December 25, 2015

Keir Thomas commits to South Carolina

Fresh off back-to-back state championships his junior and senior seasons with Miami Central, defensive end Keir Thomas committed to South Carolina on Christmas Day.

The first thing the 6-2, 249-pound three-star prospect pointed to was the scheme new Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp will run and where he will fit into that scheme. Thomas will play the "Buck," an ultra-important position in the defense where he'll play either defensive end or outside linebacker depending on if the team is in a 4-3 or a 3-4.

Thomas, ranked as the No. 5 senior prospect in Miami-Dade County entering the season, says the combination of Muschamp and South Carolina defensive coordinator Travaris "T-Rob" Robinson has been recruiting him the longest and the hardest and the two were a major key in getting him on board with the Gamecocks on Friday.

"Coach Muschamp coaches hard. I want somebody who's going to stay on me and make sure they get the best out of me," Thoams said. "[Robinson] as well. I can also relate to Coach T-Rob a little bit more because he's from Miami."

Thomas decommitted from FSU in November and at that point was listing Auburn as his leader when Muschamp and Robinson were together on the Tigers' staff.

Arkansas and Tennessee were his other finalists. He visited each of those schools since decommitting from FSU and also was offered by UM.

Although Thomas hasn't visited South Carolina, he felt comfortable making the decision and was somewhat familiar with the school even before Muschamp and Robinson arrived.

"I had a feel for South Carolina before that," Thomas said. "They always have a great defensive line."

In Columbia, S.C., Thomas will be reunited with former Carol City cornerback Rashad Fenton, whom he attended middle school with. The Gamecocks also currently have Skai Moore from University School, Al Harris Jr. from St. Thomas Aquinas and Chris Lammons from Plantation on the roster.

South Carolina has been hot in recruiting with five new commits since Muschamp took over.

December 22, 2015

Jerry Jeudy asks, and he receives

It started a week ago on Tuesday, Dec. 15 when Deerfield Beach 2017 four-star wide receiver Jerry Jeudy tweeted out his very early top 10.

Aside from his emoji game being on point, notice the section at the bottom. He lists schools that he's interested in but haven't offered yet -- USC, TCU and Baylor.

Oh, how quickly things changed when college coaches at those programs got a hold of that information.

Three days later on Friday, the Trojans came through with an offer.

On Monday and three days after the USC offer, the Horned Frogs dished out an offer.

Moral of the story: Jerry Jeudy is so good that when colleges find out he wants an offer, they just go ahead and give him one.

Baylor, where you at?

 

December 20, 2015

Former Cincy pledge Carriere-Williams commits to Wisconsin

St. Thomas Aquinas senior cornerback Dontye Carriere-Williams announced a commitment to Wisconsin Sunday just four days after decommitting from Cincinnati, where he was previously committed since May.

Carriere-Williams, who transferred to St. Thomas from Booker T. Washington in the summer, joins Fort Lauderdale linebacker Dallas Jeanty as Broward County prospects set to play for the Badgers.

December 16, 2015

Recruiting Roundup: Bush recruiting Pie to join him at Michigan

The biggest news Wednesday came in Devin Bush Jr. announcing his commitment to Michigan (read Andre Fernandez's full story on that), but a subplot developing is Bush's recruitment of Miami High wide receiver Keyshawn "Pie" Young.

Bush, the four-star Flanagan linebacker, spoke with Young moments after announcing he was choosing the Wolverines over Florida State. Young, reported by the Miami Herald in October as a Michigan lean, was on FaceTime with Falcons lineman Natrone Ray during the ceremony to watch it live -- "a moment I will never forget," he called it. Shortly afterward, Bush got a hold of Ray's phone and told Young he's next. 

Young is still keeping things open at the moment, saying Alabama, Tennessee and USC are schools he has up there for his services. He has a visit with Tennessee scheduled for Jan. 29 and already visited Michigan during the season.

Oh, then he sent this tweet out and revealed another school he hasn't counted out yet. It's not too far from where he lives.

**UM had Miami Jackson athlete Desmond Phillips, a quarterback for the Generals being recruited as a slot receiver, decommit on Wednesday. He originally committed just three weeks prior after getting the UM offer slightly before the Al Golden firing.

**Another Hurricane recruit whose commitment was accepted in between the Golden firing and Mark Richt hiring, South Dade running back Jawon Hamilton, is wavering on his pledge to the Canes at the moment.

"I haven't received a call from Richt yet, so I'm going to keep my recruiting open," Hamilton said.

That doesn't mean he is decommitting at the moment, he adds.

**Another prospect that did decommit on Wednesday was Hallandale wide receiver Neru N'Shaka, who went back on his commitment to Virginia, saying "it just felt right."

Before anyone starts speculating that a fourth Hallandale prospect is Utah-bound, N'Shaka, who missed his entire senior season with a knee injury, does not hold an offer from the Utes.

He says he's not sure of his top at the moment, but did say the schools recruiting him the hardest are Toledo, Virginia, Syracuse and Mercer -- notice the Cavaliers are still in that group.

**Miami Jackson linebacker Shemar Smith signed with Oregon State on Wednesday after committing to the Beavers last Thursday.

"I chose Oregon State because when I took the official visit it felt like home, they made me feel like family and the chemistry with the team and the coaches is unbelievable," Smith says. "It was an amazing place."

Oregon State assistant and former Miami Central coach Telly Lockette is getting a good one in Smith, who was the Miami Herald's Defensive Player of the Year in 2014.

**At the same ceremony Wednesday, Jackson offensive lineman Carl Thompson also signed early with Alabama State.

**Hialeah American defensive end Jamal Smith committed to UCF on Tuesday upon receiving an offer from the Knights the same day.

Smith joins South Dade offensive tackle Boman Swanson and Norland cornerback Bryon Brown as Dade County seniors committed to UCF.

**Some news that slipped through on Monday but worth noting even if it's late: Hallandale quarterback Tyler Huntley signed with Utah and is set to enroll in the spring semester.

December 12, 2015

Samuels wears FSU gloves to state title game, Flanagan recruiting notes

Flanagan didn't win its first state championship without the help of some exceptional prospects. Team Herald went inside the recruiting outlook for some of the Falcons' top prospects.

Stanford Samuels III, a highly-touted 2017 cornerback had the game-clinching interception return for a touchdown. 

Samuels wore FSU gloves to the title game, but the four-star prospect wouldn't show his hand in recruiting after the game.

With the Seminole gloves on, though, is he leaning toward heading to Tallahassee as the son of a former Seminole?

"I don't want to say that," he said.

Samuels did say FSU is among his top schools recruiting him, a list that also includes Georgia, Alabama, Maryland and Michigan.

Samuels isn't ready to proclaim that Mark Richt heading to UM boosts the Hurricanes with him. He says he would need to speak with him and his new assistants.

 

 **Dredrick Snelson and Devin Gil reaffirmed that their commitment to Minnesota and Michigan respectively are strong.

  

 

**Clevan Thomas, a 2017 wide receiver, holds offers from Michigan, Louisville and Temple, but he says the schools showing him the most love right now are UCF, USF, FAU and Texas.

 

COMING UP

**Four-star linebacker Devin Bush Jr. will announce his college commitment on Wednesday. While he didn't discuss his recruiting Saturday night, here's his postgame reaction to going out on top with a state title.

 

BONUS MATERIAL: Wide receiver Jahcour Pearson, a Northern Illinois commitment, postgame interview.

 

December 11, 2015

Bruce reaffirms UM commitment, more recruiting notes from STA

Tons of recruiting notes and content from St. Thomas Aquinas' state championship victory on Friday night... starting... NOW.

Sam Bruce once again reaffirmed how strong his commitment is to UM. Bruce stuck with the Canes through the Al Golden firing and things remain the same now that Mark Richt was hired.

 

"We had a couple guys decommit, but just how I tell Michael Irvin, 'We're going to build off who we have and what we have,'" Bruce said.

He continued: "Miami's home. Who doesn't want to play at home in front of their home crowd? Who cares that it ain't that many people in the stands? It ain't that many people here [at the Citrus Bowl], but we got the job done, right? As long as we're getting the job done, who cares?"

Bruce also called Mark Richt a "phenomenal hire."

It was special for Bruce to get to share the moment with UM wide receivers coach Kevin Beard, who was in the front row of the stands. Beard coached Bruce when the two were together at University School under current St. Thomas coach Roger Harriott.

"That just shows how important I am to him," Bruce said. "He's an important dude to me. He's been a father figure in my life since eighth grade. KB is KB."

Bruce, who caught the Raider's first touchdown in a 45-10 rout, was one of three Hurricane commits to win a state title Friday night.

 

**Michael Irvin II said he's been waiting to play at UM since the second grade and is excited to finally make it happen.

 

Watch this video interview with Manny Navarro.

 **Trevon Grimes, a 2017 five-star wide receiver, still didn't show his hand in a potential commitment, but he did indicate that Ohio State, Florida and Florida State comprise his top three.

Grimes had several highlight-reel catches in the championship victory.

Grimes said Ohio State is his leader and that UM is still somewhere in the picture and potential for a spark later in his recruitment is there with Bruce talking to him.

 

**Jake Allen remains strong in his commitment to UF.

"I'm just happy to be a Gator," Allen said. "Coach Mac (Jim McElwain) is very happy. I talked to him before the game he just told me to go out there and do what I do every day. Overall, he's very happy with my season. I'm going to talk to him tonight."

Allen addressed how the Gators are recruiting other quarterbacks, including committed 2016 four-star Feleipe Franks from Wakulla (who played earlier Friday in the 5A title game) and Jacob Eason, a five-star recruit from Washington who has been committed to Mark Richt and Georgia since July 2014.

"I don't mind a bit," Allen said. "I love competition. When I came to St. Thomas there was competition, and I would expect it anywhere else I go. I embrace it. It brings out the best in me.

"I'm just gonna do what I do and let everything play out."

**2017 UM commit Tyler Dunning noted that he feels Rich was a great hire for the Canes and that he will meet him soon at a bowl practice.

 

*Herald sportswriters David Furones, Manny Navarro and Bill Daley contributed to this report.

Malek Young decommits from Georgia

Coconut Creek four-star cornerback and U.S. Army All-American Malek Young announced a decommitment from Georgia on Friday.

Young, previously not considering Miami, is now thought be a possibility to hop on board with the UM depending on the defensive assistant coaches hired by former Bulldogs coach -- now at the helm with the Canes -- Mark Richt.

Young currently has a UM visit scheduled for Jan. 15 and an Auburn visit set for the ensuing weekend.

December 10, 2015

N.C. State, Northern Illinois go offer-happy at STA

It wasn't just Nike that swung by St. Thomas Aquinas on Wednesday.

N.C. State, Northern Illinois and UCF all visited the storied Fort Lauderdale campus before the Raiders get set to take on Viera in the Class 7A state championship game on Friday night.

A total of 16 juniors, sophomores and freshmen received offers from at least one of the schools -- many of them who aren't even starters at Aquinas because of how deep the Raiders are, but college coaches can already see the potential in them.

The list with links to their Hudl pages:

N.C. State

2017 DE Kivon Bennett

2017 OL Cody Bowes

2017 WR Joshua Palmer

2017 LB Drew White

2018 De Nik Bonitto

2018 WR Teriq Phillips

2018 LB Rocky Shelton

2018 OL Jason Swann Jr.

2019 RB Marcus Barthell

2019 RB Daniel Carter

2019 LB Anthony Solomon

Northern Illinois

2017 DE Kivon Bennett

2017 WR Mike Harley Jr.

2017 LB Drew White

2018 LB Adetutu Daranijo

2018 RB Sam Llewellyn

2018 CB Asante Samuel Jr.

2018 LB Rocky Shelton

2019 RB Daniel Carter

2019 LB Anthony Solomon

*UCF was also present and offered 2017 DE Kivon Bennett, 2017 OL Zack Sweeney and 2018 DE Nik Bonitto.

This tweet from the Sleeper Athletes account pretty much summed up what it was like watching all those prospects receive offers.

December 06, 2015

Richt prioritizing linebacker recruiting, more UM recruiting nuggets

It really seems as if new Miami Hurricanes coach Mark Richt has taken a liking to the linebackers former coach Al Golden had committed.

He's made them a priority, already having some form of contact with commit Shaquille Quarterman and former commit Zach McCloud, who decommitted after the Al Golden firing but is close to jumping back into the class. Richt also watched Jacksonville Raines linebacker and UM commit Michael Pinckney play in his final high school game, a 43-23 defeat at the hands of now four-time Class 4A state champion Booker T. Washington.

Pinckney was a monster and all over the field. He finished the night with seven tackles (four solo), three for loss, an interception, a forced fumble, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry. Again, he was extremely impressive on the biggest stage at state in Orlando.

Richt, who was at the Citrus Bowl with running backs coach and former Booker T. coach Tim "Ice" Harris, as well as linebackers coach Hurlie Brown, had to have come away impressed.

 

"It's a great honor," said Pinckney of having Richt come out to watch him so early in his tenure. "That means they really care about me. That's why I committed -- because I know they care about me -- and I have a chance to do some great things in that program."

Richt is scheduled for an in-home visit with Pinckney on Monday.

What are Pinckney's thoughts on the Richt hiring?

"It's a great hire. He's a great coach," says Pinckney, who is set to be an early enrollee. "I feel like he can come in and do some great things for the University of Miami. I'm ready to play for him. I'm ready to get down there in January."

Pinckney played with a UM headband under his helmet -- one he says he wears for every game.

"It's pride. It's U pride," said Pinckney. "I've been a Cane since who knows when."

[[Check out this awesome picture of him coming out of the tunnel before the game.]]

Richt spent a portion of the game sitting in the stands and he just so happened to have a seat next to another linebacker commit in Quarterman.

Thanks to coordinator of on-campus recruiting Jorge Baez for capturing this moment with Richt and Quarterman combining to throw up the U.

With Pinckney's visit on deck in Jacksonville, McCloud got a visit from Richt, Brown and interim coach Larry Scott in his abode in Palm Beach County.

By the looks of the tweet, the smiles and the U's, it was a very successful trip.

As I've previously reported, McCloud has been planning a recommitment to the Canes for a while. It is likely to occur on his upcoming Dec. 13 visit -- a weekend that is also scheduled to host Pinckney, Quarterman, committed four-star quarterback Jack Allison and a slew of other top targets, according to 247 Sports.

Speaking of Allison, there's been a lot of talk about him lately because Richt had one of the top-rated quarterbacks in the nation committed to him while at Georgia in Washington-based five-star Jacob Eason. There's the thought floating around that Eason may follow Richt to the Canes.

Allison made an interesting public statement Sunday night.

One of the other recruits expected to be on UM's campus this upcoming weekend is Patrick Bethel, a four-star defensive end out of Vero Beach, who many believe is a Cane lean. Peter Ariz of CanesInSight.com reported that Bethel also had Richt and Brown visit him Sunday.

A couple of current three-star commits in Fort Lauderdale defensive end Jaquwan Nelson and Deltona tight end Evan Hinson remain firmly committed to UM and await to see how things play out regarding whether Richt will continue to recruit them as he begins combining recruiting boards at Georgia and Miami.

Hinson, who had 32 receptions, 541 yards and six touchdowns this season, was quoted in the Daytona Beach News-Journal as saying, "If they don't want me [anymore], that's probably not the school for me, but if they do want to still recruit me, I'll be right with them and stay committed."

Kentucky is a potential Plan-B destination for Nelson, who finished an incredible senior season with 75 tackles, 24 for loss, 18 sacks, three forced fumbles a fumble recovery and an interception. 

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.