May 22, 2015

Marco Wilson nearly breaks Twitter with backflip catch

Marco Wilson, 2017 four-star cornerback out of Plantation American Heritage, posted a video on social media of himself making a ridiculous one-handed catch while backflipping.

Wilson currently holds 11 scholarship offers as he heads into his junior year and is the younger brother to current Florida Gator Quincy Wilson.

The Odell Beckham-esque catch had 445 retweets and 440 favorites within two hours of getting posted and sparked a campaign to get it on ESPN's SportsCenter.

May 21, 2015

Cypress Bay's Andrew Parchment commits to Cincinnati

 

Cypress Bay Class of 2016 wide receiver Andrew Parchment announced he was committing to the Cincinnati Bearcats on Wednesday night.

The three-star prospect held an announcement party with about 30 friends and family present at a Chili's in Miramar and then also posted his decision on Twitter.

The announcement came a day after he had decided on a top three of Cincinnati, USF and Syracuse. The latter two have started showing interest recently.

"My commitment is solid with Cincinnati," says the 6-4 Parchment. "If other schools come in, I'll cross that bridge at a later time. As of right now, I'm all Cincy."

Teammate and rising senior cornerback Darrell Malone, who is good friends with Parchment, was close to committing to Cincy along with Parchment Wednesday, but added interest from Georgia Tech, Syracuse and Indiana after Cypress Bay's spring scrimmage Tuesday had him hold off on a decision.

Binjimen Victor, Trayvon Mullen shine as Coconut Creek beats South Dade in Spring Game

Coconut Creek hosted its spring game against South Dade and anyone who’s anyone in college football had a coach at the game.

More than 20 college football programs were represented. A full list of schools I saw watching the action is listed at the bottom of the post.

When a team has a pair of highly-sought-after four-star rising seniors like cornerback Trayvon Mullen and wide receiver Binjimen Victor, you can understand why there were so many followers.

With Victor scoring twice and Mullen scoring another touchdown, the Cougars’ stars shined as Coconut Creek took the exhibition against South Dade 21-14.

Victor was phenomenal in one-on-one situations. It was clear it was going to be difficult for South Dade to cover him from the start, especially with top Bucs recruit James Wiggins, a UM commit, held out of the game.

IMG_1947Victor went to fade routes again and again and it was simply too easy for the 6-4 receiver to go up and get the ball over smaller defenders. Both his touchdowns came in the second half.

Mullen (pictured to the left) was in shutdown corner mode. Whatever receiver he was matched up against didn’t stand a chance of getting open. He’s too quick, long and turns his hips like the elite cover corner he is.

Mullen made a spectacular touchdown catch on the final play of the first half after quarterback Jhakari Harrison threw a backward pass to Malek Young, who then launched it more than 50 yards to a diving Mullen in the end zone.

Young, a Georgia three-star DB commit in the Class of 2016, also had a fumble recovery and was active on defense.

Another rising senior, DB/LB Alexy Jean-Baptiste showed a nose for the ball and tenacity in tackling as did 2017 DB Kobe Green.

2017 defensive end Lashawn Paulino has a very impressive frame to grow into at 6-4 and 220 pounds and certainly looks the part of the prototype end in college. He lists a Temple offer and is sure to add more very soon.

Here’s everything Mullen and Victor were talking about after the game. Both are wide open in their recruitment with offers from essentially every program in the nation.

  

 

While most of the college coaches showed up to see Creek’s stars and Wiggins out for South Dade, they still had to come away impressed with several South Dade prospects, especially when the Bucs built a 14-0 lead in the first half.

Wiggins, who is committed to UM, was held out as a precaution after he clashed knees with a teammate at a recent practice.

Coach Nate Hudson says UM loves “his athleticism – similar to things we want to do – attacking the ball, his IQ of the game. He’s a sponge. He’s an athlete.”

Running back Jawon Hamilton excelled early on when South Dade was building its lead. He scored a touchdown and had a few other long runs, showing a quick burst and ability to accelerate and create separation from a chasing defender.

There’s no question Hamilton was aided by a strong, fundamentally sound offensive line, specifically the right side of it with 2016 tackle Boman Swanson (6-4, 245) and 2017 guard Kyron Taylor (6-1, 275).

Hudson says Swanson’s patience in essentially redshirting two seasons ago has paid major dividends for him in his development. Colleges are noticing, and reports state that Taylor is receiving UM interest.

Darnell Durham, a 2017 wide receiver who only stands at 5-8, made an impressive leaping catching against a Creek defender in the end zone for a South Dade touchdown.

Another pair of rising juniors at DB for the Bucs had interceptions in the end zone in Marquise Parnell and Woobendy Guerrier.

COLLEGES IN ATTENDANCE:

Miami, FSU, Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Clemson, Texas, Michigan, Louisville, Maryland, West Virginia, Minnesota, Cincinnati, FAU, Temple, Ohio, Florida A&M, West Florida, Liberty and Prairie View A&M

May 20, 2015

Updates on Jaquwan Nelson, Dallas Jeanty from Fort Lauderdale scrimmage

I got a chance to pass by Fort Lauderdale High on Tuesday to watch the Flying L’s Blue and White Game and was impressed by several of their athletes.

First, 6-4, 225-pound Class of 2016 defensive end Jaquwan Nelson was absolutely dominant in his pass rush and has a solid frame to build upon at the next level.

The three-star UM commit with active hands off the edge demands a double team. One blocker isn’t enough to contain him as a quick and forceful rip move swiftly gets him past linemen. I counted at least three times that he busted through for a “sack” (no contact on the quarterback).

 

Nelson spoke with me about what it meant to him to get that offer from the Hurricanes at UM’s Junior Day and how he reacted.

“It was a dream come true. I always wanted to play for UM as a little kid,” Nelson said. “My heart was pumping. My reaction was outrageous. I didn’t know what to do.”

Nelson lists himself as a “very solid” commit but is keeping his options open. He put his commitment status at 90 percent.

Nelson (pictured in three-point stance below) says the other schools that make up the remaining 10 percent would be Florida State, Notre Dame and Oregon State. Of those, Oregon State has offered while he says he’s heard from the other two but they are not showing too much interest.



Jaquwan NelsonDallas Jeanty, a three-star 6-1, 220-pound linebacker is urging to get a Hurricanes offer and join Nelson in the Canes’ 2016 class, as well as several other close friends in the class.

“I’m the biggest Miami fan on the planet. I’ve wanted a Miami offer forever,” says Jeanty, who currently lists 34 other offers.

He says if he got the UM offer, he would “definitely commit on the spot.”

As for now, Jeanty (pictured behind Nelson to the left) says Oregon State is his leader followed by Cincinnati and Army.

With a 3.9 GPA and a 1260 on the SAT (reading and math), he has been offered by all eight Ivy League schools. He wants a competitive school both in academics and in football, so that’s another reason why the Miami offer is so important to him. He’s also hopeful for a Notre Dame and USC offer.

Another solid-looking linebacker for Fort Lauderdale who is not getting the recruiting attention is 5-11, 210-pound 2017 prospect Darryl Weaver.

Weaver showed tremendous instincts getting to the ball and hits hard with good form when he tackles. He also had a fumble recovery in the scrimmage.

Kevin Thomas, a defensive back who was playing some outside linebacker on Tuesday, scooped up a fumble recovery for a touchdown on a backward pass.

Cornerback Duwan Smith is very good in coverage and reacts well with quick hips.

USF, Minnesota, Akron and Navy all had coaches at Fort Lauderdale's spring scrimmage.

May 19, 2015

Lichtenstein: "I'd probably commit" if offered by Canes; Parchment names top three

There's a lot of recruiting activity brewing out of Cypress Bay as spring comes to its conclusion for the Lightning.

All you had to do was look at how many colleges were represented at Cypress Bay’s spring game on Tuesday to identify how much interest there is in the Lightning’s prospects.

Georgia Tech, Duke, USF, Illinois, Indiana, Cincinnati, Syracuse and Bowling Green all had coaches in Weston on Tuesday.

Jake Lichtenstein (6-5, 235 pounds), a Class of 2017 defensive end, is a hot prospect due to his obvious size, motor and long arms.

Lichtenstein lists a recent offer from Louisville as his first but has also drawn significant interest from the hometown Miami Hurricanes and he says he is a big fan of the U.

How would he react if UM offered him?

“I’d probably commit,” says Lichtenstein, who is also being recruited by Auburn, Virginia and UCF. “I’ve always liked UM – hometown team, family can show up to watch. That’s a dream.”

 

Cypress Bay coach Mark Guandolo has been impressed with Lichtenstein – and not just for his play on the gridiron.

“He’s put on a lot of weight in the offseason program, he’s got a 4.5 GPA, he’s an all-around great kid,” Guandolo says.

Andrew Parchment, a three-star 2016 wide receiver, has announced a top three of Cincinnati, USF and Syracuse – in that order. Immediately after the scrimmage, he had a different third team, but after being contacted by Syracuse later Tuesday, the Orange are gaining momentum in his recruiting picture.

“Cincinnati, right now, has to be my No. 1 offensive-wise and because they have a bunch of South Florida guys,” says Parchment, whose name on Twitter is OchoCinco and his cover photo is one of Chad Johnson (or Ochocinco) in a Cincinnati Bengals uniform.

For now, Parchment tentatively says he will announce a commitment on Twitter at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.

At the scrimmage, his size at 6-4 was evident and he also displayed a keen sense of route-running and sharp change of direction. He stopped on a dime in the end zone on a comeback route to catch a touchdown at the pylon.

Parchment and 2016 cornerback Darrell Malone are close friends, both have offers from Cincinnati and could see themselves playing together at the next level.

“That’s one of my best friends on the team, so me and him have been talking about it for a little bit,” Parchment says.

Malone, also a three-star at 5-11, 165, was a shutdown corner on defense and also got in offensively to show his burst and run in a touchdown on a sweep.

He had thoughts of announcing a commitment on Wednesday but interest from Georgia Tech, Syracuse and Indiana after the scrimmage has him holding off for the time being.

“They’re great players, good team guys, hard workers, very talented, very tough competitors,” Guandolo says. “They’re going to be ready to play early.”

--Middle linebacker Robert Pitter was an “animal” tackling, as Guandolo put it. Pitter, the Lightning’s leading tackler, is undersized at 5-9, but he more than makes up for it with how strong he plays and how he knifes through the line to make tackles for loss. Guandolo compared him to former Cypress Bay linebacker Nico Marley, who is now at Tulane.

--Rising junior FB/DB Danny Montoya was a workhorse back in the scrimmage and reeled off some impressive runs. He’s receiving interest from Ivy League and Patriot League schools.

--Guandolo also praised rising senior R.J. Rosario at safety and his defensive line, namely Nesta Silvera, a 2018 nose guard that’s already 6-2, 285, and starting end Nicolas Wucher.

May 18, 2015

Deerfield Beach safety James Pierre commits to UM

James Pierre, a three-star defensive back out of Deerfield Beach, orally committed to UM Monday evening after receiving an offer earlier Monday.

The 6-1, 175-pound safety becomes the 21st commitment of the Canes’ 2016 recruiting class and sixth defensive back, joining Tyler Byrd (Naples), Devin Gil (Pembroke Pines Flanagan), Deion Jackson (Hallandale), James Wiggins (Homestead South Dade) and Cedrick Wright (Miami Gulliver).

UM will have safeties Deon Bush and Dallas Crawford go into their senior seasons in the fall while juniors Jamal Carter and Rayshawn Jenkins have two years of eligibility remaining.

The Canes had four freshman defensive backs – safety Robert Knowles and cornerbacks Sheldrick Redwine, Michael Jackson and Terrance Henley – enroll on Sunday while safety Jaquan Johnson enrolled in the spring.

Pierre, the nation’s 27th-ranked safety according to Rivals, had other notable offers from Wisconsin, West Virginia, North Carolina, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Syracuse, Cincinnati and FIU.

 

May 15, 2015

Talented crop of Miramar Patriots flourishing this spring

Miramar held its spring classic on Friday afternoon, and by watching the kids play and the coaches conduct the scrimmage, you couldn’t tell this is the same team that had to forfeit its playoff game last season due to sanctions by the FHSAA for an academic scandal.

Former Booker T. Washington defensive line coach Pierre Senatus has taken over as head coach, cleaned up the program, brought his winning mentality to a program that has seen plenty of winning and the scandal is behind the Patriots.

I’ll have more on how Miramar has moved on from that in the coming week, but first let’s focus on some of the athletes that stood out, some of which have had to wait their turns to finally blossom because of the players they've been behind on the depth chart in past years.

--I was very impressed with 2017 safety Brian Edwards, who already looks like a college safety on the field. He showed great range in his pursuit, going from sideline to sideline.

Syracuse was impressed too. With a coach at the scrimmage, the Orange offered him Friday. Edwards added to an offer sheet that includes UM, Clemson, Cincinnati and interest from South Carolina and Alabama among others.

--A pair of 2016 Patriots were offered by Coastal Carolina on Thursday in defensive end Terrell Lucas and offensive lineman Obinna Nwankwo.

Lucas is already 6-2, 231 and has a tremendous motor off the edge. Nwankwo is 280 pounds and paves a hole with force when a runner gets behind him.

--Miramar’s projected starter at quarterback, senior University School transfer D’Angelo Fulford, looked smooth with his delivery, flashed a gifted arm, showed some escape ability and stood even taller than his impressive 6-1 frame in the pocket.

All he needs to do is continue to learn the Patriot’s tempo offense and put the right touch on his deep ball to connect with his speedy receivers.

--Fulford connected with 6-4 senior receiver Kyle Anthony for two touchdowns at the scrimmage. Anthony displayed tremendous rapport with Fulford, ability to go up and use his body to get the ball as a possession receiver, and Senatus said he also has developed chemistry with Caleb Thomas when he is at quarterback.

Anthony picked up three offers at the FIU scrimmages last weekend – Colgate, Florida A&M and Alcorn State –  and is getting looked at by “all the HBCUs and all the Ivy League schools,” according to Senatus, but one would imagine his recruitment will explode in not time with his size and skill set. Anthony has a 5.0 grade-point average to go with all his tools on the field.

“His skill set, his speed, he has that tremendous ball radius, phenomenal burst, great route-running, great ball recognition,” Senatus says. “We feel we have one of the top receivers in the state of Florida right now.”

--Senatus calls 2016 cornerback Korel Smith “the honeybadger.” At the scrimmage, he presented his ball skills with an acrobatic interception in the end zone in single coverage.

--Senatus added that the cornerback combination of Smith and 2016 recruit Shemar Jean-Charles is one of the top tandems in the Southeast United States.

--Linebacker Deshondre Pitts is a beast at linebacker, shedding off blocks in the box and ripping through the line for tackles for loss. Pitts is also a captain on defense and earns the praise of both Senatus and defensive coordinator A.J. Scott.

“He has some of the highest football IQ that you’ll see in the United States. He is a coach on the field. He’s our field general,” Senatus said. “The intensity and the tenacity that you’ll see him bring on the field is some of the best that you’ll see in the country.”

*Pitts is driving the Miramar equipment crew crazy, breaking his own facemask and the facemask of a teammate running back all in the past week.

May 10, 2015

South Carolina tops Kenneth Ruff’s list

Dillard senior linebacker Kenneth Ruff’s recruitment is starting to heat up in the spring.

The 240-pound three-star 2016 middle linebacker, who is versatile in the Panthers’ defense also playing outside linebacker and defensive end,  has recently added offers from Virginia, South Carolina, Florida State and Oregon State.

He lists South Carolina as his leader right now and looks to take five visits over the summer. The Gamecocks will certainly get one of them, but he is yet to schedule a date for it.

“We run the same defense as South Carolina, so it would be a smooth transition going into the next level,” says Ruff, who has been recruited by linebackers coach Kirk Botkin.

 

Both Dillard and South Carolina run a 4-3 defense and USC wants to use Ruff, who already has the frame of a college linebacker, in the middle.

Ruff wants to make his commitment in August and then stick to it so that his recruitment doesn’t become a distraction during his senior season.

“I feel like whatever school you commit to, you should be solid to that commitment. There’s no reason to commit and then decommit, so I will be solid to whoever I commit to,” Ruff says. “It’s all hype. That’s like lying pretty much.”

On the inevitable recruiting from other schools after he commits, Ruff says, “I’ll listen, but I’ll still be solid to whatever school I choose.”

After South Carolina, Ruff lists Florida State, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi State -- in that order. Of those schools, FSU is the only one to offer, but he’s received significant interest from the others.

Miami has also shown interest. Ruff says academics are important to him in college, and that has been one of FSU’s primary pitches to him.

Ruff says goals he has going into his senior season are to reach 115 tackles in the season, reach states and one-up his interception total of two last year to record three.

May 09, 2015

Archbishop McCarthy boys' volleyball reaches state final

BY WALTER VILLA
 
A tired but determined Archbishop McCarthy boys’ volleyball team defeated Orlando’s Timber Creek, 3-1, on Saturday, advancing to the 2015 state championship game.
 
The Mavericks (20-8), who defeated fellow Broward power Monarch late Friday night – the match ended at 10:50 p.m. – was back at Pine Crest at 9 a.m. on Saturday to prepare for a noon contest against Orlando’s Timber Creek (23-5).
 
“I got just six hours of sleep, maybe less,” said McCarthy outside hitter Michael Moreiras, who had 15 digs and 11 kills – both team highs – in the Mavericks’ 3-1 win over Monarch. “I was playing that whole (Timber Creek) match really tired. I just had to push through it.”
 
Tired or no, the Mavericks beat Timber Creek, 25-20, 25-22, 23-25, 25-23.
 
The match ended at 2 p.m., and – rather than a post-game speech – McCarthy Coach Karen Frank had just one word for her team:
 
“Eat,” she urged her players. “Eat!”
 
The McCarthy players were set to return to the court at 4 p.m. to play Orlando’s Bishop Moore (22-5) for the title.
 
McCarthy has never won a state championship in boys’ volleyball, although the Mavericks did make the 2011 final, losing to Seminole Ridge in five sets.
 
Bishop Moore has had a less hectic schedule at state as compared to McCarthy. Bishop Moore played its quarterfinal match at 4 p.m.on Friday and its semifinal at 10 a.m. Saturday. It will be more rested than McCarthy in the final.
 
“Nothing that quick and nothing this serious,” Moreiras said when asked if he had played on such short rest before, especially in a game where the stakes are as big as a state final. “We have to push through this.”

May 07, 2015

State boys' volleyball preview

BY WALTER VILLA

The boys’ volleyball state championship, which will be played out Friday and Saturday at Fort Lauderdale’s Pine Crest High School, features eight teams – six of them from South Florida – and no clear favorite.

Tampa’s Berkeley Prep beat Longwood Lyman for the 2014 title, but both of those schools failed to make it back to state. Also missing is Orlando’s Dr. Phillips, which was 25-0 before getting upset in the district playoffs.

Of the eight teams that will be at Pine Crest this weekend, only

two - Timber Creek (2009) and Bishop Moore (2010, 2012) - have won state titles. Both of those schools are from Orlando.

“It’s up for grabs,” Palmetto Coach Chris Kallinosis said of the tournament. “Usually there’s a strong favorite or two. But I think there are at least five teams who have a legitimate shot.”

Palmetto (19-7) got perhaps a tough draw by having to face Bishop Moore (20-5) in Friday’s quarterfinals. Bishop Moore swept Berkeley Prep to get here. But a further look reveals that Palmetto beat Bishop Moore 25-15, 25-22 during the regular season. Bishop Moore also lost to Wellington, a team Palmetto beat.

In addition, Palmetto has 6-6 senior outside hitter Devin Decker, a player Kallinosis considers to be the best in the county.

“He’s been starting for us all four years,” the coach said.”He’s a force at the net. He’s our captain and a big reason why we are at state.”

Wellington (18-8) takes on Mourning (24-6) in the other part of Palmetto’s side of the bracket. Mourning beat Wellington 2-1 earlier this season.

Mourning has won eight matches in a row. During that streak, the Sharks beat Southwest and Palmetto, avenging earlier losses to those teams. They also beat Berkeley Prep.

But the Sharks, who lost to Bishop Moore in the 2013 state quarterfinals and Lyman in last year’s state semifinals, were 0-3 against Orlando teams this season, losing to Dr. Phillips, Bishop Moore and Apopka.

The other half of the bracket features Monarch (21-2) against Archbishop McCarthy (18-8) and Timber Creek (22-4) vs. Columbus (24-2).

Monarch is the surprise team of the tournament. The Knights went 2-13 in 2012 and 3-13 in 2013 before posting a winning record last year.

This year, they won a district title for the first time in program history, but they have yet to play a team outside of South Florida.

They lost in straight sets to Wellington in their only matchup against a team currently at state.

McCarthy is back at state for the first time since 2012. From 2009 to 2012, the Mavericks lost to the eventual state champion four years in a row: Timber Creek, Bishop Moore, Seminole Ridge and Bishop Moore.

In terms of common opponents with Monarch, McCarthy has the edge having beaten Wellington 3-1.

Columbus, which reached the state semifinals in 2012, may have the toughest challenge of all the local teams in its matchup with Timber Creek, which is led by 6-5 junior Michael MacGillivray, a Division I prospect according to his coach.

McCarthy Coach Karen Frank, who has seen every team at state play this season, believes it will be a “close” tournament.

“At the beginning of the year, everyone was talking that it would be a Lyman-Dr. Phillips final, and neither of those teams are here,” she said. “I think all eight teams have the ability to advance to the final.”