When it comes to recruiting south Florida, there are always going to be quality receivers, running backs and even emerging quarterbacks that dot the talented landscape.
But if you want the position that has long been the calling card for this region of the state – there is no question that the defensive secondary is the place where colleges come to enhance their programs – and the NFL is a destination.
When the 2013 NFL season began, there were more defensive backs – who were groomed for the future – in south Florida - than any other part of the country. It’s been that way since the 1970s – when prospects from this area would star in Super Bowls and NFL championship games. It’s that way today.
The defensive secondary Class of 2015, like the running backs that came this past year, could be among the most talented and deepest group ever.
As the off season unfolded, there were at least 30 cornerbacks and safeties who were recruited by major colleges and universities across the country.
At the head of that list is Killian safety and top-rated prospect Jaquan Johnson (5-11, 180). The gifted athlete has been among the nation’s best football prospects, and as he is now healthy, all eyes are on his off season.
What makes Johnson so special is his overall athletic ability and gift of playing anywhere on the field. A true safety prospect who changes a game – in a hurry.
“I enjoy playing a lot of positions, but safety s where I think I can really make the difference,” Johnson said. “I think that is where I can help the team the most.”
As Johnson continues to receiver plenty of attention, he is certainly not alone. Top-flight safety prospects will roam several secondaries over the next year. Among the other players already turning heads include Shawn Burgess-Becker (6-2, 190, Coconut Creek Monarch), West Virginia commit Kendrell McFadden (6-3, 190, Miramar), FSU commit Calvin Brewton (6-0, 170, Miami Central), Killian’s Bruce Davis (6-0, 195), FAU commit Roderick Archer (6-1, 200, South Plantation), Antonyo Sontolongo (6-0, 200, Gulliver Prep), Malik Jackson (5-11, 180, Hialeah Champagnat Catholic) and University School transfer Christian Irving (5-11, 198, Plantation American Heritage).
“I have been watching a lot of what south Florida produces for a long time,” said Dana Wiley of Prep Films. “This group of defensive backs is easily the deepest. There’s a tradition to live up to.”
The cornerbacks in this class are also tremendous as well. Leading the way is Plantation American Heritage’s Tarvarus McFadden (6-3, 195), early FSU commit Tyrek Cole (5-10, 165, Miramar), Tim Irvin (5-9, 190, Miami Westminster Christian), Norland standout Carlton Davis (6-2, 190), Devante Davis (6-2, 190, Booker T. Washington), Champagnat Catholic standout Gerald Robinson (5-11, 175), Rashard Causey (6-0, 190, St. Thomas Aquinas) and Carol City standout Rashad Fenton (5-10, 180).
Other cornerbacks who have received plenty of recognition so far include Northwestern’s Khalid McGee (5-10, 180), Sheldrick Redwine (6-2, 190, Killian), Robert Knowles (6-1, 185, Edison), Tyson Cisrow (6-1, 185, St. Thomas Aquinas), Jeremiah Dinson (6-0, 170, American), Olin Cushion (5-10, 170, Central), Richie Kittles (6-0, 180, Stranahan), Ronnie Hoggins (5-10, 165, Monarch), Andrew Spence (6, 2, 190, Coral Gables), Damon Arnette (6-2, 185, St. Thomas Aquinas), Jeffrey Hill (5-8, 175, Miramar), Deonte Fair (5-10, 190, Plantation American Heritage), Tobias Moss (5-11, 180, Miami Westminster Christian), Blanche Ely’s Kevin Williams (6-2, 185), Jalin Leandre (5-9, 175, Hallandale) and McArthur’s Malik Wisdom (5-10, 180) to name a few.
We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. 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.