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.


October 25, 2015

Cane commits react to Golden firing

With the firing of Al Golden announced by UM Sunday evening, recruits reacted.

Wellington wide receiver Ahmmon Richards responded in the most extreme way. He decommitted Sunday night with this tweet.

*Three-star cornerback out of Hallandale Deion Jackson said the firing won't affect his commitment, but did say he felt the move was "stupid."

He added: "Golden was a good coach. He had chemistry with the team. He literally used to go on the field and work with the players himself.

"Golden brought a family together. He always used to say, 'This is not just a football program, it's a family.' Half of these college coaches don't care. They don't care. They don't even look some recruits in the eye when they speak to recruits. Golden did and always stayed on top of me with my grades and things like that.

"Other college coaches don't care about building chemistry. If you're good, they want you just to win."

*Jackson's teammate at Hallandale, running back Zack Moss, says the change doesn't affect his commitment.

"I didn't commit to the coaches," he says. "I just look at rosters, mainly my position."

*Lantana Santaluces linebacker Zach McCloud will take a wait-and-see approach. He doesn't have much time as he plans to be an early enrollee in January for the spring semester.

"To be honest, I'm waiting before I make any big decisions. My biggest concern in this process is my future with only three months to decide since I'll be an early enrollee," he says. "I'm not comfortable at the moment, still being patient, though. I want to make an informed decision."

*Columbus defensive end Josh Uche told 247 Sports, "I don't know yet, honestly ... I will talk to my family and coaches [Monday] and then decide. I will make my decision soon."

Uche is still strongly considering Florida and Alabama, both which offered him in the summer after he committed to UM.

*Quarterback commit Jack Allison was not available for comment, but Palmetto coach Dave Marino said Allison was "disappointed" and that Allison sticking with UM "all depends on who they hire and if Coach Coley is retained."

*Four-star St. Thomas Aquinas wide receiver Sam Bruce, who was in attendance to watch UM's 58-0 debacle against Clemson and has also recently taken an Ohio State visit, when reached said: "No comment."

But Bruce later made his opinion known with the tweets below.

The latter of the two statements, of course, is in reference to UM wide receivers coach Kevin Beard who once coached Bruce at University School. 

*Fellow Aquinas wide receiver and legacy Cane commit Michael Irvin II voiced his displeasure with the decision earlier Sunday.

*Teammate at Aquinas and 2017 linebacker Tyler Dunning had no comment but did post this to Twitter.

*Dionte Mullins' mother posted this on Twitter, noting "#StillCommitted" at the end.

*2017 safety out of Jacksonville Bolles Ahman Ross said, "Committed to UM. I will, of course, evaluate the staff, but I am committed to UM."

*Four-star athlete Tyler Byrd out of Naples posted this.

*Nick Roberts, 2017 defensive back out of Orange Park Oakleaf, expressed similar sentiments in this post.

*Deltona assistant coach David Williams said of senior tight end/defensive end Evan Hinson: "We're staying committed on our end."

*Fort Lauderdale coach Richard Dunbar said of committed defensive end Jaquwan Nelson, "Jaquwan will stay committed to UM but will take all of his visits. Just not sure what the university is thinking at this point. That's very critical for him."

Dunbar is referring to whether the new staff that comes in will continue to recruit his three-star defensive end, who has recorded 66 tackles and 15 sacks on the year.

*The latest UM commit, 2018 wide receiver Daquris Wiggins, said: "I'm still committed."

October 13, 2015

Sights from Dionte Mullins Under Armour All-America jersey presentation plus eligibility update

This post is about Dionte Mullins being named to the Under Armour All-America Game and being presented with his jersey on Tuesday, but I'll start with a quick update on his eligibility because many fans have been asking and want to see the four-star UM commit get back on the field.

Mullins, who hasn't played yet in this his senior season, first became ineligible academically during his junior year after football season. He has since been working to get his GPA back over the necessary 2.0 mark for FHSAA eligibility (Gulliver still requires a 2.3 GPA internally).

The next opportunity for a GPA boost, according to Melissa Sullivan, principal of one of the Gulliver campuses, would come in two weeks when semester grades are released.

By that math, Mullins would remain out for Thursday's big district game against Booker T. Washington and then a meeting with Champagnat before potentially retaining eligibility Oct. 30 on a trip to Delray American Heritage. The regular season finale against Chaminade and a regional playoff run would follow if there are any delays.

“He is working toward getting his GPA where it needs to be, and we have the resources in place to help him get there," Sullivan said.

So that's where it stands now as Mullins is working hard in the classroom to get back on the field, which is where a lot of local fans, especially UM fans, want to see him.

Now to the celebration on Tuesday, which was Mullins being presented his Under Armour All-American jersey.


Here are some of the images.

He had family there, as well as teammates and fellow UM commits. From left to right: 2017 running back Robert Burns, Mullins, 2016 athlete Cedrick Wright and 2016 defensive end Joseph Jackson.

 The game will be played in Orlando on Jan. 2 and televised on ESPN 2.


October 09, 2015

Carol City 2017 WR Kevaughn Dingle has UM at the top, Montray Smith has Cincy visit in plans

De'Andre Wilder isn't the only junior out of Carol City who currently lists UM as his top choice.

Wide receiver Kevaughn Dingle, who already lists an offer from the Hurricanes, also has them as his top school. Watch the video below to hear everything else he was talking about after Carol City's 33-0 win over Southwest on Thursday.


Senior wide receiver Montray Smith is really high on Cincinnati and will visit the Bearcats. FIU has also shown interest in him recently.


Also, one to look out for in the future: freshman Carol City quarterback Lorenzo Floyd. Filling in for Stephen "Buckshot" Calvert, a Liberty commit, Floyd torched the Eagles for five touchdowns. The Chiefs are in good hands in the future with him in the shotgun.


Worth noting: Senior DB Jonas Dorvil had two interceptions defensively and had one returned for a 100-yard touchdown but was called back due to a holding penalty on the return by a blocker on a Southwest player that probably wasn't going to catch him anyway.

Keelen Roberts, who has offers from UF, Louisville, Cincinnati and Illinois had an interception of his own right before halftime, showing his closing speed on an overthrown ball that initially appeared it would be out of reach.

David Hood, the Toledo commit, was strong in stuffing the run at defensive tackle and showed pass rushing abilities as well, along with some hard hits.

Wilder was beastly once again, getting to the quarterback at will and flushing him out of the pocket often if he didn't get a hit on him.

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 CaneSport.com 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.