There is little secret when it comes down to picking underclassmen, our track has been right there with the best who have evaluated and rated talent throughout the decades.
While this region is so gifted with football talent, being around for many years and decades has given us a huge boost when it comes to following players from an early age.
For the past 37 years, our finger has been on the pulse of the youth football programs and those associated with them, having that unique opportunity to watch these impressive prospects in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties from the first time they carry the football.
As you know by now, any list that you will find is only as thorough as the people who are behind it, and as we unveil the top 50 in Miami-Dade County, a lot of research and personal one-on-one viewing of these prospects has separated them from the pack.
Remember, this 2015 class list is the first of five/six that you will see before the graduating list.
While feedback messages take away from the actual BLOG, we do not open this forum for comments. Your opinions and take what other players to watch can be done by contacting Larry Blustein at Floridakids1@aol.com.
This list is only a starting point. It will be updated regularly. Also, promotion of these players and others who are no on the list is done daily by following us on Twitter @larryblustein.
MIAMI-DADE SUMMER TOP 50 FOR 2015
1. Jaquan Johnson, Athlete, 5-11, 175, Killian: This is a player who has been dictating games since he began playing. One of the most decorated youth football players in recent history will get you on offense, defense and on special teams.
2. DaVante Phillips, WR, 6-2, 185, Central: A year from now, many will ask the question whether this is the best receiver in the country. On the heels of a banner 2014 receiver class, here comes a pass-catching prospect who will be doing this for a long time.
3. Jovon Durante, WR, 6-0, 175, Jackson: From the first time he caught a ball and returned it as a freshman for Dr. Krop, all eyes were fixed on this tremendous football player who can do it all. Pure speed and instant special teams play is what he brings to the Generals this season.
4. Timothy Irvin, RB, 5-9, 175, Miami Westminster Christian: From his youth football days, competing and winning for the Richmond Giants, this was a player that everyone looked up to. Speed, football skill level and a desire to do everything well. This is easily one of the top pure football players in another gifted class.
5. Dominic Sheppard, LB, 6-2, 210, Gulliver Prep: From the first time anyone had the chance to watch this gifted football prospect perform, there was simply never a doubt to how good he could be. A true sideline-to-sideline linebacker who will always be in on every play. He has the chance to be very special.
6. Calvin Brewton, S, 6-1, 175, Central: From the first time we watched perform for Christopher Columbus, there was never a reservation about his overall ability. This is a defensive performer who flies to where the action is. A real talented football player who continues to make the Rockets defense look as good as they were last season.
7. Emilio Gibbs, LB, 6-3, 215, Coral Gables: One of the premier young prospects around, this is a football talent who truly brings everything you need to a much improved team. A quick and athletic football player who plays the run well – and learned last year and into the off season to drop into coverage when needed. Another great linebacker at a school known for churning them out.
8. Johnnie Hankins, RB, 5-10, 190, Homestead: As a ninth grader, there simply was not a better back with the promise that this young man showed. A season after making his move from South Miami, this is one former youth standout who is ready for a breakout season. Has the opportunity to lift the Broncos.
9. Keivonnis Davis, DE, 6-3, 225, Jackson: For years, the Generals have boasted about the many skill players they have on the roster. Now, they can start talking about this gifted football talent who is cat-quick and very athletic. This is the kind of football propect who has already given colleges something to think about for the future – especially with his speed and instincts on the field. Another of those tremendous football players with a bright future.
10. Jordan Cronkite, RB/WR, 5-11, 180, Miami Westminster Christian: If you haven’t had the chance to watch this gifted athlete play, you should understand that wherever he ends up at the next level, the college will have a student/athlete who can do it all. Play receiver, run from the line of scrimmage, block, catch balls out of the backfield. It goes on and on.
11. Devonaire Clarington, TE, 6-4, 220, Miami Westminster Christian: One of the most impressive off season transfers watches this already highly-recruited pass-catching athlete take his talents from Southridge to a program that has an established quarterback, outstanding receivers and one of the best offensive lines around. Great fit!
12. Trevon Sands, RB, 5-9, 175, Southwest: Because the Eagles rarely get much publicity, this is prospect who can probably play five positions that doesn’t get the attention he deserves. College coaches have been raving about the things he can do since watching him two years ago. His coaches believe he may be as good as any athlete in south Florida. Watch for yourself.
13. James King, LB, 6-2, 215, Booker T. Washington: If Devonaire Clarington is the most impressive player in the class to switch schools, this is a prospect – without a doubt – that has more potential than anyone. After a banner year as a defensive end at Miami Beach, he moves inside for the defending 4A state champs and will have plenty of help. Has crazy potential that will be in display this season.
14. Maliek Jackson, S, 5-11, 180, Hialeah Champagnat: One of many the Lions will trot out this year, and while much of the attention was centered around some offensive prospects that came in, this is one defensive secondary performer who will change the outcome of a game with a huge play. A very gifted football prospect who has learned to become a real playmaker.
15. Maurice Alexander, QB, 5-11, 170, Homestead: While the Class of 2014 was loaded with rising prospects, this class starts out with a juts a few signal callers who have the chance to make a solid impact. From the first time he snapped the ball for the Broncos, everyone knew that that this was going to be one of those football talents who could make a difference. Very strong and accurate arm.
16. Davante Davis, WR, 6-3, 180, Homestead: The Broncos have so much talent this year, it’s prospect like this quality football player who has the chance to make a difference. With so many offensive weapons to keep an eye on – including one of the best in the country – Ermon Lane – huge things are expected from this tremendous athlete this year. He will have plenty of opportunity to do what he does.
17. Tucker Beirne, QB, 6-2, 233, Christopher Columbus: After making a splash last year as a 10th grade starter for the Explorers – coming in as a much-talked about prospect – he is now settled in, gotten used to the speed of the game and worked hard to give himself a major opportunity to let the east coast coaches and recruiters see what the west coast watched early on. Has taken part in a number of off season events.
18. Bruce Davis, LB, 6-0, 200, Killian: Talk about another football talent who has worked his way up, here is a player they’ve been boasting about for years. A quick and athletic linebacker who can run, makes plays and drops into pass coverage as well. Colleges we spoke with were bowled over by his motor that never stops.
19. Deundre Pickett-White, Athlete, 6-1, 180, Southwest: Another of those gifted football prospects who can do it all for the Eagles. Like his teammate, it’s always hard to get exposure at a school that has never been known for the sport, but that culture is certainly changing, and players like this, will continue to emerge – with more of a spotlight on his play.
20. Steven Claude, WR, 6-2, 185, Hialeah Champagnat: Another of the impressive off season moves that were made by the Lions, and those who follow the sport, have to believe that this is going to be one of the many that helps this program finally turn the corner. Had an exception spring and off season.
21. Terry Jefferson, LB, 5-10, 185, Booker T. Washington: Talk to anyone who has played the Tornadoes and most will tell you that one of the hardest workers and best tacklers on the team is this impressive athlete who is fast becoming a prospect that colleges are very impressed with. Has the ability to lead this team in tackles and forcing turnovers. Big time football player.
22. Cedric Wiggins, QB, 6-0, 185, North Miami Beach: Following in the rather large footsteps of his older brother, Doug, who did some great things for the Chargers, this is a quality talent who has the arm strength and knowledge to lead on offense - and the pure athleticism to help this team on the defensive side of the ball. This is indeed one of those unique football talents who has the chance to be very special – and important to his team.
23. Vaquan Small, WR, 6-2, 175, Booker T. Washington: In the land of the smaller receivers on the team, here is a large version of a speedster who stretches the field and creates nightmares for almost any defensive secondary. Has learned to run better patterns over the past year with the help of a tremendous secondary.
24. Robert Knowles, S, 6-2, 180, Hialeah Champagnat: How many prospects does this program have for this class? If you continue to watch players like this tremendous Edison transfer, you will be able to answer that question yourself. This may be one of the most gifted athletes the Lions have on the roster. While he is a great safety, his ability to run the ball on offense also will make a huge impact.
25. Tobias Moss, DB, 5-11, 175, Miami Westminster Christian: This is one of those prospects who has been getting it done way before he reached the high school level. Now, that he has arrived, watching him play the game against top competition gives you a sense that this is indeed someone who will be around for many, many years.
26. Shaquery Wilson, WR, 6-3, 190, Coral Gables: Yet another talented football player with an impressive youth football resume to go along with what he has done at Booker T. Washington and now with the Cavaliers. Has the chance to be very special this coming season – as everyone found out over the past year.
27. Fermin Silva, DE, 6-2, 225, Central: If you go back to some of the big games this program took part in last year, this was a talented football player who used his speed, football skill level and overall athletic ability to put himself in the position to make a play. This season, he will be asked to do much more.
28. Gerald Robinson, DB, 5-10, 175, Hialeah Champagnat: Yet another quality prospect who has already dazzled colleges with a solid off season. A physical player who can cover and play the run equally as well. Has the opportunity to be one of the best in the class over the next two seasons.
29. Ben Tirolia, OL, 6-4, 280, Jackson: For the past two years, he was getting valuable experience playing for the state-rated Booker T. Washington team. This year, he heads to play for the Generals, giving himself a chance once again take his place in the spotlight. Very important year for someone who has played at a high level.
30. Brandon Silvestry, RB, 5-11, 185, Belen Jesuit: It’s usually prospects like this that end up helping the Wolverines turn the corner. A very physical football talent who has good speed and tremendous blocking ability. Could end up as one of the best players on a very good football teams.
31. Anthony Olivencia, WR, 6-2, 170, Killian: When the Cougars needed a big play. Someone to step up and add offense, this was a player who did often as a sophomore. Now, as a junior, he may hold the key to the overall success of this program with his ability to make key plays.
32. Patrick Coats, QB, 6-2, 210, South Miami: One of the most physical quarterbacks who continued to get better and better every time we watched him. One of the players who throws the ball very well, but also has the size and athletic ability to make an impact for the next two years.
33. Austin Ashley, WR/DB, 5-10, 176, Coral Gables: Yet another of the versatile players – not only in the county – but throughout south Florida. A quick, athletic and skilled player who has the potential to really make a difference over the two seasons. His coaches love his work ethic.
34. Andy Moreira, OL, 6-3, 270, Coral Gables: On the radar for over a year now, this is one of the players who is starting to mature into a quality prospect. Has the chance to learn in the summer and will only get bigger. This is a huge season – as colleges will keep an eye out on his progress.
35. Irick McDonald, OLB, 6-3, 220, Hialeah Champagnat: Following in the footsteps of his older brother who has moved on to the next level, this is a solid player who can stop the run as well as anyone. Has worked hard to be a better pass defender – if needed. Has the size and knowledge to play this game at a high level.
36. Shaquille Green, Slot, 5-7, 160, Booker T. Washington: After a stellar youth football career, this is one of those talented athlete who has the chance to be very special for the Tornadoes. Catches the ball and gets into the secondary as fast as any offensive weapon.
37. Richard Williams, OL, 6-3, 260, Hialeah: The T-Breds continue to strike gold with prospects like this. One who has the strength, quickness and overall athletic ability to become a great player. This is someone who will certainly have a great future if he continues to mature and work hard.
38. Frank Battle, WR, 6-6, 180, Miami Belen Jesuit: Having height and athletic ability may not equate to being a great receiver, but having watched this impressive football talent the past six months, you have to be impressed at what he will be like when he adds weight and gets stronger. Has off the charts athletic ability.
39. Jordan Herrera, RB, 5-9, 175, Miami Killian: One of the real gems of this class is yet another weapon the Cougars will roll out this fall. Giving the team a huge boost out of the backfield is what will separate this quality talent this season. Keep a close eye on his early season progress, which will tell a lot about his role with the team.
40. Keddrick Labady, LB, 5-10, 190, Hialeah Champagnat: The younger brother of standout running back Franklin, this is definitely a player who has everything that signals success at the next level. Watching him perform in the off season, you have a football talent that will bust out this. A strong, quick and aggressive playmaker.
41. Lawrence Mims, WR, 6-3, 175, Miami Northwestern: Having watched this program churn out quality talent for decades, this just may be the next great one. Has everything going in that you need to become very successful, and with a new offensive coordinator, look for him to be in the mix this coming season – during a challenging year.
42. Sheldrick Redwine, DB, 6-2, 175, Miami Killian: Having watched this tremendous football talent perform the past year, there is little doubt how good he has the chance to be. A quick and aggressive playmaker who gives the Cougars yet another potential major force in the secondary.
43. Deionte Lynch, OL, 6-3, 255, Miami Washington: For a team that lost mostly every player up front on offense, this is one of those players who truly has the chance to be very special. A strong, quick and athletic big man who may blow up this season. Colleges loved what they saw in the spring.
44. Rashad Fenton, DB, 5-11, 175, Miami Norland: For a team that never lacks talent in the secondary, this is one of those players who really showcased his skills this past season. Colleges who watched him perform have to believe that he has the chance to emerge into something special this year.
45. Khalid McGee, DB, 5-9, 175, Miami Northwestern: If you are looking for a player to keep an eye on – early in the season, this is someone who has the chance to be very special. Having been fortunate to watch him in the off season – and listening to what college coaches have to say about his future, which looks very bright.
46. Malik Adelson, S, 6-1, 175, Miami Springs: The Golden Eagles are once again putting out football talent like this tremendous athlete who had a huge sophomore year and followed it up with a very good spring. Watched him play twice in the off season and left impressed by what he can do.
47. Tory Meyers, S, 5-11, 190, Hialeah Barbara Goleman: One of the under the radar prospects that often gets overlooked because he is not on a team that gets the press, but having the chance to watch him play a few times, you have to be impressed the way he makes plays and never gives up. This is one of those players who has almost two years to show colleges across the country what many saw this past spring and off season.
48. Steve Durosier, DB, 5-10, 175, CB, Miami Jackson: If you wonder why the Generals have been on such a roll, this has to be the reason why. Extremely gifted football player who makes plays, works as hard as anyone you will find and has what it takes to get it done at the next level.
49. Andrew Spence, S, 6-3, 190, Coral Gables: If you’ve noticed lately what kind of players the Cavaliers have on the roster, this is one of those tremendous players who has not only had a promising season, but worked very hard in this off season to get better and elevate a program that I starting to make a move among 8A schools.
50. George Jacobsen, LB, 5-10, 180, Tavernier Coral Shores: Here is a player who really started to make a solid impact over the past year. College coaches raved about the way he and his twin brother played the game during the spring, and as the 2013 season gets sets to unfold, keep an eye on this quality football talent who has the chance to make a huge impact.
Broward Class of 2014 - Pre-Summer Top 50
Miami-Dade Class of 2014 - Pre-Summer Top 50
Broward Class of 2015 - Pre-Summer Top 50