Wide receiver and four-star UM commit Dionte Mullins did not travel with Gulliver up to West Palm Beach for its game with Oxbridge Academy on Friday night.
Mullins, the Miami Herald's sixth-best senior in Miami-Dade County, has been academically ineligible for the Raiders since the summer and remains ineligible for the start of the regular season.
He needs to finish one more summer online course to return to the field, I was told by someone on the Gulliver sideline.
Both athletic director Mark Schusterman and coach Earl Sims are hopeful Mullins can return in "a couple of weeks."
The effect his high school ineligibility has on his status with UM next season -- if the commit ends up signing with the Hurricanes -- is unknown as Gulliver sets high academic for its athletes to be able to take the field on game day.
The Raiders struggled without his presence in a 46-0 trampling at the hands of the ThunderWolves.
"It'll be a big boost when he comes back," says Sims.
Mullins did participate in 7-on-7 action over the summer with his teammates.
Another UM commit, 2017 four-star running back Robert Burns, barely played for the Raiders. The wrecking ball of a back carried just one time for six yards. Neither Schusterman, Sims or Burns would comment on the reason behind his seldom play Friday.
He was seen standing on the sideline during the second half walking fine.
South Dade took down Coral Reef 40-24 in the season opener, and there were plenty of athletes from down south that stood out.
Before we get into that, let me note that the fight the Barracudas exhibited under new head coach Javi Valdes was exemplary. Trailing 34-7 at halftime and the game looking like it was headed toward a running clock, Coral Reef responded to get it to 34-17 midway through the third and looked like it could mount a comeback. South Dade just ultimately proved to be too much for the young Barracudas.
UM commit James Wiggins played center field at safety in South Dade's defensive scheme in the opener. Wiggins says the team will use him either there or at corner throughout the season. The Canes are recruiting the three-star senior at cornerback.
He appeared to cramp up a little bit but proved fine shortly thereafter with some nifty moves on a punt return where he slipped a few tackles. Wiggins was held out most of the spring with a swollen knee.
Wiggins says he will look around and take visits other than the one he already has planned for UM on January 22. Other schools coming after Wiggins are Cincinnati, Purdue and USF.
Coral Reef 2018 running back Jordon Donaldson is going to be something special. In his first regular-season varsity game, he reeled off 125 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. He broke about three tackles bursting through the trenches on his 25-yard scamper for a score.
"Jordon Donaldson is going to be a special player in Dade County. We're looking forward to showing his talents," Valdes said.
Donaldson also led Reef in rushing in the preseason game against Pace.
The South Dade running back tandem of Jawon Hamilton and Ivan Smith is going to be one of the best in Dade County this season. Hamilton ran for 128 yards and two touchdowns. Smith, the Columbus transfer, took his first touch as a Buccaneer all the way back on the opening kickoff and added two more rushing touchdowns.
"That's the luxury of having both of them," South Dade coach Nate Hudson says. "I like the fact that they go hand in hand. Neither one is selfish. They feed off each other."
Smith has offers from Florida A&M and Bowling Green. He's also receiving interest from Illinois, Purdue and hearing a little bit from UM.
Hamilton, the FIU commit, could've easily surpassed 200 yards had two long runs not been called back by holding calls. A strong South Dade O-line that consists of Mike Davis and Marshall commit Kyron Taylor was without senior Boman Swanson in this one.
Chei Hill, a 2017 linebacker/defensive end that measures up at 6-1 and 220 pounds, already has the build that you look for in that hybrid pass rusher at the next level. He laid a crushing hit as Coral Reef QB Keith Anderson threw on the run on one play.
"Beast" is the word Hudson uses to describe him to college coaches scouting him (I used it too in one of my tweets). Schools after Hill include Illinois, Arkansas and FIU.
Harvey Clayton, who lists Illinois and Louisville among his seven offers, was solid on both sides of the ball for Coral Reef, being used in multiple ways offensively and making some touchdown-saving tackles as the last line of defense at safety for a Barracudas defense that could not contain South Dade's attack.
Other Barracudas that shined:
-Sophomore corner K'Toney Hills displayed his one-on-one ball skills beating his man in single coverage and intercepting a floating pass right before halftime.
-Senior linebacker Tomo Sloane is strong in pursuit of a ball carrier. He made a couple of nice tackles in the open field.
-Sophomore lineman Jaylaan Williams used his big 6-3, 280-pound frame to make several key blocks, including one where he sprung Donaldson for a 57-yard run that got the Cudas down to the 1.
The former Booker T. Washington state-title winning coach and current FIU running backs coach will be reunited with Tornadoes kicker Jose Borregales as Borregales announced his commitment to FIU on Sunday.
"I'm really excited about being a Panther, and I'm just thankful that they gave me the opportunity to not only play football and be a part of the Panther family but to be a part of an amazing university," Borregales told the Miami Herald in a message. "It's a great opportunity to be able to stay close to home and have my family be able to go to every single game."
Borregales got the FIU offer on Saturday. It was his first offer. Other schools had recruited him but the Panthers were the first to offer the kicker who says has booted a 61-yard field goal through the uprights in practice.
Borregales is certain he wants to stick with FIU but leaves a slight window open if other schools start recruiting him.
"I'll evaluate them and see how their depth chart is on kickers and punters, but right now I'm sticking with FIU 100 percent," he says.
Borregales made the game-winning 44-yard field goal, his in-game career long, in Booker T.'s preseason classic victory over Citra North Marion on Friday night at Traz Powell Stadium.
Donavan Thompson pursues a tackle during Central's 2015 spring scrimmage. DAVID FURONES//FOR THE MIAMI HERALD
FIU got its second commitment of the day on Thursday when Miami Central linebacker Donavan Thompson turned down offers from the likes of Arkansas, Oregon State and USF to commit to the Panthers.
FIU's 2016 recruiting class now lists 11 commitments after the addition of Norland cornerback Bryon Brown earlier Thursday.
Former Booker T. Washington coach Tim Harris Jr., now in his first season as running backs coach at FIU, is making his presence felt in recruiting South Florida and had a major impact on Thompson's decision.
"He mainly told me when he first gave me the offer that he liked me and he loved the way I play football," says Thompson, the 5-11, 210-pound three-star prospect. "Playing against Tim Harris, he knows what I'm capable of. He was able to introduce me to the defensive coordinator [Matt House] and the head coach [Ron Turner]."
Thompson has former Central teammates Anthony Jones and Fermin Silva already at FIU and set to begin their collegiate careers in the fall.
"They are saying that they are looking to rebuild in the next couple of years and they need a player like me over there," Thompson says.
In addition to Arkansas, Oregon State and USF, Thompson also listed offers from Cincinnati, Massachusetts, Toledo and West Florida.
While committed, Thompson notes that his recruitment still is not over.
"I'm considering all my offers. I'm still open to all my offers," Thompson says. "FIU is the best fit right now, so I'm leaning that way.
"Any minute I could decommit and go to another school, so I'm open to anybody."
Thompson is a leader at middle linebacker on Central's defense. Heading into his fourth year as a starter on the Rockets' vaunted defense, he has three state championships to his credit as he enters his senior year.
The 6-1, 180-pound unranked 2016 prospect who goes by the nickname of "Lockdown Brown" joins a Panthers recruiting class that now lists 10 total commits, including two other corners in Jacksonville Ed White's Jadarius Byrd and Tampa Bay Tech's Isiah Brown.
"Very athletic, long DB with good speed," Norland coach Daryle Heidelburg says. "He can play both corner and safety. Plus Norland has had good success with its players at FIU, and Bryon will continue that trend."
FIU currently has junior linebacker Treyvon Williams out of Norland who last season appeared in all 12 games, started in nine and was second on the team with 50 total tackles.
So why did four-star 2016 running back Amir Rasul recently flip his commitment from UM to FSU?
“What made me flip was pretty much I was looking at the future,” Rasul told the Miami Herald. “UM really didn’t have a good season [last] year, Golden will probably be gone and they’ll be looking for a new head coach. I didn’t want to be in that situation going into my freshman year.
“Ultimately, I think UM is a good school. It’s an awesome school, but at the moment I think FSU’s a better school for me.”
Rasul also said he was promised by FSU it would only take one running back per class over the next few years, so waiting to see if Miami did indeed have a rough season could have resulted in another back taking his spot.
“Florida State really wants me now, and if I make this decision now, I’ll probably have a much better future than being committed to UM,” Rasul says. “It’s a hard commit. I’m not trying to change right now.”
Rasul adds that he still looks at South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee but is unlikely to change his mind at this point.
Being in such close proximity geographically to UM’s campus, Rasul says he’s had to take some criticism from hometown fans as of late.
“I’ve gotten a couple of choice words from some people in the area, but that’s OK,” he says. “If they don’t hate you, then you’re not doing something right.”
Rasul also looks at the way Dalvin Cook (formerly of Miami Central) scored the game-winning touchdown against the Hurricanes as a freshman last season and could see himself having similar success against the hometown team.
“That’s amazing – to do that and in addition be at home,” he says. “Going out the next day and knowing you did that against your hometown – that’s going to be spectacular.”
What can we expect out of Rasul in his senior season after breaking out running the ball as a junior?
He says improving his versatility. Rasul will be on returns and be more active in the passing game. He essentially wants to do all the things critics are saying he can’t do.
“You’re always going to have some doubters, people saying you can’t do this, you can’t do that,” Rasul says. “That’s OK. If I wasn’t doing great things, people wouldn’t be talking about it at all.”
Rasul is an exceptional student on top of being a top-of-the-line football recruit.
His junior year he bumped his grade point average from a 2.8 to a 3.4 and took a pair of AP courses – statistics and economics. He plans on taking an introductory calculus course and finding a challenging science class his senior year.
He had thoughts of being an early enrollee, but since he runs track, he will make sure to do that the spring semester of his senior year before getting right to college next summer.
Two days after announcing a decommitment from UM, Coral Gables senior running back Amir Rasul orally committed to FSU.
The four-star prospect is the top ranked running back in the state of Florida, according to 247 Sports and Rivals. He ran for 893 yards and 13 touchdowns on 127 carries as a junior for the Cavaliers.
Aside from Miami, Rasul chose FSU over Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina. He becomes the first running back in the Seminoles' 2016 recruiting class, which is now up to 19 commitments.
The Hurricanes still have 21 players committed for 2016, including running backs Travis Homer of West Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy and Zack Moss of Hallandale, while also pursuing Naples four-star Carlin Fils-Aime.