 p.m, and winning and losing does make a huge difference between two counties that boast a number of athletes already headed to Division 1 schools.
For Central head coach Telly Lockette and Coconut Creek head coach Allen Jackson, this is a game that culminates a year in which a local state champion (Miramar) was crowned, several area teams were noticed nationally and many players were invited to compete in national events.
Whether you trace the past of this game, where some of the elite athletes have competed, or this year's roster, where dozens have already made a commitment to a college or university, it's all about bragging rights.
"To play and coach in this game is a true honor," said Jackson. "I know from where I stand, we are taking this game very serious and will use every top player we can to come out with a win."
For years, Miami-Dade stood alone when measuring up against other areas of the country, but slowly, Broward has made major strides and now can boast nationally rated teams and players, standing toe-to-toe with any region in any state.
This is a game has truly been a showcase for many players who have gone on to impressive collegiate and professional careers. It was also a contest that ultimately opened the door for Jasper Howard to get a scholarship to the University Connecticut. Howard was named MVP of the game after returning a punt 70 yards for a touchdown and making a 45-yard touchdown catch.
Howard, who was tragically killed early in the season, used the two weeks of practice and the game to show what he could do. Many will look to follow in his footsteps, hoping a long run, a key block, an interception or a tackle will sway a college coach who will be watching.
"This is the perfect place for college coaches to come and get a late commitment from a player," said Charles Fishbein of Elite Scouting Services. "They already know that a good performance in a game like this is coming against some of the top talent in the nation."
This year's game features dozens of players who have not only committed to play collegiately, but have already left a mark nationally at games across the country. You also have athletes trying to attract that coveted college scholarship, which can happen in an instant.
Among Miami-Dade's top players scheduled to play in the game are Central quarterback Jeffrey Godfrey and receiver Joshua Reese. Both recently committed to the University of Central Florida.
For every Michaelee Harris and Corvin Lamb (Northwestern), who are committed to Louisville, you have players such as Columbus linebacker Tommy Heffernan, South Dade receiver/safety J.J. Worton, Northwestern lineman Donald Senat, Central defensive end LeBranden Richardson, Jackson defensive back Rashad Stewart and Booker T. Washington defensive lineman Gerald Taylor, who could benefit from a solid week of practice and an eye-catching performance in the game.
"I have watched several of these games throughout the years," said Fishbein. "Every year, a new player surfaces in a game like this. It could be a Worton, Heffernan, Senat or one of the other athletes who haven't received who has the chance to step up."
Broward County prospects are in the same position. While Jackson has a roster filled with players who have received college scholarships such as running backs Devon Wright (Taravella, Minnesota) and James White (St., Thomas, Wisconsin), receiver Shawn Corker (Cardinal Gibbons, Texas Tech), offensive linemen/tight end David Delsoin (Sheridan Hills, FIU) and Alex Tucci (Cypress Bay, Colorado State), tight end/defensive end Brandon Steg (Taravella, Connecticut), defensive back Nevin Lawson (Piper, Utah State) and Boyd Anderson defensive back Cliff Coleman, who will be headed to Ole Miss, there are a number of players using this game and the week leading up to the contest as a time to get noticed.
"Having coached against many of these players and then getting the chance watch them so far, colleges will have some great choices to make," said Jackson. "There are a number of athletes out here who have been overlooked throughout the season."
With so many athletes in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, it is easy to pass a prospect or two up. That has happened for years, and this season has certainly been no exception.
Quarterbacks Brandon Doughty (North Broward Prep), Willie Tindall (Stranahan) and Michael German (Blanche Ely) have all been impressive this year. So have receivers Donte' Dotson (Deerfield Beach) and Roosevelt Juin (Flanagan), linebacker Dominick Bryan (Miramar), kicker Derek Soven (Cypress Bay) and defensive backs Khari Burke (South Plantation) and Keondrick Lyn (Miramar).
The Broward squad also has a number of athletes who are being recruited by several schools, and a solid showing will only enhance their standing.
"You have kids like Clarence Murphy (Hollywood Hills), Dotson (Deerfield Beach) and Stephen Clark who are all being looked at by several schools," Fishbein said.
The game will also expose 100 high school underclassmen and 25 of the top youth football players from Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, headed to high school in the fall.
1 Willis Wright, WR, 6-2, 190, Miami Springs
2 Michaelee Harris, WR, 6-0, 185, Northwestern
3 Sam Miller, DB, 5-10, 175, LaSalle
4 Corvin Lamb, RB, 5-10, 180, Northwestern
5 Jarvis Bridge, RB, 5-6, 165, Coral Gables
6 Jammal McClain, 5-10, 175, Central
7 Khambrell McGee, 5-9, 170, Northwestern
8 J.J. Worton, WR, 6-0, 190, South Dade
9 Jermaine Kelson, QB, 5-9, 175, Southridge
10 Derrick Knowles, WR, 5-11, 180, Miami Central
11 Garret Colao, QB, 5-10, 175, Columbus
12 Brandon Gainer, RB, 6-0, 200, Central
13 Richard Leonard, DB, 5-8, 165, Killian
14 Keahn Wallace, QB, 6-2, 200, Homestead
15 Jamarquis Reeves, TE, 6-3, 245, South Dade
16 Patrick Graham, DB, 6-0, 180, Central
17 Lebranden Richardson, DE, 6-2, 215, Central
18 Jayvon Wrentz, WR, 6-0, 175, Booker T Washington
19 Joshua Reese, WR, 6-0, 180, Central
20 Demetrius Pettway, DB, 5-10, 180, Homestead
21 Rashard Stewart, DB, 5-10, 180, Jackson
22 Duane Starks, LB, 5-11, 200, American
23 Ravonne Carter, DB, 6-0, 180, Hialeah
24 Jeff Scott, RB, 5-9, 175, Archbishop Carroll
25 Oscar Diaz, P/PK, 6-3, 180, Booker T. Washington
27 Tavarius McMillins, LB, 6-2, 205, Jackson
28 Jorell Miller, RB 5-7, 170, South Dade
30 Michael Ross, LB, 6-1, 200, Booker T Washington
31 Marcus Fairley, LB, 6-0, 210, Central
34 Tavarius McPhee, LB, 6-1, 200, Norland
44 Michael Dallas, LB, 6-0, 215, Palmetto
48 Tommy Heffernan, LB, 6-1, 200, Columbus
51 Rashard Gaitor, LB, 6-1, 200, Northwestern
54 Gerald Taylor, DL, 6-0, 250, Booker T. Washington
55 Doug Almanderas, DL, 6-3, 300, North Miami
56 Donald Senat, OL, 6-3, 250, Northwestern
58 Jordan McCray, OL, 6-4, 290, Southridge
59 Justin McCray, OL, 6-4, 290, Southridge
60 Shawn Brown, OL, 6-1, 270, Central
63 Ronald Regula, OL, 6-3, 240, Palmetto
65 Zach Soto, OL, 6-6, 260, Monsignor Pace
70 Stanley St. Jean, OL, 6-3, 265, Central
72 Calvin Smith, DL, 6-4, 275, Hialeah
76 Chris Gonzalez-Jacob, OL, 6-4, 280, Columbus
77 Chris Acosta, OL, 6-4, 285, Hialeah
78 Jonathan Ragoo, OL, 6-7, 320, Monsignor Pace
80 Lavaughn Whigham, WR, 6-1, 190, Southridge
99 Jordan Johnson, DL, 6-0, 250, Carol City
1 Cassius McDowell, RB, 5-9, 175, Deerfield Beach
2 Keion Payne, DB, 5-11, 175, St. Thomas Aquinas
3 Jazz Moss, KR/WR, 5-9, 165, Dillard
4 Donte' Dotson, Athlete, 5-8, 175, Deerfield Beach
5 Deven Drane, WR, 5-11, 175, Plantation
6 Keondrick Lyn, S, 6-1, 180, Miramar
7 Willie Tindall, QB, 6-0, 190, Stranahan
8 Khari Burke, DB, 5-9, 175, South Plantation
9 James White, RB, 5-9, 190, St. Thomas Aquinas
10 David Holley, LB, 6-0, 190, Blanche Ely
11 Brandon Doughty, QB, 6-3, 190, North Broward Prep
12 Michael German, QB, 6-1, 190, Ely
13 Courtland Rich, S, 6-3, 190, Deerfield Beach
14 Jabari Price, DB, 5-11, 180, Blanche Ely
15 Cliff Coleman, DB, 6-0, 190, Boyd Anderson
16 Derwin Brown, S, 6-1, 175, Stranahan
17 Bryan Thomas, WR, 5-10, 175, Blanche Ely
18 Clinton Jones, WR, 5-9, 155, Blanche Ely
19 Stephen Clarke, DB, 5-10, 185, Boyd Anderson
20 Daryeon Chance, RB, 5-6, 180, Cardinal Gibbons
21 Nevin Lawson, DB, 5-11, 185, Piper
22 Jeremiah Hick, RB, 5-11, 180, Miramar
25 Devon Wright, RB, 6-0, 185, Taravella
26 Shawn Corker, WR, 6-1, 190, Cardinal Gibbons
27 Roosevelt Juin, WR, 5-10, 170, Flanagan
28 Meshach Waite, RB, 5-10, 220, South Plantation
30 Dominick Bryan, LB, 5-10, 180, Miramar
31 Stephen Blissett, LB, 5-11, 200, Miramar
33 Desmond Bozeman, LB, 6-2, 215, Dillard
34 Travian Bailey, DE, 6-2, 210, McArthur
40 Brandon Steg, TE, 6-3, 220, Taravella
42 Christian Figueroa, LB, 5-11, 200, West Broward
44 Derek Soven, PK/P, 5-8, 155, Cypress Bay
50 Sir Christian Gordon, OL, 6-2, 255, Miramar
51 Dorian Grant, DL, 6-0, 250, St. Thomas Aquinas
52 John Dieurestil, LB, 6-0, 190, Fort Lauderdale
55 Durrell Ward, LB, 6-1, 230, Blanche Ely
60 Demetrius Rhaney, DL, 6-3, 275, Stranahan
64 Bryan Paull, OL, 6-4, 290, Douglas
65 Shawn Henderson, OL, 5-11, 205, Coconut Creek
66 Venson Mercellon, DL, 6-1, 260, Stranahan
68 Leeward Brown, OL, 6-3, 275, Miramar
70/85 David Delsoin, TE/OL, 6-7, 255, Sheridan Hills
71 Alex Tucci, OL, 6-5, 315, Cypress Bay
72 Quinton Roland, OL, 6-3, 330, Dillard
73 Chris Corpuz, OL, 6-3, 320, Flanagan
74 Sir Reginald Moore, OL, 6-3, 270, Dillard
75 Reginald Daniels, OL, 6-3, 290, Blanche Ely
76 Brandon Parris, OL, 6-0, 330, Hollywood Hills
77 Nick Long, DL, 6-1, 275, Taravella
90 Clarence Murphy, DE, 6-3, 230, Hollywood Hills