November 30, 2015

Elite Central WR Darnell Salomon commits to USF

Miami Central wide receiver Darnell Salomon, a 6-2, 200-pound four-star prospect and preseason No. 1 senior in Miami-Dade County according to the Miami Herald, committed to USF Monday morning.

Salomon took to Twitter to make his announcement.

"I talked it over with my family and I am now committed to USF#Go Bulls," Salomon tweeted.

Salomon is the first four-star player in the 247 Sports Composite Rankings that USF has been able to reel in since coach Willie Taggart took over in December of 2012.

"They are getting a big-time wide receiver. This is a prospect South Florida is missing on their team," says Central coach Roland Smith. "Darnell has good body control, hands and speed. He will make an impact when he gets to South Florida."

Reports in late September linked Salomon to UM as his favorite school. In the summer, Salomon named a top five to the Herald with neither UM nor USF in it, so the commitment came as a surprise to many recruiting followers.

Salomon was once rated a five-star recruit by Rivals. He had incredible sophomore and junior campaigns with Champagnat Catholic where he totaled more than 1,500 receiving yards and tallied 16 touchdowns, winning a state championship with the Lions in 2013.

"Salomon has talent to be a No. 1 wide receiver at the next level for USF," says Mike Tunsil, Salomon's coach at Champagnat. "USF is getting a great kid who is very coachable and a great team player. Coach Taggart and [wide receivers coach Ron] Dugans are getting a hard-working kid whose best football is ahead of him."

After transferring to Miami Central for his senior season, Salomon has posted 23 receptions for 398 yards and six touchdowns for the Rockets as they prepare to face Naples in a Class 6A state semifinal on Friday.


November 29, 2015

Cocoa OL Jawaan Taylor flips commitment from UM to UF

Jawaan Taylor
After announcing he was decommitting from the Miami Hurricanes late Saturday night, Cocoa offensive lineman Jawaan Taylor announced a commitment to the Florida Gators Sunday afternoon.

Taylor (6-5, 330 pounds) becomes the seventh Hurricanes recruit to decommit since the Al Golden firing just over a month ago. He's the sixth in the 2016 class.

In July, UF also flipped 2017 Miami Norland offensive tackle Kadeem Telfort from the Canes. UM does not have an offensive lineman currently committed in its 2016 class but did bring in six in 2015 and has Miami Central tackle Navaughn Donaldson committed in 2017.

The news comes after Florida landed junior college athlete Dre Massey earlier Sunday. Taylor joins defensive back Chauncey Gardner as Cocoa Tigers committed to UF's 2016 recruiting class.

Taylor describes himself as a guard but lined up mostly at right tackle in Cocoa's state semifinal loss against Booker T. Washington on Friday. He was a critical component to an effective running game that was bulldozing the Tornadoes in the first half but marginalized in the second. His pass blocking abilities are somewhat of an unknown as his high school team relies heavily on the ground game.

After Friday's game, Taylor told me he planned on taking five official visits to the three big Florida schools, Clemson and Auburn with the UF visit coming Jan. 15, Miami Jan. 16-17 and the Auburn visit coming in two weeks in December. It'll be interesting to see if his visit schedule remains intact with his change in commitment since Friday.

*PHOTO: David Furones

November 27, 2015

South Florida High school football playoff schedule - Dec. 4-5


Class 8A state semifinal at Tropical Park: Flanagan vs. Columbus, 7:30

Class 7A state semifinal: St. Thomas Aquinas at Bradenton Braden River, 7:30

Class 6A state semifinal at Traz Powell: Naples vs. Miami Central, 7:30



Class 4A state championship at Citrus Bowl: Booker T. Washington vs. Jacksonville Raines, 7

November 25, 2015

Desmond Phillips commits to Canes

Dynamic Miami Jackson athlete Desmond Phillips committed to UM on Wednesday on an unofficial visit to campus to watch practice.

Jackson coach Earl Little, a former Hurricane, confirmed the commitment with this tweet.

Phillips plays quarterback for the Generals, but the 5-10, 170-pound three-star senior is being recruited by UM to play slot receiver.

Phillips was previously committed to Toledo and decommitted on Nov. 10. He attended the Canes' Nov. 7 home win against Virginia after receiving a UM offer in mid-October.

Phillips still has official visits to Toledo and Temple scheduled in December, and he told he plans on taking those two trips.

Sam Bruce out for regional final due to 'internal matter'

St. Thomas Aquinas star wide receiver Sam Bruce will not play in the Raiders' Region 4-7A final against Mater Academy on Friday.

Coach Roger Harriott said Bruce, a 2016 UM commit, will be held out due to an "internal matter."

Harriott added that the matter is "nothing serious." 

Bruce's status beyond Friday's playoff game against Mater is uncertain, and Harriott said the team will reassess the situation next week.

Bruce declined to comment when reached.

Bruce, the 5-8, 178-pound four-star slot receiver, provides the Raiders offense with unparalleled agility, acceleration and ability to make defenders miss in the open field.

On the year, Bruce has 40 receptions for 364 yards and three touchdowns with three more touchdowns on the ground.

Friday's matchup against Mater Academy pins the Raiders against former coach Rocco Casullo on Aquinas' home field.

News of Stedman Bailey shooting rattles Miramar football family

Former Miramar High receiver Stedman Bailey, who was shot in the head Tuesday night as he sat in a car with his cousin and his two young children in Miami Gardens, looks like he will survive the ordeal.

His injuries were said to be non-life threatening as he went into surgery Wednesday at Aventura hospital.

Nevertheless, news of the shooting rattled his former teammates and the football family at Miramar, which got a visit from Bailey just last week. Bailey was back in the area as he serves a four-game suspension from the NFL for substance abuse.

Bailey stopped by Miramar on Nov. 17 and spoke with the team for nearly an hour, coach Pierre Senatus said. He said Wednesday morning "the entire Miramar family was praying for Bailey."

"He's come three times since I've taken over as coach in the last year to speak to the team and it's always a good life conversation," Senatus said. "He was autographing book bags and talking to the kids about being suspended and how much it hurt him to be away from the team. It was a great, genuine message about making mistakes and trying to get back on track."

Former teammate Ivan McCartney, who played with Bailey at both Miramar High and at West Virginia, said he received a phone call late Tuesday night and was devastated to hear what had happened.

"This is completely out of left field," said McCartney, who is now the receivers coach at Miramar and was Bailey's roommate for a summer in college. "Sted is a great person man. Unfortunately it seems like he was just at the wrong place at the wrong time."

November 24, 2015

FABC/Source Hoops Girls' hoops state rankings - Nov. 23

2015-16 FABC/Source Hoops Girls state ratings 11/23/15


1. Palm Coast 3-0

2 Boca Raton 4-1

3 Colonial 4-0

4 Ferguson 3-0

5 West Port 2-0

6 Sanford – Seminole 4-0

7 Flanagan 4-1

8 Winter Park 3-1

9 Miami Sr. 4-0

10 Wekiva 4-1

Honorable Mention: Wellington 2-0 , Vero Beach 5-0, Palm Beach Gardens 4-1, Lourdes 2-1.



1 Winter Haven 4-0

2 Lakewood Ranch 3-0

3 South Broward 3-1

4 Oakleaf 3-0

5 Nova 4-1

6 Sarasota 3-0

7 Jacksonville Lee 4-0

8 Orlando Olympia 4-1

9 Wiregrass Ranch 4-1

10 Palm Harbor University 3-0

Honorable Mention: Melbourne 7-1 , East Ridge 4-0, St. Cloud 5-0


1 Dillard 3-0

2 Edgewater 1-0

3 Northeast-Oakland Park 4-1

4 Norland 2-1

5 FWB – Choctaw 1-0

6 Ft. Myers 6-1

7 New Smyrna Beach 5-0

8 Nease 3-2

9 Clearwater 5-0

10 Baron Collier 3-1

10 Doral Academy 5-1

Honorable Mention: Lehigh 6-0, Cape Coral 5-0, St. Augustine, Charlotte 3-0.


1 Ribault 2-0

2 Leesburg 2-2

3 American Heritage Plantation 3-1

4 Dunbar 5-1

5 Archbishop McCarthy 5-0

6 Lakewood 4-0

7 Southeast 4-1

8 Jacksonville Paxon 3-2

9 Bishop Moore 2-2

10 Titusville 5-0

10 John Carroll 5-0,

Honorable mention: Rockledge 6-2, Rickards 3-0


1 Lake Highland Prep 4-0

2 Orlando Jones 4-1

3 Cardinal Newman 6-0

4 Tampa Catholic 5-1

5 Cardinal Gibbons 4-0

6 St. Andrews 6-0

7 Oxbridge Academy 4-1

8 Brooks DeBartolo 3-2

9 Father Lopez 5-0

10 Pine Crest 6-0, 10

10 Keys Gate 7-0

Honorable Mention: McKeel Academy 3-0, Lincoln Park 2-0, Gulliver Prep 4-2, Astronaut 4-1.



1 Miami Country Day 4-0

2 University Christian N/A

3 Calvary Christian (Cleawater) 5-1

4 Community School Naples 4-0

5 Seffner Christian 5-0

6 Berean Christian 5-1

7 PK Yonge 3-0

8 Maclay 3-2

9 First Academy 3-2

10 Oak Hall 4-0



1 FAMU 2-0

2 Academy at the Lakes 4-1

3 Calvary Christian (Ormond) 1-2

4 Grandview Prep 4-1

5 Orlando Christian Prep 4-0

6 Cornerstone Christian N/A

7 Morningside Academy 4-1

8 International Community 4-1

9 Lake worth Christian 4-1

10 Agape Christian 2-2



1 South Walton 5-0

2 Wildwood 4-1

3 Paxton 4-0

4 Ponce de Leon 4-0

5 Pahokee 5-1

6 Chiefland 2-0

7 Port St Joe 2-0

8 Milton-Central 5-0

9 Holmes County 4-1

10 Trenton 3-0

10 Bronson 5-1

Honorable Mention: Bell 3-0

Gulliver Prep's Joseph Jackson remains committed to UM

I got a chance to catch up with Gulliver Prep defensive end Joseph Jackson, a University of Miami commitment, Tuesday.

Jackson, a forward on Gulliver's basketball team, was showing off his skills on the court as Gulliver Prep played in the inaugural ARS/Rescue Rooter Hoophall Miami Invitational at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Jackson said he is still strongly committed to UM despite the coaching uncertainty for next season and said he would probably be fine with whoever the Canes decide to hire for next season.

"It’s been crazy, but I’m still strong with the Hurricanes no matter what happens," Jackson said. "They have a lot of good potential head coaches so I’m sure I won’t be disappointed. Every coach is different, but I would want someone that gives me a chance and has faith in me on the field."

Jackson, a 6-7, 245-pound defensive end, has been committed to the Hurricanes since January and helped Gulliver advance to the Class 4A regional quarterfinals this season.

Jackson was named The Miami Herald's Class 4A-1A Athlete of the Year for the 2014-15 season.

November 22, 2015

Jawon Hamilton flips from FIU to UM

South Dade running back Jawon Hamilton flipped his commitment from FIU to UM on Sunday.

On an unofficial visit to UM's campus, the balanced 5-10, 185-pound runner committed to Hurricane coaches.

"I fell in love from the time I entered the campus, and the coaches showed me a great time," Hamilton said. "I toured the campus and felt like that was the place I wanted to be.

"I feel great. [There] is nothing like playing in front of my family."

Hamilton initially committed to the Panthers in June. With a stellar senior season brewing, Hamilton received an offer from Temple in October before getting offers from Kansas, UM and Western Kentucky in November.

He has Temple and Kansas visits set up in January and confirmed he will still take those visits, but told "it probably won't change anything."

It was evident from the moment Hamilton first received the offer on Nov. 11, in the aftermath of the decommitment of Hallandale running back Zack Moss, he was leaning toward the Canes.

He told Herald correspondent Russell Quinoa at the Nov. 13 playoff game against Southwest, "It was always my dream school growing up, and I feel like it'll be great for me if I do happen to go there."

On the year, Hamilton has rushed for 1,191 yards and 16 touchdowns on a 9.8 yards-per-carry average in his first year with South Dade after transferring from Coral Reef.

He's rated a two-star prospect on Rivals and 247 Sports, but his rating has not changed since the summer -- before the 1,000-yard season. He joins defensive back James Wiggins as South Dade recruits committed to UM.

Hamilton and his Buccaneers square off against Columbus in the Region 4-8A final on Friday night at Harris Field.


Elbre Gaiter commits to FIU

Senior Westminster Christian wide receiver Elbre Gaiter announced a commitment to FIU on Sunday.

Gaiter, a 5-8, 168-pound speedster, chose the Panthers over other offers from Louisville, Duke and Indiana.

"It's close to home, I'll have an opportunity to play early and they make me feel wanted," Gaiter says. "Not always about the name. It's about the better situation for yourself."

Gaiter has visited FIU several times and says he enjoys the campus atmosphere. He also has received positive feedback from current players.

Gaiter, son of former Miami Hurricane Tony Gaiter, finished his senior season with 28 receptions for 479 yards and nine touchdowns, including a three-touchdown effort in a virtual district-championship win against Chaminade on Oct. 9. He added three rushing scores and a pick-six for a total of 13 touchdowns as a senior.