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49 posts from July 2010

July 19, 2010

HERALD SPOTLIGHT: Jon Rodriguez


Rodriguez
Having the opportunity to watch many of the athletes in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties when they begin playing football at the youth football level, the Miami Herald will shine the spotlight on many athletes during the spring and summer.

With the chance to see the athletes away from the football field as well, we can bring you up close and personal with some of the top prospects in the nation - right here in our own backyard.

PLAYER: Jon Rodriguez
YEAR: 2011
SCHOOL: Christopher Columbus
CITY: Miami
POSITION: OLB
HEIGHT: 6-1
WEIGHT: 200
HEAD FOOTBALL COACH: Chris Merritt

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Two years ago when Ceasar Rodriguez played defensive end for the Explorers, many felt that recruiters and college coaches were underselling the impressive prospect. His size, quickness and athletic ability pushed him to the next level, where he will be the starting defensive end for Central Michigan University in the fall.

Now, the third member of the Rodriguez family (following Ceasar and Robert, who attended Central Connecticut) is emerging in the same manner, and like his brother two years ago, many have paid little attention to this play-maker who runs (4.8) well and has become a force as a pass rusher.

Watching him perform this past season, he is always around the ball, has a love for the game and is quicker and stronger than many believe. He is a hard worker who is about to turn heads across southern Florida in 2010.

With schools such as Central Michigan, Appalachian State, Villanova, Eastern Illinois and FIU keeping an eye on his progress, there is no doubt that Rodriguez is going to make an impact once again this coming season as he and his teammates figure to lead the Explorers to yet another district title.

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July 18, 2010

James Burgess Jr. moves to Homestead

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From the first time he was old enough to pick up a football, James Burgess Jr. knew all about the sport from watching and being around his father, former University of Miami and Homestead High standout James Burgess, Sr.

After attending South Dade High last year after starting his career at Doral Academy and turning heads with his play, Burgess is now following in his father’s footsteps and playing for the Broncos, where many have known him since he was born.

“It was a move that was best for me and my future,” said the 6-1, 200-pound junior linebacker, who joined his new teammates at the South Florida Nike 7-on-7 event in Miramar. “I have known all the players on this team since I could walk, so it is very much like family.”

Homestead and South Dade, two longtime rivals, also compete in the same district.

MARSHALL, GRAHAM ON THE MOVE
Burgess isn’t the only player on the move, although he is just going down the street from South Dade.

Former Archbishop McCartney fullback and wrestling standout T.J. Marshall, who had transferred to Cooper City, has left the Cowboys and headed to North Carolina, where is reunited with his two brothers.

In addition, West Broward standout defensive end Rex Graham, who moved in from Miami Dr. Krop in the spring, has moved to Pennsylvania where he will continue playing football for Warren Area High School.

Graham will play running back and also compete on the defensive side of the ball.

Graham, like Marshall, was to be a top player for the Class of 2011 in Broward County.

July 17, 2010

Northwestern wins Nike S. Florida event

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Teddy Bridgewater has been so busy this summer, he almost forgets what position to lineup at. On Saturday at the Nike South Florida 7-on-7 Championships at Miramar Regional Park, the University of Miami commit dazzled at receiver - making huge catch after catch - and also in the secondary, where he led the Bulls in picks.

Oh, by the way, one of the nation’s elite quarterback prospects did manage to throw one pass for a touchdown, but it was more than enough for the Bulls to win their second title in as many weeks.

Coming off an impressive performance in Oregon last weekend, Northwestern returned to home to square off in an event that brought 16 impressive and very athletic teams to the finals.

From the first win over Columbus to the title game against power Glades Central, the Bulls did what they had to win games and get ready for the season ahead.

For Bridgewater, it’s a trip out west where his arm will unite him with some of the best quarterbacks in the country at the Elite Eleven event.

In his place on Saturday, junior E.J. Hilliard was efficient and distributed the ball around the field to everyone, and on a day when junior receiver Amari Cooper was not with the team, Bridgewater was the answer as the Bulls beat the likes of Kelvin Benjamin and Glades Central as well as Dwyer, which showcased one of the best football players in the country, Nick O’Leary, and several others including quarterback Jacoby Brissett and defensive end Curt Maggitt.

The event also featured Ely (final four team), Norland (Duke Johnson and Keith Brown are two of the top juniors), Jackson (Robensen Therezie and DeAndre Jasper are the real deal), Jupiter Christian, Everglades, Deerfield Beach, Booker T. Washington, Boyd Anderson, Flanagan, Columbus, Northeast and Delray Beach Atlantic also took part.

For Bridgewater and Eli Rogers, this is the third consecutive week the two have brought home titles. Two weeks, they helped the South Florida Express to a national title in Alabama.

Glades Central is also having an impressive summer after winning several tournaments, including the NFL national title for the second straight year.

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Bobby Hart commits to FSU

When college coaches first saw Bobby Hart as a sophomore at Cardinal Gibbons, they said he had a bright future ahead of him. They were right.

In a spring and summer that has taken the now 6-5, 290-pound St. Thomas Aquinas prospect to several exposure camps, his commitment to attend FSU was simply no surprise on Saturday to those who knew him. But it did have to have a final approval - his mom.

“I knew that this is where I wanted to go,” Hart said. “But I needed to see if it was alright with here. Once she said okay, it was easy.”

Hart, who had chosen the Seminoles over LSU and Alabama, felt right at home in Tallahassee. From meeting his future coaches Rick Trickett (offensive line coach) and head coach Jimbo Fisher, to rooming with former St. Thomas standout Andrew Datko, who has a very bright future at the next level, everything fell into place.

“From the first time I went there, it felt like the right fit for me as a student, football player and socially,” Hart said. “I am real excited about the decision and now can concentrate on winning a state title this year.”

Hart is easily one of the most athletic linemen in this class with basketball and wrestling showcasing his past, as does his level of play on the football field.

“Watching Bobby mature the past two years at camps and in games, I have to believe his best years are truly ahead of him,” said Josh Newberg of Elite Scouting Services. “We saw him dominate everyone at the Nike Combine down in Miami. He has so much talent.”

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July 16, 2010

HERALD SPOTLIGHT: Damian Parms


Damian parms1
Having the opportunity to watch many of the athletes in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties when they begin playing football at the youth football level, the Miami Herald will shine the spotlight on many athletes during the spring and summer.

With the chance to see the athletes away from the football field as well, we can bring you up close and personal with some of the top prospects in the nation - right here in our own backyard.

PLAYER: Damian Parms
YEAR: 2011
SCHOOL: Monsignor Pace
CITY: Miami Gardens
POSITION: DB
HEIGHT: 6-2.5
WEIGHT: 185
HEAD FOOTBALL COACH: Alvin Slaughter

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Throughout the spring, as college coaches attended practices and watched some of the top prospects in the region, this was a player that was the center of attention on a program that is looking to replace a number of quality players.

This longtime basketball standout has the athletic ability and the size to make the transition to football without any problem at all. He is willing to put in the hard work and concentrate on his footwork and coverage skills.

Just watching him move and hit in the secondary stirs up memories of some impressive 200-plus pound safety prospects that have been raised in this area and have gone on to become impressive football players at some elite levels.

This will be a very important year as Damian has already established himself with basketball college coaches, and now, with a chance to make a major impact, football programs are watching what could be one of the ultimate sleepers in this class!

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July 15, 2010

HERALD SPOTLIGHT: Harmon Brown


Harmon Brown-11
Having the opportunity to watch many of the athletes in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties when they begin playing football at the youth football level, the Miami Herald will shine the spotlight on many athletes during the spring and summer.

With the chance to see the athletes away from the football field as well, we can bring you up close and personal with some of the top prospects in the nation - right here in our own backyard.

PLAYER: Harmon Brown
YEAR: 2011
SCHOOL: Boyd Anderson
CITY: Lauderdale Lakes
POSITION: DB
HEIGHT: 5-8
WEIGHT: 170
HEAD FOOTBALL COACH: Mark James

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: When you happen to play for one of the most athletic teams in the state of Florida, you tend to raise the level of your play up high. In this case – way high!

Brown, who recently committed to attend Syracuse University, is a fast, impressive cover cornerback who has been part of this quality football program for three seasons now. His ability to shut even the best receivers down was evident last year during his junior season, as part of a secondary that was one of the best in the state.

This coming season will be no different. After a productive off season that included a national championship with the South Florida Express 7-on-7 team, he continues to stay sharp and prove that he is one the best.

An All-Broward County Pre-Season selection in the Friday Football Florida Magazine, Brown expects to back his lofty ranking up with a solid season as he continues to climb the ladder among the best in the state, which is something the Orange already know!

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HERALD SPOTLIGHT: Jose Smith


Jose smith1
Having the opportunity to watch many of the athletes in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties when they begin playing football at the youth football level, the Miami Herald will shine the spotlight on many athletes during the spring and summer.

With the chance to see the athletes away from the football field as well, we can bring you up close and personal with some of the top prospects in the nation - right here in our own backyard.

PLAYER: Jose Smith
YEAR: 2011
SCHOOL: Belen Jesuit
CITY: Miami
POSITION: LB
HEIGHT: 5-11
WEIGHT: 190
HEAD FOOTBALL COACH: Richard Stuart

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: While we continue to take you in the huddle with some of the top football prospects in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, there are other players who have also made a solid impact on their respective teams with little or no fanfare at all.

The defending state 3A runner-up Wolverines have long been known for producing top-flight student/athletes, and while University of Miami commitment Nick Menocal has received much of the pre-season publicity, there is another prospect who may never land at an Ohio State, FSU or Alabama.

Jose Smith is a true example of the ultimate student/athlete. On the field, he was the most productive tackler on this impressive team with over 100 during the season and playoff run that ended with a loss to Pensacola in the title game. He is quick, talented and knows where the ball is at all times.

Perhaps the most important part of Smith is his work in the classroom, where he holds down the highest GPA on the team (4.0 unweighted/4.9 weighted). That has attracted the attention of schools such as Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Amhearst, M.I.T., Middlebury, U. Chicago and John Hopkins!

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July 13, 2010

Impressive Nike 7-on-7 finals this Saturday

Nike 7-on-7 Miramar 015
A few weeks back, over 40 schools from South Florida spent the day at Miramar Regional Park for the Nike 7-on-7 event.

After the day-long 7-on-7 finished, a number of top football talent and teams advanced to this Saturday's championship round of a tournament that showcased dozens of Division 1 prospects.

The Miramar Regional event will include Miami Northwestern, which captured the Nike 7-on competition last weekend in Oregon.

Led by senior quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and receiver Eli Rogers, who have won national titles the past two weekends, the Bulls will be tested against Glades Central, which is the two-time defending NFL champion, winning last week in Tampa, Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer, Jupiter Christian and a number of other quality teams that will be on hand.

Glades Central features a number of top-flight players, which include receiver Kelvin Benjamin. Dwyer also is stacked with quality athletes, including tight end Nick O'Leary, who is the grandson of golfing legend Jack Nicklaus.

Other teams that south Florida programs rarely get to see are head coach Bill Powers and his Jupiter Christian squad and Delray Beach Atlantic.

Here are the teams who will compete for the title:
Miami Northwestern, Glades Central, Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer, Deerfield Beach, Jupiter Christian, Pompano Beach Blanche Ely, Miami Jackson, Miami Norland, Miami Booker T. Washington, Delray Beach Atlantic, Miramar Everglades, Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson, Homestead, Oakland Park Northeast, Pembroke Pines Flanagan and Miami Christopher Columbus.

The teams will get started at 8 a.m. Miramar Regional Park is located at 16801 Miramar Parkway, Miramar.

Hart, Holtz and Rogers on radio


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It's less than a month before the start of the 2010 high school football season and the High School Gridiron Report is staying in high gear with a tremendous show this Wednesday night from 9-10 on WQAM (560 AM).

Larry Blustein and Kevin Rogers have a full plate of guests this week with St. Thomas Aquinas lineman Bobby Hart, University of South Florida head coach Skip Holtz and University of Miami-bound receiver Eli Rogers from Northwestern slated to join this week.

TOP LINE PROSPECT
After spending the past few years at Cardinal Gibbons High, the 6-5, 295-pound offensive tackle prospect has made the move to St. Thomas and comes in as one of the best line prospects in the nation.

Rated as one of the elite line prospects in the state, Hart has offers from over 25 schools including FSU, Florida, Oklahoma, USC, Wisconsin and defending national champion Alabama.

HOLTZ GETTING COMFORTABLE
A new era began at the University of South Florida with the hiring of Skip Holtz as the head coach of the football program on Jan. 14, 2010.

Holtz, who is just the second head coach in the 13 year history, comes to USF after five seasons at East Carolina and is a riding a streak of back-to-back Conference USA Championships.  Holtz is one of just four coaches nationally to lead his teams to league titles each of the last two seasons.

Skip's father, Lou Holtz, is an acclaimed former head football coach and currently works as a commentator on the television channel ESPN.

He attended Holy Cross Junior College in South Bend, Ind., for two years before transferring to Notre Dame in 1984. Holtz earned his bachelor's degree in business management in 1986 and was a football letterwinner for the Irish in 1986, appearing in all 11 games as a special teams member and backup flanker.

BACK-TO-BACK NATIONAL CROWNS
While he has been taking a back seat to teammate and future University of Miami quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Rogers has been quite impressive over the past two weeks.

The 5-10, 175-pounder was part of the South Florida Express summer 7-on-7 team that captured a national title two weeks ago at the Badger Tournament in Tuscaloosa. last week, he was instrumental in leading the Bulls to a second national championship at the Nike 7-on event in Oregon.

You can also listen to the show and read the DAILY BLOG at www.wqam.com.

Oliver Vigille Commits to Syracuse


Oliver Vigile1
When Syracuse University football coach Doug Marrone took the head job over a year ago, he made a commitment to fans and current players that the Orange would be faster and more athletic.

Keeping to that promise, Marrone and Syracuse went out and came to Florida last year and did quite well in landing speed and athletic ability.

Over the weekend, the Orange dipped back into the region and received a commitment from Miami Central linebacker Oliver Vigille, who was an important part of the Rockets' improving defense.

The 6-1.5, 205 pounder is the third member of this talented team to make a commitment, following offensive lineman Marquis Lucas (Rutgers) and running back Devonta Freeman (FSU).

"When we were ranking the top linebackers in the state, there was no doubt that Central was ahead of the rest of the teams," said longtime Florida Recruiting Analyst Richard Barimo. "With Miles Pace, Dwight Jackson, Jr., and Vigille, they have versatile football players."

Vigille had been looking at FIU, UCF and USF as well as Syracuse, which has opened the pipeline once again.

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