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31 posts from April 2011

April 08, 2011

HERALD SPOTLIGHT: Jeremiah McKinnon

Jeremiah McKinnon1 Ridge
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 continue to shine the spotlight on many athletes during the pre-spring, 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.

Don't forget that the exposure continues on FACEBOOK (Herald Recruiting) and via Twitter @ larryblustein.

PLAYER: Jeremiah McKinnon

YEAR: 2012

SCHOOL: Southridge 

CITY: Miami

POSITION: DB

HEIGHT: 6-1

WEIGHT: 165

HEAD FOOTBALL COACH: Patrick Burrows

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Is there any secondary in the nation that has been as talented and productive as the Spartans have been over the past three seasons. Four Division 1 prospect already with another three to four on the way!

In McKinnon, you have a solid player who has a family tradition of playing hard and being among the best. He has certainly shown that he is one of the elite defensive backs in a very loaded region this season.

You can see that he not only has everything it takes play the safety position, bit his loose hips and ability cover will give any program the option of putting him just about anywhere in the secondary.

It has been said many times during the spring, but is there really a better region in the nation for defensive backs? McKinnons is purely icing on the cake!

HERALD STATEWIDE INFORMATION
Statewide Information

April 07, 2011

HERALD SPOTLIGHT: Timothy Taylor

Tim Taylor1
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 continue to shine the spotlight on many athletes during the pre-spring, 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.

Don't forget that the exposure continues on FACEBOOK (Herald Recruiting) and via Twitter @ larryblustein.

PHOTO COURTESY OF ELITE SCOUTING SERVICES.

PLAYER: Timothy Taylor
YEAR: 2012
SCHOOL: Stranahan
CITY: Fort Lauderdale
POSITION: RB
HEIGHT: 5-10
WEIGHT: 180
HEAD FOOTBALL COACH: Joe Redmond

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: This is a player who has certainly waited in the wings for an opportunity to show what he can do.

Two years ago, he played in the shadow of the Tindal brothers. Last year, while he was very productive for the Dragons, he shared the spotlight with senior Anthony Drayton.

This is hard runner, who has tremendous strength and balance. His ability to pick out holes and get through them is instinctive, and comes from playing the position and being around it for a long time.

While he is not a burner, his speed is deceptive because he is so strong, knows where to run and it takes a real good tackle to bring him down on the initial hit.

While the talk much of the first two years was his power, blocking and ability to be a quality asset to the team, this year will be his time to shine, and if he responds, he will catch a lot of people who follow this sport, off guard!

HERALD STATEWIDE INFORMATION
Statewide Information

April 06, 2011

HERALD SPOTLIGHT: David Reed

David Reed Miami Beach1
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 continue to shine the spotlight on many athletes during the pre-spring, 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.

Don't forget that the exposure continues on FACEBOOK (Herald Recruiting) and via Twitter @ larryblustein.

PLAYER: David Reed

YEAR: 2012

SCHOOL: Miami Beach

CITY: Miami Beach

POSITION: S

HEIGHT: 6-0 

WEIGHT: 195

HEAD FOOTBALL COACH: Ralph Jiminez

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: There is little doubt, if you watched this talented football player compete, that he is one of the best in South Florida.

Coming off a 15 sack, 20 tackle for loss season in which he played outside linebacker, safety and was as impressive as a run-stopper as he was on passing downs.

As we head toward the 2011 season, this is one of those athletes who will definitely jump into the mix with colleges getting a better chance to to watch him play in the spring and in the summer.

Competing for the South Florida Express in the spring, this is truly an athlete that everyone began to talk about. he is a very physical football player with size, strength and speed.

No doubt that he is on his way to playing D1 football, and this year will only reveal an athlete who will make the Hi Tides go.

HERALD STATEWIDE INFORMATION
Statewide Information

Kings, Merritt and Holtz on radio

Maroonefronters1
As spring practice fast approaches across the state, the Maroone High School Gridiron Report will get you in the mood with an impressive show on Thursday night.

From 8-9 p.m. on WQAM (560 AM), Larry Blustein will welcome University School running back/receiver Macgarrett Kings, Miami Christopher Columbus head coach Chris Merritt and University of South Florida head coach Skip Holtz to the program.

KING OF KINGS
Having been on the football radar screen for well over six years now, the former youth football standout has successfully made the transition to high school.

Leading his team to the 2B state finals last season, Kings has shown that he is more than just a running back or a receiver. This future slot position player has continued to receive offers from colleges and universities because of his all-around play for a team that has jumped among the elite in Florida.

With schools such as UCF, Wisconsin, USF, Rutgers and Wake Forest among the programs offering, 2011 should be a tremendous season for the 5-10, 180-pounder.

MERRITT BADGE
One of the most respected high school football coaches in the nation, Merritt has found himself involved in a number of endeavors, including being named to USA Football’s Football and Wellness Committee, a group designed to further promote best practices for America’s youth and amateur football community.

Merritt also has served as an assistant coach at Eastern Illinois University and Thiel College. He was a head coach of the German Football League’s Stuttgart Scorpions, compiling an overall record of 140-35-2 (.797).  He has served as the head coach of the 2010 U.S. Under-19 National team and an assistant coach on 2009 and 2011 Team USA squads.

Under Merritt, the Explorers have been one of the top teams in the state of Florida each year, producing a number of quality student/athletes.

RAISING THE BAR IN TAMPA
Holtz, who is just the second head coach in the 13 year history, came to Tampa last year after five seasons at East Carolina and 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.

Holtz quickly revived the lifeline of a once-proud tradition which had stumbled to record just three wins in a 25-game period two-plus seasons prior to his arrival in 2005.

Holtz earned his first win as head coach of the Bulls on September 1, 2010 in USF's season opener against Stony Brook 59-14. Later that season, Holtz would lead his Bulls to the program's first victory over the Miami Hurricanes. At the end of the season Holtz lead the USF Bulls to a mostly dominant 31-26 victory over the Clemson Tigers at the Meineke Car Care Bowl. This would mark the first Bowl victory for USF over a BCS team in the post season.

In addition to guiding ECU to its first post-season win since 2000 with a 41-38 victory over No. 24 Boise State in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, Holtz fine-tuned the efforts of running back Chris Johnson, who was college football's national statistical champion in all-purpose yards. Johnson also became the program's second first-round draft choice (first since 1992) in history when the Tennessee Titans selected him with their initial pick in April, 2008 and recently was named the 2009 NFL Offensive Player of the Year.

In addition to listening to the show live, www.wqam.com will have a stream of the show as well as archives on www.sfhighschoolsports.com.

April 05, 2011

HERALD SPOTLIGHT: Bruce Natson

Bruce natson boyd anderson
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 continue to shine the spotlight on many athletes during the pre-spring, 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.

Don't forget that the exposure continues on FACEBOOK (Herald Recruiting) and via Twitter @ larryblustein.

PLAYER: Bruce Natson

YEAR: 2012

SCHOOL: Boyd Anderson 

CITY: Lauderdale Lakes

POSITION: WR

HEIGHT: 5-8

WEIGHT: 160

HEAD FOOTBALL COACH: James Clyburn

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Another of the South Florida-bred players who had accomplished so much before he ever got to high school.

A very explosive football player who has tremendous speed and a knack of knowing where the hole is. His speed, on any route he runs, will make him tough to cover.

Because of his quickness and game-breaking abilities, he will be the perfect slot receiver at the next level. A sure-handed athlete who is not afraid to catch over the middle - despite not being one of the biggest players on the field.

He is also such a weapon to have on kick and punt returns, finding the hole and darting to the opening.

For those who have watched him perform for years, nothing he does on the football field comes as a surprise.

HERALD STATEWIDE INFORMATION
Statewide Information

April 04, 2011

HERALD SPOTLIGHT: Deon Mann

Mann use
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 continue to shine the spotlight on many athletes during the pre-spring, 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.

Don't forget that the exposure continues on FACEBOOK (Herald Recruiting) and via Twitter @ larryblustein.

PLAYER: Deon Mann

YEAR: 2012

SCHOOL: Central

CITY: Miami

POSITION: OLB

HEIGHT: 6-0

WEIGHT: 200

HEAD FOOTBALL COACH: Telly Lockette

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: In a region loaded with talent, here is one of those quality football players who will start to emerge as an elite player.

While he played a role during the Rockets' 2010 run to a 6A state title, this is a prospect who will become more of a force this year during a season in which his senior leadership and performance will be essential. He showed several times this past year how special he will be.

Having watched him play two years ago while he was Killian, his growth and maturity have really started to kick in as he has already proven that he has a chance to be one of the most athletic and physical players on an always athletic team.

As we head toward spring, this is a player to remember for so many reasons. he has the size, speed and plenty of athletic ability to make a real impact in 2011.

HERALD STATEWIDE INFORMATION
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Mid-season Girls' Flag Football Top 25

Girl's Flag
The Sunshine State’s elite quintet are in lockstep from last week. Alonso, continuously ranked #1 since the preseason, thumped Gaither 41-0. Defending state champion Seminole Ridge beat Jupiter for the second time since The Ridge suffered their last loss on opening day of the past season to the Warriors. Dr. Phillips was idle for spring break and last week’s inclement weather sidelined Chamberlain. Robinson defeated Jefferson 23-6.
 
The Florida Flag Football Power 25
1. Alonso (7-0) 78.8
2. Seminole Ridge (4-0) 78.3
3. Dr. Phillips (5-0) 77.6
4. Chamberlain (4-0) 76.5
5. Robinson (3-2) 75.9
6. Palm Beach Gardens (4-0) 75.7
7. Everglades (4-0) 75.6
8. Monarch (3-0) 71.8

9. Jupiter (2-2) 71.0
10. Dixie Hollins (5-1) 69.1
11. East Bay (7-1) 68.7
12. North Broward Prep (3-1) 67.9
13. West Broward (3-0) 67.8
14. Cypress Bay (1-1) 67.2

15. Mandarin (6-1) 66.4
16. Fort Lauderdale (4-0) 66.0
17. Monsignor Pace (5-0) 65.6

18. Chiles (4-0) 65.3
19. Douglas (3-1) 65.1
20. Miramar (3-1) 64.9

21. West Orange (4-0) 64.7
22. Leon (4-2) 64.6
23. Harmony (4-0) 64.0
24. Lakewood (4-1) 63.8
25. Flagler Palm Coast (4-0) 63.5
 
About the rankings: Joe Pinkos’ Power Ratings are calculated using a formula based on strength of opposition and margin of victory. To determine the forecasted margin of victory between any two teams, simply figure the difference in the respective power ratings.
 
SOUTH FLORIDA REGION RANKINGS
(Includes Districts 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 and 24)
1. Seminole Ridge (4-0) 78.3
2. Palm Beach Gardens (4-0) 75.7
3. Everglades (4-0) 75.6
4. Monarch (3-0) 71.8
5. Jupiter (2-2) 71.0
6. North Broward Prep (3-1) 67.9
7. West Broward (3-0) 67.8
8. Cypress Bay (1-1) 67.2
9. Fort Lauderdale (4-0) 66.0
10. Monsignor Pace (5-0) 65.6
11. Douglas (3-1) 65.1
12. Miramar (3-1) 64.9
13. Western (3-0) 63.3
14. Plantation (2-1) 62.3
15. Hollywood Hills (4-0) 61.7
16. Pompano Beach (3-1) 60.0
17. Coral Springs Charter (1-2) 59.7
18. William T. Dwyer (4-0) 58.4
19. Santaluces (3-1) 57.8
20. Stranahan (1-2) 57.7
21. Dillard (1-2) 57.3
22. Boca Raton (3-1) 57.2
23. West Boca Raton (3-1) 56.6
24. Palm Beach Central (3-1) 56.4
25. Suncoast (3-2) 56.0
26. Lake Worth (3-2) 55.4
27. Boynton Beach (2-1) 54.7
28. Pembroke Pines Charter (5-0) 54.5
29. Piper (3-1) 54.0
30. John I. Leonard (1-1) 51.3
31. Cooper City (1-2) 51.0
32. Park Vista (2-3) 50.5
33. Coconut Creek (1-2) 50.1
34. Forest Hill (1-3) 49.8
35. Taravella (2-1) 49.4
36. Royal Palm Beach (1-1) 49.2
37. Coral Springs (1-2) 48.8
38. Boyd Anderson (1-3) 47.5
39. Archbishop McCarthy (0-3) 46.1
40. Ely (2-2) 42.2
41. Deerfield Beach (1-4) 41.8
42. Wellington (1-5) 41.7
43. Flanagan (1-1) 41.3
44. McArthur (0-4) 39.1
45. Hallandale (2-1) 37.7
46. Okeechobee (2-0) 37.6
47. Spanish River (1-3) 37.5
48. Olympic Heights (1-1) 37.4
49. Pahokee (1-2) 36.8
50. Atlantic-Delray Beach (0-4) 36.7
51. Coral Glades (0-4) 35.4
52. Glades Central (0-4) 35.1
53. Nova (0-2) 33.7
54. Hebrew Academy (1-3) 32.6
55. South Broward (1-5) 31.9
56. South Plantation (0-3) 30.7
57. Mater Academy (0-4) 28.4
58. Northeast-Oakland Park (0-4) 27.9
59. Inlet Grove (0-3) 26.2
60. Palm Beach Lakes (0-3) 26.0
61. International Studies (0-3) 16.8

SOUTH FLORIDA SCORES
Monday, March 28
Monsignor Pace 13, South Broward 0
Palm Beach Gardens 15, Wellington 0 (game called at half)
Park Vista 14, Forest Hill 7
Santaluces 18, Lake Worth 6
Seminole Ridge 13, Jupiter 7
 
Tuesday, March 29
Boca Raton 15, West Boca Raton 14
Douglas 38, Coral Glades 0
Everglades 46, Hebrew Academy 6
Monsignor Pace 19, Miramar 7
Pembroke Pines 19, McArthur 12
South Broward 15, Mater Academy 8
William T. Dwyer 14, Park Vista 0
 
Wednesday, March 30
John I. Leonard 6, Park Vista 0
Lake Worth 12, Boynton Beach 6 3OT
North Broward Prep 27, Archbishop McCarthy 7
Palm Beach Gardens 13, Jupiter 6
Royal Palm Beach 12, Pahokee 0
Seminole Ridge 40, Glades Central 0
 
Thursday, March 31
Seminole Ridge 46, Wellington 0
Spanish River 6, Atlantic-Delray Beach 0
Suncoast 34, Palm Beach Lakes 0
West Boca Raton 33, Olympic Heights 0
William T. Dwyer 19, Inlet Grove 0
 
Friday, April 1
Coconut Creek 13, Taravella 6
Deerfield Beach 18, Coral Glades 6
Douglas 9, Coral Springs Charter 6
Ely 26, Northeast-Oakland Park 6
Everglades 40, McArthur 0
Flanagan 7, Nova 0
Hallandale 13, Mater Academy 0
Hollywood Hills 15, Dillard 6
Monarch 25, Coral Springs 0
Palm Beach Central 14, Wellington 0
Palm Beach Gardens 25, Lake Worth 0
Pembroke Pines 24, South Broward 6
Piper 14, Boyd Anderson 7
Plantation 13, Pompano Beach 7
Suncoast 19, Forest Hill 12
West Broward 13, Cypress Bay 12 OT
 
Saturday, April 2
Fort Lauderdale 13, Cooper City 0
Palm Beach Central 25, Glades Central 0
Piper 18, McArthur 0
Pompano Beach 16, South Plantation 0
Stranahan 20, Ely 0
West Broward 23, Boyd Anderson 8
Western 19, Deerfield Beach 6

April 03, 2011

Dolphins give girls a flag football showcase

Cooper Flag1
On the heels of a successful Girls High School Football Clinic in March as part of Women’s History Month, the organization played host to several girls’ flag football games at the team’s indoor training facility in Davie that was presented by Under Armour and AT&T. The day featured 11 games from some of the top girl’s flag football programs in South Florida.

“Football is no longer a man’s sport,” said Twan Russell, Director of Youth and Community Programs. “Young women across South Florida are competing on the gridiron, scoring touchdowns and learning life skills that only just thirteen years ago was exclusive only to boys. The Dolphins are proud to continue to host these games for youth development.”

The day saw a great deal of back and forth action amongst the teams, with several close contests, including a highly contested game between Ft. Lauderdale and Cooper City.

“It was a tough game, because we didn’t play at our level to begin with, but we pulled out the victory and stayed undefeated,” said Ft. Lauderdale’s Karnishia Coleman, who played quarterback in the team’s 7-0 victory against Cooper City.”

Coleman said she was able to pull inspiration from the location of the day’s contest.
“The Dolphins are my favorite team so it hyped me up, “added Coleman. “It was great to be able to play where they train.”

Game Results
Hallandale 7, Nova 0
Piper 18, McArthur 0
Pompano 16, South Plantation 0
Plantation 23, Coral Glades 6
Flanagan 19, Northeast 0
Miramar 14, Monarch 7
West Broward 23, Boyd Anderson 8
Stanahan 20, Blanche Ely 0
Fort Lauderdale 7, Cooper City 0
Taravella 13, Cypress Bay 7
Western 19, Deerfield 6

April 02, 2011

Nike event attracts plenty of talent!

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.

April 01, 2011

Johnson gets Olympic Heights job

It’s always great to see one of our locally-bred football players do well in the coaching profession - years after they left the area.

Travis Johnson is one of those young men you pull for because he worked hard all of his life, and over the past few years, it has started to pay off.

I go back with Travis to his days as a three-sport standout at North Miami Beach High. He was also a tremendous student as well.

It was no surprise that a growing Central Florida program would be his choice, and ever since leaving college, he has immersed himself in football - from every angle possible.

On Friday, the 39-year-old, who had influenced so many young lives with his tireless work ethic, was named as head coach of Boca Raton’s Olympic Heights.

“After years of coaching, teaching and training, we get this tremendous opportunity,” Johnson said. “Amazing situation with some tremendous people associated with the school and the program.”

Johnson is certainly no stranger to Palm Beach County. He was the Defensive Coordinator at Boca Raton Pope John Paul II under Nova graduate and former Dolphin Autry Denson.

The difference that a coach such as Johnson makes in a program is that he already knows how to get athletes in shape, and realizes that to elevate your program - 7-on-7 events, team camps such as the one at nearby FAU and the Down ‘N Dirty Line Camp are essential.

For those in Palm Beach County who are not familiar with Johnson, I can tell you, in all the years of doing this, he is as complete a coach as you can get. Classroom, football field, weight room and leadership!