September 23, 2015

South Dade running game and defense as strong as it gets

The South Dade football team is starting to look like it can tap the same potential it found in its 2013 state championship-winning season.

While only through three games on this young season, these Buccaneers are similar in how they dominate weaker opponents (40-24 win against Coral Reef and 42-0 win against Palmetto) and come through clutch in tough, tight games (7-6 win vs. Norland), but the 2015 squad is different in many ways too.

While the Bucs from two years had two of Dade County's finest receivers to come out that year in C.J. Worton (Florida Gators) and Tyre Brady (Miami Hurricanes), this year's team relies heavily on the running game -- and they are some of the best at it.

The combination of Jawon Hamilton and Ivan Smith -- a pair of transfers to come in from Coral Reef and Columbus, respectively -- running behind an offensive line rivaled in Dade only by that of Miami Central devastates opposing defenses.

Last Friday against previously unbeaten Palmetto, South Dade ran for five touchdowns in the first half -- three of them coming from Hamilton, the FIU commit.

Hamilton lists three other offers and is also drawing interest from Syracuse and West Virginia. Listen to everything he had to say after the Palmetto game in the video below.


Smith, the speed back out of the two with Hamilton being the balanced workhorse, later ran for a touchdown, and is if that weren't enough, Tre'ven Worthen ran in the score to put the Bucs up five touchdowns and run the clock the entire second half.

They all run behind a massive offensive line that just paves the way led by seniors Boman Swanson and Mike Davis and junior Marshall commit Kyron Taylor.

The defense swarmed the Panthers in the shutout. Junior defensive end Chei Hill, who is currently flying under the radar in recruiting, led the unit with 11 tackles, had a sack and recovered a fumble. This comes after a pair of sacks in the win against Norland. He won't be held down without an offer much longer, I would imagine.


The secondary is spearheaded by UM commit James Wiggins, who is versatile among the DBs, playing both corner and safety. Wiggins had the game-clinching interception against Norland and recorded seven tackles against Palmetto.

Senior linebacker Wyatt Swanson was in on 10 tackles, and senior DB/LB Andrew Matthews showed a nose for the ball with double-digit tackles, as well.

On special teams, South Dade has a kicker to look out for in the next two seasons with 2017 prospect Mark Sanchez.

September 20, 2015

UM lands Jacksonville commit after win against Nebraska

Jacksonville Bolles 2017 three-star safety Ahman Ross decided to commit to the Miami Hurricanes after their 36-33 overtime victory against Nebraska.

Ross has one other offer at this point, and it's from FSU.

The 5-11, 190-pound defensive back attended Saturday's game and told he like the impression he got from talking to Corn Elder, who had an overtime interception to set up the winning score for the Canes.

"This is a solid commitment," he told the Rivals website.

In the bigger picture, UM continues to thrive in its initiative to recruit different areas throughout Florida with Jacksonville being one of the focal points.

Ross' highlights show how sure of a tackler he is and how dynamic of a player he is in the secondary.


September 11, 2015

Edison OL Cesar down to top three, other Edison-Ferguson notes

Three-star Edison offensive lineman Keldrick Cesar lists a top three of USF, UM and Syracuse -- in that order. Cesar, the mammoth 6-3, 310-pound senior, has received 10 offers and taken unofficial visits to UF last week and USF in the summer.
Cesar has offers from USF and Syracuse and is waiting on one from the Canes. He could not stop talking about the Bulls.
"I had a great time at my unofficial visits this summer at USF," Cesar said. "I really liked it there." 
Edison wide receiver Alberto Peña (5-10, 160) has received interest from SEC schools Tennessee and Georgia but has yet to receive an offer. He has also received interest from Tulane.  
Linebacker Gerald Payoute and Ferguson tight end Brandon Wood have not heard from colleges yet, but coaches from both teams are expecting college coaches to come calling soon.

September 05, 2015

Boyd Anderson standouts Lewis and Telfort getting local interest

Boyd Anderson linebacker Ricky Lewis said he has received interest from UM, FIU and FAU, but he is still waiting for his first offer from an FBS program. 

The senior said he would like to attend the University of Miami. Boyd Anderson coach Eddie Brown spent the first half of the team's win over Douglas Friday night wearing a hat with the "U" logo, so he probably wouldn't mind seeing the defensive leader of the Cobras in the green and orange next year. Lewis earned "Best Linebacker" honors during one of the Al Golden Football Camps earlier this summer in June. 

The 6-2, 210-pound 2016 prospect manhandled the Douglas offensive line all night, finishing the game with five sacks and two forced fumbles. 

Similar to Lewis, Boyd Anderson junior quarterback Shabazz Telfort has also received interest from UM, FIU and FAU, but still has not been offered by a school. Telfort said he has also received been hearing from Auburn, but that is not the SEC school he wants to hear from in his recruiting process.

The mobile quarterback with a huge arm is a fan of LSU and would like to play college ball for the Tigers. Telfort shredded the Douglas secondary Friday night, throwing for 239 yards and three touchdowns on 16-of-29 passing.

September 04, 2015

Recruiting news, notes, quotes and analysis from Edison-Homestead

Junior Edison running back Eldridge “E.J.” Thomas stole the show in Edison’s 34-0 win against Homestead at Curtis Park on Thursday.

He ran with conviction, displayed great vision in finding running lanes and hit those holes with alacrity. The 2017 prospect who played sparingly at the end of last season proved to possess some workhorse qualities with 23 carries for 150 yards and three touchdowns.


The scores went for 25, 7 and 20 yards.

“The first touchdown run -- I just saw daylight. Someone tried to catch me, and I just ran with all my strength,” Thomas said.

He is currently not being recruited by any schools. He doesn’t have ideal size at 5-8, 165 pounds but possesses the running ability to make up for it.

“He ran hard last week (finished with 16 yards on eight carries in the 19-0 loss to Southridge). It carried over,” coach Herb Herring said. “His teammates were able to step it up and also play harder for him because they saw what he did on film. That got everyone motivated.

“As the season progresses, I’m sure the offers will come rolling in.”

Big 6-4, 295-pound offensive lineman Keldrick Cesar anchored an offensive line that paved the way for 274 rushing yards. He lined up all over the line but mostly at left tackle.

Cesar told me postgame that some SEC schools are starting to show interest – notably Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. Cesar already lists offers from USF, Syracuse, FIU and Middle Tennessee State among a few others.


Alec Damier is another lineman that looked solid blocking in the Red Raiders’ rushing attack. Often times, he would line up as the guard on the same left side as Cesar. When Edison ran that way, Homestead could offer minimal resistance. Damier is getting interest from the HBCU programs in Florida.

Edison forced six turnovers – picking up four fumbles and picking off two passes. Junior defensive backs Kevontae Lee and Kareem Gaiter looked nearly identical skying for interceptions in single coverage on floating passes.

-Gerald Payoute is a solid looking senior linebacker at 205 pounds. His recruitment will certainly pick up throughout the season.

“He’s strong in the weight room,” Herring said. “He loves the weight room. He lives there.”

-Senior Jhoan Tejada was beastly at linebacker, fighting off blockers and exhibiting a tremendous motor. He registered a sack and a fumble recovery.

-Senior wide receiver Alberto Peña caught just one pass but put his capabilities with the ball in his hands on the pedestal, leaving one Homestead defender in the turf with a spin move on a second-half carry in the open field when it appeared he was sure to get wrapped up.

-Junior quarterback Malcolm Vigile ran for 81 yards and had one of the game's biggest highlights with a 53-yard touchdown on the opening drive that set the tone for the rest of the night.

-Athlete Ontebius “OC” Cherry looks the part playing both sides of the ball with decent size and speed. He had a sack in the contest.

Homestead didn’t have a great outing but had some players show their talents.

FAU safety/outside linebacker commit Rashad Smith had to be moved around with Homestead fielding a depleted linebacker corps devastated by injuries. He was rarely in the secondary with the way Edison was running the ball and played some Mike in addition to outside.

Like the Broncos’ first game against Ferguson where he had more than 20 tackles, he was depended on a lot defensively.

One prospect to keep your eye on in coming years: sophomore athlete Isaac Lipscomb. Lining up at wide receiver at 6-2 and 180 pounds, he went up on a smaller corner, broke a tackle and bolted for a 90-yard catch and run to get the Broncos down to the 3-yard line before getting caught from behind.

Homestead has a solid 2018 crop of prospects with Lipscomb, linebacker Dervon “Dread” Marius and nose guard Yatil Kitchen – plus a few of their offensive linemen.

Marius showed some flashes, appearing aggressive in pursuit and also recovering a fumble.

Kitchen (5-10, 255 pounds) busted through between the center and guard on one play to tackle the running back for a 5-yard loss on the exchange from the quarterback. He also proved he can move well with his weight, bouncing outside for a stop on the next play.

If Kitchen can wrap up more consistently and get into the 270-280 range by the time he’s a senior, he can put together a solid offer sheet.


September 01, 2015

Colleges contact 2017 recruits for first time

At midnight Tuesday, college coaches were able to contact 2017 recruits (juniors in high school) for the first time via direct messages on Twitter, and several talented prospects in Dade and Broward had coaches contact them right away.

Coaches are still unable to contact juniors over the phone, but many rushed to "slide into their DMs," as they say.

Up to this point for 2017 kids, a recruit would've had to reach out to the coach recruiting him -- no contact initiated by the coach -- after that college coach has expressed interest in the prospect to the recruit's high school coach. (Confusing, I know, and I probably could've worded that better. But anyway, here are some of these recruits and the schools that have contacted them):

I will update this as I continue to receive updates.

Stanford Samuels, Flanagan CB: South Carolina, LSU, West Virginia, Clemson, Rutgers, UCF, Georgia, FSU, Oklahoma, Michigan, Tennessee.

De'Andre Wilder, Carol City LB: Michigan, Notre Dame, Alabama, LSU, UM, UF.

Jake Allen, St. Thomas Aquinas QB (UF commit): UF, Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Colorado, UCF, Rutgers, South Carolina, Duke.

Jake Lichtenstein, Cypress Bay DE: FAU, Purdue, Northwestern, UCF, FSU, Virginia, California.

Kadeem Telfort, Norland OL (UF commit): Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, UM, UCF, UF.

Marco Wilson, American Heritage CB: UM, Tennessee, Alabama, Notre Dame, UF, UCF, FAU.

Waynmon Steed, Miami Central LB (UM commit): UM, UF. 

Naytron Culpepper, American DB: Syracuse, Alabama, UCF, FSU, Middle Tennessee State (according to 247 Sports).

Kevaughn Dingle, Carol City WR: UM, Tennessee (according to 247 Sports).

Daewood Davis, Stranahan WR  (Syracuse commit): Purdue, Temple, UCF, Syracuse, Pittsburgh.

Jonathan Ford, Dillard DE: UM, Alabama, UCF, Purdue, South Carolina.

Mike Epstein, St. Thomas Aquins RB (Illinois commit): Syracuse, Purdue, Tennessee, Kentucky, Cincinnati, FAU, Arizona State, Illinois, Temple, UCF, Duke, Colorado, Western Michigan, Stanford, Miami (OH), Vanderbilt, Central Michigan.

Tyler Dunning, St. Thomas Aquinas LB (UM commit): UM, Pittsburgh, Alabama, UCF, Arkansas, Syracuse, Temple, Purdue.

Clevan Thomas, Flanagan WR: UCF, FAU.

Kyshaun Bryan, American Heritage RB: UF, FSU, Virginia Tech, Clemson, UM, Colorado, Alabama, West Virginia, Arkansas, Ohio State.

*You can notice some consistencies with what schools are recruiting South Florida the hardest.

Homer as solid as it gets with Canes

One UM commit looking to go nowhere else anytime soon: Oxbridge Academy running back Travis Homer.

Since deciding to commit at the UM 7-on-7 this summer, he's one of the more solid commits out of the 22 in the Canes' class of 2016.

"I just wanted to be a man of my word, and I wanted to stay committed wherever I committed," said Homer after a win against Gulliver on Friday. "That's why I took a little while to commit."


Coach Al Golden, while not the only reason for his commitment, played a major role in it. 

Golden made a much stronger impression on him and his mother, Karri Valot, than other coaches that have tried to recruit Homer. Valot feels Golden is an overall great person and not just a coach trying to recruit a four-star prospect. Homer has expressed similar positive sentiments about Golden to me in a previous interview.

"Golden appears to have a great character," Valot said in a message. "It seems like his moral compass points in the right direction, and those qualities are important to me when it comes to my kids."

Barring any unforeseen changes, Homer has shut down his recruitment and won't take any official visits other than UM at this time.

In Friday's 46-0 win that Homer and his Oxbridge ThunderWolves had over Gulliver, Homer got the best of fellow UM commits Joseph Jackson, Cedrick Wright and Robert Burns.

"I think it was just great to play against them -- teammate against teammate, just get some chemistry between us," said Homer, who finished with 90 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries plus 31 receiving yards on two catches, including one where he caught it in the flat and leaped over a defender diving for his legs.


Jackson, a four-star defensive end, joked postgame that most of Homer's yards were gained running away from his side of the defense. Jackson, who also had a couple of catches at tight end, moved inside and outside on the defensive line and was in the backfield plenty but the quick, short passing game for the ThunderWolves would get the ball out of the quarterback's hands before Jackson could get there.

Wright was kept busy at safety. With the defense on the field most of the game and ThunderWolves skill players getting into the secondary often, he finished with 17 tackles.

Burns, the junior four-star running back, only carried the ball one time. The Raiders would offer no explanation as to why postgame. Dionte Mullins, a four-star senior receiver for Gulliver who is also committed to the Canes, did not travel to West Palm Beach for the game due to academic ineligibility.

August 04, 2015

Johnny Huntley commits to Colorado

South Plantation three-star wide receiver Johnny Huntley announced a commitment to Colorado on Tuesday.

Huntley chose the Buffaloes over offers from Louisville, TCU, Tennessee and West Virginia among his list of 17 total offers.

"It felt like home on the visit and they love me," Huntley said in a message.

Colorado is not a school known to dip into the state of Florida in recruiting. Huntley becomes the first Florida prospect in a Colorado recruiting class since Apopka's Henley Griffon in 2010.

The last South Florida high school football player to end up with Colorado was Northeast outside linebacker Josh Hartigan in 2007.

August 03, 2015

Elite Coconut Creek CB Trayvon Mullen releases top three

Coconut Creek cornerback Trayvon Mullen, a high-end four-star prospect, released his top three list of college football programs on Twitter Monday night.

The three lucky schools to have made the cut as the highly sought-after cover corner heads into his senior season -- FSU, LSU and Clemson.

Mullen added that he has no leader among the three and that he is still not blocking out any other school from creeping into that top three.

Mullen is the third-ranked cornerback in the country, according to 247 Sports, with only five-stars ahead of him at the position.

His recruitment has been thought by many to go all the way to National Signing Day -- like Creek coach Kareem Reid told Safid Deen of the Tallahassee Democrat recently.

August 02, 2015

Utah nabs Hallandale QB-WR tandem

One of the top quarterback-wide receiver tandems in South Florida committed to Utah together on Sunday.

The Hallandale duo of Tyler Huntley and Demari Simpkins both announced their commitments to the Utes. First it was Simpkins and Huntley followed by decommitting from FAU and then announcing he would join top target Simpkins at Utah.

Huntley (6-1, 175) and Simpkins (6-0, 176) are both three-star prospects. The two were fresh off a trip out west to Salt Lake City when they decided to commit. 

With former UM legend Dennis Erickson as running backs coach at Utah, the program is experiencing a resurgence in recruiting South Florida. Huntley and Simpkins join St. Thomas Aquinas running back Devonta'e Henry-Cole. The Utes also grabbed Tyson Cisrow and Chris Hart out of Aquinas last recruiting cycle.