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 CaneSport.com "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.

 

Recruiting Roundup: Mater prospects on the rise

Mater academy 2017 wide receiver Shimoore Stern in the last two months has received offers from Louisville and Western Kentucky.

Stern (6-4, 195 pounds) has also has had ongoing conversation with interested schools like Miami, West Virginia and Alabama.

*Mater Academy 2017 defensive back Latavious Brini has received strong interest from Florida, Purdue and Texas. Brini (6-2, 185), a three-star recruit, plans to visit Florida next week and will be attendance for its game against Florida State. 

Brini, who lists offers from Loisville, FIU and Temple, said ofthe Gators: "They have a great program and really good coaches." 

*T.J. Herrington, the senior Mater Academy quarterback, recently visited Valdosta State University.

"I really liked the coaching staff," said the 6-2, 190-pound Herrington.

He recently received an offer from Stetson. Herrington in the past had received strong interest from FAMU and FAU.

*Senior strong safety Tre Donastorg has had conversations in the past with Cincinnati, UCF and Syracuse. Donastrong is 6-0 and 180 pounds.

*Sunset athlete Julian Noriega has received an offer from West Florida University. Noriega (6-4, 180) has had discussions in the past with local universities FIU and FAU.

*Miami High defensive back Brian Johnson has been receiving interest from Mount Union and Wesleyan. At 5-9 and 175 pounds, Johnson had previously been talking to Iowa, but with those talks recently fizzling, he hopes to rekindle that connection after he passes his ACT.

*Three-star Miami High wide receiver, Keyshawn "Pie" Young, the Herald's No. 2-rated senior in Dade County, will be taking his official visit to Michigan on Nov. 27. Young (6-0, 190).

RUSSELL QUINOA

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."

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. 
 
RUSSELL QUINOA

November 13, 2015

Kemore Gamble: "I'm all U"

Kemore Gamble

Southridge junior wide receiver/tight end Kemore Gamble is remaining very firm to his commitment despite a flurry of decommits recently.

"I'm all U," Gamble says. "I love the coaches. They keep in contact with me, it's close to home, good education."

Gamble said he would like to see Mario Cristobal hired as UM's next head coach. He's developed a relationship with him as Cristobal has recruited Gamble to Alabama.

Gamble lists the other schools coming after him hard in the video interview below after Southridge's 17-7 win over Belen -- a game in which he capped the Spartans' opening drive with a touchdown.

 

*Cornerback and 2017 recruit Shawn Davis had an interception in the first half of Southridge's playoff victory. He also picked up a pivotal first down in the late stages. He was lined up to punt but picked up a bad snap to run past the marker.

Davis lists a Temple offer at this point, and is also receiving significant interest from UF, UM and Virginia Tech among others.

He says he plans to visit UF, FSU and Georgia soon.

*Another junior in rover/linebacker Coemba Jones was instrumental in picking off a pass on Belen's second offensive play and taking it 27 yards for a touchdown. It put the Spartans up two scores after the Gamble touchdown on the opening drive.

Although a bit undersized at 5-8, 175 pounds, Jones plays much bigger than that and is a sure tackler and playmaker on defense.

The birthday boy, who already lists a Temple offer, did a video interview after the game.

 

DAVID FURONES 

Photo and videos by David Furones//FOR THE MIAMI HERALD

November 08, 2015

Josh Uche decommits from UM

Columbus senior defensive end Josh Uche announced a decommitment from the Hurricanes’ 2016 recruiting class on Sunday evening, citing the firing of Al Golden two weeks to the date.

“With the recent coaching change at the University of Miami and the uncertainty of the future, I would like to de-commit at this time,” Uche said on Twitter. “I would like to explore other options and when a new head coach at Miami is named, my family and I will reevaluate the situation.”

Uche, a three-star prospect on all major recruiting sites, holds other major offers from Florida and Alabama. Alabama assistant Mario Cristobal, whose name has been thrown around to potentially fill UM’s coaching vacancy, has been his primary recruiter to the Crimson Tide.

Uche's announcement comes two days after another defensive end, Izon Pulley of Olney Good Counsel in Olney, Maryland announced he would be leaving the 2016 class.

Uche told the Miami Herald he does not have a leader in his recruitment at this time.

Earlier this season, while Golden still had his job, Uche voiced his disapproval to me over the banners flying over stadiums calling for his firing:

“When I saw it I thought that was pretty disrespectful because Al Golden has done a lot for this program considering he came into a bad situation due to the whole Nevin Shapiro controversy,” Uche said. “For people to try and get somebody fired, that’s pretty disrespectful. I guess people are just so caught up with winning, which is understandable, but just to be so blatant, that’s not the right way to go about things.

“It’s kind of wishy-washy. [The fans] are only with you when you’re having success. As soon as you start doing bad, they start slandering you.”

Just my take from reading into the way he worded his statement: It doesn't appear like most decommitments where the prospect is entirely done with the school he was once on board with. Uche saying he will reevaluate the situation when a new coach is named, tells me his heart may still be with UM as a program but he will be looking elsewhere until he gets a chance to establish a bond similar to the one he had with Golden. And he just feels more comfortable talking to other programs without the 'UM commit' label on him.

This will be one to stay tuned on.

Recruiting Roundup: Jackson's Phillips visits UM, notes from Dillard, Ely, Varela

By DAVID FURONES

and RUSSELL QUINOA

Miami Jackson quarterback and three-star athlete Desmond Phillips, a Toledo commit, received a Miami offer in mid-October and Saturday was in attendance to watch the Hurricanes' 27-21 win over Virginia.

Phillips spoke exclusively with the Miami Herald after he wrapped up his high school career Friday night in a loss to Northwestern in the Soul Bowl.

"It made me proud," Phillips said of receiving the UM offer. "It made my family open their eyes more. Now it's up to a decision on what I want to do."

Phillips has played quarterback throughout his high school career with the Generals but is being recruited as a slot receiver -- both by the Canes and by Toledo.

UM wide receivers coach Kevin Beard has gotten a chance to see Phillips at receiver at camps.

"He's a great coach," Phillips said. "When I went to their camp and he coached me up when I was at receiver, he told me a lot about what I need to know. He's a great guy."

Phillips is a versatile athlete and his skill set will transition well to the collegiate level at receiver.

"Next level I feel like I could bring a lot to any team I go to -- my speed, my talent," Phillips says. "Everything I have, I can just add to a team."

*Three-star 2017 Dillard defensive end Jon Ford has also been receiving interest from UM, as well as Alabama, Syracuse and South Carolina. Ford plans to visit FSU, UM and Alabama this summer. He has stayed in contact with Alabama coach Mario Cristobal throughout the season.

"I love the program and hope they consider me to play there," says the 6-5, 265-pound Ford of UM.

*Three-star 2017 Dillard defensive end Jordan Wright is being heavily recruited by North Carolina. Wright (6-5, 220) has also received interest from UM, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh.

Aaron Thompson
Aaron Thompson

*Three-star Dillard defensive tackle Aaron Thompson has received more than 30 offers. Thompson's current top three is Virginia, South Carolina and Pitt.

Thompson (6-4, 260) on why Virginia is his favorite: "They're the truth."

UM defensive line coach Randy Melvin passed by Dillard recently when the Panthers played host to Plantation.

*Two-star Dillard 2017 wide receiver Jordan Merrell has 11 offers so far into his junior season. Merrell's top three is Cincinnati, Marshall and Michigan.

Merrell, who had 16 receptions for 185 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Plantation earlier this season, plans to do a college tour this summer to visit potential schools. Some of the destinations will include Cincinnati, TCU and Baylor.

"They know how to throw the ball," says the 5-10, 180-pound receiver on why the Bearcats are his favorite.

*Three star Dillard linebacker and Virginia commit Kenneth Ruff has received 25 offers. Ruff plans to stay committed to Virginia but has plans to take a visit to Illinois in December after the season. Ruff (6-2, 235) also strongly considered South Carolina and North Carolina before committing to Virginia.

*Two-star Dillard receiver James Jackson currently has two standing offers from Youngstown and Kent State.

"I really like Youngstown. There's a lot of tradition," Jackson says. 

Jackson unofficially visited Youngstown this summer and plans to visit Kent State after the season. The 6-4, 190-pound prospect has also received interest from Virginia and Pitt.

McKinley Williams
McKinley Williams

*Three-star Dillard receiver Demetrius White (6-3, 200) has nine offers so far. White's top three includes Toledo, Kent State and Marshall. White has scheduled an official visit with Toledo on Jan. 19. 

*Unranked Dillard linebacker McKinley Williams III is being courted by Middle Tennessee. Williams has received preliminary interest from Iowa, Pitt and Mississippi State. Williams (6-5, 260) plans to visit Iowa in December.

*Unranked Dillard linebacker Torian Williams is currently weighing offers from Alcorn State and Monmouth University. Rutgers is also showing interest and Williams (6-3, 220) plans to visit the Scarlet Knights in December.

*Unranked Blanche Ely tight end Leonard Warren's top three includes Ohio, Cincinnati and Florida. Warren currently has no visits in the near future. Warren (6-4, 225) has current plans to wait until after National Signing Day to commit.

Leonard Warren
Leonard Warren

"I really liked Ohio's atmosphere, very welcoming," Warren says.

*Two-star ranked Blanche Ely wide receiver Thomas Geddis currently has 25 offers. His top three are Cincinnati, Temple and Wisconsin. He has already visited Cincinnati and plans to visit Massachusetts in December. Geddis could make for a big target in the red zone for a school at 6-3, 165 and can stretch the field.

*A long, athletic, dynamic defensive end out of Ely, Trevor Goodrum Jr., is flying well under the radar.

Goodrum, who has received interest from Princeton with a 3.0 GPA, has 35 tackles and 13 sacks on the season for Ely as the Tigers prepare for postseason play as the runner-up in District 14-7A.

*Unranked Varela receiver Jay Stringer plans to remain uncommitted until January. Stringers says it's "so it gives me time to really think about where I'm going to go, and I want time to talk with my family."

Stringer's No. 1 option is FIU, but he is considering multiple offers as he recently visited Florida A&M and Valdosta state.

About his trip to check out the Rattlers, Stringer said, "I talked to coach Edwin Pata from FAMU on my visit. I really loved the staff."

Stringer spent more time at Valdosta State.

"It is a very nice, the campus. It's beautiful and the town has nice people," said Stringer. "Great fans and a good staff. I'm thinking about going there."

Jay Stringer
Jay Stringer

*Photos: RUSSELL QUINOA//FOR THE MIAMI HERALD (Stringer photo courtesy of Jay Stringer)

November 07, 2015

Updates on Huntley, Moss, Hammond and Cotto from Hallandale

Senior quarterback Tyler Huntley is firmly committed to Utah. He is not considering any other schools. Huntley torched Monarch for 188 yards and four touchdowns in the first half of Hallandale's 45-6 win Friday night.

Senior running back Zack Moss is a strong commit to Miami. Utah and Kentucky are still coming after him, though. Moss said Utah is the only school that could flip him, but it's unlikely he decommits from Miami. Moss has talked a lot with UM Interim Head Coach Larry Scott and thinks he's a "cool dude."

Senior receiver Joshua Hammond is still committed to UF. Hammond is taking his official visit to Gainesville this weekend for Florida's game against Vanderbilt. Georgia and Ohio State are still coming hard after Hammond, and those are the only schools he would go to if he drops Florida.

Fellow senior receiver and Western Kentucky commit Chris Cotto has Miami (Ohio) and USF coming after him hard.

MARK SINGER