As more and more combines and camps are held for football prospects during the winter and spring, many players, coaches and parents are finding that while many are designed to showcase the elite players, it's those under the radar athletes who are actually winning out.
As Nike, Rivals.com, Scout.com and others come into southern Florida, looking to showcase many of the elite prospects, football players such as rising seniors Carter Jacobs (Plantation American Heritage) and Harry Dumervil (Oakland Park Northeast), rising juniors Shaq Green (Miami Washington) and Jordan Cronkite (Miami Westminster Christian), and rising sophomores Tyler Huntley (Hallandale) and Kato Nelson (McArthur) have used the spotlight to make their own way.
"When many companies host a combine, they are looking at the Sony Michels (Plantation American Heritage) and Joseph Yearbys (Miami Central)," said Dana Wiley of Prep Films. "They rarely promote the kids who aren't already rated as the ones to keep an eye on."
In south Florida that recipe is often going to lead for a number of missed prospects. Athletes who have the skill level to be considered one of the best in the state, but have been overlooked or not discovered at all.
If many had taken the time to watch a prospects like Jacobs play last year, they would understand that the 6-1, 195-pound safety is one of the best Florida has to offer. The lack of attention never bothered him in the past, and even though a few started to take notice at the recent Rivals.com exposure camp at North Broward Prep, Jacobs is fine with his underdog role.
"I work extremely hard at becoming a better football player, Jacobs said. "I know which people have taken notice of what I do, and trust those people to continue pushing me. For my part, I get work hard and know that everything will fall into place."
Jacobs also has followed in the footsteps of close friend, Michael Deeb, who is headed to Notre Dame. Deeb pushed and motivates Jacobs - and that his helped bring him to that next level.
Green is also making a name for himself this off season. The one time youth football standout in Overtown, began his career at Norland before moving to BTW last year. A slot player and running back, he dazzled everyone at the Rivals.com event, but has remained active in the off season, competing at 7-on-7 events and giving himself a chance to make an impression with the Tornadoes.
His opportunity to really turn up the heat - from the football standpoint, and not just in a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, will come in the spring as well as when BTW takes its superb 7-on-7 team on the road.
Green's speed and athleticism has given him the chance to turn some heads as he races toward his junior season.
One of the major surprises for most who had not watched him play before is Dumervil, a 6-foot-7 offensive lineman who is as strong as many one in the nation, but lacks live play.
Dumervil steam-rolled all the top defensive prospects on hand and had major offensive line athletes watching his every move.
Much depends on how the coaching change will help this year - as former FSU receiver Kez McCorvey moves in at Northeast with a year to make up a lot of lost time that Dumervil has not been on the field.
In addition, an event like Rivals.com gave a number of players, who were not on the radar screen before, that opportunity to shine and finally get some recognition.
"When you have over 100 D1 type of prospects to sort through, it's never easy to see them all," Wiley pointed out. "That is why you look at players in the NFL that come from this area that were never promoted or exposed."
Some of the Class of 2014 prospects who have stepped up include Kai Absheer (OL, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas), Peyton Bender (QB, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons), Jarius Brown (WR, Fort Lauderdale University School), Dreshown Dean (LB, Miami Norland), Raul Diaz, OL, Miami Central), Jeremiah Dinson (DB, Miami Norland), Tevin Evans (LB, Miami Booker T. Washington), Jonathan Harris (LB, Miami Central), Nick McBeath (LB, Miami Christopher Columbus), Terry McCray (LB, Pompano Beach Blanche Ely), Devaughn Priester (DL, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons), Randy Ramsey, DB, Fort Lauderdale Dillard), Keith Reed (QB, Miami Central), Nicholas Richardson (LB, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas), Jon Schultz (OL, Miami Belen Jesuit), Semar Smith (RB, Coral Springs Taravella), Jestin Snow (OL, Miami Northwestern), Christopher Taylor (WR, Coconut Creek North Broward Prep) and Jaboree Williams (LB, Fort Lauderdale).
Rising juniors who have jumped on the radar screen include Deonta’ Fair (DB, Miramar), Johnnie Hankins (RB, Homestead), Jeffrey Hill (DB, Miramar), Christian Irving (LB, Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson) and Tarvarus McFadden (DB, Plantation American Heritage) to name a few.
We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. All you have to do is send a video link and information about the athlete to Floridakids1@aol.com. Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.
The prestigious, invitation-only Heath Evans Foundation 7-on-7 Championship will not be held in 2013.
Evans, a multi-purpose fullback who played 10 years in the NFL, retired after the 2010 season and became an analyst for the NFL Network.
Acknowledged as one of the premier summer 7-on-7 tournaments in the country, the event was held at Evans’ alma mater, King’s Academy in West Palm Beach. It annually provided a glimpse at more than 75 major college prospects from many of the top programs in the state.
“This was a tough decision but I am spending more and more time in Los Angeles with the NFL Network and I did not want to dilute the quality of the event,” said Evans.
While the on-the-field exploits were memorable throughout its seven-year run, Evans said he was most proud of the interaction between the high school players and the NFL players who attended.
Throughout the years, Randy Moss, Vince Wilfork, Wes Welker, Ryan Tannehill, Matt Cassel, Abe Elam, Donte Stallworth, Kevin Faulk and Ben Watson visited the tournament and spoke to the players, on and off the field.
“This was a great opportunity for some of the best high school players in the country to showcase their skills and for all of the players to become better leaders, to become men of leadership, integrity and character,” said Evans. “The event attracted more players every year and the event was a positive impact. I’m proud for this to have been a huge success.”
- 2012 – No champion declared; event called prior to semifinals because of lightning and rain
- 2011 – Tampa Plant def. Booker T. Washington, 31-27
- 2010 – Miramar def. Glades Central, 20-19
- 2009 – Booker T. Washington def. Boyd Anderson, 33-28
- 2008 – Jupiter Christian
- 2007 – Pahokee
- 2006 – Glades Central
MIRAMAR - The Miami Dolphins hosted the 3rd annual Crowning of the Champions presented by Under Armour at the Miramar Cultural Center in Miramar, FL. In a red-carpet style ceremony, the Miami Dolphins in collaboration with Generation Nexxt, honored South Florida’s brightest youth football stars from some of the area’s most popular youth leagues.
“The event is getting bigger and bigger every year. We appreciate the growth of everybody who is following and celebrating the youth of South Florida,” Generation Nexxt Co-Founder Jonah Woullard said. “It’s huge that the kids can have a platform where they can see themselves on television and be appreciated for all the hard work they put in.”
32 cities were represented, including the top teams from Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County, with a variety of different awards being handed out to 2012’s top performers, including the best athletes, coaching staffs and squads from six different youth football leagues (SFYFL, AYFL, GMPW, FYFL, NYFL, MXYFL).
The event started with the red carpet ceremony, as the nominated athletes came dressed to impress and walked down the carpet before they entered the event. The award show commenced in front of a capacity crowd with various presenters coming to the stage to honor the athletes.
Additionally, Miami Dolphins Youth Programs Director Twan Russell and Dolphins cheerleaders presented and handed out awards to the athletes. The organization presented some of their own distinct awards, such as the Presidential Community Service Award, which honored the board of directors of each youth football league.
“The student athletes worked really hard all year to get to this point,” Russell said. “It’s great to see them rewarded for all their effort, and I’m happy to see the kids get recognized. I look forward to seeing this event grow over the next few years.”
1. Top Ranked Youth Football Teams:
- AYFL Winner: Pembroke Pines Bengals 95 lbs.
- GMPW Winner: Liberty City Warriors 120 lbs.
- FYFL Winner: North Dade Bulldogs 105 lbs.
- SFYFL Winner: Pompano Chiefs 125 lbs.
- NYFL Winner: Opa-Locka Panthers 115 lbs.
- MXYFL Winner: Hialeah Cougars 130 lbs.
2. Top Ranked Cheerleading Squads
- AYFL 2012 Top Ranked Cheer Squad: Coral Springs Chargers 140’s
- GMPW 2012 Top Ranked Cheer Squad: Palmetto Bay Broncos 120’S
- FYFL 2012 Top Ranked Cheer Squad: Miami Gardens Vikings 175’s
- MXYFL 2012 Top Ranked Cheer Squad: West Kendall Dolphins Jr. Prep
- SFYFL 2012 Top Ranked Cheer Squad: Lauderhill Lions 155’s
- NYFL Top Ranked Cheer Squad: Opa-Locka Panthers Pee Wees
3. Most Outstanding Player by Age (one from each league)
8U Top 2012 Impact Player:
Malik Allen #31- Gwen Cherry Bulls 80 LBS. (GMPW)
9U Top 2012 Impact Player:
Ja’Den McBarrows #10-Pembroke Pines Bengals 95 LBS. (AYFL)
10U Top 2012 Impact Player:
Willie “Polamalu” Floyd #2 -Miami Gardens Bulldogs 105 LBS. (FYFL)
11U Top 2012 Impact Player:
Willie Davis –Pembroke Pines Bengals 115 LBS. (AYFL)
12U Top 2012 Impact Player:
Trenell Troutman #1-Liberty City Warriors 120 LBS. (GMPW)
13U Top 2012 Impact Player:
Jaylen Barther #9 – Pompano Chiefs 125 LBS. (SFYFL)
14U Top 2012 Impact Player:Jordan Merrill #0 – Ft. Lauderdale Hurricanes 155 LBS. (FYFL)
15 U Top 2012 Impact Player:
Shaddrick “Ced” Lowery #5 -Pembroke Pines Bengals Unlimiteds (AYFL)
4. Coaching Staff of the Year (one from each league)
- AYFL 2012 Coaching Staff of the Year: Pembroke Pines Bengals Unlimiteds
- GMPW 2012 Coaching Staff of the Year: Liberty City Warriors 120’s
- SFYFL 2012 Coaching Staff of the Year: Lauderdale Lakes Vikings 155’s
- MXYFL 2012 Coaching Staff of the Year: Key Biscayne Key Rats 75’s
- NYFL 2012 Coaching Staff of the Year: Washington Park Buccaneers 80’s
- FYFL 2012 Coaching Staff of the Year: Miami Gardens Bulldogs 105’s
5. Top Programs of the Year (one from each league)
- SFYFL 2012 Top Program of the Year: Lauderhill Lions
- NYFL 2012 Top Program of the Year: Opa-Locka Panthers
- FYFL 2012 Top Program of the Year: Ft. Lauderdale Hurricanes
- AYFL 2012 Top Program of the Year: Pembroke Pines Bengals
- GMPW 2012 Top Program of the Year: Gwen Cherry Boys & Girls Club Bulls
- MXYFL 2012 Top Program of the Year: West Miramar Patriots
6. Top Scholar Athletes
- American Youth Football League scholar male athlete of the year: Nicolos Batiato
- American Youth Football League scholar female athlete of the year: Alyssa Rispoli
- South Florida Youth Football League scholar female athlete of the year: Nykeria Thrower
- South Florida Youth Football League scholar male athlete of the year: Aquantis Byrd
- Miami Xtreme Youth Football League scholar female athlete of the year: Courtney Faircloth
- Miami Xtreme Youth Football League scholar male athlete of the year: William Manuel
- Greater Miami-Dade Pop Warner scholar female athlete of the year: Ka’ Tia Maycock
- Greater Miami-Dade Pop Warner scholar male athlete of the year: Justin Chandler
- National Youth Football League scholar female athlete of the year: Makyah Mitchell
- National Youth Football League scholar male athlete of the year: Tywan Cash
- Florida Youth Football Leagues scholar female athlete of the year: Marshai Maultsby
- Florida Youth Football Leagues scholar male athlete of the year: Corey Pierson
- Park Pride Award: Lauderhill Lions
- Generation Nexxt Top Youth Football Play of the Year: Anthony Diggs-East Boynton Wildcats 95’s
- Generation Nexxt Most Improved Team of the Year: Davie Broncos 140 lbs.
- Generation Nexxt Youth Heisman Award: Shaddrick “Ced” Lowery- Pembroke Pines Bengals Unlimiteds
- Generation Nexxt Top Ranked Youth Football Team of the Year: Miami Gardens Bulldogs 105’s
(ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE MIAMI DOLPHINS)
At a time of year when players across south Florida are getting exposure that camps, combines and 7-on-7 events provide, thrusting them into the spotlight, there is a very important part of a football team that works just as hard, but never receives that media and recruiting attention.
Welcome to the world of a special teams punter, snapper and kicker. Positions that are never embraced until a game-winning kick or a precision punt is made. This is indeed a group of athletes who have elevated their standing over the years - with more and more scholarships being awarded.
While there are several former kickers and punters who have gotten into the business of teaching and bringing these athletes along, there is nobody who has done more for the positive attention than St. Thomas Aquinas coach Tim Conrad.
So well respected is Conrad that college coaches flock to his practices every year, and with a track record that began in 2002 with St. Thomas punter Jay Ottovegio going to Stanford and Deerfield Beach standout C.J. Koegel, who achieved All-America status before heading out to the University of Massachusetts, this is someone who has truly been a pioneer in developing top-fight kickers.
Through his BIGFoot Kicking Academy, Conrad has been able to bring along some of the top prospects in the country. His reputation that included working with such standouts as Michigan State's Brett Swenson (St. Thomas), Auburn's Wes Byrum (St. Thomas), Minnesota's Chris Secrest (McArthur), Notre Dame's Ben Turk (St. Thomas) and Tennessee's Michael Palardy (St. Thomas) among others, has helped pave the way for some up and coming standouts.
"The one thing that I tell every young man and their parent before starting with us, is if you aren't here to work, this may not be for you," Conrad said. "You get to be the next Marshall Morgan (Georgia), Josh Brisk (FIU) and Justin DuVernois (Illinois) by making sacrifices and improving."
While Conrad understands that the life of a special teams player is often taken for granted, he also comprehends that his kickers or punters will have the chance to steal the spotlight - at least for a moment.
Swenson was one of the best kickers in NCAA history, and shattered Michigan State records. Morgan had a solid freshman year with the Bulldogs.
Through the years, the special teams players from south Florida began to show up at schools such as Toledo, Arkansas, Duke, UCF, FAU, Louisiana Lafayette, Wagner, Michigan, Towson and others.
As the 2013 season is set to get under way with spring football coming up over the next two months, there are some impressive legs getting ready to show what they can do.
The Class of 2014 in Broward is going to be tremendous. Miami-Dade also has some prospects, but they figure to emerge in the next two classes.
Here is a look at the top five for the Class of 2014:
• Vince Burburan, P, Parkland Douglas. Vince has the ability to be the top punter in the state of Florida. Needs to work on consistency and get-off time but one of the most committed players I have worked with in the 13 years I have coached here in south Florida.
• Andrew DiRocco, Punter/Kicker, Fort Lauderdale University School. DiRocco has been training with Coach Conrad since he was 12 years-old. He is the first kicker from south Florida to receive a scholarship offer in the class of 2014 (offered by University of Hawaii).
• Blake Horn, PK, Davie Western: Horn was a first team All-County selection at kicker from the Herald last season and has an absolute cannon for a leg. Early interest from the Ivy League schools already as he is a top student in the classroom too. This kid should be a big time kicker this year!
• John Semerene, PK, Weston Cypress Bay. As thousands have already watched on You Tube, here is a young man with one of the strongest legs in the state. If he is able to develop more consistency he will be one of the best kickers in the nation.
• Scott Wade, PK/P, Plantation American Heritage. Yet another of those All County selections from a year ago, Wade has the chance to be the best dual specialist, kicking and punting, in the county this upcoming season.
A FEW MORE FOR 2014 :
- Alejandro Cardenas, PK, Miami LaSalle.
- Zach Cicero, PK, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas.
- Charles Courtney, PK, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas.
- Adrian Izquierdo, PK, South Miami.
- Jeff Keller, P/PK, Fort Lauderdale University School.
- Grant Kurzner, PK, Miami Gulliver Prep.
- Emilio Morales, PK, Miami Mosnignor Pace.
- Jorge Powell, PK, Miami Belen Jesuit.
- Preston Seiler, PK, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons.
• Uriel Hernandez, PK, Homestead. Outstanding leg strength and power. Develops accuracy and fine tunes his game/commitment – he could be one of the best in 2015.
• Isaac Mercado, PK, Davie Western. Extremely consistent and incredible form – needs to develop more strength and he will be one of the best in south Florida his senior year.
• Declan Rodriguez, PK/P, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons. Similar to Mercado - with outstanding form and consistency. Needs to work on developing flexibility and strength.
CLASS OF 2016
Conrad believes that this is going to be one of the better years locally:
• Michael Grehl , PK, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas. Grehl has outstanding consistency and great leg strength for a freshman. Needs to be committed to the art of kicking.
• Austin Laszewski, PK, Southwest Ranches Archbishop McCarthy. Here is certainly a kicker who has everything you need. Will mature and has the chase to rise to the top.
•James (Seamus) McCord, PK, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas. Another prospect with potential, but it's very early and the commitment needs to be there - all of the time!
• Corey Pastor, PK, Miami Coral Reef. Big time leg, and if he develops, has the potential to be one of the top kickers in the nation.
We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. All you have to do is send a video link and information about the athlete to Floridakids1@aol.com.
Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.
No sooner did the 2012 season come to an end when the focus began shifting to the Class of 2014. It was to be one of the most talent-rich groups of seniors we had seen come through this region of the state in a long time.
From outstanding running backs and quality quarterbacks to the usual group of defensive secondary performers that leave a mark, this was a senior class that was going to get all the recognition it deserved. But with every outstanding senior class, there has to be a group of juniors who will push them, making them better.
This year's rising junior class - the 2015 group - has certainly proven so far that there will be enough standouts to keep south Florida in a talent spotlight that it has basked in for decades. This tremendous crop of football players in Miami-Dade and Broward - most who already have been in the spotlight for over a year - will be the next that colleges across the country will keep an eye on.
"I thought the Class of 2014 would be one that would set standards," said Dana Wiley of Prep Films. "But the more I get out and watch these rising juniors compete at camps and in 7-on-7 tournaments, it really gets me thinking."
The Class of 2015 is much like this group of rising seniors. Gifted athletes on both sides of the ball. Talent that dominated at the youth football level and has found a way to translate that to the varsity level in high school.
With a long way before the Class of 2015 graduates, here is a look at 10 elite prospects – plus additional players who have already been turning heads - nationally:
Calvin Brewton, S, 6-1, 175, Miami Central: This one-time Christopher Columbus standout makes the move over to the defending 6A state champions and brings with him a world of talent and plenty of skill level.
Leeward Brown, OL, 6-3, 300, Miramar: Will be one of the nation’s elite line prospects over the next two years. Very quick, strong and agile. Has the chance to be Florida’s best in this class.
Tyrek Cole, 5-10, 175, Miramar: You may not have to go far to find the No. 1 cover-corner in the country in this class. Very gifted athlete who has been singled out by college coaches, already.
Torrance Gibson, QB, 6-3, 195, Plantation American Heritage: Called one of the most dynamic athletes in this class. He can play up to six positions on the football field. Could put up huge numbers in the Patriots’ offense.
Timothy Irvin, RB, 5-9, 175, Miami Westminster Christian: One of the most gifted players in a class that certainly has plenty of talent. Just a great football player, who has been getting it done for a long time!
Jacquan Johnson, 5-11, 175, Miami Killian: There may not be a better football player in America. Was an All-State selection as a freshman for the Cougars. Big time prospect who has been recruited since his 9th grade year.
Kendrell McFadden, S, 6-3, 185, Hollywood McArthur: Yet another big time prospect who has played 20 varsity games already – before his junior year has started. Very physical and athletic.
De’vante Phillips, WR, 6-1, 175, Miami Central: When this gifted athlete puts it all together, you will not find any better. Has the potential to one of the best in the country.
Trevon Sands, RB, 5-9, 175, Southwest Miami: Those who have watched this quality talent play believe that this may be one of the best this school has had since Lamarcus Joyner. Very explosive athlete who can do it all.
Jordan Scarlett, RB, 6-0, 200, Fort Lauderdale University: Size, athletic ability, big game experience and world class speed make this one of those rare running backs. Will only get better!
Here is one of those prospects who has a tremendous future ahead of him. Gets up field .
Ten more to watch include Shawn Burgess-Becker (DB, 6-2, 175, Coconut Creek Monarch), Davante Davis (WR, 6-3, 180, Homestead), Keivonnis Davis (DE, 6-3, 225, Miami Jackson), Jovon Durante (WR, 6-0, 175, Miami Jackson), Johnnie Hankins (RB, 5-10, 190, Homestead), Tarvarus McFadden (DB, 6-3, 185, Plantation American Heritage), Davante Peete (WR, 6-5, 190, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas), Deltron Sands (RB, 5-7, 175, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas), Devonaire Scott (TE, 6-4, 220, Miami Southridge) and Dominic Sheppard (LB, 6-2, 210, Miami Gulliver Prep).
OTHERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON:
There are a number of rising juniors who we will keep an eye on and continue to promote. Here are a few more prospects on the rise:
- Malik Adelson, DB, 6-1, 175, Miami Springs.
- Maurice Alexander, QB, 6-0, 170, Homestead.
- Alex Anderson, RB, 6-0, 200, Miramar
- Menyelek Austin, RB, 5-8, 175, Fort Lauderdale Dillard.
- Brandon Boyce, DL, 6-0, 240, Fort Lauderdale University.
- Rashad Broadway, LB, 5-10, 200, Miami Westminster Christian.
- Rashard Causey, DB, 6-0, 185, Fort Lauderdale University.
- Patrick Coats, QB, 6-2, 210, South Miami.
- Rob Foy III, WR, 5-10, 170, Davie Western.
- Alexander Fifelski, WR, 5-10, 180, Ft Lauderdale Calvary Christian.
- Steven Claude, WR, 6-2, 180, Miami Norland.
- Jordan Cronkite, RB, 5-11, 180, Miami Westminster Christian.
- Jerimiah Dinson, DB, 5-9, 165, Miami Norland.
- Deonta Fair, DB, 5-11, 170, Miramar.
- Emilio Gibbs, LB, 6-3, 215, Coral Gables.
- Shaquille Green, WR, 5-8, 165, Miami Booker T. Washington.
- Calvin Hammett, WR, 6-3, 165, Miami Killian.
- Jeffrey Hill, 5-9, 160, Miramar.
- Ronnie Hoggins, 5-9, 170, Coconut Creek Monarch.
- Akeem Jackson, LB, 5-10, 205, Miami Washington.
- Andrew James, WR, 6-0, 160, Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy.
- Cedric Joseph, S, 5-10, 145, Miami Ransom Everglades.
- James King, DE, 6-2, 195, Miami Beach.
- Keddrick Labady, LB, 5-10, 190, Miami Edison.
- Gerald Lane, RB, 5-7, 160, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas.
- Edward Loveland, WR, 5-9, 160, Miami Carol City.
- Lawrence Mims, WR, 6-3, 170, Miami Northwestern.
- Andy Moreira, OL, 6-3, 270, Coral Gables.
- Phillip Parchment, OL, 6-4, 275, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas.
- Deundre Pickett-White, WR, 6-1, 180, Southwest Miami.
- Keyvon Phillips, LB, 6-0, 200, Miami Carol City.
- Janarvis Pugh, WR, 6-2, 160, Hollywood McArthur.
- Sheldrick Redwine, 6-2, 175, Miami Killian.
- Korron Rozier, 5-9, 170, Coconut Creek North Broward Prep.
- Brion Sanchious, QB, 6-5, 200, Oakland Park Northeast.
- Kermit Silva, LB, 5-11, 205, Oakland Park Northeast.
- Ryan Stanley, QB, 6-1, 190, Pembroke Pines Flanagan.
- Adrienne Talon, LB, 6-1, 185, Davie Western.
- Juwann Taylor, LB, 6-2, 190, Hollywood Hills.
- Richard Williams, OL, 6-3, 255, Miramar Everglades.
- Shaquery Wilson, WR, 6-3, 190, Coral Gables.
- Malik Wisdom, DB/PK, 5-10, 175, Hollywood McArthur.
- We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. All you have to do is send a You Tube or Hudl link and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein at Floridakids1@aol.com.
- Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.
It didn't take long for word to spread across St. Thomas University last Saturday during the Airo/IMG 7-on-7 football tournament. The name Ermon Lane was on just about everyone's tongue.
In what turned out to be one of the most prospect-rich events held on any 7-on-7 field, the 6-1, 180-pound Lane, who has been the talk of south Florida the past two years at Homestead, was on display for all to see. As a member of the tournament champion South Florida Express, this gifted prospect confirmed what many had felt all along, Lane is indeed one of the best - not only here - but has to be considered one of the country's best.
This is the same Lane who played tight end for a Richmond Giants' youth program that was so rich in talent, seeing the ball was certainly an adventure at best. But once Lane had the chance to showcase his skills in high school, his star has certainly been on a meteoric rise.
"I look back at those youth football days and they were fun," Lane says of the Giants' Pop Warner national championship team. "It's no wonder a Jacquan Johnson, Tim Irvin or any of those other tremendous players we had on the team are getting national recognition. That's where it all began for all of us."
Lane's impact at the high school level has come as dominating receiver. He is fast, deceptively strong and as athletic as you will find. His kick return skills will open doors at any level, and his ability to take the best defensive backs apart is what has made him one of those "must get" prospects.
Those who have played with and against him continue to marvel at how easy he makes things look. In games, he is usually the one that other teams spend the week scheming for, in 7-on-7, he pretty much does what he wants.
University School quarterback Sean White has thrown for over 5.000 yards in his first three seasons. In that time, he played with - and against some of the best receivers in the region. This year, working with Lane, as part of the South Florida Express, White and Lane have been on the same page - often.
"I have never been around a receiver who is that talented and makes things look so easy," White said. "He is certainly one of those receivers who makes a quarterback look so much better. He is the real deal. Great guy to around as well."
While this region of the country has always been home to Dwayne Bowe and Andre Johnson type of receivers, there was perhaps never as many quality as this rising senior class has - with Lane leading the way.
Among those receivers who have already being receiving attention include Steve Ishmael (North Miami Beach), Tyre Brady (Homestead South Dade), JoJo Robinson (Miami Northwestern), Jacob McCrary (Miami Coral Reef), Henderson “Prince” Gray (Miami Monsignor Pace), Corey Holmes (Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas), Isaiah McKenzie (Plantation American Heritage), Cornelius Floyd (Miami Gulliver), FSU-bound C.J. Worton (Homestead South Dade) and Miami Norland’s 6-6 standout Kendrick Edwards.
"The receiving talent in this class is as gifted as we've watched down here," said Dana Wiley of Prep Films. "It's almost a certain that several colleges will walk away with some very impressive athletes."
In addition, the Class of 2014 also features players such as Stanley Clerveaux (North Miami), George Rushing (Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons), David France (Hialeah), Kendon Davis (Oakland Park Northeast), Chris Taylor (Coconut Creek N. Broward Prep), Trevon Lee (Ft. Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons), Odis Grimes (Miami Northwestern), Nathaniel Terry (Homestead South Dade), Derrick Tindal (Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson), Dennis Turner (Fort Lauderdale Dillard), Christian Blake (Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons), Jimmy Gonzalez (Davie Western), Nickolas Gonzalez (Hialeah), Kadeem Goulborne, 6-4, 180, Weston Cypress Bay), Antiwone Johnson (Coral Gables), Lamar Parker (Miami Washington), Kenneth Rawls (Pompano Beach Blanche Ely), Tanares Robinson (Miami Northwestern), Zaquon Tyson (Miami Norland), Malcolm Vandergraff (Miami Killian) and Miramar's Kwasim West to name a few.
EXPRESS HEAD TO BRADENTON
The South Florida Express (Miami-Dade and Broward) will be joined at the IMG event in Bradenton by other local teams South Florida Blur (Broward and Palm Beach), Belle Glade (Palm Beach) and Team Strong Arm, which is led by talented Carol City quarterback Trayon Gray and others from Miami-Dade and Broward. The four teams will play in April's Southeast qualifier and battle for a spot in the national tournament in July.
We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. All you have to do is send a video link and information about the athlete to Floridakids1@aol.com. Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.
NBA great Shaquille O'Neal stopped by The Lakeland Center Saturday during Blanche Ely's Class 7A state championship victory.
Shaq visited the Tigers locker room after the game...and a Harlem Shake broke out!
Check it out!