May 25, 2015

Jackson's Desmond Phillips commits to Toledo

Miami Jackson athlete Desmond Phillips announced on Monday that he has committed to Toledo.

The Generals left-handed quarterback in the Class of 2016 is listed as an athlete on recruiting services at 5-10 and 170 pounds and had a total of 14 offers including others from Cincinnati, FIU, Marshall, Pitt, USF, Syracuse and Temple.

In Phillips' junior season, he threw for 1,385 yards and ran for more than 500 yards and led Jackson to a playoff appearance.

May 24, 2015

Dirty Birds soaring: News and notes from Flanagan

**I also wrote a story for the paper on both the St. Thomas Aquinas and Flanagan scrimmages. Click here.**

Devin BushNow for some additional notes from the Flanagan scrimmage…

The Falcons hosted several coaches from the likes of UM, Virginia Tech, Georgia and Middle Tennessee and put their athletes on display for the coaches with various 11-on-11 scenarios and then split into one-on-one drills. Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp was also present.

Four-star inside linebacker Devin Bush Jr. (pictured to the left doing the Dirty Bird) certainly has the ideal combination of size and athleticism to excel at the next level.

Another asset he possesses, but that you can’t see on film and need to catch him live to witness is his leadership. He’s the unquestioned quarterback of that defense, leads the stretches and you can just tell when he talks others listen.

Both linebacker/safety Devin Gil (hand) and cornerback Stanford Samuels (knee) were held out of the scrimmage, but when they return for the Falcons, the Dirty Birds defense is going to be something to watch.

Samuels, a 2017 four-star uncommitted recruit, currently lists a top five of Florida State, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina and Alabama.

Here’s everything Samuels, who is the son of the former FSU cornerback that went by the same name, told me in an exclusive interview with the Miami Herald:

 

Gil, a senior three-star UM commit, had Miami defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio and linebackers coach Hurlie Brown attend the scrimmage.

“It’s great. I like to see them around. I’ll be seeing them in the future, but it’s nice to see that they’re still interested, still coming down and showing love.”

Gil says his commitment to the Canes stands firm, and right now the other schools still pursuing him are Michigan, Louisville and UCF. He’ll visit the Wolverines in June.

Gil says he grew up a Hurricane fan, especially a fan of Ed Reed and Sean Taylor.

Bush Jr., although he’s heavily linked to FSU because father and Flanagan coach Devin Bush played for the Seminoles, he’s hearing it from Gil every day trying to get Bush Jr. on board with the Canes.

“That’s my brother, so wherever he goes, I’m going to be happy with it,” Gil says. “As long as he thinks it’s a great fit for him, I think it’s a great fit for him.”

If they end up at rival schools?

“I might have to hit him every play then.” 

But they’ll both be playing defense…

“I’ll ask Coach to go on offense.”

--Quarterback transfer from Champagnat Kato Nelson did what we’re used to seeing out of him in big games with Champagnat, except in a different uniform. Nelson was poised in the pocket, delivered passes with precision and proved mobile when necessary.

--I came away impressed with 2017 wide receiver Clevan Thomas in one-on-one drills. He was professional in his route-running and cuts, exhibited a burst of acceleration to get open and displayed sure hands.

--2017 athlete Faion Hicks can develop into a really good cover corner. He was blanketing receivers in one-on-one coverage.

--Rising senior Tyler Goetz is listed as a linebacker on certain sites, but he played fullback and tight end in 11-on-11 and gave Nelson a big target with the ability to get open, especially over the middle and in the red zone.

--Lastly, 2017 offensive tackle Jamar Lambert is HUGE (6-3, 350). Interest and offers have to start coming in for this kid with ideal size once he hones in on his technique.

May 23, 2015

Rockets fully loaded: Extra Miami Central spring/recruiting notes

Keir Thomas**I wrote a feature on Central both in the paper and online. Make sure you check that out as well. You should also check out Bill Daley's write-up on Columbus' win over St. Pete Lakewood.**

Here are a few more notes I came away with from the Rockets’ Green and White Game on Saturday.

--That defense is to be feared! Half of the guys on the starting unit already look like they’re in college. Donavan Thompson, Keir Thomas (pictured to the left) and Eric Mitchell are absolutely fierce. Mitchell, came off the edge unblocked and drilled quarterback Anthony “Mo” Hasan so hard I was concerned for Mo’s health. He turned out to be OK; he's a tough kid.

--Regarding four-star receiver Darnell Salomon, he broke down for me why he liked each of his top five.

Oregon: “Oregon has that fast-pace offense, spread team. Great for a receiver like me.” Darnell Salomon

Oklahoma: “I’m great with the receivers coach [Dennis Simmons]. We’ve got a bond. I talk to him like every week.”

Texas: “They throw the ball 40 times a game.”

Alabama: “Always been a fan of them.”

FSU: “They’re starting all their freshmen receivers and they become big time, so that’s great.”

Salomon (pictured to the right) added Miami is also recruiting him hard and he talks to running backs coach Tim “Ice” Harris every two weeks. He says the Hurricanes would be next if he extended his top to six.

Thompson, a three-star middle linebacker at 5-10, 220 says no one is ahead between Arkansas, Oregon State and USF, but he does say former Central coach Telly Lockette being an assistant at Oregon State gives the Beavers an advantage.

“He kind of knows me, kind of knows my weaknesses, and if I go up there, he can basically keep an eye on me and tell me how it is instead of sugar-coating it,” Thompson said.

Like I mention in my story, Waynmon Steed told me UM coaches have said he reminds them of Sean Spence.

“I want to start my own legacy, but to be compared to Sean Spence, that’s a good comparison. I don’t mind it.”

About being committed to the hometown team, Steed, who also has offers from FAU and Texas-San Antonio says, “It’s a great thing. [I’ve] got to represent 305. My family is a big fan of Miami and I just get to stay home.”

While committed, Steed adds that he’s still open as more offers begin to come in.

Jamel Cook calls himself 100-percent committed to FSU but still wants to enjoy the recruiting process and take his visits – Alabama, Auburn, Louisville, UM, FSU are in the mix for visits from him.

He likes the family atmosphere at FSU with former teammates Dalvin Cook, DaVante Phillips and Calvin Brewton all up there.

“With me going up there, there’s just family. I have people that push me to work hard, stay behind me and push me to do what’s right,” Cook says.

Another Cook, James, who is an eighth grader now and rising freshman that will be enrolling at Central in August, already has hype surrounding him. That’s because he’s Dalvin Cook’s little brother. I’m certainly excited to see what he can do once the season starts as he’s already receiving recruiting interest from major programs.

May 22, 2015

Marco Wilson nearly breaks Twitter with backflip catch

Marco Wilson, 2017 four-star cornerback out of Plantation American Heritage, posted a video on social media of himself making a ridiculous one-handed catch while backflipping.

Wilson currently holds 11 scholarship offers as he heads into his junior year and is the younger brother to current Florida Gator Quincy Wilson.

The Odell Beckham-esque catch had 445 retweets and 440 favorites within two hours of getting posted and sparked a campaign to get it on ESPN's SportsCenter.

May 21, 2015

Cypress Bay's Andrew Parchment commits to Cincinnati

 

Cypress Bay Class of 2016 wide receiver Andrew Parchment announced he was committing to the Cincinnati Bearcats on Wednesday night.

The three-star prospect held an announcement party with about 30 friends and family present at a Chili's in Miramar and then also posted his decision on Twitter.

The announcement came a day after he had decided on a top three of Cincinnati, USF and Syracuse. The latter two have started showing interest recently.

"My commitment is solid with Cincinnati," says the 6-4 Parchment. "If other schools come in, I'll cross that bridge at a later time. As of right now, I'm all Cincy."

Teammate and rising senior cornerback Darrell Malone, who is good friends with Parchment, was close to committing to Cincy along with Parchment Wednesday, but added interest from Georgia Tech, Syracuse and Indiana after Cypress Bay's spring scrimmage Tuesday had him hold off on a decision.

Binjimen Victor, Trayvon Mullen shine as Coconut Creek beats South Dade in Spring Game

Coconut Creek hosted its spring game against South Dade and anyone who’s anyone in college football had a coach at the game.

More than 20 college football programs were represented. A full list of schools I saw watching the action is listed at the bottom of the post.

When a team has a pair of highly-sought-after four-star rising seniors like cornerback Trayvon Mullen and wide receiver Binjimen Victor, you can understand why there were so many followers.

With Victor scoring twice and Mullen scoring another touchdown, the Cougars’ stars shined as Coconut Creek took the exhibition against South Dade 21-14.

Victor was phenomenal in one-on-one situations. It was clear it was going to be difficult for South Dade to cover him from the start, especially with top Bucs recruit James Wiggins, a UM commit, held out of the game.

IMG_1947Victor went to fade routes again and again and it was simply too easy for the 6-4 receiver to go up and get the ball over smaller defenders. Both his touchdowns came in the second half.

Mullen (pictured to the left) was in shutdown corner mode. Whatever receiver he was matched up against didn’t stand a chance of getting open. He’s too quick, long and turns his hips like the elite cover corner he is.

Mullen made a spectacular touchdown catch on the final play of the first half after quarterback Jhakari Harrison threw a backward pass to Malek Young, who then launched it more than 50 yards to a diving Mullen in the end zone.

Young, a Georgia three-star DB commit in the Class of 2016, also had a fumble recovery and was active on defense.

Another rising senior, DB/LB Alexy Jean-Baptiste showed a nose for the ball and tenacity in tackling as did 2017 DB Kobe Green.

2017 defensive end Lashawn Paulino has a very impressive frame to grow into at 6-4 and 220 pounds and certainly looks the part of the prototype end in college. He lists a Temple offer and is sure to add more very soon.

Here’s everything Mullen and Victor were talking about after the game. Both are wide open in their recruitment with offers from essentially every program in the nation.

  

 

While most of the college coaches showed up to see Creek’s stars and Wiggins out for South Dade, they still had to come away impressed with several South Dade prospects, especially when the Bucs built a 14-0 lead in the first half.

Wiggins, who is committed to UM, was held out as a precaution after he clashed knees with a teammate at a recent practice.

Coach Nate Hudson says UM loves “his athleticism – similar to things we want to do – attacking the ball, his IQ of the game. He’s a sponge. He’s an athlete.”

Running back Jawon Hamilton excelled early on when South Dade was building its lead. He scored a touchdown and had a few other long runs, showing a quick burst and ability to accelerate and create separation from a chasing defender.

There’s no question Hamilton was aided by a strong, fundamentally sound offensive line, specifically the right side of it with 2016 tackle Boman Swanson (6-4, 245) and 2017 guard Kyron Taylor (6-1, 275).

Hudson says Swanson’s patience in essentially redshirting two seasons ago has paid major dividends for him in his development. Colleges are noticing, and reports state that Taylor is receiving UM interest.

Darnell Durham, a 2017 wide receiver who only stands at 5-8, made an impressive leaping catching against a Creek defender in the end zone for a South Dade touchdown.

Another pair of rising juniors at DB for the Bucs had interceptions in the end zone in Marquise Parnell and Woobendy Guerrier.

COLLEGES IN ATTENDANCE:

Miami, FSU, Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Clemson, Texas, Michigan, Louisville, Maryland, West Virginia, Minnesota, Cincinnati, FAU, Temple, Ohio, Florida A&M, West Florida, Liberty and Prairie View A&M

May 19, 2015

Lichtenstein: "I'd probably commit" if offered by Canes; Parchment names top three

There's a lot of recruiting activity brewing out of Cypress Bay as spring comes to its conclusion for the Lightning.

All you had to do was look at how many colleges were represented at Cypress Bay’s spring game on Tuesday to identify how much interest there is in the Lightning’s prospects.

Georgia Tech, Duke, USF, Illinois, Indiana, Cincinnati, Syracuse and Bowling Green all had coaches in Weston on Tuesday.

Jake Lichtenstein (6-5, 235 pounds), a Class of 2017 defensive end, is a hot prospect due to his obvious size, motor and long arms.

Lichtenstein lists a recent offer from Louisville as his first but has also drawn significant interest from the hometown Miami Hurricanes and he says he is a big fan of the U.

How would he react if UM offered him?

“I’d probably commit,” says Lichtenstein, who is also being recruited by Auburn, Virginia and UCF. “I’ve always liked UM – hometown team, family can show up to watch. That’s a dream.”

 

Cypress Bay coach Mark Guandolo has been impressed with Lichtenstein – and not just for his play on the gridiron.

“He’s put on a lot of weight in the offseason program, he’s got a 4.5 GPA, he’s an all-around great kid,” Guandolo says.

Andrew Parchment, a three-star 2016 wide receiver, has announced a top three of Cincinnati, USF and Syracuse – in that order. Immediately after the scrimmage, he had a different third team, but after being contacted by Syracuse later Tuesday, the Orange are gaining momentum in his recruiting picture.

“Cincinnati, right now, has to be my No. 1 offensive-wise and because they have a bunch of South Florida guys,” says Parchment, whose name on Twitter is OchoCinco and his cover photo is one of Chad Johnson (or Ochocinco) in a Cincinnati Bengals uniform.

For now, Parchment tentatively says he will announce a commitment on Twitter at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.

At the scrimmage, his size at 6-4 was evident and he also displayed a keen sense of route-running and sharp change of direction. He stopped on a dime in the end zone on a comeback route to catch a touchdown at the pylon.

Parchment and 2016 cornerback Darrell Malone are close friends, both have offers from Cincinnati and could see themselves playing together at the next level.

“That’s one of my best friends on the team, so me and him have been talking about it for a little bit,” Parchment says.

Malone, also a three-star at 5-11, 165, was a shutdown corner on defense and also got in offensively to show his burst and run in a touchdown on a sweep.

He had thoughts of announcing a commitment on Wednesday but interest from Georgia Tech, Syracuse and Indiana after the scrimmage has him holding off for the time being.

“They’re great players, good team guys, hard workers, very talented, very tough competitors,” Guandolo says. “They’re going to be ready to play early.”

--Middle linebacker Robert Pitter was an “animal” tackling, as Guandolo put it. Pitter, the Lightning’s leading tackler, is undersized at 5-9, but he more than makes up for it with how strong he plays and how he knifes through the line to make tackles for loss. Guandolo compared him to former Cypress Bay linebacker Nico Marley, who is now at Tulane.

--Rising junior FB/DB Danny Montoya was a workhorse back in the scrimmage and reeled off some impressive runs. He’s receiving interest from Ivy League and Patriot League schools.

--Guandolo also praised rising senior R.J. Rosario at safety and his defensive line, namely Nesta Silvera, a 2018 nose guard that’s already 6-2, 285, and starting end Nicolas Wucher.

May 18, 2015

Deerfield Beach safety James Pierre commits to UM

James Pierre, a three-star defensive back out of Deerfield Beach, orally committed to UM Monday evening after receiving an offer earlier Monday.

The 6-1, 175-pound safety becomes the 21st commitment of the Canes’ 2016 recruiting class and sixth defensive back, joining Tyler Byrd (Naples), Devin Gil (Pembroke Pines Flanagan), Deion Jackson (Hallandale), James Wiggins (Homestead South Dade) and Cedrick Wright (Miami Gulliver).

UM will have safeties Deon Bush and Dallas Crawford go into their senior seasons in the fall while juniors Jamal Carter and Rayshawn Jenkins have two years of eligibility remaining.

The Canes had four freshman defensive backs – safety Robert Knowles and cornerbacks Sheldrick Redwine, Michael Jackson and Terrance Henley – enroll on Sunday while safety Jaquan Johnson enrolled in the spring.

Pierre, the nation’s 27th-ranked safety according to Rivals, had other notable offers from Wisconsin, West Virginia, North Carolina, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Syracuse, Cincinnati and FIU.

 

May 15, 2015

Talented crop of Miramar Patriots flourishing this spring

Miramar held its spring classic on Friday afternoon, and by watching the kids play and the coaches conduct the scrimmage, you couldn’t tell this is the same team that had to forfeit its playoff game last season due to sanctions by the FHSAA for an academic scandal.

Former Booker T. Washington defensive line coach Pierre Senatus has taken over as head coach, cleaned up the program, brought his winning mentality to a program that has seen plenty of winning and the scandal is behind the Patriots.

I’ll have more on how Miramar has moved on from that in the coming week, but first let’s focus on some of the athletes that stood out, some of which have had to wait their turns to finally blossom because of the players they've been behind on the depth chart in past years.

--I was very impressed with 2017 safety Brian Edwards, who already looks like a college safety on the field. He showed great range in his pursuit, going from sideline to sideline.

Syracuse was impressed too. With a coach at the scrimmage, the Orange offered him Friday. Edwards added to an offer sheet that includes UM, Clemson, Cincinnati and interest from South Carolina and Alabama among others.

--A pair of 2016 Patriots were offered by Coastal Carolina on Thursday in defensive end Terrell Lucas and offensive lineman Obinna Nwankwo.

Lucas is already 6-2, 231 and has a tremendous motor off the edge. Nwankwo is 280 pounds and paves a hole with force when a runner gets behind him.

--Miramar’s projected starter at quarterback, senior University School transfer D’Angelo Fulford, looked smooth with his delivery, flashed a gifted arm, showed some escape ability and stood even taller than his impressive 6-1 frame in the pocket.

All he needs to do is continue to learn the Patriot’s tempo offense and put the right touch on his deep ball to connect with his speedy receivers.

--Fulford connected with 6-4 senior receiver Kyle Anthony for two touchdowns at the scrimmage. Anthony displayed tremendous rapport with Fulford, ability to go up and use his body to get the ball as a possession receiver, and Senatus said he also has developed chemistry with Caleb Thomas when he is at quarterback.

Anthony picked up three offers at the FIU scrimmages last weekend – Colgate, Florida A&M and Alcorn State –  and is getting looked at by “all the HBCUs and all the Ivy League schools,” according to Senatus, but one would imagine his recruitment will explode in not time with his size and skill set. Anthony has a 5.0 grade-point average to go with all his tools on the field.

“His skill set, his speed, he has that tremendous ball radius, phenomenal burst, great route-running, great ball recognition,” Senatus says. “We feel we have one of the top receivers in the state of Florida right now.”

--Senatus calls 2016 cornerback Korel Smith “the honeybadger.” At the scrimmage, he presented his ball skills with an acrobatic interception in the end zone in single coverage.

--Senatus added that the cornerback combination of Smith and 2016 recruit Shemar Jean-Charles is one of the top tandems in the Southeast United States.

--Linebacker Deshondre Pitts is a beast at linebacker, shedding off blocks in the box and ripping through the line for tackles for loss. Pitts is also a captain on defense and earns the praise of both Senatus and defensive coordinator A.J. Scott.

“He has some of the highest football IQ that you’ll see in the United States. He is a coach on the field. He’s our field general,” Senatus said. “The intensity and the tenacity that you’ll see him bring on the field is some of the best that you’ll see in the country.”

*Pitts is driving the Miramar equipment crew crazy, breaking his own facemask and the facemask of a teammate running back all in the past week.

Canes get 2018 commitment from Jalen Patterson

The Miami Hurricanes learned Friday that they picked up their fourth commitment in the Class of 2018 and it comes from Citra North Marion athlete Jalen Patterson.

Just a freshman last season, Patterson, who plays both sides of the ball but projects as a defensive back, already looks the part of an elite recruit on film with his blazing speed and pursuit of the ball.

"Two words: Big time," said North Marion coach Stephen Field, former head coach at Miami Northwestern. "Just an all-around athlete with great instincts, and he's physical."

Added Patterson on his game, "I like to hit." He's been told by coaches they like his speed and athleticism.

Patterson got the offer on Thursday and on Friday decided to join a class that consists of two other DB commits in University School's Al Blades Jr. and Thomas Burns from Northwestern, who is the brother of current Cane Artie Burns.

In an interview with Rivals, Patterson said, "I wanted to commit right away when they offered."

With his Signing Day so far in the future (Feb. 2018), he added "it's going to be hard" for another school to catch UM by then.

He told me: "I like their defense, especially their defensive backs."

He has other early offers from Oregon State, West Virginia and Mississippi State and says Alabama is about to offer.