George Rushing and Trevon Lee have seen the repercussions coaching changes in college football have had on current and prospective players firsthand.
In the end, choosing the colleges that offered the two Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons wide receivers the most stability where major factors in their decisions.
Rushing announced his commitment to Wisconsin, with Lee deciding to take his talents to Duke. Both made their decisions public on WQAM Monday night.
Rushing, rated a three-star receiver by multiple media outlets, has had a hectic start to 2014 to say the least. He was previously committed to Louisville since May 2013, but Charlie Strong’s departure to take the head coaching position at Texas left Rushing trying to put all the pieces in his recruitment back together since withdrawing his pledge on Jan. 8.
“It’s been crazy,” Rushing said to the Miami Herald about 90 minutes before announcing his decision.
Rushing took official visits to Wisconsin on Jan. 17, Louisville on Jan. 24 and TCU this past weekend in hopes of finding some clarity, and did with a school kept its persistence.
“The only school I’ve known for a really long time has been Wisconsin,” Rushing said. “They’ve been recruiting me since April. They never gave up even when I committed [to Louisville].”
Rushing said getting to know the new staff at Louisville and trying to quickly build a relationship with those at TCU “as kind of hard, but worth it.”
In the end, joining Wisconsin’s pass-heavy offense was the deciding factor for Rushing, who has grown close with Badgers head coach Gary Andersen and wide receivers coach Chris Betty. Rushing should have no problems thriving as he secured the third-most touchdowns amongst players in Miami-Dade and Broward County last season with 13.
“Basically what [Andersen] wants to do is bring in some playmakers to throw the ball” said Rushing, who had 47 catches for 598 yards. “And I feel like I can be that playmaker especially in the Big Ten.”
For Lee, seeing Duke coach David Cutcliffe promote passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach Scottie Montgomery to offensive coordinator once Kurt Roper left for Florida was reassuring to say the least.
“That was a very big factor to me since a lot of coaches have been swapping schools lately,” Lee said before an hour his announcement. “But Coach Roper leaving didn't really affect me, and I know for a fact Coach Cut isn't going anywhere.”
Duke defensive backs coach Derek Jones was also a key component for Lee, who visited the school this past weekend after taking an official visit to Vanderbilt on Jan. 24. Ultimately, Duke provided more stability after seeing James Franklin leave Vandy to take the helm at Penn State.
Lee, who was tied in 15th place amongst Miami-Dade and Broward County players last season with 741 receiving yards, will now share receiving duties with another South Florida stud in Chris Taylor from Davie University School.
“I say we're pretty close,” Lee said of his friendship with Taylor. “Still working on our friendship since we pretty much just met in the middle of this football season, but we're really cool. He's been telling me about the program and why I should go there with him.”
In the meantime for Rushing and Lee, announcing their decisions together was a lasting moment for both.
“It means a lot,” Lee said. “[Rushing has] been my bro since he got to [Cardinal Gibbons] so I'm glad we're ending our recruiting process together. “We both worked very hard for this moment.”
-Two more local prospects announced their commitments Monday night. Miami Columbus linebacker Nick MeBeath will sign with Holy Cross. Miramar quarterback Nick Jeanty will head to New Mexico State.
Shawn Burgess-Becker and Calvin Ridley have been close friends since the third grade.
On Sunday, they plan on announcing their college decisions to keep their friendship going at the same college.
Burgess-Becker (left) and Ridley – two of South Florida’s most talented Class of 2015 prospects – took to their Twitter accounts Thursday to post a list of top schools with Miami, Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State in common. Burgess-Becker also listed UCF and Florida among his possible suitors with Ridley adding Clemson.
“I’ve visited most of the colleges [on my list],” Burgess-Becker said at Monarch High School on Thursday afternoon. “All of the schools have beautiful campuses. All of those schools have just been recruiting me heavy.
“I just felt good to make my decision on Sunday.”
Added Ridley, a young man of few words: “I’ve been known what school I wanted to go to.”
Former U School coach Roger Harriott thriving at FAU; Luther Campbell new defensive coordinator at Norland
Roger Harriott spent the last eight years building University School into a high school football powerhouse from the ground up.
He hopes he's on his way to doing the same at FAU.
The South Florida native and St. Thomas Aquinas grad, who starred at Boston University and Villanova at running back in the late 1990s, was hired by the Owls late last month as the assistant head football coach and running backs coach by new head coach Charlie Partridge.
And ever since, FAU has been on an unbelievable recruiting run, landing 16 commitments in the 2014 class and another four highly touted kids in the 2015 class.
Harriott, who won a state title at University in 2012 and went 78-15 in his time there, said Thursday he's excited to be a part of FAU's future. He also wants to clear the air and dispell any rumors about a bad parting of the ways with the program he built at U School, especially in light that so many of his former players transferred out after he left.
"There’s a lot of unanswered questions out there, rumors that I have animosity with U School. There’s not. I’m more than thankful for the opportunity they gave me," Harriott said. "I’m proud of what we accomplished at U School. I poured my heart and soul into it.
"The truth is my coworkers were a joy to be around and I appreciate how I was able to develop under [school headmaster] Dr. Chermak. I miss them. This move was inevitable. This was the direction my family and I were going."
Among FAU's newest commitments is 2015 four-star running back Jordan Scarlett, who transferred from University to St. Thomas Aquinas; Cypress Bay 2014 safety Marquis Dudley-Gordon; Coral Gables 2014 running back Greg Howell, among the rushing leaders in Miami-Dade County; Hialeah 2014 running back Henry Bussey; South Dade 2014 tight end Nate Terry and Taravella 2014 offensive tackle Siffo Pierre.
"The focus for us is building integrity," Harriott said. "With how volatile this industry is and how fast everything changes I think we’ve established some momentum. We’re taking more of a family approach to coaching and to recruiting and to establishing relationships. We’re excited about the direction is FAU is heading in.
"The whole University is buzzing right now. Boca is a beautiful area. It’s not difficult to promote the value FAU brings from a South Florida standpoint. We’re looking forward to a great Signing Day."
> FAU also hired former Edison and American High coach Corey Bell to be the program's secondary and player personnel coach.
NORLAND HIRES LUTHER CAMPBELL AS DEFENSIVE COODINATOR
Uncle Luke will be back on the football sidelines this spring.
The Miami native and longtime rapper, who won a state title at Central (2010) as defensive coordinator and spent the last two seasons at Miami Northwestern before he was cut loose in the middle of last season, was hired as Miami Norland's defensive coordinator earlier this week.
He said he was officially introduced to the team Wednesday.
"I’m excited. I’m ready to go," Campbell, 53, said. "We got some young kids who were beat up last year because they were young. But they never laid down. [Head coach Daryle] Heidelburg is one of the best offensive coordinators, head coaches in the state. I’m excited. We've got some talented kids. All the defensive backs, that’s the best defensive backfield in the county. I’m happy."
Heidelburg said he's always respected Campbell as a coach. As district rivals, the two went head-to-head often over the last few seasons.
"I've known him for a minute and we were always talking about working together," Heidelburg said. "I have respect for what he did at Northwestern and Central playing against him. I didn’t really have to sell him too hard. He had offers to go other places, but like I said we’ve always been talking about it. The one thing I can say is he’s always been kid first. Those are the type of coaches I’m looking for."
Campbell, who allegedly paid University of Miami players bounties for big plays back in the 1980s and 1990s, was initially barred from coaching high schools by the state several years ago. But he fought and won full certification.
"I don’t know what he does after 8 o’clock. I don’t know what anyof my coaches do after 8 o’clock. But I do know he’s kid first," Heidelburg said. "I did my homework on him. And from everything I heard he was diligent as far being there every day to coach and be there for the kids."
-- MANNY NAVARRO
Looks like Arkansas is doing alright without with Charlie Partridge on its staff.
Despite getting a decommitment in the last week from Plantation tight end Ravian Pierce – who was close with Patridge, FAU’s new coach – the Razorbacks received oral commitments from three South Florida players in two days.
Fort Lauderdale Dillard safety Randy Ramsey announced his pledge to Arkansas on Sunday with Miami Norland wide receiver Kendrick Edwards and Miami Gulliver Prep receiver Cornelius Floyd following suit on Monday.
Ramsey and Edwards are fresh off of their official visits to the school this past weekend, while Floyd took his official visit on Jan. 17.
All three prospects – rated three stars by 247 Sports – were heavily recruited by former Miami Hurricanes head coach and current Arkansas assistant/linebackers coach Randy Shannon.
"I think it's a great fit," Ramsey said to 247Sports. "I love the players and the school. I could play early.
“The fans are crazy. They love the football players. They love the school."
Ramsey, who plays defensive end at Dillard will play outside linebacker in college. He picked the razorbacks over Kentucky and N.C. State.
Floyd, who had five catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns last season, picked Arkansas over offers from more than 15 schools including UCF, Virginia, West Virginia and Oklahoma.
Edwards, who had 15 catches for 256 yards and two touchdowns last season, picked the school over offers from more than 10 schools including Rutgers and FAU.
This post will be updated throughout the night.
UM’s Junior Day event is already starting to pay off.
The Hurricanes got a commitment from 2015 Pembroke Pines Flanagan wide receiver Emonee Spence on Sunday afternoon, a few hours after receiving a scholarship offer from Canes coach Al Golden and touring the campus.
“I spoke to the [Golden] about everything, and I walked around campus, and I fell in love with it instantly so I decided to commit,” Spence said.
Here's Spence in a photo he posted on his Twitter account with Golden, right, and wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Brennan Carroll.
Blessed # pic.twitter.com/pPtoj5XjQ7— Emonee Spence #81 (@Emonee_NikeMan) January 26, 2014
Spence told Carroll of his intentions after the experience he had getting familiar with UM.
The University of Miami will host a number of rising Class of 2015 prospects on its campus for its Junior Day event on Sunday.
Below is a tentative list of juniors, and a Class of 2016 prospect expected to be in attendance (With SATs and Strong Arm 7-on-7 team tryouts Saturday morning, this list will be updated throughout the day).
Canes fans, it's really a who's who list of rising, up-and-coming players in South Florida.
Here’s who has confirmed so far:
With just 12 days left until National Signing Day, Davie University School defensive lineman/linebacker Richard Yeargin III has withdrawn his pledge to Notre Dame.
Yeargin, an Army-All American rated a four-star prospect by multiple outlets, was committed to Notre Dame since this past August, but all signs now point to him heading to Clemson – a school very dear to his family.
247Sports first reported the news Friday night.
The Yeargins are originally from South Carolina, and Yeargin’s father said during his son’s Army All-American jersey presentation in October that Clemson’s winning history, and being one of the schools to first recruit his son when he was in 10th grade were reasons the Tigers were still under consideration.