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4 posts from March 2012

March 30, 2012

Football prospects getting more exposure

When the 2011 high school football season ended, there were a number of South Florida prospects who had an opportunity to put themselves in the spotlight for the upcoming year.

After completing successful seasons, many in the Class of 2013 started to receive letters, offers and plenty of attention for good reason.

But what about those athletes who were injured, played for a team that didn’t offer a chance to showcase their abilities or other reasons they weren’t recognized and promoted? 

“That’s what is great about the off season,” said Corey Long of ESPN. “You not only have a spring, where there are 20 days of actual football, and also the 7-on-7 events, which have given the skilled athletes a huge advantage.”

Long also says that linemen and linebackers have a way of getting noticed throughout the spring and summer – attending events that college coaches teach and evaluate. They see a lot at those camps, which have earned many scholarship offers.

When you are dealing with this region, having 100-150 Division 1 athletes each year, there is always going to be a forum, or showcase, that these “under the radar” football prospects will have the chance to prove themselves.

“You would be amazed at how many football players that many fans have never heard about that are big time prospects,” Says South Florida Express 7-on-7 founder Brett Goetz. “We had so many quality athletes in every class at our tryout, we formed two teams. That’s how impressive the talent is.”

While the marquee athletes continue to get noticed, there are others who are now stepping up to the plate and getting that well-deserved attention.

Here are a few local athletes who have helped themselves in the four plus months since the season ended:

Adrian Baker, S, Chaminade-Madonna: This is a prospect who has certainly come out of nowhere after enjoying a solid junior season. With offers from schools such as Florida Boston College, you can see how his stock is rising.

Akeem Jones, QB, Carol City: For the past two years, everyone realized that the Chiefs had something special in this gifted passer. But this off season has uncovered a talent who is starting to get plenty of attention.

Jermaine Grace, LB, Miramar: While many had heard about him from last year’s state championship run, plenty of people found out how good and athletic he is.

Devondre Powell, DB, Jackson: If you watched the Generals play last year, you know that this is a tremendous talent who continues to turn heads in the off season. May turn out to be one of the elite prospects at the position.

Rashard Robinson, DB, Blanche Ely: Perhaps nobody has watched his football career soar more than this 6-3, 185-pounder, who can run and play this game at a high level.

Lance Virgil, OLB, St. Thomas Aquinas: Outside of the Raiders and many of the opponents they lined up against last year, very few people had a clue who this tackling machine was. He is a big time talent who is not done growing.



While Cooper City pulled off the amazing district championship last year, and St. Thomas Aquinas finished second – both advancing to the playoffs – there was another team starting to turn things around.

Coach Andrew Rhoden and the Mustangs have set the table with a quality rising senior class that includes Jeremy Benjamin (LB/S, 6-3, 225), Cameron Johnson (LB/S, 6-1, 190), Steven Chica (WR, DB, 5-10, 170), Jabari Graves (RB/FB, 5-10, 190), Junior Talleyband (DB, 6-1, 170), Norman Lindo (FB/LB, 5-10, 210), Curtis Robertson (WR/DB, 6-2, 175), Nehemiah Ali (WR/DB, 5-6, 155), Jhamoy Belle (LB/S, 5-11, 180), James Olkinitsky, (DB/S, 6-0, 165) and Fernando Rodriguez, a, 5-10, 190-pound fullback.

The Mustangs also set the table for the future with rising juniors Damian Richardson (RB/DB, 5-9, 165), Matt Padilla (OL/DL, 6-2, 303), Joel Thompson (OL/DL, 6-5, 260), Alex Vargas, (OL/DL, 6-2, 312), Torris Calloway (Athlete, 6-2, 165) and defensive lineman Isaiah Mortimer (6-2, 260).

The Class of 2015 also shows why this will be a program to watch in 2012 with Kendrea McFadden (S, 6-3, 175), Alex Fowler (WR, 5-11, 160), Samy-Jean Claude (DE, 6-3, 180 and safety Thomas Nelson (5-10, 155).


We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current classes of 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. 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.

To comment, email floridakids1@aol.com. Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein 



March 23, 2012

Westminster's Ray Sharp starts to turn heads

At 6-5, 190-pounds, Ray Sharp may not be the talk of the recruiting world, but if you watch the Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy quarterback throw, you'll have a good idea why he is approaching 6,000 yards passing in two seasons.

With plenty of high profile players on hand for last Saturday's Elite Scouting Services Combine at Cardinal Gibbons, it was Sharp, who quietly threw for 2,500 yards this past season, that captured the attention of recruiters, players, coaches and parents.

This is the same Sharp who fed FAU-bound record-breaking receiver Josh Orsino all those passes the last two season. The same Sharp who is trying to become the first quarterback prospect at the school since Danny Kanell to grab a Division 1 scholarship. Kanell, also a tremendous baseball prospect, went to FSU and then enjoyed a productive career in the NFL.

"I came here to compete and show people that I belong," said Sharp as he made the most of every passing opportunity at the combine. "I have worked hard and love to play the position."

As most on hand had never watched - or heard of Sharp - began to see him throw, they were sold. Most were sold on his arm and the way he made throws. Others seemed to give him a better shot than most because of his size.

"Can't teach 6-5," said quarterback coach Ken Mastrole, who enjoyed watching Sharp during the afternoon. "This is the first time I have watched this kid. I have to tell you, I am impressed with everything about him."

Sharp and others had the chance to showcase their skills on a day where nearly 300 college football prospects in South Florida took advantage of the opportunity to compete.

Besides Sharp, others who started to turn heads included Piper rising senior standout Fabian Joseph, who at 6-2, 195-pounds, has speed (4.39) and plenty of football skills. He comes to the Bengals from Plantation American Heritage.

Joseph was joined by rising stars Jordan Scarlett (2015 - RB, 5-11, 200, University School), Taravella running back Evan Hill (2014 - 5-10, 150), Monsignor Pace defensive back Henderson Gray (2014 - 5-11, 175), Archbishop McCarthy receiver Emmanuel Soto (2014 – 6-1, 198), Boyd Anderson lineman Sandley Jean Felix (2013 – 6-5, 300), Cardinal Gibbons receiver Trevon Lee (2014 – 6-0, 165), Christopher Columbus athlete Mickey Ferro (2013 – 5-10, 175) and Dillard safety Randy Ramsey, a 6-2, 188-pounder, who just may be the jewel of a talented 2014 class that this region continues to boast about.

We will follow a number of the players who did well at the ESS event and continue to spotlight them throughout the spring.



 After making the playoffs last year, coach Mark Berman and the Hialeah T-Breds are looking to improve on the 2011 record as they continue to work hard in the off season.

With a number of key players moving on from this past season's successful squad, the Class of 2013 is here to start filling in the pieces.

Leading the way in this rising senior class is linebacker George Williams, who at 6-1, 225, is considered one of the top prospects in South Florida.

Among the other rising seniors expected to help include Jerrol Mobley (DL, 6-4, 315), Jomel Ribalta (OL, 6-4, 320), Ronald Washington (WR/DB, 5-11, 175), Ismael Aurismond (DE, 6-3, 230, Hialeah), Cesar Meneses (RB, 5-8, 170), Paul Guzman (OL, 6-2, 255), Daniel Ortega (OL, 6-3, 255), Darryus Perry (RB, 5-10, 195) and defensive back Kwan Grice (5-10, 170).

Hialeah also has a very impressive rising junior class with Dominic Elverson (LB/DE, 6-1, 225), Dave Montas (OL, 6-1, 265), A'lique Terry (OL, 6-2, 275), Allen Edwards (QB, 6-1, 180) and defensive lineman Jermaine Sheriff (6-2, 230).

We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current classes of 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. 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.

To comment, email floridakids1@aol.com. Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein


March 12, 2012

ESS Combine this Saturday, March 17th

If Charles Fishbein were to list all the players he has been responsible for helping to receive a college football scholarship the past six years, the pages would be filled with success stories.

At a time when everyone is hawking their off season camps and combines throughout the state, Fishbein has been there along the way - fulfilling the promises made when the athletes headed to his combines.

The horror stories that you hear about different companies promising scholarships if athletes attend their events has now played out with many coaches and players catching on. Parents are also seeing for themselves who are the ones telling the truth when it comes to landing a coveted scholarship.


With one of the most complete and rewarding events that will be held anywhere in South Florida, the annual Elite Scouting Services combine, which will be hosted on Saturday, Mar. 17 at Cardinal Gibbons High school in Fort Lauderdale, gets players, coaches and parents involved - and that's something that brings in nearly 200 players each year.

"What our combines have always been about is getting the athletes promoted and placed," said Fishbein. "We have people running these events with nearly 50 years of combine/camp experience, which is something nobody can truthfully say."

With current NFL stars such as Patrick Peterson, Cory Liuget, Demarcus Van Dyke as well as college standouts such as E.J. Manual and Eli Rogers, the ESS events have been able to attract top-flight players because of the competition that exists during the football portion of the combine.

More recruiting evaluators and media members attend the ESS events because there are no restrictions and every player is open to be interviewed, evaluated and photographed throughout the day. That is a huge part of any event that is held.

"Charles and his team at Elite Scouting have a solid reputation with players, coaches and parents," said Ken Mastrole of the Mastrole Passing Academy, who instructs at the ESS events. "They come to the combine and leave with a smile on their faces. I challenge you to go to any other combine and see that."

From registration, to weight lifting, running and playing some football, the experience is what every young athlete and their parent can look forward to - with no pressure at all.

"The one thing about what we do when it comes to our combines/camps is we tell the parents right there that if they need help, let us know," said Fishbein. "That's why we were helping place athletes some four weeks after everyone else signed on the dotted line."

The camp/combine is open to high school football players in Classes 2013-2015. Need to more? Check out the website for registration at www.elitescoutingservices.com.


After a year in which his team didn't get in the playoff mix, Joshua Shapiro and his Everglades Gators could pose a healthy challenge to district foes Miramar, Flanagan, west Broward, Western and Cypress Bay in the fall.

This is a team loaded with talent - at every class - and the size the line has may add up to one of the most impressive teams they have had in a few years.

Here is a look at some of the rising seniors in the Class of 2013:

There may not be a better prospect than 6-6, 220-pound defensive end Alvonte Bell. But as sought after as this tremendous football talent is, there are other rising seniors who are expected to step up. Players such as Hialeah American transfer Josh Shaw (WR, 6-1, 180), Illya Stafford (DB, 5-10, 170), Andre Hallmon (DB/WR, 5-11, 175), Omar Homouda (DB, 6-2, 190), Jeremy Nieves (OL, 6-4, 310), Emmaneus Joseph (OL, 6-3, 310), Torris Norris (OL/DL, 5-10, 265), Caleb Goldson (QB, 5-9, 175), Rodriguez Alexander, (WR, 5-11, 155) and Donell Williams (DB, 6-0, 145).

The 2014 class is also stacked with athletes as well, including Nigel Kemp (OL/DL, 6-1, 305), Bryan Leigh (OL, 6-2, 275), Chris Taylor (WR, 6-2, 155), Albert Smalls (DB, 6-1, 170) and Braxton Dudley (OL/DL, 6-2, 245).

If the rising junior class didn’t give you an indication of how bright the future is going to be, the rising sophomores – with Kahntrell Burden (QB/Athlete, 5-10, 180), Tarik Aiken (RB, 5-7, 165), Dwayne Williams (WR, 5-9, 150) and 6-5, 320-pound offensive lineman Deandre Tyler – certainly will.

We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current classes of 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. 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.

To comment, email floridakids1@aol.com. Follow Larryon Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein

March 05, 2012

Cook, Fishbein and Strong on radio Tuesday night

The South Florida High School Sports Gridiron Report powered by Maroone gets back at it on Tuesday night with another impressive guest list. Joining Larry Blustein between 9-10 on WQAM (560 AM) will be Miami Palmetto quarterback Troy Cook, Charles Fishbein of Elite Scouting Services and University of Louisville head coach Charlie Strong. TURNING PLENTY OF HEADS One of the top quarterback prospects in South Florida, the 6-1, 190-pound Cook has been busy this off season, playing 7-on-7 events and staying sharp at quarterback camps and practice sessions. This is one of the most overlooked passers in the region - with several D1 schools already showing interest in this quality football talent. A member of the South Florida Express off season 7-on-7 team, Cook has received praise from players and coaches alike. ESS COMBINE When it comes to football combines, there are many companies who believe they have the formula to run a positive one, but on Saturday March 17th at Cardinal Gibbons High School, Fishbein and his Elite Scouting Services staff, which have over 50 years of combine experience, will host this exposure event once again. Every athlete attending the combine - which will have testing as well as a heavy dose of football and recruiting exposure - will have the opportunity to have their results and football information passed on there to the next level - with all of ESS's clients receiving the information. In addition, there will be several media and recruiting analysts on hand to evaluate and answer any question that athletes, coaches or parents may have. A STRONG SHOWING If Miami, FSU and Florida are considered the "Big 3" in the Sunshine State, you could easily make a case for the Louisville Cardinals being that "fourth" team. After all, with Strong running the show, many who followed the Gators through the years understand just how good a coach he is. They also realize what a tremendous recruiter he has become as well. Coming off another bowl game under Strong, the Cardinals added several top-flight Floridians on National Signing Day that now numbers 29, which is easily the most of any team outside of the state. Miss the show on Tuesday night? Check out the archives at http://sfhighschoolsports.com. You can also listen live at www.wqam.com.