Having been to every Nike Camp since the event began well over a decade ago, it still carries with it a huge name that attracts talent.
While many critics will maintain that some of the elite players never attend this test of speed, agility and football , I respectfully have to remind those critics that this is South Florida, and if eight or 10 athletes do not show up, you still have a show like no other.
Kids are kids, and for whatever reason, do not attend everything. It's not just here. In Texas and California, many of the athletes that the recruiting analysts deem "elite players", do not attend either, lumping those same areas together with South Floridians.
Last Sunday at the University of Miami, nearly 300 very talented athletes came out to compete. Okay, so Tracy Howard from Miramar wasn't there. But Duke Johnson was! Amos "A.J." Leggett of Gulliver didn't make it. But Carol City's Ernest Freeman did! Miami commit Willie Bailey from Hallandale never made it to Coral Gables. But nationally-rated tight end Sean Price and his very impressive teammates came down from Ocala (North Marion).
Anywhere else in the country, 10-12 marquee players missing would create a huge talent void. Not here! I cannot tell you how impressive this state has become - every year. The talent level is just mind-boggling.
For every player that didn't show, there were so many others who just jumped out. Not just rising seniors, but Class of 2013 and 2014 players well.
Watching this particular Nike event is something of a must for all football fans. This is the place nearly every quality player from across Florida wanted to come to.
Quarterback Nick Patti, who led his Orlando Dr. Phillips to the 6A state title game against Central, is easily one of the best players in Florida, already fielding an offer from his hometown school, UCF. Patti is one of the athletes you admire because he runs toward competition.
After being named as one of the best quarterbacks in the Elite-11 competition last month, Patti's name really got out there, and when he had the chance to showcase his skills at the Nike Camp, he chose Miami.
"You go where the best will be," he said. "We played Central last year, and we know what type of athletes they have down here. It's a great opportunity to play with and against some of the best in the country."
Patti was voted as the quarterback MVP.
No matter where you went on Sunday, there were players locally, regionally and statewide, making plays.
Homestead senior Herb Waters won the MVP for receivers. He has picked up more momentum in the off season than anyone. Coach Bobby McCray called it right on this gifted athlete last year.
University of Miami-bound linebacker Keith Brown from Norland was voted as his position's MVP.
This was also an event that seldom talked about players such as Braddock running back Jarvon Anderson (RB), Varela receiver John Green, Fort Lauderdale receiver Kolby Gray, Calvary Christian quarterback Javan Shashaty and Fort Lauderdale Westminster receiver Josh Orsino had the chance to show why this is so very important in the recruiting process.
It's players such as tight end Samad Hinds (Monsignor Pace),Southridge tight end Tyler Vickers, Norland lineman Ereck Flowers. Hollywood Hills defensive back Terry Harden, Braddock linebacker Neptune Joseph, Ely defensive back Adrian Burton, Southridge defensive back Marcelis Branch, Belen Jesuit defensive end Alfonso Horner, Piper defensive end Barrington Morris, Coral Reef defensive end Roosevelt Donaldson and Cypress Bay linebacker Josh Witt, who came to Florida from Texas last year and needed the exposure.
Then you have your underclassmen. Led by the nation's best 2014 prospect Sony Michel (Plantation American Heritage), who just happened to take home the MVP for best running back. There is also a very impressive defensive back at St. Thomas that everyone will start hearing about in Al Harris Jr.
The 2013 class was also well represented with St. Thomas standout running back Fred Coppet, University School receiver Jordan Cunningham, Gulliver running back Daryl Chestnut, Cypress Bay receiver Alex Montgomery, running back Matthew Dayes and quarterback Jaranta Lewis, Palmetto quarterback Troy Cook, Plantation American Heritage quarterback Tyler Cogswell, Boyd Anderson lineman Sandley Jean-Felix and University School lineman Jordan Budwig.
There is also Plantation defensive back Sojourn Shelton, Mosnignor Pace linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. and lineman Aaron Thomas of Hialeah Miami-Lakes.
We are always looking to help expose our area recruits for the current Class of 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. All you have to do is send a DVD and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein, P.O. Box 3181, Hallandale Beach, Fl. 33009.
Have a comment? E-mail lblustein@MiamiHerald.com. Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.