November 30, 2015

Elite Central WR Darnell Salomon commits to USF

Miami Central wide receiver Darnell Salomon, a 6-2, 200-pound four-star prospect and preseason No. 1 senior in Miami-Dade County according to the Miami Herald, committed to USF Monday morning.

Salomon took to Twitter to make his announcement.

"I talked it over with my family and I am now committed to USF#Go Bulls," Salomon tweeted.

Salomon is the first four-star player in the 247 Sports Composite Rankings that USF has been able to reel in since coach Willie Taggart took over in December of 2012.

"They are getting a big-time wide receiver. This is a prospect South Florida is missing on their team," says Central coach Roland Smith. "Darnell has good body control, hands and speed. He will make an impact when he gets to South Florida."

Reports in late September linked Salomon to UM as his favorite school. In the summer, Salomon named a top five to the Herald with neither UM nor USF in it, so the commitment came as a surprise to many recruiting followers.

Salomon was once rated a five-star recruit by Rivals. He had incredible sophomore and junior campaigns with Champagnat Catholic where he totaled more than 1,500 receiving yards and tallied 16 touchdowns, winning a state championship with the Lions in 2013.

"Salomon has talent to be a No. 1 wide receiver at the next level for USF," says Mike Tunsil, Salomon's coach at Champagnat. "USF is getting a great kid who is very coachable and a great team player. Coach Taggart and [wide receivers coach Ron] Dugans are getting a hard-working kid whose best football is ahead of him."

After transferring to Miami Central for his senior season, Salomon has posted 23 receptions for 398 yards and six touchdowns for the Rockets as they prepare to face Naples in a Class 6A state semifinal on Friday.


November 29, 2015

Cocoa OL Jawaan Taylor flips commitment from UM to UF

Jawaan Taylor
After announcing he was decommitting from the Miami Hurricanes late Saturday night, Cocoa offensive lineman Jawaan Taylor announced a commitment to the Florida Gators Sunday afternoon.

Taylor (6-5, 330 pounds) becomes the seventh Hurricanes recruit to decommit since the Al Golden firing just over a month ago. He's the sixth in the 2016 class.

In July, UF also flipped 2017 Miami Norland offensive tackle Kadeem Telfort from the Canes. UM does not have an offensive lineman currently committed in its 2016 class but did bring in six in 2015 and has Miami Central tackle Navaughn Donaldson committed in 2017.

The news comes after Florida landed junior college athlete Dre Massey earlier Sunday. Taylor joins defensive back Chauncey Gardner as Cocoa Tigers committed to UF's 2016 recruiting class.

Taylor describes himself as a guard but lined up mostly at right tackle in Cocoa's state semifinal loss against Booker T. Washington on Friday. He was a critical component to an effective running game that was bulldozing the Tornadoes in the first half but marginalized in the second. His pass blocking abilities are somewhat of an unknown as his high school team relies heavily on the ground game.

After Friday's game, Taylor told me he planned on taking five official visits to the three big Florida schools, Clemson and Auburn with the UF visit coming Jan. 15, Miami Jan. 16-17 and the Auburn visit coming in two weeks in December. It'll be interesting to see if his visit schedule remains intact with his change in commitment since Friday.

*PHOTO: David Furones

November 25, 2015

Desmond Phillips commits to Canes

Dynamic Miami Jackson athlete Desmond Phillips committed to UM on Wednesday on an unofficial visit to campus to watch practice.

Jackson coach Earl Little, a former Hurricane, confirmed the commitment with this tweet.

Phillips plays quarterback for the Generals, but the 5-10, 170-pound three-star senior is being recruited by UM to play slot receiver.

Phillips was previously committed to Toledo and decommitted on Nov. 10. He attended the Canes' Nov. 7 home win against Virginia after receiving a UM offer in mid-October.

Phillips still has official visits to Toledo and Temple scheduled in December, and he told he plans on taking those two trips.

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.

November 22, 2015

Jawon Hamilton flips from FIU to UM

South Dade running back Jawon Hamilton flipped his commitment from FIU to UM on Sunday.

On an unofficial visit to UM's campus, the balanced 5-10, 185-pound runner committed to Hurricane coaches.

"I fell in love from the time I entered the campus, and the coaches showed me a great time," Hamilton said. "I toured the campus and felt like that was the place I wanted to be.

"I feel great. [There] is nothing like playing in front of my family."

Hamilton initially committed to the Panthers in June. With a stellar senior season brewing, Hamilton received an offer from Temple in October before getting offers from Kansas, UM and Western Kentucky in November.

He has Temple and Kansas visits set up in January and confirmed he will still take those visits, but told "it probably won't change anything."

It was evident from the moment Hamilton first received the offer on Nov. 11, in the aftermath of the decommitment of Hallandale running back Zack Moss, he was leaning toward the Canes.

He told Herald correspondent Russell Quinoa at the Nov. 13 playoff game against Southwest, "It was always my dream school growing up, and I feel like it'll be great for me if I do happen to go there."

On the year, Hamilton has rushed for 1,191 yards and 16 touchdowns on a 9.8 yards-per-carry average in his first year with South Dade after transferring from Coral Reef.

He's rated a two-star prospect on Rivals and 247 Sports, but his rating has not changed since the summer -- before the 1,000-yard season. He joins defensive back James Wiggins as South Dade recruits committed to UM.

Hamilton and his Buccaneers square off against Columbus in the Region 4-8A final on Friday night at Harris Field.


Elbre Gaiter commits to FIU

Senior Westminster Christian wide receiver Elbre Gaiter announced a commitment to FIU on Sunday.

Gaiter, a 5-8, 168-pound speedster, chose the Panthers over other offers from Louisville, Duke and Indiana.

"It's close to home, I'll have an opportunity to play early and they make me feel wanted," Gaiter says. "Not always about the name. It's about the better situation for yourself."

Gaiter has visited FIU several times and says he enjoys the campus atmosphere. He also has received positive feedback from current players.

Gaiter, son of former Miami Hurricane Tony Gaiter, finished his senior season with 28 receptions for 479 yards and nine touchdowns, including a three-touchdown effort in a virtual district-championship win against Chaminade on Oct. 9. He added three rushing scores and a pick-six for a total of 13 touchdowns as a senior.


November 17, 2015

Keir Thomas decommits from FSU, Auburn new leader

Miami Central defensive end Keir Thomas confirmed to the Miami Herald that he decommitted from FSU on Tuesday.

Thomas, a 6-2, 245-pound three-star recruit, now lists Auburn as his new leader.

He also says he wants to find out who UM's next head coach will be, so the Hurricanes may be in play for his hard-hitting services. Arkansas and South Carolina are other schools Thomas says are in the mix.

Thomas plans on visiting Arkansas Dec. 5, the day after a potential state semifinal if the Rockets, three-time defending Class 6A state champions, advance that far.

November 16, 2015

Great day to be a South Dade offensive lineman

They have been the heart and soul of the South Dade football team all season -- and the accolades are rolling in for those big offensive linemen that pave the way for the Buccaneers ground game to be so effective.

On Monday, it started with Boman Swanson receiving his eighth offer when he received one from Florida Atlantic and later saw 2017 guard Kyron Taylor get invited to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Taylor, a Marshall commit as a junior, found out about his prestigious honor when he had the invitation relayed to him from coach Nate Hudson after practice.

"It feels great. I feel like the hard work and after-practice workouts really helped," Taylor said. "I was amazed at what I received but not surprised what dedication and determination could get you because that itself has always been in my DNA."

While committed to the Herd, Taylor says FSU, Notre Dame, Purdue, USF and Charlotte are all recruiting him at the moment, adding "heavy" with Notre Dame.

Swanson, the senior tackle, has had his recruitment heat up as of late. He received a Western Kentucky offer within the week and also lists offers from Southern Illinois, Delaware State and Florida A&M among others.

"I think it's a great school and a great option to have, and I'm looking forward to going on a visit and seeing more of the school," said Swanson, who will plan a trip to Boca Raton after the season.

Swanson adds that FIU, UCF and Georgia Tech are expressing significant interest. One of those schools may be next for him as schools are starting to catch on to what he can provide at the next level.

Says South Dade offensive line coach Michael Campos on the success of his linemen: "I'm extremely proud of those guys. They work extremely hard and deserve everything that comes their way."

Deon McIntosh commits to Notre Dame

Cardinal Gibbons three-star running back Deon McIntosh announced a commitment to Notre Dame on Monday.

The 5-11, 175-pound senior, who visited the Notre Dame campus in October, chose the Fighting Irish over other offers from Miami, Michigan State, Tennessee, Penn State, Wisconsin and Louisville.

McIntosh joins IMG Academy's Tony Jones Jr. as running backs committed to Notre Dame's 2016 class. Last year, former UM running back commit Dexter Williams of Winter Garden West Orange signed with the Irish.

This year McIntosh ran for 681 yards and seven touchdowns on 134 carries and added 117 yards and another score through the air. He finishes his career second in Cardinal Gibbons history in scoring (210 points and 30 rushing touchdowns) and third in rushing yards (2,523).

November 14, 2015

Hamilton discusses UM offer, more from South Dade-Southwest

South Dade senior running back Jawon Hamilton is still currently committed to FIU but has gotten a flood of offers in the Past week, including Miami, Western Kentucky and Kansas.

Hamilton's dream school growing up was the University of Miami and said of being offered a scholarship, he was "totally surprised but very happy about it."

Hamilton (5-10, 185 pounds) has also received interest from UF and was first contacted by the Gators after the Hurricanes offer was announced on Twitter.

Hamilton rushed for 193 yards on 25 carries in a playoff win Friday against Southwest. 

*Ivan Smith, another South Dade running back, is expecting an offer from Western Kentucky soon, joining teammates Hamilton and lineman Boman Swanson. Smith (5-11, 175) is ranked a two-star prospect by Scout. 
*Kyron Taylor, 2017 South Dade offensive lineman, has been seeing increased attention from Notre Dame.
The Marshall commit says, "I appreciate the love."
Taylor (6-3, 265) has also received interest from FSU recently. 
*Willie Brown, Southwest linebacker, has received interest from state schools FIU, Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman. Brown (5-11, 215 pounds) has also heard from Louisville. 
*Ilan Jorge, Southwest linebacker. has received considerable interest from states schools FAMU,  FIU and Bethune-Cookman like fellow teammate Brown. Jorge (5-11, 225 pounds) is being heavily recruited by Alcorn State. Alcorn State is planning to visit Jorge after the season, where a scholarship offer might be presented.