February 20, 2016

Former Miramar coach Damon Cogdell back in South Florida at Carol City

Former Miramar coach Damon Cogdell is coming back to South Florida.

After a two-year stint as co-defensive line coach at West Virginia, Cogdell was named defensive coordinator/assistant head coach at Carol City under coach Aubrey Hill.

It's a homecoming of sorts for Cogdell, who grew up in Opa-Locka but moved when he was in ninth grade and attended Miramar High. While Miramar is in Broward County and Carol City is in Miami-Dade, the two are very close to each other geographically and Cogdell says most of his family members attended Carol City.

"It's going to be a treat for me," Cogdell told the Herald. "It was a home away from home; it was up the street."

Cogdell's contract with the Mountaineers expired on Jan. 30.

"I had some other things that I could've done [at West Virginia], but it was tough for me to be away from my kids," Cogdell said. "It was a great experience for me up at West Virginia -- glad to be back at home with the wife and kids, though."

Cogdell will get the opportunity to coach a talented defense, spearheaded by outside linebacker/defensive end De'Andre Wilder, defensive tackle Rashad Colson and defensive back transfer from American, Naytron Culpepper.

Tyler Dunning decommits from UM at Junior Day

Tyler Dunning
Tyler Dunning at Class 7A state championship game on Dec. 11, 2015. Photo by David Furones.

The expectation at Junior Day is to add commitments early in the recruiting cycle for soon-to-be seniors, but the first action the UM 2017 recruiting class sees is the loss of a commitment -- although it was one that appeared imminent in the past week.

St. Thomas Aquinas four-star linebacker Tyler Dunning (6-2, 230 pounds) decommitted from the Miami Hurricanes at Junior Day on Saturday.

"Just opened it back up," Dunning told the Miami Herald in a message. "Back on the market."

Dunning said he pulled one of the coaches aside and let him know.

He tweeted: "After much consideration and discussion with my family, I have decided to open my recruiting process. We'd like to thank University of Miami and wish them all the best next season."

"Didn't feel at home," he added. "Environment -- didn't feel comfortable."

Dunning had been reported within the past week by Rivals as being close to decommitting. He told the Herald coach Mark Richt and the new staff wasn't recruiting him hard, and he was uncertain about attending Junior Day until Friday night.

Dunning says his current top is Pittsburgh, LSU, Tennessee, Syracuse and Kentucky.

Dunning was committed to UM since the offseason between sophomore and junior year while he was still at Dillard and Al Golden was head coach of the Hurricanes.  

FIU adds Southridge's Freddie Pinder

FIU had just four signees from its fertile home recruiting grounds of Miami-Dade County on National Signing Day.

The Panthers added one more on Friday night as three-star Southridge wide receiver Freddie Pinder signed late with coach Ron Turner and FIU.

"I'm truly thankful and blessed for this opportunity," Pinder tweeted. "I would like to say thank you to FIU Panthers coach Ron Turner for giving me an opportunity to attend college, to further my education and to play football here in my backyard."

Pinder told the Herald that FIU started recruiting him harder than any other school after Signing Day.

Turner welcomed the newest FIU Panther with this tweet.

Pinder is an elite possession receiver at 6-4. He was rated as high as four stars as a junior.

"Coach Turner is a great coach. He has experience at the next level and knows what it takes to get there," Pinder said to the Herald. "FIU is an amazing place. It's close to home and the team is full of great players."

Marshall and Temple were other schools Pinder was known to be looking at as of Signing Day. The junior college route was also thought to be possible for Pinder as Signing Day approached, according to coaches close to him -- a notion Pinder refuted on social media once reports were publicized. 

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

Sources: Flanagan coach Devin Bush could be next to join Michigan

Bush Sr and Jr
Flanagan coach Devin Bush with son Devin Bush Jr. after announcement to commit to Michigan on Dec. 16, 2015. Photo: Andre C. Fernandez//MIAMI HERALD

Flanagan won its first state championship this past season with three Michigan recruits on the roster.

Now it appears their high school coach may be following them to Ann Arbor.

Multiple sources have told the Miami Herald on Tuesday that Flanagan coach Devin Bush is on the verge of joining the staff at Michigan where three of his Falcons -- son and linebacker Devin Bush Jr. and safeties Devin Gil and Josh Metellus -- have signed. Bush Jr. has already enrolled at Michigan for the spring semester.

Bush, when reached, said he has not been in current communication with the Wolverines but described "hearsay" that there may be a position for him with the team in some capacity.

Flanagan athletic director Al Guzzo told the Herald that there was nothing mentioned to him when he spoke with Bush earlier Tuesday.

"It's all speculative right now and there's nothing concrete," Guzzo said.

Bush joining the Wolverines was rumored all season. In December, Bush said from the Class 8A state championship game that no one has approached him with college job offers in a column by Manny Navarro.

One source said an announcement is expected sometime next week. Both sources said defensive coordinator Stanford Samuels would become Flanagan's next head coach.

Bush is a former Super Bowl winner with the St. Louis Rams and college football national champion with Florida State. He has been 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 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.

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.

January 29, 2016

Dade/Broward decisions to keep an eye on as National Signing Day approaches

Here are some quick hits on the top scenarios to follow as we wind down on the end of the 2016 recruiting cycle. These prospects are either undecided or are committed but have other schools giving them something to think about before National Signing Day.

Brian Burns, American Heritage 5-star DE: The blue-chip prospect, Army All-American and No. 2 overall senior in Broward County (behind Nick Bosa), according to the Miami Herald, will choose between UF, FSU, Georgia and Alabama. FSU is getting the final visit as Burns has seen all four campuses since the recruiting dead period ended (Jan. 15).

Trayvon Mullen, Coconut Creek 4-star CB: The ultra-talented Army All-American from the #CreekBoyz has a final five of FSU, LSU, Clemson, TCU and Louisville. The first three of the five have consistently been atop his list of college choices. He has taken all his visits and will make his decision live on ESPNU at 8:45 a.m. on National Signing Day.

Keyshawn "Pie" Young, Miami High 3-star WR: It's been reported that Louisville, USC and Michigan are Pie's final three heading into Signing Day. The Wolverines have been a favorite of Dade's No. 6-ranked senior for some time now.

Dredrick Snelson, Flanagan 3-star WR: The Under Armour All-American who has won four state championships at three different schools has been a Minnesota commit since before the season, but it's a soft commitment. Snelson will check out Penn State this final weekend and also went to UCF on Jan. 15. 

Rashad Weaver, Cooper City 3-star DE: After getting dropped from Jim Harbaugh's class with Michigan within a week and a half of Signing Day, Weaver has spent the week receiving a whirlwind of recruiting interest and offers. He is taking visits to Pittsburgh and Penn State and has already been to USF and Temple.

Zack Moss, Hallandale 3-star RB: A Utah commit who took his Utes visit the weekend of Jan. 22 takes a trip to Tennessee the weekend before Signing Day. The one-time Hurricane commit will determine if it's enough to sway him from Utah, where Hallandale teammates Tyler Huntley and Demari Simpkins are already enrolled.

Vosean Joseph, Norland 3-star OLB: A UF commit, the Gators got his final official visit (Jan. 22) before he went to Texas for the USA vs. Canada Independence Bowl and Alabama had him grace its campus the previous weekend. He hasn't made his decision final but feels he's likely to stick to his UF commitment when he revisits his recruitment upon his return to Miami on Monday.

CJ McWilliams, Southwest 3-star DB: Another UF commit, he has UM on him heavy, and according to coach Tim Neal, the Jan. 22 visit -- which he took to UM because he had to cancel plans to check out UNC with the snow storm in the Mid-Atlantic -- is giving McWilliams something to think about with regards to potentially staying home with the Hurricanes. The Gators will try to convince him not to back off his May pledge, hosting him on campus the final weekend before Signing Day.

Aaron Thompson, Dillard 3-star DT: He recently committed to Maryland, but South Carolina will get one final shot at swaying him with a weekend visit.

Eric Mitchell, Miami Central 3-star DE/OLB: Recently listed his top three as Louisville, UCF and Colorado to the Miami Herald.

Jerron Rollins, Columbus 3-star WR: Without having taken any other visit, Cincinnati will get a look from the tall, talented Explorers receiver the final weekend before Signing Day. The Bearcats are the favorites to land him over Washington State, Middle Tennessee, FAU and Syracuse if all goes well on the trip.

Freddie Pinder, Southridge 3-star WR: The highly-touted prospect may not sign anywhere on Signing Day and go the junior college route instead. We will see as Wednesday approaches.

Montray Smith, Carol City 3-star WR: The 6-4 Carol City receiver is on a Southern Illinois visit over the weekend.

Jamal Smith, American 3-star DE: Since committing and then decommitting from UCF, Smith says USF and Youngstown State are his top choices. He says he's considering many more schools, so look out for another team to pop up. Pitt was a school he was high on during the season.

Jahcour Pearson, Flanagan 3-star WR: The speedster who had a monster state championship game is choosing between Western Kentucky and Northern Illinois and will announce on Monday.

Harvey Clayton, Coral Reef 3-star DB: Doing a Middle Tennessee State and Illinois combined visit final weekend before Signing Day. Louisville, FIU and Temple also in the mix for former Louisville commit.

Antione Webster, American 3-star DB: Webster is waiting to announce on Signing Day. Massachusetts is a school that's been trending in the recruitment of the long, athletic DB. His other finalists are unknown.

Keelen Roberts, Carol City 3-star DB: Will be visiting Northern Illinois this weekend and is also trying to squeeze in an FIU visit.

Val Mayes, Norland 3-star DB: Likely not to sign on Signing Day as he looks to up his ACT score on Feb. 6. Upon receiving his results, he hopes to follow up on interest from N.C. State, Mississippi State and Illinois.

Ivan Smith, South Dade 2-star RB: Visiting Northern Illinois over the weekend and may commit.

Keldrick Cesar, Edison 3-star OL: Previously had received offers from schools like USF, FIU, Syracuse, Middle Tennessee State and Samford, as well as interest from UM and UF, but he may now be signing with Bethune-Cookman.

Bryce Handy, Gulliver 3-star LB: Will be choosing between Eastern Illinois and UT-Martin. Eastern Kentucky may be making a late push.

Jordan Robinson, Norland 2-star WR: The tall, athletic under-the-radar receiver for the Vikings went to NIU for the weekend after the Huskies went in-home with him earlier in the week.

Deion Jackson, *former* Hallandale 3-star CB: The great unknown. Before the end of the season, Jackson swiftly moved to Jacksonville citing personal reasons and never really said goodbye to anybody at Hallandale. A report since has said he enrolled at Mandarin High while in Jacksonville and was looking to come back to South Florida at South Broward, but South Broward coach Devon Georgia has not heard of such a transpiration. Jackson is no longer on UM commitment lists and we have no idea where he is.

Follow @DavidFurones90 on Twitter for recruiting updates from now through Signing Day.

January 25, 2016

Sam Bruce staying home

Bruce Richt
Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas four-star wide receiver Sam Bruce has been committed to the Miami Hurricanes for the past 18 and a half months.

But all that matters is the school he signs with on National Signing Day in nine days. On Monday, Bruce reaffirmed one final time that it would indeed be UM on the Tony Sands Show on BBS Radio.

“The next three-four years, I will be playing football at the University of Miami,” Bruce said on the radio show Monday night.

The explosive and agile 5-8 receiver, who began receiving FBS scholarship offers his freshman season, stuck with the Hurricanes despite growing chatter that he would go elsewhere after the firing of former coach Al Golden and dismissal of wide receivers coach Kevin Beard.

“Who doesn’t want to play [at] home, man? I’m playing in front of my people, playing in front of my city,” Bruce said. “I’ve been playing here forever, and I don’t want to take that away from my people.

“I want to play in front of my fans that have been my fans since the beginning.”

Bruce came to his final decision on Sunday night after a discussion with his family upon returning from his official visit to UM.

“I just felt at home,” he said of the visit.

His mother Tracye Wilkerson, who has been known to play a major role in helping Bruce decide, joined the radio show moments before Bruce for an interview.

Bruce’s other finalists were Ohio State and South Carolina. He visited the Buckeyes in October and the Gamecocks on Jan. 15.

Bruce was also previously considering the Florida Gators but eliminated them when he scratched his visit scheduled for the past weekend and replaced it with the decisive trip to Coral Gables, which he moved up from its original Jan. 29 date.

Bruce won’t get to play for the wide receivers coach he dreamed he would end up with throughout the recruiting process, but he was able to grow at peace with that reality over time.

“Of course it affected me, knowing that if I chose Miami that I wouldn’t be able to be coached by Kevin Beard,” Bruce said. “I just had to sit down with my family and do all the praying about it and come to a decision.”

Bruce had previously said UM's decision on Beard would "make a factor."

"There's no guarantee that I would leave the University of Miami, but it'll be something to definitely think about," he said after the Under Armour All-America game on Jan. 2 before a final decision had been made on Beard. UM has since hired former USF wide receivers coach Ron Dugans.

Beard was known to be close to Bruce as a long-time mentor. He coached him at Davie University School, where Bruce played as a freshman and sophomore before transferring to Aquinas.

Bruce had 46 receptions for 427 yards and four receiving touchdowns plus three more rushing touchdowns as a senior on Class 7A state champion St. Thomas Aquinas.

Follow @DavidFurones90 on Twitter for recruiting updates from now through Signing Day.