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16 posts from December 2013

December 28, 2013

University of Miami recruits share thoughts on Twitter during Canes' bowl game loss to Louisville

Plenty of excitement surrounded the University of Miami's first bowl game since 2010 with Saturday's matchup against Louisville in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando. 

Unfortuantely for Canes fans, former quarterback commit and Miami Northwestern product Teddy Teddy Bridgewater had other plans as he most likely finished his college career, collecting 471 total yards and four total touchdowns to lead the Cardinals to a 36-9 victory. 

Several of Miami's heralded recruits took to Twitter during the game to express their excitement, disappointment and outlook on UM's final game of the season. 

Here are a few highlights from Saturday night:

Despite a typo, Deerfield Beach slot receiver Brandon Powell starts things off before the game with this gem, referring to Louisville coach Charlie Strong. 

Miami Booker T. Washington defensive end Chad Thomas put Homestead wide receiver and UF commit Ermon Lane in his place in the beginning of the fourth quarter. Thomas reminded Lane of Louisville's 33-23 win over Florida in the Sugar Bowl last season.

Booker T.'s Nigel Bethel, one of Miami's most solid commits since pledging to UM in July, tweeted out of frustration before retweeting a plethora of fans suggesting he attend school elsewhere. He wrote, "Miami embarrassing the 305😤," before later deleting it. 

While far away from South Florida, safety commit Kiy Hester from Montvale (N.J.) St. Joseph Regional was hopeful for better days.

Things did look upbeat for the Canes to start the game. Deon Bush's safety blitz on Louisville's first offensive play, which gave UM a 2-0 lead, got Powell pumped up to say the least. 

Thomas, who was in Orlando for the Under Armour game festivities, wrote "Canes!!!!!!!!!!!!!" on Twitter before tweeting this:

Other UM commitments at the Under Armour weekend are: Miami Central running back Joseph Yearby, offensive tackle Trevor Darling, Palm Beach Central offensive lineman Kc McDermott, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas offensive lineman Nick Linder and Raleigh (N.C.) Leesville Road wide receiver Braxton Berrios.

Bethel was critical of UM's defense on Louisville's second offensive drive, which resulted in a 32-yard field goal and 3-2 lead for the Cardinals.

After Louisville's second field goal gave the Cardinals a 6-2 lead over the Canes, Hester urged the Canes offense to take advantage of its defense's play up to that point:

When Bridgewater connected with DeVante Parker for a 26-yard touchdown to give Louisville a 16-2 lead, Booker T. defensive end Demetrius Jackson showed some concern while Powell took the score in stride.

Jackson showed some more concern by "shaking my damn head" following a Louisville sack on UM quarterback Stephen Morris when the Canes were inside the 5-yard line on the ensuing drive. His teammate Bethel might have seen enough and decided to get a workout in with track season around the corner. 

With about 3 minutes left in the scond half, Louisville's James Burgess Jr. (former Homestead standout and former UM recruit) laid out Dallas Crawford on a rushing attempt for no gain. 

Louisville took a 22-9 lead into halftime, which stretched to 29-2 at the end of the third quarter. Powell had a positive outlook on the melee to a certain extent, while Jackson's reactions kept on the same trend. 

Around the 12-minute mark in the fourth quarter, Bridgewater scrambled for a 1-yard touchdown run and celebrated by signaling the U with his hand with a proceeding throat slash as the Cardinals took a 36-2 lead over the Hurricanes. 

Thomas showed some love to Bridgewater, while Bethel got home from his workout.

It's now full speed ahead into the offseason for the Canes, who will look to sustain the fifth-best Class of 2014 recruiting class, according to 247Sports.

Miami finished the season 9-4, giving up more than 500 yards on defense in five of its last six games. And while the outlook from Hester, Powell, and Thomas -- one of UM's most solid recruits -- looks positive, Canes coach Al Golden and his staff will have plenty of work to do leading up to National Signing Day on Feb. 5, 2014.

December 27, 2013

Roger Harriott wastes no time joining Florida Atlantic, nabbing star 2015 RB Jordan Scarlett

Roger Harriott is leaving high school football for the college ranks once again, and he's taking one of his star players with him.

Harriott, who led Davie University School to a state title in 2012, stepped down from the head coaching position on Friday to become an assistant head coach and running backs coach at Florida Atlantic, joining first-year coach Charlie Partridge. 

As one of the most articulate and player-friendly coaches in South Florida, Harriott already made his presence felt on his first day landing the best recruit in the school’s history as University School junior running back Jordan Scarlett committed to FAU just hours after the news became official.

“I called Coach Harriott and we talked about today, and it would be a benefit for me to go there as far as staying [close to] home," said Scarlett, an underrated four-star prospect by 247Sports. "I just felt it would be a good move for me to stay with my running back coach, and keep the same routine I’ve been going through.”

Scarlett -- who had a strong interest to stay in Florida and had offers from more than 20 schools including Florida State, Miami, Florida, Alabama and Auburn -- said his closeness to Harriott as a father figure and family friend were also obvious reasons he pulled the trigger so quickly.

Teammate Deonta Fair, a Class of 2015 safety, also announced his commitment to FAU on Friday afternoon. Whether Scarlett and Fair sign National Letters of Intent to play for the Owls in 2015 remains to be seen.

Harriott, a former Boston University and Villanova running back who tallied more than 2,000 yards in his college career, briefly resigned as U-School coach in January 2010 to become the running backs coach at Syracuse, but decided to return home with his wife and four children in mind.

Now Harriott can have his cake and can eat it, too, trying to help FAU make a statement heading into its second season in Conference USA.

FAU officially announced Harriott's hire Friday afternoon. Patridge will also retain associate head coach and offensive coordinator Brian Wright on his staff.

"I am thrilled to bring Roger on board with the Owls," Partridge said in a statement released by the school. "He has been an extremely successful football coach and leader of student-athletes. He will bring leadership principles that will impact our program and his Florida roots demonstrates our commitment to the area." 

With the news, several of University School’s top players in the Class of 2015 are in the process of transferring elsewhere.

Scarlett said he's thinking of attending Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas or Plantation American Heritage if he doesn’t stay at University School.

Defensive tackle Brandon Boyce, who committed to Duke on Friday afternoon, confirmed via his Twitter account he’s headed to Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas.

Cornerback Rashard Causey told the Miami Herald on Friday he’s also “likely” to follow Boyce, but Plantation American Heritage is also an option. Causey told 247Sports it was likely he, Boyce, Scarlett, and star 2016 slot receiver Sam Bruce could possibly enroll to Aquinas.

December 23, 2013

Miami Dolphins crown youth football champions

PPO Bengals
MIRAMAR - The Miami Dolphins concluded the 3rd Annual Miami Dolphins Championship Series Presented by Generation Nexxt and Under Armour at the Miramar Ansin Sports Complex this evening by crowning eight youth football teams from three different prominent youth football leagues in the area; American Youth Football League, Florida Youth Football League and South Florida Youth Football League. Below are the following champions in their respective age groups:

Overall, seven of the eight champions came from either the AYFL or the FYFL. The Pembroke Pines Bengals took home three titles and went 7-1 overall during the two-weekend event. This is the second consecutive Dolphins Championship Series in which the PPO Bengals have won at least three championships, with three of its teams winning last year as well.

Miami Dolphins Championships Series Winners
8U: Pembroke Pines Bengals (AYFL)
9U: Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes (FYFL)
10U: Pembroke Pines Bengals (AYFL)
11U: Miami Gardens Bulldogs (FYFL)
12U: Pembroke Pines Bengals (AYFL)
13U: Southwest Seminoles (SFYFL)
14U: Davie Broncos (AYFL)
UNL: Washington Park Buccaneers (FYFL)

“The third annual Miami Dolphins Championship Series was a resounding success and it showed the competitive spirit of youth football in South Florida,” Miami Dolphins Senior Director of Community Affairs Twan Russell said. “These athletes fought really hard all weekend and it just shows how strong football is down here. I’m really happy that we can put youth football on display and I’d like to congratulate all the teams that participated in this event.”

Miami Dolphins Championship Series Finals Results
8U: Pembroke Pines Bengals defeated Miami Gardens Vikings (FYFL), 20-0
9U: Ft. Lauderdale Hurricanes defeated Gwen Cherry Bulls (Pop Warner), 6-0
10U: Pembroke Pines Bengals defeated Miami Gardens Ravens (FYFL), 14-6
11U: Miami Gardens Bulldogs defeated Miramar Wolverines (AYFL), 27-6
12U: Pembroke Pines Bengals defeated West Miramar Patriots (XYFL), 30-0
13U: Southwest Seminoles defeated West Miramar Patriots (XYFL), 31-27
14U: Davie Broncos defeated West Kendall Dolphins (XYFL), 14-8
UNL: Washington Park Buccaneers defeated Pembroke Pines Bengals (AYFL), 12-0

“A lot of great teams competed out there over these two weeks,” Miami Dolphins Manager of Youth Programs Troy Drayton said. “This event really showcases the talent that exists in South Florida and I’m happy we can put on an event where these athletes can compete and have their achievements awarded.”

The Miami Dolphins Youth Programs’ mission is to emphasize the importance of education, physical fitness, and positive choices for kids in a safe and fun environment. The Miami Dolphins Youth Programs’ vision is to prepare the next generation of leaders in staying physically active through its Junior Training Camps (JTC), Youth Football Clinics, and Youth Football Camps.


December 16, 2013

Coral Reef hires Billy Rolle as new football coach

            Billy Rolle is one of only two Miami-DadeCounty football coaches to win state championships at different schools.

            On Monday, Rolle was officially given the opportunity to try and make another team great.

            Rolle, who has led Northwestern and Killian to state championships in his career, was hired at Coral Reef’s new coach. Rolle coached the Barracudas’ final regular season game this year on an interim basis after the school released former coach Chevas Clements.

            “I’m back in the water, and this time, I’m a barracuda,” Rolle said. “Coaching is in my blood. I thought I could sit out and watch. But that didn’t last too long.”

            Rolle led Northwestern to state championships in 1998 and 2007 and was an assistant coach during the Bulls’ state title run in 1995. Rolle also led Killian to a state title in 2004. He is also one of four coaches to win at least three state titles in the modern era (Walt Frazier - Carol City; Ice Harris - Booker T. Washington; Nick Kotys - Coral Gables).

     Rolle resigned at Northwestern after the 2011 season when the Bulls missed the playoffs for the first time in 20 years.

            Rolle takes over a Coral Reef team that went 6-4 this past season, but missed the playoffs. The Barracudas reached the second round of the playoffs in 2011.

            “It’s a great academic school and it has a lot of talent,” Rolle said. “I missed the game and want to give back. I was reading an article and didn’t realize [Central coach] Roland Smith had been away for six years. I don’t know how he did it.

“This school has a championship attitude and I think it’ll be a great challenge.”

December 14, 2013

VIDEO: Highlights, interviews from South Dade's Class 8A state title victory

VIDEO: Highlights, interviews from Central's Class 6A state title victory

South Dade's defense has been the real difference

There was a feeling you got last May - two weeks into the spring football drills - when South Dade played a talented Cardinal Gibbons squad in an event at Tamiami Park. It was there you had a sense that this group of Buccaneers had the chance to be special.

One of the real prospect rich programs that has gone through some changes over the past few seasons - and have arrived at a place this school has never been at - the state championship game.

For every player who competed for the prospect-rich Florida City Razorbacks, Gould, Richmond, Palmetto or any other youth football hotbed in Perrine, Naranja or Homestead, this year's team represents the quality of youth football that is played each and every year in the sector that could have as much pure football prospects than anywhere else in the nation.

For this mine of gold has brought the success to head coach Nathaniel Hudson and his football program. Players such as defensive back Antwan Cordy, receiver and UM commit Tyre Brady, Mario Mezier, FSU bound receiver C.J. Worton and quarterback Kahlil Render, who is easily the best story around.

Render came over from Homestead - where he was used as an athlete. With the Buccaneers he among the leading prospects around - and without him this program is not in Orlando on Saturday night.

But what has turned the tide in post season wins against Southwest, Killian, South Dade and Palm Beach Gardens, this defense is the reason that there will be a 15th game this year for South Dade.

"This defensive team really for very strong this year and came together," said Cordy, who has been one of the catalysts for this program the past three years. "We built toward this from last year and added a few key pieces."

The Buccaneers play sound defensively, and figure everything else will take care of itself. They don't have a nickname for the defensive unit, but this group is all about playmakers. Technically sound football prospects such as linebackers Tyree Horton and Doyle Grimes, defensive backs Dexter Nottage and a bunch of young men who just get the job done - with very little fanfare.

You shake your head when you watch defensive tackle Ponce Jones, who at 5-9, 255, does not automatically strike fear into the opposition, but at the end of the game, is usually among the leading tacklers.

"Our defense has really made a difference in the playoffs," Hudson explained. "We went through a stretch where the games we were playing were not in the best conditions”.

Players such as linebacker Deion Betts, Tadarius Wilson, James Wiggins, Marlin Wint, Robert Wynter, Demetrius Willis, Cayman Battle, sophomore Wyatt Swanson and others have given this team a chance in every game this year. Against Apopka, this team will be tested - like no other team they played this year.

While the 2013 season has been much about this current program and many of its quality stars, it's also paying respect for what has happened in the past - and that is what this program will be playing for on Saturday night.

Have something to add to this Recruiting Blog? Drop Larry Blustein a note at Floridakids1@aol.com.

VIDEO: Highlights, interviews from American Heritage's Class 5A state championship victory

December 08, 2013

Spotlighting Florida's High School Football Talent

Continue reading "Spotlighting Florida's High School Football Talent" »

December 07, 2013

Class 4A state title game: Booker T. Washington vs. Jacksonville Bolles

ORLANDO -- Booker T. Washington, the consensus No. 1-ranked team in the country, plays for a second consecutive state championship against a familiar foe in Jacksonville Bolles.

Our army of high school sports writers -- Andre Fernandez, Bill Daley, Larry Blustein and Manny Navarro -- will be there to provide updates from the scene. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.