November 25, 2015

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 16, 2015

Deon McIntosh commits to Notre Dame

Cardinal Gibbons three-star running back Deon McIntosh announced a commitment to Notre Dame on Monday.

The 5-11, 175-pound senior, who visited the Notre Dame campus in October, chose the Fighting Irish over other offers from Miami, Michigan State, Tennessee, Penn State, Wisconsin and Louisville.

McIntosh joins IMG Academy's Tony Jones Jr. as running backs committed to Notre Dame's 2016 class. Last year, former UM running back commit Dexter Williams of Winter Garden West Orange signed with the Irish.

This year McIntosh ran for 681 yards and seven touchdowns on 134 carries and added 117 yards and another score through the air. He finishes his career second in Cardinal Gibbons history in scoring (210 points and 30 rushing touchdowns) and third in rushing yards (2,523).

November 11, 2015

Moss discusses UM decommitment, other options

Zack Moss

Hallandale three-star running back Zack Moss became the third recruit in five days to decommit from the Miami Hurricanes with an announcement on Tuesday night.

Moss said he had been thinking of decommiting for a while and just wants to just make sure he is making the right choice because he only gets this chance once.

"It was time for me to take a step back from the program, not because of coaching changes or not necessarily because of the coaching staff -- just to reevaluate my options and see what's best for me out there right now."

His top other options: Utah, Tennessee and Kentucky.

Other schools that have begun showing interest since Moss' Tuesday night announcement include TCU, Western Kentucky and USF.

Columbus defensive end Josh Uche decommitted from the Canes on Sunday and Tuesday received an offer from Auburn. One could come to the assumption that for Moss to see that

"We talked before I did the whole thing, but I wouldn't say that's really what made me really go ahead [and decommit]," Moss said. "I wanted to make sure I do the right thing."

Moss said in his tweet that UM is still not out of it despite decommitting. Asked who he would like to see the Canes hire to fill the coaching vacancy, he mentioned Mario Cristobal. Moss developed a relationship with Cristobal from him recruiting the running back to Alabama early in the year -- a recruitment which has since cooled off.

Moss has a Utah visit in the plans for December depending on how deep his Chargers go into the playoffs. Moss, of course, has two teammates committed to the Utes in quarterback Tyler Huntley and wide receiver Demari Simpkins. 

He will also visit Kentucky Jan. 16 and Miami Jan. 20.

What Moss likes about other schools he's considering...

Kentucky: "It's an SEC school. It stands out. Me and the coaches have made a great connection. They run the ball a lot, which is [important] for me."

Utah: "Basically, playing with some of the guys from high school... and they're using running back-by-committee right now. ... They have a great coaching staff up there, and they're winning right now."

Tennessee: "They have one running back committed right now [Carlin Fils-Aime of Naples]. I talk to them like I talk to Utah, Miami or Kentucky."

*Photo by David Furones//FOR THE MIAMI HERALD


Hallandale RB Zack Moss decommits from Miami

Hallandale running back Zack Moss announced on Tuesday night that he would decommit from the Miami Hurricanes.

"After talking it over with my family, WE think it's the best thing for me to De-Commit from The University of Miami," Moss said in a note on his phone posted on Twitter. "WE love The University of Miami and it is still in top consideration but think it's best for me to explore my options.

"I want to say thank you to the great coaching staff at Miami for giving me the opportunity to be a CANE. MIAMI IS STILL AN OPTION."

Moss, a three-star recruit and No. 10-ranked senior in Broward County in the Herald's preseason Top 50, becomes the fourth prospect to decommit from Miami's 2016 recruiting class since the firing of Al Golden and third since Friday.

Columbus defensive end Josh Uche announced his decommitment on Sunday and Izon Pulley, a defensive end out of Good Counsel in Olney, Maryland, backed off his commitment on Friday.

Golden was fired two weeks from this past Sunday, and for a while UM's senior recruiting class was remaining intact after Wellington wide receiver Ahmmon Richards went back on his UM commitment the same night of the Golden firing.

At one point UM had four running back commits in its senior class but Moss now joins Coral Gables' Amir Rasul and Pahokee's McArthur Burnett as backs to decommit, although Burnett probably wouldn't have played running back at Miami.

The remaining running back committed to UM is West Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy's Travis Homer

UM offered South Dade running back and FIU commit Jawon Hamilton Wednesday morning. Hamilton has also been recently offered by Kansas and Temple.

Moss told the Herald in the immediate aftermath of the firing that the change didn't affect his commitment.

"I didn't commit to the coaches," he said then.

More recently, Moss told Herald correspondent Mark Singer at Friday's Hallandale win over Monarch that he was a strong commit to the Hurricanes and added that interim coach Larry Scott is a "cool dude."

In that report, Singer notes that Moss said the only school that could flip him would be Utah. The Utes, who have offered Moss, already have a pair of senior Hallandale commits in quarterback Tyler Huntley and wide receiver Demari Simpkins.

Moss spoke with the Herald shortly after receiving that Utah offer in this video interview below.


That same night Huntley said he would try to convince Moss to hop on board with he and Simpkins but only after the season as the Chargers (8-2) are focused on making a run at a state championship in Class 5A.


November 08, 2015

Recruiting Roundup: Jackson's Phillips visits UM, notes from Dillard, Ely, Varela



Miami Jackson quarterback and three-star athlete Desmond Phillips, a Toledo commit, received a Miami offer in mid-October and Saturday was in attendance to watch the Hurricanes' 27-21 win over Virginia.

Phillips spoke exclusively with the Miami Herald after he wrapped up his high school career Friday night in a loss to Northwestern in the Soul Bowl.

"It made me proud," Phillips said of receiving the UM offer. "It made my family open their eyes more. Now it's up to a decision on what I want to do."

Phillips has played quarterback throughout his high school career with the Generals but is being recruited as a slot receiver -- both by the Canes and by Toledo.

UM wide receivers coach Kevin Beard has gotten a chance to see Phillips at receiver at camps.

"He's a great coach," Phillips said. "When I went to their camp and he coached me up when I was at receiver, he told me a lot about what I need to know. He's a great guy."

Phillips is a versatile athlete and his skill set will transition well to the collegiate level at receiver.

"Next level I feel like I could bring a lot to any team I go to -- my speed, my talent," Phillips says. "Everything I have, I can just add to a team."

*Three-star 2017 Dillard defensive end Jon Ford has also been receiving interest from UM, as well as Alabama, Syracuse and South Carolina. Ford plans to visit FSU, UM and Alabama this summer. He has stayed in contact with Alabama coach Mario Cristobal throughout the season.

"I love the program and hope they consider me to play there," says the 6-5, 265-pound Ford of UM.

*Three-star 2017 Dillard defensive end Jordan Wright is being heavily recruited by North Carolina. Wright (6-5, 220) has also received interest from UM, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh.

Aaron Thompson
Aaron Thompson

*Three-star Dillard defensive tackle Aaron Thompson has received more than 30 offers. Thompson's current top three is Virginia, South Carolina and Pitt.

Thompson (6-4, 260) on why Virginia is his favorite: "They're the truth."

UM defensive line coach Randy Melvin passed by Dillard recently when the Panthers played host to Plantation.

*Two-star Dillard 2017 wide receiver Jordan Merrell has 11 offers so far into his junior season. Merrell's top three is Cincinnati, Marshall and Michigan.

Merrell, who had 16 receptions for 185 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Plantation earlier this season, plans to do a college tour this summer to visit potential schools. Some of the destinations will include Cincinnati, TCU and Baylor.

"They know how to throw the ball," says the 5-10, 180-pound receiver on why the Bearcats are his favorite.

*Three star Dillard linebacker and Virginia commit Kenneth Ruff has received 25 offers. Ruff plans to stay committed to Virginia but has plans to take a visit to Illinois in December after the season. Ruff (6-2, 235) also strongly considered South Carolina and North Carolina before committing to Virginia.

*Two-star Dillard receiver James Jackson currently has two standing offers from Youngstown and Kent State.

"I really like Youngstown. There's a lot of tradition," Jackson says. 

Jackson unofficially visited Youngstown this summer and plans to visit Kent State after the season. The 6-4, 190-pound prospect has also received interest from Virginia and Pitt.

McKinley Williams
McKinley Williams

*Three-star Dillard receiver Demetrius White (6-3, 200) has nine offers so far. White's top three includes Toledo, Kent State and Marshall. White has scheduled an official visit with Toledo on Jan. 19. 

*Unranked Dillard linebacker McKinley Williams III is being courted by Middle Tennessee. Williams has received preliminary interest from Iowa, Pitt and Mississippi State. Williams (6-5, 260) plans to visit Iowa in December.

*Unranked Dillard linebacker Torian Williams is currently weighing offers from Alcorn State and Monmouth University. Rutgers is also showing interest and Williams (6-3, 220) plans to visit the Scarlet Knights in December.

*Unranked Blanche Ely tight end Leonard Warren's top three includes Ohio, Cincinnati and Florida. Warren currently has no visits in the near future. Warren (6-4, 225) has current plans to wait until after National Signing Day to commit.

Leonard Warren
Leonard Warren

"I really liked Ohio's atmosphere, very welcoming," Warren says.

*Two-star ranked Blanche Ely wide receiver Thomas Geddis currently has 25 offers. His top three are Cincinnati, Temple and Wisconsin. He has already visited Cincinnati and plans to visit Massachusetts in December. Geddis could make for a big target in the red zone for a school at 6-3, 165 and can stretch the field.

*A long, athletic, dynamic defensive end out of Ely, Trevor Goodrum Jr., is flying well under the radar.

Goodrum, who has received interest from Princeton with a 3.0 GPA, has 35 tackles and 13 sacks on the season for Ely as the Tigers prepare for postseason play as the runner-up in District 14-7A.

*Unranked Varela receiver Jay Stringer plans to remain uncommitted until January. Stringers says it's "so it gives me time to really think about where I'm going to go, and I want time to talk with my family."

Stringer's No. 1 option is FIU, but he is considering multiple offers as he recently visited Florida A&M and Valdosta state.

About his trip to check out the Rattlers, Stringer said, "I talked to coach Edwin Pata from FAMU on my visit. I really loved the staff."

Stringer spent more time at Valdosta State.

"It is a very nice, the campus. It's beautiful and the town has nice people," said Stringer. "Great fans and a good staff. I'm thinking about going there."

Jay Stringer
Jay Stringer

*Photos: RUSSELL QUINOA//FOR THE MIAMI HERALD (Stringer photo courtesy of Jay Stringer)

November 07, 2015

Updates on Huntley, Moss, Hammond and Cotto from Hallandale

Senior quarterback Tyler Huntley is firmly committed to Utah. He is not considering any other schools. Huntley torched Monarch for 188 yards and four touchdowns in the first half of Hallandale's 45-6 win Friday night.

Senior running back Zack Moss is a strong commit to Miami. Utah and Kentucky are still coming after him, though. Moss said Utah is the only school that could flip him, but it's unlikely he decommits from Miami. Moss has talked a lot with UM Interim Head Coach Larry Scott and thinks he's a "cool dude."

Senior receiver Joshua Hammond is still committed to UF. Hammond is taking his official visit to Gainesville this weekend for Florida's game against Vanderbilt. Georgia and Ohio State are still coming hard after Hammond, and those are the only schools he would go to if he drops Florida.

Fellow senior receiver and Western Kentucky commit Chris Cotto has Miami (Ohio) and USF coming after him hard.


October 31, 2015

Ridley shines in front of Cristobal, Pierre talks UNC flip

Four-star 2016 Deerfield Beach wide receiver Cavin Ridley was happy he was able to make a few big plays down the field in a game that Alabama offensive line coach and South Florida recruiting specialist Mario Cristobal, formerly the FIU head coach, was able to catch.

Cristobal wasn't the only member of the Crimson Tide present. Ridley's older brother Calvin, already standing out with Bama as a freshman, was also there. Cavin currently has Alabama in his top three with Tennessee and Auburn.

He officially caught two balls for 48 yards and a touchdown but would've been near 150 had other catches down the field, including another touchdown, not been called back for holding.

Here's most of what he was talking about postgame in this interview where we were getting kicked off the field as the band began to play.


Off camera, Ridley added that what he likes about the Volunteers is that three receivers are leaving that could create an opportunity for an impact freshman.

"The key for me is play time, just to make a big impact right away," Ridley said.

On potentially playing together with brother Calvin, Ridley says, "It's just the best fit for me. I just have to get that feeling and feel comfortable."

He adds that Calvin can get in his ear about going to Alabama at times, but that he mostly wants him to make his own decision. 

*James Pierre got us caught up on what led him to flip his UM commitment to UNC two weeks ago.


Among the reasons Pierre switched he says are the facilities, academics and family atmosphere.

It also helps that UNC runs plenty of nickel, and that's a position Pierre could thrive in and find the field early as a nickel corner.

On the Al Golden firing, Pierre said, "I was like, 'Naw.' He's a good man, he takes care of his players, he always hangs around and makes sure that they're good. I don't know why he got fired. It's just a business, basically."

*Pierre isn't the only Buck liking the Tar Heels. Four-star 2017 wide receiver Jerry Jeudy postgame was seen wearing UNC attire under his uniform when he removed his jersey and shoulder pads.

Asked if that was a school he's interested in, Jeudy said, "That's a good school. That'll be one of the schools I'm looking to."

A junior, Jeudy says he has "no top" right now, but lists some of his top offers as Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Ole Miss, Texas and Notre Dame.

October 29, 2015

Plantation rich with under-the-radar prospects

The Plantation Colonels aren't 7-2 by accident.

While they may not have a slew of highly-touted college football recruits like most of the schools that can hang with the competition in South Florida, a stacked group of under-the-radar prospects mixed with the stellar tutelage of coach Steve Davis has Plantation rolling. The two losses thus far -- to St. Thomas Aquinas and Flanagan, two legitimate state title contenders in Class 7A and 8A respectively.

The Colonels are coming off a big 23-14 victory against Dillard that saw UM defensive line coach Randy Melvin present -- probably to look at Dillard defensive tackle Aaron Thompson, but hopefully he came away with some of Plantation's prospects, as well. FIU was also represented on the sidelines.

Let's take a look at the talent this team possesses, mostly on defense, but I'll first spotlight a few key offensive playmakers in Davis' Wing-T attack.

With the Wing-T being a run-first system, players that may project as receivers don't get many chances to show what they can do when the ball's in the air, but that didn't prevent sophomore tight end Robzel Sylvester from scoring two touchdowns of 50-plus yards in last Friday's victory against a tough Dillard team.

Sylvester says the offense runs the waggle off play action looking for him over the top of the defense once or twice a game, and he made the most of his two chances against the Panthers. He similarly caught a pair of scores against Everglades earlier in the year.


Sylvester is mostly known for his run-blocking abilities in Plantation's scheme, but the big-bodied tight end (6-3, 220 pounds) can also extend the field and get open deep as he's proven. A 2018 prospect, he is yet to draw interest from college programs but has UM as his dream school.

*At running back, sophomore Jordan Johnson (5-10, 190) will be one to watch in the future. He leads the way in the Colonels' rushing attack with senior Maurice Lawrence not far behind. Quarterback Archie Banton orchestrates the Wing-T for Plantation.

Banton has received interest from Florida A&M and Delaware State while Johnson, a 2018 recruit, is rumored to already have UM looking at him.

Now to the defense where Plantation has a number of players that could make an impact at the next level.

*Senior linebacker Malik Jones (6-0, 210) had an interception, sack and another tackle for loss in the 23-14 victory against Dillard, leading the way for a defense that recorded nine sacks.


Jones is currently hearing from Illinois, Purdue and Cincinnati but is yet to receive his first offer, which is a travesty for such a talented linebacker with good size who can run well.

*His brother, Tyrik Jones, a 6-3, 230-pound defensive end/linebacker had a pair of sacks in that game and currently has an impressive list of schools looking at him like UF, FSU, Kentucky, Missouri, Oregon State, Louisville, South Carolina, Pittsburgh and Delaware State.

*Deland Rock-Johnson recorded a late safety that clinched Friday's win. At 6-1, 210, he has heard from Missouri, Purdue and FAU.

*Senior cornerback Justin Lyle already lists a Toledo offer and has also received interest from Cincinnati and Indiana.

*Another talented 2016 defensive back, Jacques Tanelus, has UF, Illinois and Delaware State recruiting him.

*Big 6-5, 265-pound defensive tackle Robert Hawkins, who doubles as an offensive lineman, has been contacted by UM, Purdue and Penn State.

You can catch the Colonels at home in a neighborhood rivalry game against South Plantation at 7 p.m. on Friday.