When you think about youth football in South Florida, the first word that comes into play is "pipeline". Some of the elite stars of the National Football League got their start on youth football fields from Deerfield Beach to Florida City.
At a time when many take for granted the impressive talent that keeps our high school programs on top nationally, it is once again our honor to take a look at the players who are ready to make that move to the next level.
Last year, the top Generation Nexxt South Florida football players was Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes standout receiver Stacey Coley, who left the 165-pound squad and made an immediate impact at the high school level - at Northeast.
Coley was talked about by many as one of the best athletes for the the future.
Last year's youth football class also included Khari Clark, DT, Cooper City Cowboys (Hialeah American), Myles Graham, RB, Pembroke Pines Bengals (Chaminade-Madonna), Nicholas Jeanty, QB, Cooper City Cowboys (Archbishop McCarthy), Cameron Rigby, RB, Pembroke Pines Bengals (Chaminade-Madonna), Brandon Vicens, QB, Doral Broncos (Plantation American Heritage), Sean White, QB, Pembroke Pines Bengals (Chaminade-Madonna) and Joe Yearby, RB, Gwen Cherry Bulls (Miami Central).
There were also the trio of Jaranta Lewis, QB, Weston Warriors, Alex Montgomery, WR, and RB Matt Days, who all had a huge impact for Cypress Bay.
This year, Next Level Radio, which follows youth football as well as anyone, has selected the Lucky 13 players who are headed to high school for the 2011-12 school year.
THE LUCKY 13
1. Dalvin Cook, RB/LB/K, Miami Gardens Vikings 165-pounds: This Miami Central student is easily one of the best football players in the state. Very explosive running back with excellent ability in the kicking game as well. True impact player.
2. Jaquan Johnson, LB/RB, Richmond Giants 165-pound: This incoming ninth grader at Miami Southridge is one of the best athletes around. A youth All-American player will likely play defense at the next level. Had a storied youth career as he was part of two Pop Warner national championships with the Giants in Greater Miami Pop Warner. Honor Roll student!
3. Tim Irvin, RB/FS, Richmond Giants 165-pound: Is there a player who has received more publicity over the past three years? This is an athlete who not only led the South Florida team over Deion Sanders and Dallas last year, but is a Youth All-American player at the RB position. Widely considered the best non high school youth football athlete. Played with the Richmond Giants Midgets and helped them to two national Pop Warner championships. If the last names sounds familiar, it should!
4. Treon Harris, QB/WR/S, Overtown Rattlers 165-pound: One of the elite players on the horizon. A top player a year ago, this Booker T. Washington-bound standout has a chance to be the next great one in high school. Led his Pop Warner team to a national championship in 2010. Comes from a huge football family!
5. Rashad Causey, RB/DE, Pembroke Pines Optimist 135-pound: This incoming high school freshman was yet another quality talent this bengals program has produced. Youth Football All-American at the DE position, but has talent at RB. Former lineman that was given the chance to run the ball in practice and never looked back.
6. Terry Jeudy, RB/WR/OLB, Coral Springs Chargers Unlimited: Was easily one of the top prospects all year in South Florida. A 10th grader in the fall of 2011, his size and athletic ability will keep him on the radar for years to come!
7. Butlher Jean, RB, North Miami Beach Sundevils 175-pound: Touchdown machine! This North Miami Beach High student scored over 15 touchdowns in the 2010 youth football season. Us expected to be a fullback at the next level, but that could change. Impossible to bring down because he runs low and with power.
8. Marquis Brunson, WR, Olinda Bulls 175-pound: One of the athletes who didn't receive the publicity during the season he deserved. Those who have watched him play believe that he is going to be one of the difference makers at the next level. MVP of the National Youth Football League in 2010.
9. Jerrell Holmes, RB/WR, West Kendall Dolphins 175-pound. One of the top programs in Florida has yet another quality player who can do it all. Absolute speed burner who will play receiver at the next level. He can also play in the defensive secondary.
10. Glen Weston, RB/DE, Miami Gardens Vikings 165-pound: Was the other part of the duo along with Dalvin Cook on a team that turned heads every week. While he can run the ball, his play on the defensive side of the ball is equally as impressive.
11. Tananse Thorton, DB, Overtown Rattlers 165-pound: If you were wondering how Booker T. washington will do with the return if head coach Ice Harris, here is yet another toip-flight prospect who was a member of the national championship team. Tremendous defensive secondary performer, who scored twice in the national championship game.
12. Brandon Boyd, WR, Overtown Rattlers 165-pound: If you watched this national championship squad play this year, this is one of the players who continued to make the big plays. A talented receiver who has tremendous hands, great speed and creates mismatches. Will play for Booker T. Washington in the fall of 2011 as a sophomore.
13. Michael Johnson, RB/WR, Bunche Park Cowboys 165-pound: One of the storied programs in South Florida produced a quality athlete who made things happen as a receiver, running back and also on special teams. Will make a solid impact at the next level.