February 18, 2016

Flanagan coach Devin Bush takes defensive analyst job at Michigan

Flanagan coach Devin Bush accepted a position on the Michigan football staff on Wednesday, confirming our report from last week.

Bush, who led the Falcons to their first Class 8A state championship this past season, will be reunited with three defensive recruits that signed with Michigan this past recruiting cycle in son and linebacker Devin Bush Jr. and safeties Devin Gil and Josh Metellus as a defensive analyst.

"I'm really excited about the opportunity to be at Michigan with my son and my two other players," Bush said. "A little bit bittersweet at the same time. I'm leaving the players [at Flanagan] and my other extended family. Taking this opportunity has a sacrifice to it."

Bush said that leading up to communication opening up with Michigan, he would continue to see various changes on the staff this offseason and finally decided to inquire with the Wolverines. There were swirling rumors all season that Bush and Michigan could be a potential marriage.

In his position as defensive analyst, Bush expects to break down film, analyze and provide input on the team's defense, assist with practices or practice scheduling and any other duties as assigned under coach Jim Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Don Brown.

Bush has goals of one day becoming a defensive coordinator himself at the collegiate level.

"That's my first goal. I've never thought about being a college head coach," he says. "I'm just happy with forming those relationships or those bonds with young men coming in."

On Wednesday it was announced that Michigan's defensive backs coach position became vacant as Greg Jackson departed to become safeties coach with the Dallas Cowboys. While Bush is unaware of any possibility of him already receiving a promotion into that spot as he only spoke with Michigan about the defensive analyst job, it's a position he would fit and one that would be another stepping stone to his career aspirations.

While Bush won't be able to actively go out on the road and recruit in his role, he will be allowed to communicate over the phone or via social media with recruits. His impact on Michigan's ability to recruit South Florida, which was already proven to be potent this past recruiting cycle, has the potential to become immense.

Flanagan athletic director Al Guzzo first confirmed the hiring to the Herald on Thursday afternoon.

"He had called me up to notify, and I told him to enjoy the moment and let everybody know," Guzzo said. "We're going to sit down and we'll talk, but I just wanted to congratulate him and let him enjoy the moment."

Sources have told the Herald that defensive coordinator Stanford Samuels would be promoted as Flanagan's next head coach. Guzzo would not confirm that is the case.

"We've got a plan in place and I don't want to reveal that, but we've got a plan in place," he said. "Coach Bush has been involved. He was part of the process. 

"We feel confident, Coach Bush feels confident in who the next coach is."

Added Bush: "That's my guy -- my right hand. Very qualified, does an awesome job."

Bush is expected to fly up to Michigan on Sunday for an orientation, return to South Florida for a couple of days next week and finally get situated back up in Ann Arbor permanently.

Bush is a former Super Bowl winner with the St. Louis Rams and college football national champion with Florida State. He was head coach at Flanagan for the past three seasons after spending a year as defensive coordinator and played his high school ball at Hialeah-Miami Lakes.

February 12, 2016

Columbus' CJ Henderson commits to UM

Columbus junior two-way player C.J. Henderson was one of the most electrifying players on the state semifinalist Explorers last season.

On Friday, he decided to commit to the hometown team for college in a year and a half.

Henderson, a three-star or four-star athlete depending on the service who has previously listed UM as his top choice, committed to the Miami Hurricanes Friday afternoon on a campus visit.

UM is recruiting Henderson as a cornerback, he confirmed in a message.

His father, Chris Henderson Sr., told CaneSport.com that Henderson is listing himself as a soft commitment.

"He really wanted to commit and I told him it's okay, just let it be known he still wants to look. But that's where he wants to be," Henderson Sr. told CaneSport.

Henderson also holds offers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Auburn, USC and Virginia Tech among his 17 offers.

Last season Henderson ran for 932 yards and 12 touchdowns on 100 carries. He also had 245 receiving yards and two scores through the air.

Here's his junior year highlight reel.

In other 2017 UM recruiting class news, Jacksonville Mandarin linebacker Aundre Ricardo-Kearney decommitted earlier Friday.

He had committed to the Hurricanes under Al Golden in June. Mark Richt visited his high school in December when he was in Jacksonville to solidify the commitments and early enrollments of linebackers Shaquille Quarterman and Michael Pinckney.

February 09, 2016

Al Blades Jr. touches on St. Thomas Aquinas transfer, more Elite Prep 300 coverage

Former Miami Dolphins safety Arturo Freeman's showcase Elite Prep 300 Series at University School on Sunday had several South Florida high school athletes attend, as well as key college figures, including former UM wide receivers coach Kevin Beard and former FIU quarterback Wes Carroll.

St.Thomas Aquinas 2018 Defensive back Al Blades Jr., a former Hurricane commit who decommitted on October 25th, plans to be active in taking upcoming visits.

 

"I'm planning to travel to South Carolina, Texas and California real soon," he said.

Blades (6-0, 160 pounds) on his recent transfer from University School to Aquinas said, "I think it's a better opportunity for me. For the next two years I can develop more and they have a lot of good wide receivers I can work against."

Miles Jones, an American Heritage 2018 running back, has been receiving preliminary interest from Kentucky, but right now his concentration is on getting fully recovered and trying to help his team win.

Adetutu Daranijo, a St. Thomas Aquinas 2018 linebacker, has received an offer from Northern Illinois University. The Huskies have been recruiting the South Florida area hard, picking up three commitments this past recruiting cycle -- Cypress Bay' wide receiver Andrew Parchment, Norland wide receiver Jordan Robinson and South Dade running back Ivan Smith.

Eugene Witherspoon, a 2016 Miami Jackson wide receiver, didn't sign on National Signing Day. He is still weighing his options but is leaning toward inking with Howard University.

Check out videos below on what Beard, Freeman and Carroll were saying during Sunday's action.

 

 

 

RUSSELL QUINOA

February 05, 2016

Montray Smith inks with Southern Illinois day after National Signing Day

Montray Smith
Montray Smith -- Photo by David Furones.

Carol City wide receiver Montray Smith was one of the better South Florida prospects whose recruitment remained unresolved after National Signing Day. He didn't sign anywhere on Wednesday still surveying a number of options.

On Thursday night, he decided he shouldn't wait any longer.

Smith, the 6-4 three-star rangy wide receiver, sent in his letter of intent to Southern Illinois.

Smith, ranked 22nd in the Miami Herald's list of 2016 prospects, didn't sign on Wednesday despite having an offer from the Salukis because Toledo, which still wasn't offering Smith, had expressed significant interest in him. Siding with the Rockets would've presented Smith with an opportunity to play with Carol City teammates David Hood and Keelen Roberts.

But without a guaranteed spot there for him and the clock ticking, Smith made sure to take the scholarship offer from SIU. He also visited Carbondale the weekend before Signing Day.

At Southern Illinois, he'll have Coconut Creek quarterback Jhakari Harrison throwing to him. Harrison set a Broward County record for touchdowns thrown in a game during his senior season.

He also had options in multiple sports, including a potential track scholarship to a school with a Power Five conference football program to then walk on. South Carolina was one school that was interested in offering Smith, who also plays basketball, in track.

You can see Smith's highlights below.

 

February 02, 2016

Central DB Jamal Hudson flips from Toledo to Air Force

Life, education and football.

Those are the three major reasons Miami Central defensive back Jamal Hudson gave for flipping his commitment Monday night from Toledo to Air Force.

He expands: "More benefits as far as pursuing my dreams with my degree and football dreams to play in the NFL... Feels like home and a great atmosphere from the fan base. They are a big powerhouse playing great Division-I football."

Hudson was a key contributor to a stellar Central Rockets defense that won a fourth consecutive Class 6A state championship this fall.

February 01, 2016

Pierre, McWilliams committed to rival schools but still have Canes on their mind

A pair of South Florida defensive backs are committed to rival schools but still have the hometown Miami Hurricanes on their mind as National Signing Day approaches.

Deerfield Beach three-star safety James Pierre, committed to ACC Coastal rival UNC, and Southwest Miami three-star cornerback Christopher McWilliams, committed to in-state rival UF, will still weigh their option to attend UM and both decisions appear to be coming down to Wednesday.

Pierre is a former UM commit that flipped to the Tar Heels in October. Al Golden was fired shortly thereafter, but he's liked what he's seen from new coach Mark Richt.

"The new coaching staff made a big impact on my decision toward [reconsidering] the U," Pierre says. "I'm very interested in what coach Mark Richt brings. Coach [Mike] Rumph, I can relate to him. He knows what it takes to be the best."

The process has taken its toll on Pierre.

"It's a lot of pressure coming at me, and you know, I'm just a kid, so it's just stress for me," he says.

McWilliams is taking his recruitment a little more in stride, but still isn't certain of what he wants to do.

"I'm feeling good. I'm excited to finally get this decision over with and ready to play college ball," McWilliams says. "I made my decision, but I'm still thinking about it, though... It's very hard. I can't tell till Signing Day."

While many believe that the Canes are the top team challenging the Gators for McWilliams' services, he insists UM and USF are even behind UF as his leader going into Signing Day.

McWilliams adds that the decision may come down to how he feels waking up that morning or once he's sitting in the chair to announce his commitment.

McWilliams visited UF over the weekend.

"It went good. The environment there, the campus was cool," McWilliams said. "My host was Chauncey Gardner. He's a funny dude, and we just had a good time. It was enjoyable just to throw on that jersey and stuff."

The trip was a positive stride for the Gators, but the Canes and Bulls are still alive.

UM had good fortune with the snowstorm in the mid-Atlantic stepping in the way from allowing McWilliams to visit UNC the week he originally planned to. He ended up replacing that official with UM, a decision made easier after Richt and Rumph went in-home with him that week.

"After the talk went well, they said they're just looking to change the program to the way the U was before, so I'm looking forward to it and you know UM is close to home," he told the Herald at that point.

These will be two decisions to keep a close eye on on Wednesday.

 

 

Clayton commits to Illinois, Smith to NIU

A pair of senior prospects from south Miami-Dade County will be heading to the state of Illinois.

Coral Reef defensive back Harvey Clayton committed to Illinois and South Dade running back Ivan Smith to Northern Illinois on Monday night.

Clayton, a former Louisville commit, visited the Illini's campus over the weekend and liked what he saw.

"It was mostly the environment and how everyone took me in as I was their own and made me feel at home," Clayton said.

Smith was feeling confident he would end up committing to the Huskies going into his visit. Everything he witnessed confirmed his notion.

"When I went on my visit, it was amazing and it felt like I was home. They showed major love," Smith said. "I want to give thanks for the NIU coaching staff for this great opportunity."

UM adds two linemen to 2016 recruiting class

The Miami Hurricanes received a major boost in the trenches for the 2016 recruiting class on Monday with commitments from a pair of linemen -- one on each side of the ball.

Valley (Alabama) High defensive end Tyreic Martin and Orlando First Academy offensive tackle Tre Johnson -- both three-star prospects -- committed to UM on Monday.

Martin was once committed to Missouri, where new UM defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski previously coached in the same role. Johnson announced his decision after decommitting from Illinois on Sunday and visiting Miami's Coral Gables campus over the weekend.

"UM has always been right for me," says Johnson (6-7, 280 pounds). I've been a Miami fan since I was a kid frowning up in a house full of Florida and FSU fans. I didn't like either one, so it was only right for me to be a Miami fan."

Johnson added that the talks he had with the UM coaches on the visit really boded well for him to make up his mind. The other school he was considering upon decommitting from the Illini was East Carolina.

UM did not have an offensive lineman committed before Johnson hopped on board.

Martin (6-3, 270) possibly committed to UM on Sunday on the last day of his weekend visit. Coach Mark Richt's Twitter account said "Welcome to the U!" and alluded to Martin's hometown area code. That tweet was later deleted.

It could just be as simple as Martin wanting to make his own announcement Monday. Regardless, he ends up in the class and has the frame to grow into a defensive tackle, a position that has plagued the Canes for many years now and one where they didn't have anyone committed.

Martin's high school coach Marshon Harper told CaneSport.com, "“He can run, he can move, he can get to the ball. He has a knack for just the intensity that he brings, his strength will help him out also. He’s a strong player. He just has a knack for finding the football.”

The Canes hope they can reel in a third commit Monday night as New Jersey-based four-star wide receiver Kelvin Harmon will choose between UM and N.C. State.

January 31, 2016

All-Dade LB Thompson flips from FIU to Utah

 

D Thompson
Photo by Al Diaz//MIAMI HERALD

Miami Central three-star linebacker and All-Dade selection Donavan Thompson flipped his longtime commitment to FIU into a commitment to Utah on Sunday, three days before National Signing Day.

Thompson told the Miami Herald he switched his college commitment based more on what he saw in Utah than anything he didn't like about the Panthers. After visiting on Wednesday, he ultimately chose the Utes over UCF and FIU.

 

Thompson (6-0, 215 pounds) figured he would prefer to go away for college and was impressed by what he saw in Salt Lake City.

"It's just different -- the mountains and the cold weather. It was just something different and something new," said Thompson, who finished his senior season with 135 tackles and 11 sacks. "I just felt like it was time for a change, and Utah was the place to do that."

Thompson's flip continues a trend of Utah snagging South Florida prospects. The Utes now have five Dade/Broward recruits committed with Hallandale trio of quarterback Tyler Huntley, running back Zack Moss and wide receiver Demari Simpkins (Huntley and Simpkins already enrolled) and St. Thomas Aquinas running back Devonta'e Henry-Cole.

"We're probably like the next Louisville, having a lot of South Floridians on the team," Thompson says.

FIU, on the other hand, is now down to four in the two counties. UM (six), FAU, Michigan, Toledo and Utah (all with five) have more.

Thompson was primarily recruited by Utes head coach Dennis Erickson, who won two national championships coaching the Miami Hurricanes.

"He's been to national championships and coached a lot of great NFL players, Hall-of-Famers. So when I think about him and that he sees something in me, I feel like I'm going to excel at Utah," he says. 

Thompson likes the 4-2 defense the Utes will run, which is the same scheme the Central Rockets ran.

"I feel like Utah was a good fit and I'll be able to excel in their type of defense," he said. 

Thompson's highlights:

January 30, 2016

Jon Ford breaks down UM commitment

Jon Ford
Photo provided by Ford


Dillard four-star defensive end Jon Ford bolstered UM's 2017 recruiting class with a commitment Saturday afternoon.

Ford announced the news on Twitter with a pretty cool Photoshop job of him gracing an ESPN the Magazine cover.

On the timing of the commitment, Ford told me he felt he "had to jump on the boat early. Miami is rebuilding."

Ford added that he thinks the Hurricanes can develop into national champions.

With a full year to go before his Signing Day, Ford is pretty certain he'll stick with the Canes all the way through.

"For right now, yes," he said when asked if his decision is final.

Ford took a liking to the new coaching staff, especially head coach Mark Richt.

"He keeps it real and is a great man," Ford said. "I will love to play for him one day."

He also liked what he heard from defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski.

"Back to the basics -- getting to the quarterback as soon as possible," he says of the defense they tell him they're trying to run. "They don't believe in waiting. They want to execute now. They like aggressive playing -- no sitting on the line reading."

The Hurricanes now have 11 commitments in a 2017 class that currently ranks third nationally, according to 247 Sports.com.

Here's the junior highlight reel for the U's newest commit.