October 02, 2015

James Wiggins a soft UM commit, Cincinnati among others he's interested in

Just one night after an embarrassing loss on Thursday night on national TV in Cincinnati, UM commit James Wiggins is calling himself a soft commitment to the Hurricanes.

And guess who one of of the other schools he's interested in is. The one that beat the Canes the night before.

Wiggins lists the Bearcats, Syracuse and "a little bit of" Louisville. He has a UM visit set up for January and wants to take other visits after the season because the focus at the moment is on this undefeated season South Dade is working on.

Here's everything else he had to say in this video interview where he also discusses his defense's dominant performance in recovering five fumbles and shutting out Southridge as the secondary held Freddie Pinder and Kemore Gamble without a catch.



September 29, 2015

Columbus junior DB Marlin Brooks recovering after serious neck injury

Columbus football coach Chris Merritt said Tuesday that junior defensive back Marlin Brooks has been moved out of intensive care after having surgery over the weekend to repair two broken vertebrae - an injury he suffered during the Explorers’ 21-7 win last week against Belen Jesuit.

Brooks was hurt with 7:30 remaining in the first quarter of Friday’s game at FIU Stadium and taken to by ambulance to nearby Kendall Regional Hospital.

He is expected to miss the remainder of the season.

Brooks (5-10, 157) entered the season ranked the No. 22 overall prospect of the Class of 2017 in Dade by The Miami Herald.

“He had surgery to fix the two broken vertebrae and fuse them together,” Merritt said. “He’s still having some issues below his elbows but the prognosis is good.”

September 24, 2015

'Pie' Young eyes December decision, Rodriguez one to watch in 2017

Keyshawn "Pie" Young, the Miami Herald's No. 2 senior recruit  in Miami-Dade County, is aiming for a decision on his college commitment in December.

I got to catch up with him after his three-touchdown performance in a 62-3 win against against Ferguson on Thursday.

Among the other highlights of the interview, the four-star receiver still lists Alabama and Michigan as his top two -- as he has previously -- but also indicated that Georgia is a team creeping into his mix.

Young also wants to visit Michigan in the coming weeks but doesn't have anything scheduled. The Wolverines have home games on Saturday, Oct. 10 and 17 against Northwestern and Michigan State, respectively.

The Northwestern game comes after a Thursday outing for the Stingarees, so that could give Young a travel day to get up to Ann Arbor on Friday. If he wants to go to the bigger rivalry game against the Spartans, it'll be a tighter schedule with a Friday night game on tap for him.

Check out everything he had to say in the video below.


Miami High 2017 quarterback Marcelo Rodriguez hit big plays down the field all night. He displayed excellent pocket presence and accuracy on deep throws, going 14 of 19 for 317 yards and five touchdowns -- 301 yards and four touchdowns by halftime. He also added a rushing score on a QB sneak.

Rodriguez says Purdue has shown him some interest, as well as Michigan as an extension of their recruitment of "Pie."

Here's everything Rodriguez had to say postgame.



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 18, 2015

Miami commit Uche has Alabama, Florida and Louisville coming after him, Cards standing out to Jerron Rollins

Columbus senior defensive end Josh Uche has remained firm in his commitment to UM, but other schools -- three in particular -- are telling him how great he can be with their programs.

Here's Uche in an exclusive video interview with the Miami Herald after recording 2 1/2 sacks, adding another tackle for loss and rushing the quarterback into several poor throws in a 26-0 win against Miami High.


Senior wide receiver Jerron Rollins relieved the frustration of being kept out of the end zone in recent outings by catching an 83-yard touchdown late in the blowout victory.

One school in particular is standing out to Rollins, who hasn't focused too much attention into recruiting yet. And that school would be Louisville. Here's what he had to say about the Cards.


Here are the highlights from the dominant effort by the Explorers.


September 15, 2015

Sleeper studs from four South Florida games this past weekend

I went to four high school games this weekend and got to see plenty of young playmakers at Killian-Coral Reef, Gulliver-Belen, Columbus-Southridge and Deerfield Beach-Blanche Ely.

Here are my top takeaways on some athletes that don't have the impressive offer sheets -- yet.


Darren Davis Jr.: The list for this game has to start with the freshman Columbus running back who scored the game-winning touchdown. He finished with 92 yards on 15 carries. He is a candidate to potentially reclassify and move up a year like Mark Walton did last year, so TBD if he will be a 2018 or 2019 recruit.

Cliff Smith Jr.: On the other side, the Southridge running back and Killian transfer had 51 yards and a rushing touchdown.

Coemba Jones: A shoe-in for any sleeper segment involving Southridge. He's a rover on Southridge's defense playing all over the field. At 5-8 and 165, the junior is listed as a DB on the roster but will play linebacker and more than hold his own getting through blocks from big offensive linemen and knocking ball carriers backwards. A flat-out true football player that's always around the ball. If he were 6-0, 210 pounds, he'd be a five-star recruit.

CJ Henderson: Junior Columbus running back had 51 rushing yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.

Randy Charlton: He's just a sophomore at defensive end and is 6-4 and 200 pounds. Tremendous motor on Southridge's defensive line and it showed when he earned a sack late in the first half.

Malik Spatcher: You know about Freddie Pinder, Kemore Gamble and probably Rodney Scott as well in the Ridge's receiving corps. Pinder was out, and Spatcher led the Spartans in receiving, including a touchdown right before halftime.

*Other Columbus playmakers included a lot of names you've already heard -- UM commits Josh Uche and Josh Jobe had a sack and interception respectively, Jerron Rollins had a big boy catch inside the Southridge 5 to set up the game-winning touchdown and the heavily-recruited Trajan Bandy clinched the victory with a last-second interception.


We didn't even make it through three quarters in this one because the lights went out at Ely after a lengthy delay to kickoff, but I was still able to see plenty of talent.

Teddrick Moffett: Deerfield QB threw three touchdowns and ran for another. Even with the elite group of receivers he has, they need someone to get them the ball and he gets the job done. He finished with 153 passing yards.

Alton Allen: Had an impressive touchdown catch at the end of the first half and also proved effective carrying the ball for Deerfield.

David Francis: Middle linebacker and captain for Ely. Exhibits leadership qualities on defense and had a diving interception on a ball deflected at the line of scrimmage.

Trevor Goodrum Jr.: Tall and long at 6-4. It worked to his advantage when he had the tipped ball that eventually was picked off by Francis.

Geremy Taylor: Caught a touchdown on fourth down before the lights went out, also had a long reception down the sideline with his finger tips.

Emmitt Burton/Jimmie Harper: Undersized defensive lineman that make plays. Burton forced a fumble that Harper recovered.

Brion Byrd: A 5-10, 210-pound junior linebacker for the Bucks, he really gets after a ball carrier. He had a sack for a loss of 10 on one blitz.

Kimar Martin: Had a huge interception for Deerfield in the end zone. Just has to learn when not to run it out of the end zone, but that can be taught. He a senior cornerback.


Joshua King: With UM commit Bentavious Thompson out, King was the only running back available for coach Cory Johnson. He handled the large workload well with more than 20 carries and was over 100 yards rushing in the first quarter.

Randy Shannon Jr.: The Coral Reef senior linebacker was very active defensively in on several tackles plus picking off a pass.

Romelo Brooks: Linebacker for Killian that was just as active. Brooks delivers some mean hits, and he was playing with a cast on his forearm.

Theodore Williams: Had the biggest play of the night when he forced a fumble late in the fourth quarter when Coral Reef was trying to run out the clock.

Juwan Horn: Recovered the fumble Williams forced and nearly scored on it.

Yoko Poole: He's only 5-8, 150 pounds, but he can really hit. He also had an interception on Thursday.

Jordan Dillard: The sophomore receiver has impressive size and used it to catch the game-winning touchdown.

Antwan Collier: It actually wasn't the touchdown that won it; it was the two-point conversion that Collier ran in on a read-option. Collier added four catches for 67 yards.

Mehki Ervan: As clutch as it gets with a 20-yard reception up the seam on 4th down on the final drive. It set up a chance at a long field goal to win it.

Nico Jacquemin: The Coral Reef kicker booted a 39-yarder and a 29-yarder through the uprights. Don't blame him for missing the game-winner -- it was from 59 yards out.

Robert McWilliams: Looked good coming off the edge for a sack.

Deandre Johnson: The junior defensive end looks the part with solid size for that edge pass-rushing hybrid player at the next level.

Michael Martinez: The Killian junior linebacker is a solid tackler.

Cariq Rackley: Remember this freshman quarterback. He shrugged off two early interceptions to finish with 161 passing yards.

*Worth noting: Coral Reef quarterback Gio Salazar hooked up with Jeremy Fernandez for a beautiful touchdown pass.*


Giovanni Menocal: The 6-1, 210-pound linebacker is a monster tackler, looks a lot like another Menocal to come out of Belen that ended up at Georgia Tech.

Tavish Rice: Elite kicker. Connected on all three field-goal attempts. Committed to Princeton.

Joseph Garcia: A senior who doubles at running back and linebacker, Garcia ran big in the early going and recovered a fumble late on defense. He holds a Bethune-Cookman offer, and should get more this season.

Ariel Jimenez: Hits like he's shot out of a cannon at safety, absolutely punished UM commit Joseph Jackson on a pass over the middle where Jackson was in on offense and his QB led him into Jimenez. Big mistake.

Sebastian Leiter: Forced the fumble that Garcia recovered on a sack.

Giancarlo Pinto: Led the Wolverines in rushing and had a late touchdown run.

Walker Gautier: Had five receptions for 47 yards to lead the Raiders.

*There wasn't too much else from Gulliver. The other standouts were the players that are being recruited heavily -- UM commits Cedrick Wright (was an absolute monster with 27 tackles, knew where the ball was going every play reading Belen's Wing-T), Joseph Jackson (sack and forced fumble) and Robert Burns (carrying the load and leading the Raiders in rushing) -- but this segment is supposed to be about the sleepers.


AP High School football rankings - week 4

Florida High School Football Poll

   By The Associated Press

   The Associated Press Top 10 Florida high school football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records, rating points and previous rankings:

Class 8A

                                              Record  Pts Prv

 1. Apopka (16)                                3-0    168 1

 2. Flanagan (1)                       2-0    150 2

 3. Columbus                            3-0    135 3

 4. Kissimmee Osceola                          3-0    119 4

 5. West Orange                                3-0    98  7

 6. Vero Beach                                 2-0    89  6

 7. Atlantic Community                         2-0    49  8

 8. Dr. Phillips                               2-1    45  5

 9. Fort Pierce Central                        3-0    28  10

10. Mandarin                                   3-0    23  NR

   Others receiving votes: South Dade 9, Coral Gables 5, Sandalwood 4, Plantation 3, Miramar 3, University (Orange City) 3, Southridge 2, Oak Ridge 1, Manatee 1. 

Class 7A

                                              Record  Pts Prv

 1. St. Thomas Aquinas (17)                   3-0     170 1

 2. Oakleaf                                   3-0     146 3

 3. Dwyer                                     2-0     132 4

 4. Venice                                    3-0     119 5

 5. Braden River                              3-0     90  6

 6. Lakeland                                  2-1     70  2

 7. South Fort Myers                          3-0     66  7

 8. Winter Haven                              3-0     54  9

 9. Plant                                     2-1     48  8

10. Columbia                                  3-0     25  10

   Others receiving votes: Sickles 10, Viera 3, Mater Academy 2.

Class 6A

                                              Record  Pts Prv

 1. Mainland (15)                             3-0     177 1

 2. Armwood                                   2-0     157 2

 3. Miami Central (3)                         2-1     144 3

 4. St. Augustine                             3-0     115 4

 4. Escambia                               3-0     115 T6

 6. Naples                                    1-1     71  T6

 7. Tate                                      2-0     55  8

 8. Navarre                                   2-0     37  9

 9. Choctawhatchee                            2-1     27  5

10. Niceville                                 2-1     21  10

   Others receiving votes: Charlotte 19, Carol City 19, Clearwater 11, Norland 11, Heritage 8, Dillard 2, Pine Forest 1. 

Class 5A

                                              Record  Pts Prv

 1. Hallandale (13)                           2-0     172 1

 2. Plantation American Heritage (4)          2-1     158 2

 3. Bishop Moore (1)                          3-0     151 3

 4. North Marion                              3-0     125 4

 5. Rickards                                  3-0     107 5

 6. Wakulla                                   2-1     78  7

 7. Coconut Creek                             2-1     66  8

 8. Jesuit                                    3-0     57  9

 9. Suwannee                                  1-1     23  10

10. Miami Jackson                             1-1     16  NR

   Others receiving votes: Ponte Vedra 14, Godby 13, Palm Bay 4, West Florida 2, Bay 2, Crystal River 1, Hardee 1. 

Class 4A

                                              Record  Pts Prv

 1. Bolles School (16)                        3-0     178 2

 2. Raines                                    3-0     151 4

 3. Cocoa (2)                                 2-1     139 1

 4. South Sumter                              3-0     130 5

 5. Booker T. Washington                          1-2     54  3

   Others receiving votes: Dunnellon 25, Clewiston 24, Lake Highland 13, Avon Park 6.

Class 3A

                                              Record  Pts Prv

 1. Trinity Christian-Jacksonville (17)       3-0     170 1

 2. Lakeland Christian                        3-0     139 2

 3. Clearwater Central Catholic               3-0     130 3

 4. Delray American Heritage                  2-1     119 4

 5. Tampa Catholic                            3-0     93  5

   Others receiving votes: Oxbridge Academy 21, Calvary Christian-Clearwater 8. 

Class 2A

                                              Record  Pts Prv

 1. University Christian (9)                  2-1     158 1

 2. Northside Christian (2)                   3-0     144 3

 3. Dade Christian (4)                        2-0     132 4

 4. Moore Haven (1)                           3-0     121 5

 5. North Florida Christian (1)               2-2     107 2

   Others receiving votes: Carrollwood Day 12, Glades Day 6. 

Class 1A

                                              Record  Pts Prv

 1. Fort Meade (15)                           3-0     185 1

 2. Trenton (3)                               3-0     169 4

 3. Pahokee                                   2-0     155 3

 4. Union County (1)                          3-0     129 5

 5. Port St. Joe                              1-1     60  2

   Others receiving votes: Vernon 36, South Walton 20, Blountstown 6.

September 12, 2015

Bandy hearing from several elite programs, Jobe is 'all about the U'

Columbus junior cornerback Trajan Bandy sealed the Explorers' 17-13 victory against Southridge Friday night with an interception and postgame spoke a little bit about recruiting.

Alabama, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Tennessee and Clemson are schools Bandy says are coming after him the hardest.

Coaches from these programs have high praise for him.

"They know I'm a 5-9 corner, but they like my ball skills, the way I play," Bandy says. "As a matter of fact, a Clemson coach told me I remind him of [UF cornerback] Vernon Hargreaves how I go up at the high point of the ball, make plays."

On Friday, Bandy did exactly that when he rose to snag the game-clinching interception as time expired.

"They told me I had to make a play," Bandy said. "I know the team is counting on me, and I had to go up and make a play on the ball."


He wasn't the only one to make a game-changing play late for Columbus.

Jerron Rollins went up and made a tremendous catch to get the Explorers from midfield to inside the 10, and freshman running back Darren Davis Jr., who may eventually be able to reclassify to 2018, scored the game-winning touchdown on a sweep to the right.

"Big-time players make big-time plays in big-time games," Bandy said. "And that was a big-time play by Jerron Rollins. He went up and he grabbed that ball, and let me tell you, the freshman Darren Davis -- he's an unbelievable athlete. He's like a little cousin to me."

Another big play but a little earlier in the second half was the interception 2018 UM commit Josh Jobe made.

Jobe committed to the Canes very early in the recruiting process, but he makes it clear he plans on going nowhere else. Check everything he had to say in the video below.


The other Columbus UM commit, 2016 defensive end Josh Uche, had a sack in the game and could've had another but overran the quarterback. Uche can beat a single pass protector with ease, but one thing coaches are working on with him is to break down, contain and wrap up better once he reaches the quarterback so that he can finish those plays and earn the sack after beating the offensive tackle one-on-one.

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 10, 2015

Killian 2017 DB Juwan Horn might commit on the spot if offered by Canes

Junior Killian defensive back Juwan Horn had a big fumble recovery and return to the 7-yard line on Thursday night against Coral Reef to set up the eventual game-winning touchdown and two-point conversion.

Horn currently lists a Temple offer he's had since he was a freshman, but is also receiving interest from UM, UCF and Purdue. He adds that if the Canes offer, it might be a done deal with him joining teammate and running back Bentavious Thompson in their 2017 recruiting class.

Here's everything Horn had to say in this exclusive interview with the Miami Herald.