November 04, 2014

Torrance Gibson, mother share emotional moment before his commitment to Ohio State

An exciting day began as a somber one for Torrance Gibson at Plantation American Heritage on Monday.

About an hour before announcing his commitment to Ohio State, Gibson accepted his U.S. Army All-American Bowl invitation alongside teammate Tarvarus McFadden and thanked many in attendance for their support along the way, including his mother Joann Seymour and a Heritage staffer who “saved his life” by allowing him to attend the school.

Gibson -- the youngest of six children -- stayed composed thanking his single parent, who currently works at Heritage as a teaching assistant, for helping him endure a trying senior year, which has included three Heritage losses this season and the biggest decision of Gibson’s life hanging overhead.

When Gibson moved away from the podium to hug Seymour afterwards, the tears started to flow for both mother and son.

“Just being a single parent with six kids,” Gibson said afterwards, “I’m the last one.

“That’s why I wear No. 6. I’m the last one.

“This moment was a very special moment. I’ll never forget this moment and this day.

“She’s been working so hard at this school. Sometimes I just cry myself to sleep. I just go in my room, and I look the door. And I just want to be alone. And I just think about her and all that she has done for me. It hurts sometimes because you don’t have that father figure in your life, and it hurts seeing my mom like that.”

After the tears, Gibson’s mother was all smiles especially during her son’s announcement to play for Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes.

“To see my baby boy growing into a young man right now,” Seymour said. “That was kind of emotional for me.”

Gibson and McFadden, a five-star cornerback who committed to Florida State on Friday will play alongside each other for the last time in one of the most prestigious high school all-star football games in the country, held in San Antonio on Jan. 3, 2015. Last year, Heritage star running back Sony Michel played in the game.

September 22, 2014

The MEAC is home to 198 Floridians this year

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There are so many college football programs that have become home to Florida high school football players over the years, but very few conferences have produced as many from the Sunshine State as the MEAC (Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

While Bethune Cookman and Florida A&M make up a large percentage of those prospects, there are other programs who have adde to that impressive total of 198 players competing this year.

Here is a look at why the MEAC has become so popular with athletes from this state:

BETHUNE COOKMAN WILDCATS (72)
Murphy Allen, LS, Fr., 6-0, 245, Starke Bradford County
Darian Baker, WR, So., 5-10, 175, Jacksonville Raines
Darius Bladek, OL, Jr., 6-5, 310, Kissimmee Poinciana
Jocelyn Borgela, DB, Jr., 5-8, 180, Miami LaSalle
Trenton Bridges, LB, Fr., 6-2, 230, DeLand
Larry Brihm, QB, Fr., 6-0, 210, Delray Beach Village Academy
Frank Brown, WR, So., 5-11, 175, Palm Beach Gardens
Mark Brown, DL, Sr., 6-0, 290, Palm Beach Gardens
Michael Butler, S, Jr., 6-0, 190, Coral Springs Charter
Courtney Bunes, WR, Jr., 5-9, 175, Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson
Jonathan Cagle, P, 6-3, 175, Pensacola Pine Forest
Tavarus Dantzler, LB Sr., 6-3, 225, Homestead
James Darby, DB, Fr., 5-9, 173, Miami Booker T. Washington
Jarren Davis, DL, So., 6-3, 270, Jacksonville Stanton Prep
Jawill Davis, WR, So., 6-0, 170, Hialeah American
Jeremy Davis, DB, So., 5-11, 173, Fort Myers
Kameron Davis, OL, So., 6-4, 280, Oakland Park Northeast
Kendon Davis, WR, Fr., 6-2, 180, Plantation
Danny Dillard, RB, So., 6-2, 225, Venice
Drexler Dixon, RB, Jr., 5-10, 180, Orlando Evans
Brian Dorsey, OL, Sr., 6-4, 300, Jacksonville Ribault
Marquis Drayton, DB, Sr., 6-1, 200, Fort Lauderdale Dillard
Junior Estelus, DL, Sr., 6-1, 286, Lake Worth
Atreyu Farrior, LB, So., 6-01, 220, Lakeland Kathleen
Thomas Finnie, DB, Sr., 5-10, 185, Miami Central
Gerard Fulton, DB, So., 5-8, 165, Delray Beach Atlantic
Jhomo Gordon, WR, Sr., 6-0, 195, Palm Bay Bayside
Denzel Hanna, WR, So., 6-0, 180, Orlando Dr. Phillips
Terry Harden, DB, Jr., 6-0, 175, Hollywood Hills
Korey Harris, DL, 6-4, 255, Fruitland Cove Bartram Trail
Brice Hawkes, DB, Jr., 6-0, 216, Fort Lauderdale University
Haden Hoggarth, PK, Fr., Daytona Beach Seabreeze
Tevin Huff, OL, Jr., 6-4, 270, Tallahassee Lincoln
Daeon Kelly, LB, Jr., 6-0, 225, DeLand
Samuel Kelly, DL, So., 6-2, 280, Delray beach Atlantic
Barry Johnson, DL, Fr., 6-2, 255, Gainesville Eastside
Derrick Johnson, OL, Fr., 6-5, 320, Jacksonville First Coast
Don'Kevious Johnson, LB, Fr., 6-1 220, Belle Glade Glades Central
Julian Johnson, TE, Jr., 6-3, 250, Orlando Lake Highland Prep
Michael Jones, WR, So., 6-2, 187, Sarasota Booker
Antonio Joseph, LB, Fr., 6-5, 215, Tampa Wharton
Ja-Quan Lumas, TE, So., 6-4, 225, Orlando Jones
Deonte Mayo, LB, Fr., 6-2, 215, Ocala Forest
Dwayne Montgomery, DL, Sr., 6-5, 273, Fort Lauderdale Dillard
Alexander Morales, DB, Fr., 5-11, 190, Hialeah
Dazzie Morris, OL, So., 6-2, 260, Apopka
Dre'Sean Nelson, RB, So., 5-8, 160, Fort Lauderdale Dillard
Gerald Nesbitt, DE, Fr., 6-4, 280, Fort Lauderdale
Ben Noboa, PK, Gr., 5-10, 175, Deltona
Phillip Norman, OL, So., 6-4, 280, Sebastian River
David Perry, DL, Gr., 6-4, 265, Fort Lauderdale University
Werley Placide, LB, So., 6-3, 215, Boca Raton Olympic Heights
LaBranden Richardson, DE, Sr., 6-2, 255, Miami Central
Andre Scott, WR, So., Orlando Oak Ridge
Ky're Simmons, DB, Jr., 5-10, 180, St. Augustine
Ty're Simmons, DB, Jr., 5-9, 178, St. Augustine
Michael Simmons, DB, So., Jacksonville Ed White
Donald Smith, DB, Sr., 6-0, 218, Tampa Spoto
Jason Smith, LB, So., 6-1, 215, Hialeah American
Frank Thomas, WR, Jr., 5-11, 167, Jacksonville Raines
Jamaruz Thompkins, RB, So., Tampa Bay Tech
Travis Turner, OL, Jr., 6-4, 290, North Miami Beach
Austin Walker, DB, Fr., 6-4, 180, Sarasota Riverview
DeVonte Washington, WR, So., 6-2, 178, Jacksonville Raines
Robert Way, LB, Jr., 6-1, 220, Belle Glade Glades Central
Cary White, RB, Sr., 5-10, 210, Tampa Sickles
Arthur Williams, DB, So., 6-3, 210, Sebring
Erik Williams, DE, Gr., 6-3, 270, Fort Lauderdale Stranahan
Milton Williams, WR, Fr., 5-8, 165, Seminole
Quentin Williams, QB, QB, 6-0, 190, Tampa Jefferson
Ralph Williams, LB, Sr., 6-1, 240, Miami Southridge
Jaime Wilson, WR, So., 5-11, 196, Belle Glade Glades Central
Jameson Wright, DB, Sr., 6-1, 190, Fort Pierce Westwood

DELAWARE STATE HORNETS (10)
Terrick Colston, DB, Jr., 6-1, 190, Lakeland Kathleen
Jamal Douglas, DL, Sr., 6-1, 295, Bartow
Josh Ealy, LB, Fr., 6-3 230, Vero Beach
Anthony Gamble, DB, Fr., 5-8, 170, Fort Pierce Central
Frankie Glenn, DL, Jr., 6-2, 300, Titusville Astronaut
Rodney Gunter, DL, Sr., 6-5, 305, Haines City
Marcus Johnson, QB, Fr., 6-0, 195, New Smyrna Beach
Marlon Kelly, WR, Jr., 6-2, 195, Miami Dr. Krop
Alex Perry, LB, Sr., 5-11, 225, Jacksonville First Coast
Jordan Smith, DB, Fr., 6-0, 185, Lakeland Lake Gibson

FAMU RATTLERS (58)
Joshua Addison, OL, Fr., 6-5, 305, Miami Central
Osman Aguilera, OL, Fr., 6-5, 300, North Miami Beach
Patrick Aiken, DB, Jr., 5-10, 170, Pembroke Pines Flanagan
Curtis Alexander, LB, Gr., 6-2, 215, Quincy East Gadsden
Lonnie Anderson, WR, Fr., 6-1, 190, Tallahassee Rickards
John Archembault, DT, Fr., 6-0, 215, Longwood Lyman
Jaderius Baxter, LB, Fr., 6-2, 230, Haines City
Colby Blanton, P, So., Jacksonville Atlantic Coast
Josh Boston, DB, Jr., 5-11, 190, Oviedo
Caleb Brown, FB, So., 5-10, 190, Crawfordville Wakulla
Zachary Browning, OL, FDr., 6-2, 275, Lynn Haven Mosley
Jacques Bryant, DB, So., 6-1, 175, Tallahassee FAMU
Kashawn Butler, LB, Jr., 6-1, 220, Davie Nova
Joshua Calabro, OL, Fr., 6-3, 280, DeLand
Keonte Cash, OL, So., 5-11, 300, Miami Belen Jesuit
Rosario Chisolm, DT, Jr., 6-3, 260, Orlando Evans
Derrick Connor, DT. Sr., 6-4, 225, Miramar
Neal Cunningham, S, So., 6-1, 205, Pompano Beach
Jules Dornevil, DB, So., 5-11, 165, Naples
Jalen Douglas, WR, Fr., 6-0, 185, Niceville
Bryan Dunlap, DB, Fr., 5-10, 205, Jacksonville Mandarin
Jeff Elisbert, DB, Fr., 6-1, 205, Palm Beach Lakes
Curtric "Spiffy" Evans, WR, Sr., 6-0, 180, Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna
Admasen Felix, WR, Sr., 5-11, 195, Lake Worth
Damien Fleming, QB, Sr., 6-3, 210, Jacksonville Ribault
Dai'Kwon Fuze, DT, Fr., 6-4, 285, Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer
Jamal Gay, OL, So., 6-4, 275, Tallahassee Florida High
Rashad Guyton, DB, Jr., 5-8, 180, Madison County
Dennis Hall, WR, Sr., 5-10, 170, Pahokee
Jeff Hall, OL, Fr., 6-4, 275, Lynn Haven Mosley
Gerald Harrison, OL, Fr., 6-6, 300, Tallahassee Florida High
Dewayne Harvey, WR, Sr., 6-1, 205, Tallahassee Florida High
Gerald Hearns, RB, Fr., 5-9, 205, Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer
William Helms, LB, So., 6-2, 225, Tallahassee Godby
Tra'Von Holmes, WR, So., 5-7, 155, Tallahassee Rickards
Raysean Jackson, WR, Sr., 5-11, 185, Jacksonville University
Devonte Johnson, DB, Sr., 6-0, 183, Tallahassee Rickards
Michael Lovejoy, DL, Jr., 6-4, 300, Pensacola Escambia
Donavan Mann, DT, So., 6-4, 240, Jacksonville Raines
Michael Morris, WR, Jr., 6-4, 235, Jacksonville Andrew Jackson
Andrew Negron, OL, Fr., 6-5, 275, Jacksonville University Christian
Nolan Norton, LB, Jr., 6-1, 210, Tallahassee Florida High
Alonzo Palmer-Hicks, TE, So., 6-3, 235, Sarasota
Vasty Paul, RB, Sr., 6-0, 200, Tampa Middleton
Michael Perceval, DB, Fr., 5-10, 175, Fort Pierce Central
Loubens Polinice, OL, Fr., 6-4, 285, Palm Coast Matanzas
Elijah Price, DE, Fr., 6-4, 230, Jacksonville Sandalwood
Tyler Riley, LS, Jr., 5-11, 215, Ocala Trinity Catholic
Carson Royal, QB, So., 6-4, 214, Yulee
Addarius Smith, DT, Fr., 6-2, 255, Orange Park Fleming island
Peter Tulloch, DB, Sr., 5-10, 205, Miami Norland
Reggie Turner, OL, So., 6-4, 315, Kissimmee Osceola
Chase Varnadore, PK, Sr., 5-11, 170, Tallahassee Florida High
Shaun Ward, LB, Sr., 6-2, 240, Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson
Zachary Webster, TE, So., 6-4, 220, Jacksonville Stanton Prep
David White, LB, Jr., 6-2, 200, Tampa Jefferson
Danzell Williams, DL, So., 6-0, 268, Wildwood
Montavius Williams, WR, So., 6-0, 160, Tallahassee Godby

HAMPTON PIRATES (8)
Jerrell Antoine, QB, Fr., 6-1, 170, Orlando Oak Ridge
JaMari Cord, LB, So., 6-1, 205, Tampa Gaither
Dylan Kerns, LS, Sr., 5-11, 205, Palm Beach Gardens
Khambrel McGee, DB, Sr., 5-10, 180, Miami Northwestern
Tikeem Platt, WR, Jr., 6-1, 215, Ocala Vanguard
Kadeem Russell, FB, Sr., 5-9, 225, Cape Coral
Leon Shorter, WR, Jr., 6-3, 210, Fort Pierce Westwood
Alveron Wright, DL, Sr., 6-3, 255, Haines City

HOWARD BISON (13)
Marquese Blanchard, DE, So., 6-3, 250, Miami Northwestern
Toree Boyd, OL, So., 6-4, 315, Miami Central
Casey Branton, FB, Fr., 6-0, 245, Tallahassee Lincoln
Tavius Brown, WR, Fr., 5-8, 175, Miami Central
Julien David, S, Sr., 5-11, 205, Plantation American Heritage
Odis Grimes, WR, Fr., 6-5, 210, Miami Northwestern
Trae Haugabook, DE, So., 6-2, 270, Miami Central
David Lee, LB, Fr., 6-2, 220, Miramar
Godspower Offor, DE, Jr., 6-3, 255, Hialeah American
Matthew Parker, DT, Jr., 6-0, 285, Tampa Middleton
Devyn Reid, LB, Fr., 6-3, 215, Miami Central
Devin Rollins, LB, Jr., 5-10, 240, Miami Central
Gerald Wright, OL, Fr., 6-4, 310, Miami Northwestern

MORGAN STATE BEARS (5)
Marcolm Banks, FB, So., 5-10, 195, Tampa Wharton
Peterson Janvier, DB, Jr., 5-10, 185, Naples Golden Gate
Thomas Martin, WR, So., 5-10, 175, Naples
Darren Pinnock, OL, Sr., 6-4, 330, Miami Palmetto
Moses Skillon, QB, Jr., 6-5, 230, Hallandale

NORFOLK STATE SPARTANS (7)
Marcell Coke, LB, Sr., 6-2, 225, Apopka Wekiva
Leroy Parker, DB, So., 6-0, 195, North Miami Beach
Antonio Perryman, WR, Fr., 6-2, 180, Jacksonville First Coast
Terry Polk, RB, Fr., 5-10, 165, Venice
Rodney Smith, Jr., LB, So., 6-3, 235, Hallandale
Lynden Trail, LB, 6-7, 260, Miami Booker T. Washington
Kevin Williams, DL, Jr., 6-4, 335, Bradenton Southeast

NORTH CAROLINA A&T AGGIES (3)
Timadre Abram, DB, Fr., 5-10, 165, Lakeland Kathleen
Tard McCoy, DB, Fr., 5-9, 188, Boca Raton
Amos Williams, DB, Fr., 5-8, 180, DeFuniak Springs Walton

NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL EAGLES (8)
Antonio Brown, DL, Fr., 6-3, 250, Jacksonville Forrest
Clevonne David, OL, Jr., 6-2, 305, Miramar
Kelvin Davis, RB, So., 5-9, 180, Orlando Edgewater
George McGue, DL, Fr., 6-0, 300, Coral Springs
Brendon McLaren, KP. So., 5-9, 175, Miami Archbishop Carroll
Nathan Scruggs, TE, Jr., 6-2, 235, Neptune Beach Fletcher
Jamaal Symmonett, OL, So., 6-3, 315, Hialeah Champagnat Catholic
Ja'Quan Smith, DL, Fr., 6-2, 300, Miramar

SAVANNAH STATE TIGERS (10)
Alfred Ansley, DB, Jr., 6-0, 180, Jacksonville First Coast
Anthony Criswell, RB, jr., 5-10, 210, Jacksonville First Coast
David Crowley, DB, Fr., 5-10, 180, Jacksonville Trinity Christian Dakota Garcia, PK, Fr., 6-0, 185, Newberry
Vincent Harper, OL, Gr., 6-2, 275, Belle Glade Glades Central
Les Jordan, RB, So., 6-1, 220, Newberry
Michael Knox, QB, Fr., 6-3, 205, Tampa
Jovanta Mobley, DL, Jr., 6-2, 285, Jacksonville Wolfson
Isaiah Walker, WR, So., 5-11, 190, Lakeland

SOUTH CAROLINA STATE BULLDOGS (4)
Victor Ishmael, DE, Fr., 6-1, 260, Miami Sunset
Reynaldo Maxwell, LB, Fr., 6-0, 210, Orlando Lake Nona
Dominique Mitchell, DB, So., 5-10, 180, Miramar
Devondre Powell, RB, Fr., 5-8, 180, Miami Jackson

The Miami Herald spotlights more football talent from the Sunshine State than any other source. Currently, we have promoted 3,500 high school football prospects as well as following our Florida Kids throughout the country. Have prospects to add? Drop Larry Blustein a note at Floridakids1@aol.com and we’ll get those players out there. THAT’S WHAT WE HAVE DONE FOR 44 YEARS!

TRACKING FLORIDA KIDS
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Northeast Conference Boast 56 Floridians in 2014

Floridians Making An Impression On The Southern Conference

Talented Floridians Fill Patriot League Rosters This Season

Florida Football Is Well Represented at Ivy League Schools

September 17, 2014

Offensive Linemen Take Center Stage In South Florida

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There was a time when college recruiters would come to south Florida, check out the receivers, running backs and defensive secondary prospects and then head back north to get their linemen. Times have certainly changed.

What has made this region of the country so special now is the quality athletes that you can recruit - and it's not just the skilled position athletes. The linemen we are now producing rival anyplace - and that includes Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio -  two of the hotbeds where many schools land the players in the trenches.

Nobody learned that more than Hollywood Hills senior offensive tackle Dusan Etienne. This past summer, the 6-7, 310-pounder, who was on nobody's radar screen, headed to a line camp in Ocala. In just one day, he vaulted himself from a virtual unknown to one of the elite prospects in the state.

Because he played in a Wing-T offense, Etienne was never showcased, but coaches who watched his film, and then saw him compete in person, were bowled over - including two former NFL linemen who worked the camp.

"I always knew that I had the ability, but very few coaches had said anything," Etienne said. "All it takes is for someone to see you, check out your athleticism and things take off."

Hollywood Hills head coach Al Lang always knew that Etienne was special. He watched him play on both sides of the ball, and because he is such an outstanding athlete, it was only a matter of time before he was discovered.

"There has never been any doubt that he is a very special line prospect," Lang said. "He is so athletic that he actually would travel with our 7-on-7 team, and that to me speaks volumes about what he brings to the table."

Etienne is not the only south Florida line prospect that has been turning heads in the Class of 2015. St. Thomas Aquinas also boasts Syracuse bound Colin Byrne (6-5, 295) and Sam Clausman (6-4, 290) as well as FIU commitment Rechard Desir-Jones (6-3, 285) and Philip Parchment (6-4, 280).

In addition there are Leeward Brown (6-4, 300, Miramar), Christian Strachan (6-4, 315, Hialeah Champagnat Catholic), Andy Moreira (6-3, 280, Coral Gables), FIU commit Richard Williams (6-2, 255, Everglades), UAB commitment Kirk Livingstone (6-4, 235, Stranahan), Montel Jordan (6-3, 320, Deerfield), William Gordon (6-4, 318, Norland), and Central’s Jason Jean (6-4, 290), who is committed to Marshall, and returning starter Robzel Sylvester (6-3, 285) as well as American Heritage Plantation’s Noah Bringas (6-4, 320) and Brett Kahn (6-4, 270).

The Class of 2015 is one of the deepest south Florida has had in a long time – with Carol City’s Michael Sawyer (6-3, 265), Marquise Barnes (6-5, 280, Hialeah Miami Lakes), and Booker T. Washington standouts Deiontae Lynch (6-3, 280), Clayton Cobb (6-2, 260) and Ben Tirolia (6-3, 300).

UNDERCLASSMEN ARE IMPRESSIVE AS WELL
As the senior class has set some new standards for offensive linemen, the next two group of players – in the Class of 2016 and 2017, there are some very impressive big men to keep an eye on – such as elite juniors like Edison’s Keldrick Caesar (6-3, 290), Navaughn Donaldson (6-3, 310, Central), Louie Berkowitz (6-3, 260, Plantation American Heritage), Roodney Leon (6-3, 280, Deerfield Beach), Obinna Nwanko (6-3, 255, Miramar) and Michael Davis (6-1, 260), and Boman Swanson (6-4, 245) and Cameron Cope (6-2, 240) from South Dade.

The Class of 2017 is already leaving a mark and getting plenty of attention with prospects such as Teaki Fuller (6-3, 250, Booker T. Washington), Corey Gaynor (6-1, 220, Parkland Douglas), Kedonis Haslem (6-4, 285, Miami Dade Christian), Andre Lopez (6-4, 280, Braddock), Robert Perez (6-2, 270, Cardinal Gibbons) as well as elite prospects Tedarrell Slaton (6-5, 320, Plantation American Heritage), Kyron Taylor, 6-1, 265, Homestead South Dade) and Kadeem Telfort, 6-6, 310, Miami Norland).

We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. All you have to do is send a You Tube or Hudl link and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein at Floridakids1@aol.com.

Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.

July 08, 2014

Aquinas RB Jordan Scarlett, WR Sam Bruce plan on recruiting South Florida after committing to UM

More on the UM commitments from Jordan Scarlett and Sam Bruce that could not make Wednesday's Miami Herald:

Scarlett before his announcement Tuesday afternoon of he and Bruce: “We’re just a good 1-2 punch. This year at St. Thomas, we’re going to do some great things together because you’re going to have to respect the run, and you can’t [defend Bruce] 1-on-1.

“We’re ready to do that [at UM] and hopefully with some other Florida guys, who can take care of business.”

Added Bruce: “We’re planning on bringing the University of Miami back.”

During Bruce's radio announcement, Scarlett called in from Oregon to say, "Bruce, man, you know I love you. I’m happy we’re doing this thing together at Miami, man."

Bruce's response: “Let’s make it happen.”

Their visit to Coral Gables on June 28 and playing close to home were instrumental factors in their pledges to UM. 

“It’s in my backyard and I know all my family will be able to attend my games,” Bruce said. 

Scarlett becomes UM’s 20th member of its 2015 class, which ranks ninth in the country by 247Sports. Bruce is UM’s fifth member to the 2016 class, which already has four-star studs wide receiver Dionte Mullins, quarterback Jack Allison and linebacker Shaquille Quarterman.

Scarlett, who had previous intentions to commit to a school after his senior football season, said he and Bruce are moving their focus to getting others to join them playing close to home.

“That’s why we’re definitely doing the commitment now,” Scarlett said, “so we can get some other guys’ attention, and hopefully we can get them.”

Added Bruce: If guys from Fort Lauderdale and further south commit to the University of Miami, there’s no way we can’t win a national championship.

On top of Scarlett’s list are Monarch High School stars and Alabama commits Shawn Burgess-Becker and Calvin Ridley, whom Scarlett has known since they played optimist football together.

“We definitely want to play together at the college level,” Scarlett said. “We’ve been talking about it. They’re trying to make me go to Alabama, but they said they’ll see how the season goes.”

Scarlett, Burgess-Becker and Ridley are among 14 players from South Florida participating at The Opening. UM’s three other running back commits Jordan Cronkrite (Miami Westminster Christian), Mark Walton (Miami Booker T. Washington), and Dexter Williams (Winter Garden West Orange) are also at the event.

Scarlett said he’s had casual talks with Cronkrite on Tuesday, but “not about Miami or anything like that.”

Cronkrite told the Miami Herald on Friday he “doubts” he’d stick with his commitment to UM if Scarlett were to throw his name in UM’s 2015 recruiting class.

After Scarlett’s announcement, Cronkrite said “I’m good right now,” while hanging out with Killian safety and UM target Jaquan Johnson. Cronkrite said he didn’t really have a reaction to the news and is just going to wait things out.

Williams – who is being heavily recruited by Florida, USC, Tennessee and OhioState – told 247Sports on Tuesday his commitment to UM “is high because that's the place I want to be.” Williams also said he’s not concerned with Scarlett’s pledge adding to the Canes’ running back competition because "It's football. You're going to have a couple players there that you're going to have to beat out for the position.”

Walton told the Miami Herald on Friday: “It doesn’t matter how many running backs are committed to the University of Miami. That’s where I’m committed to. If Jordan [Scarlett] decides to commit to us, too — if all four of us go in — at the end of the day I’m still going to be a hard worker when we’re all out there.”

Scarlett, who said "It's all about the U. It's just Miami. And I love it," when asked if he had any upcoming visits to other schools in the works told the Herald he has tentative plans to visit FSU during its camp on June 16-18, and South Carolina on June 25. Scarlett said he’s visiting the other schools that missed his cut so “I won’t have to worry about it later on in the process.”

Scarlett and Bruce were heavy FSU leans at one time, but Scarlett told 247Sports on Monday he had fallen out of touch with the Seminoles’ coaching staff.

“I feel like they are not stable with communicating with the recruits,” Scarlett said. “It is something they could work on, and maybe that could change my decision later on in the process.”

National Signing Day for Scarlett and other 2015 prospects is Feb. 4. For 2016 prospects like Bruce and Mullins, add another year.

“We just made that decision together that we would commit [Tuesday], and it was just the best decision for us,” Scarlett said.

July 06, 2014

Jordan Cronkrite updates his commitment status with the University of Miami

More of my interview with Jordan Cronkrite that could not make The Opening story in Sunday’s paper:

Cronkrite, the Miami Westminster Christian running back who committed to UM in April, said Friday he doubts he will stick with his pledge to the Hurricanes if Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas back Jordan Scarlett were to commit to UM.

Scarlett decommitted from Florida Atlantic on June 27 and lists UM, Florida State, Ohio State and South Carolina among his favorites.

“I doubt I’d probably still be with UM,” Cronkrite said. “I’d probably look somewhere else.”

Cronkrite said he spoke with the UM coaching staff before the recent dead period started to see where he stood with the Canes.

“I had a talk with the coaches about the future,” he said. “And where I stand and where we stand at the running back position and all that. It was a nice talk.”

The topics of discussion?

 “If things were to change or more people commit to the school – not certain names – but just what would happen with me and how our relationship would be, and where I’d go on their board if certain people commit.

“They told me I’m still on top of their list right now.”

Cronkrite remains committed to UM in the meantime, and will wait to see how things will unfold in the months to come.

There are multiple reports regarding Dexter Williams’ family wants the Winter Park West Orange tailback to play at the University of Florida.

And the reclassification of Miami Booker T. Washington’s Mark Walton gives UM its most solid commitment at the running back position in the Class of 2015.

Cronkrite simply would prefer not to play in a loaded backfield with Walton, Scarlett, Joseph Yearby, Gus Edwards and Walter Tucker where carries will be scarce for all parties involved.

“[I’m] not running away from competition, but just being realistic,” Cronkrite said. “They said they’re bringing in two and there’s three. There’s more time for me to be seen for the next level after college.”

Cronkrite listed West Virginia, Ohio State, South Carolina and Florida as “the main” schools in contention for his potential services. Cronkrite said he has a close relationship with a coaching staff member from each of the first three schools on that list.

Cronkrite has tentative plans to visit South Carolina and Ohio State after The Opening, which ends on Thursday. He visited West Virginia earlier this summer, and has visited UF before.

July 05, 2014

Plantation American Heritage QB Torrance Gibson gets invite to Elite 11 after all

Plantation American Heritage quarterback Torrance Gibson left for Nike World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon on Sunday -- a day earlier than his counterparts participating in The Opening.

Gibson -- who was invited to The Opening as an athlete and not the Elite 11 quarterback competition -- will participate in the Elite 11 after all, but not be in the running for the title crowing the country’s best high school quarterback.

Gibson will get to train and practice with the other 18 quarterbacks in the event on Sunday and Monday. He’ll move over to wide receiver when The Opening begins Tuesday and catch passes during the 7-on-7 competitions, according to Todd Huber, a personnel director for the event.

Gibson -- a five-star prospect who is deciding to attend Tennessee, Auburn, Ohio State, LSU, Oklahoma, Miami and Central Florida -- is taking his opportunity to show off his quarterback skills in stride.

“It means a lot!” Gibson said in a text message Sunday afternoon. “All I want to do is play QB and the Elite 11 is giving me the shot to play QB. It’s a humbling experience.”

***Stay tuned Saturday night for my story with the inside scoop on the three University of Miami running backs, and the Canes’ biggest target at the position, all attending The Opening.*** 

July 04, 2014

UM picks up two WR commits on Al Golden's birthday in Terrell Chatman, Dionte Mullins

Al Golden got himself two wide receivers for his 45th birthday.

The University of Miami picked up commitments Friday from Baton Rouge (Louisiana) Central’s Terrell Chatman and Gulliver Prep’s Dionte Mullins after both raved about their recent visits to the school.

Chatman visited UM on June 27, and came away impressed with offensive coordinator James Coley and wide receiver coach/recruiting coordinator Brennan Carroll, and the school’s campus. Chatman (6-3, 180) is rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports.

“They sent a clear message that they wanted me," Chatman said to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "When I went down there it was everything I expected. I was surprised how small the campus was, but I really liked that. It's always been a school that I really liked.

Mullins, a 2016 freak of an athlete underrated with four stars by 247Sports, and his mother visited UM a day after Chatman, and came away wowed after their meeting with Coley, Carroll and Golden.

“It was a great meeting with had together – like a family meeting,” Mullins said Sunday during the Nike Football Festival event at Ransom Everglades High. “I felt like I was home.”

Playing close to home, family and friends were also an overwhelming factor for Mullins, who said the UM coaches made an impact keeping a focus on academics -- while football was the main topic of discussion, of course.

“They said I’d be a great weapon they can use,” said Mullins, who had more than 15 offers from schools around the country including Florida State and Alabama. “I kept that in mind a lot.”

Mullins may have also been leaning more towards UM after the coaching staff hired Gulliver offensive coordinator Jorge Baez to be its new assistant director of player personnel on Monday.

Baez, who was coaching the Gulliver Prep team on Sunday during its 7-on-7 tournament, said through a text message he took the UM job because “it was a great opportunity for me and my family.

Baez has had previous coaching experiences at the college level as the wide receivers coach at Southern University (Louisiana) and a quality control assistant at Ole Miss.

“After talking with Coach Golden and seeing how many changes he has done to the football facilities and the level of commitment the university has made to improve the program, it was a blessing to receive this opportunity,” Baez said.

Chatman becomes the 19th prospect to join UM’s 2015 class. On Thursday, UM picked up its 18th commitment in the 2015 class with Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons defensive end Richard McIntosh.

Mullins becomes the fourth recruit in UM’s 2016 recruiting class, which could add Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas receiver Sam Bruce to its list on Tuesday. Bruce is choosing between UM, FSU and Ohio State.

“It’s just a great opportunity to be in this situation right now,” Mullins said. 

June 27, 2014

Aquinas running back Jordan Scarlett has change of heart, decommits from FAU

Many felt it was only a matter of time before Jordan Scarlett hit the open college football recruiting market once again.

Scarlett – a 5-11, 210-pound running back now attending Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas – made it official by decommitting from Florida Atlantic on Friday.

Scarlett’s commitment to the Owls came within hours of Roger Harriott’s hiring as FAU’s assistant head coach in December. Scarlett considers Harriott to be a father-figure so his pledge came during an emotional time with Harriott leaving his post as Davie University School’s head coach.

“[Harriott] understood my decision and he wants the best for me,” Scarlett said Friday.

Scarlett’s decision comes the day after he visited the University of Miami campus with his cousin Rodrick Archer, a 2015 linebacker from South Plantation, and close friend Sam Bruce, a 2016 slot receiver from Aquinas.

When asked if he was ready to de-commit from FAU before his visit to UM Thursday, Scarlett flat out said “no.”

“I just came to the day where I just wanted to make that choice [and decommit] because I felt it was the best decision for me,” Scarlett said. “I felt like there’s other schools out there other than FAU that can get me ready for the NFL and that’s my goal.”

UM has been on Scarlett with constant contact and multiple invites to come visit the campus unofficially. Scarlett said he had a great time just talking to coaching staff.

“I feel like they really cared about me and they stuck with me throughout the whole process,” he said regarding UM.

Three other schools are also in the picture now for Scarlett, who is no longer considering FAU at the moment.

South Carolina is “an SEC program and you can start as you soon as you get there,” Scarlett said. Former U-School teammate Skai Moore was a standout freshman linebacker for the Gamecocks last season.

Ohio State is “a Big Ten program and they have a great offensive line,” Scarlett said. “They run the ball a lot.”

Florida State has also made its mark with Scarlett, who said the Seminoles are “just telling me that’s the place I need to be because that’s where I’ll excel.”

Despite his new list, Scarlett -- who had 119 carries for 979 yards and 17 touchdowns last season for U-School -- has a strong desire to attend an in-state college.

June 14, 2014

Mark Walton's commitment to Miami 'as solid as they come' with reclassification to 2015 class

Mark Walton, Miami Booker T. Washington’s stud running back and University of Miami commitment, has reclassified to the Class of 2015.

Walton and his coach Tim Harris Jr. confirmed Walton’s move up from the Class of 2016 on Saturday while participating in the Miami Dolphins 7-on-7 tournament at Plantation Park.

With the news, UM’s 2015 recruiting class is now up to 15 members and ranked ninth overall in the country by 247Sports. Running backs Jordan Cronkrite from Westminster Christian and Dexter Williams from Winter Garden West Orange are also committed to the Canes, who could boast one of the most talented backfields in the country with former Miami Central back Joseph Yearby already enrolled.

"Man, that would be a great backfield," Walton said.

Harris said Walton’s process began at the end of last season, and included Walton taking a night-school class and online classes to meet requirements.

“He dedicated to wanting to reclassify and we’ve been all behind him,” Harris said. “Every kid’s situation is a little different, and we want to help Mark to be able to one day do all the things he wants to do for himself and his family.”

Walton, who visited UM on Tuesday with teammates including wide receiver Antonio Callaway and cornerback Devante Davis, said the Canes’ coaching staff was elated to hear the news.

“The coaching staff was excited, and I’m excited about it, too,” Walton said. “When I saw they’re reaction, my reaction went up.”

Walton -- who has seen his recruitment slow in recent months -- hopes to receive offers from Alabama, Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Arkansas, but still relishes his close relationships with the Canes staff, including running back coach Hurlie Brown.

“I try to convince people to come to the University of Miami and get that swagger back down in Coral Gables, and try to get the tradition back going and try to win a National Championship,” Walton said.

Added Harris: “He’s still committed to Miami. He’s as solid as they come.”

May 05, 2014

Tennessee, Auburn, LSU sit atop Top 15 list for American Heritage's Torrance Gibson

Tennessee, Auburn, LSU, Ohio State and Clemson sit atop the Top 15 list of possible college destinations for Plantation American Heritage quarterback/athlete Torrance Gibson – the most coveted high school football player in South Florida in the Class of 2015.

Heck, he’s one of the most coveted players in the country. After an hour and 25 minutes of posting his list via Twitter, it garnered more than 1,150 retweets and 1,170 favorites. Here’s the list and real-time updated count in case you’re wondering. 

Gibson – rated a five-star prospected by Scout, ESPN and 247Sports – helped guide Heritage to a Class 5A state championship, with staggering numbers. The 6-5, 198-pounder completed 85 of 153 passes for 1,789 yards last season with 19 touchdowns and only three interceptions. He also gained 1,063 yards on the ground at 9.6 yards a clip and 10 touchdowns – while sharing the backfield with Georgia running back signee Sony Michel.

Tennessee may come as a surprise as the No. 1 school on the list, but Gibson does have his reasons.

“Coach Butch Jones, he has a great plan and a great direction he’s going in,” Gibson said. “The offense fits me – the spread attack offense, fast tempo to the ball. That’s my type of offense.

“And you can’t leave out the academics. That’s the No. 1 thing.”

As for Auburn, a very heavy favorite to land Gibson, offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee visited Gibson at his school on Monday.

“[Auburn has] a great facility, a great campus and a perfect offense for me,” Gibson said. “A lot of people compare me to Cam Newton with my body size and speed.”

Miami and Florida came in at No. 7 and No. 8, respectively, for Gibson – who said there’s an “85 percent” chance he goes to college outside of his home state.

As for the rest of the schools near the bottom of the list trying to land Gibson, all he wants from those teams is an honest attempt to keep courting him.

“Just stay in contact with me and touch base with me every now and then,” Gibson said about the schools towards the bottom of his choices. “When schools fade away, that’s when they start dropping.

“I’m going to talk about Miami, and Miami was high on my list. They were No. 1. And then they started fading away because they’re not staying in contact with me.”

Gibson has no definite plans on when he wants to cut his list down further, or release a list of schools he’d like to take official visits to, but Ohio State and Tennessee make the cut as of now.