May 31, 2015

Sights from 7-on-7 event at UM

Greentree

It finally puts UM on par with other elite college football programs when it comes to recruiting.

Having all the facilities and resources at its disposal for the first time, the University of Miami hosted the Adidas South Florida Shootout, a 7-on-7 tournament that brought together more than 900 athletes from 48 different high schools.

The Canes had games going on the Cobb Stadium soccer field, Greentree Practice Fields and the intramural fields for a total of 12 fields holding games at once.

IM Fields

Several UM recruits and commitments were in attendance, and all of UM's future plans, including the new Adidas uniforms and the Sun Life Stadium renovations, were pitched, as pictured below.

Posters

Current UM players, along with the coaches, were active in the effort of hosting it for the program. Quarterback Brad Kaaya was seen talking to several offensive recruits and giving them pointers.

The multi-talented Chad Thomas, a rising sophomore defensive end who was once a five-star recruit out of Booker T. Washington, was on the turntables as the DJ for the festivities.

DJ Chad

Here's a sight Canes fans could get used to seeing -- 2016 commit and four-star stud receiver from St. Thomas Aquinas Sam Bruce on Greentree Practice Fields.

Sam Bruce

St. Thomas 2017 five-star wide receiver Trevon Grimes has previously mentioned Ohio State as a leader in his recruitment, but he says talks with Bruce and the atmosphere of the 7-on-7 have him strongly considering Miami now.

The 6-2 standout was stellar in the action I saw. He made resistance from opposing corners appear futile, as seen in this video captured by Alejandro Narciso, snagging a ball over a Jackson defender in the end zone.

 

 

Trevon

A video posted by @ale_narciso_canes on May 31, 2015 at 8:15am PDT

Gulliver has four players currently committed to the Canes. 2017 running back commit Robert Burns was absent, but here are the three 2016 commits -- from left to right: DE Joseph Jackson, ATH Cedrick Wright and WR Dionte Mullins.

Gulliver

Four-star middle linebacker commit Shaquille Quarterman didn't have his Orange Park Oakleaf team in the tournament, but decided to make the five-hour drive anyway to check out the action. He told me his commitment is very solid.

Quarterman

Another LB commit but in the Class of 2017, Tyler Dunning, reaffirmed his commitment is very strong and he is trying to recruit his teammates on an elite Dillard defense. 2017 DE Jon Ford has an offer and 2016 DT Aaron Thompson is waiting on one but receiving interest from the Canes.

Dunning

It doesn't stop at 2017. Even younger recruits were present, including Thomas Burns, a cornerback out of Miami Northwestern who is one of four commits in the Canes' Class of 2018 and current UM CB Artie Burns' brother.

Thomas Burns

Former UM and Marlins catcher Charles Johnson was back on his old stomping grounds watching his son Brandon, a three-star recruit out of Plantation American Heritage. CJ told me he also planned to check out the baseball team's regional final at 7 p.m. at Mark Light Field.

Charles Johnson

Brandon Johnson has a UM offer, but Charles told me he hasn't been recruited all that actively by UM coaches as of late. CJ also said he definitely wants his son to end up at his alma mater.

In the end, Coconut Creek won the championship game 21-14 over Flanagan. Here are the #CreekBoyz holding up the trophy. Congrats to coach Kareem Reid and wide receiver Binjimen Victor, who appeared to get hurt in the final but re-entered the game for the finish.

CreekBoyz

Those are my pictures on a bunch of people throwing up the U and all the tremendous setups put together by the Hurricane coaches, as well as staff members Josh Darrow, Eric Josephs and Brooke Wilson, among others.

*All photos by David Furones/FOR THE MIAMI HERALD

May 28, 2015

Marco Wilson responds to double one-handed backflip catch

Plantation American Heritage 2017 cornerback Marco Wilson has already made one incredible catch this spring that went viral -- a one-hander while doing a backflip on the run in the end zone.

On Thursday he was right back at it with a 540 behind-the-back catch in response to another video that began circulating around the Internet of a player catching two balls one-handed while performing a backflip.

Check out Wilson's latest masterpiece.

Here's a Vine of the catch that Wilson was responding to. The player in the video is North Carolina A&T running back Tarik Cohen.

While impressive, Cohen is standing still and not on the move like Wilson is in both of his catches. It also appears like the balls coming at Cohen came off a Juggs machine, so he knows exactly where they're going to end up.

Wilson already lists several major Division I offers and is the brother of current Florida Gator Quincy Wilson.

What catch do you think takes this battle: Wilson's 540? Cohen's double one-handed backflip? Or Wilson's original backflip catch?

Let us know in the comments below.

STA WR Thieman making a name for himself, adding offers in the spring

**UPDATE: Thieman added an FIU offer Thursday evening, bringing his total up to 17.**

Try cracking the rotation at wide receiver at St. Thomas Aquinas when ahead of you are studs like Class of 2015 three-star Jawuan Harris (Rutgers signee), 2015 four-star Devante Peete (Louisville signee), 2016 four-star Sam Bruce (UM oral commit) and 2017 five-star Trevon Grimes.

That's the obstacle that 2016 wide receiver Dominic Thieman was hit with to try to earn playing time and show what he's capable of. His junior season resulted in just one catch for 17 yards -- the only catch of his high school career. 

But now with Harris and Peete headed to college, the 6-2 Thieman, a two-star prospect right now, is in the top-three mix at St. Thomas with the highly-recruited Bruce and Grimes.

"All I needed was an oppurtunity last year," says Thieman, who has been with Aquinas since his freshman year. "It didn't come, but this year I knew I'd get my chance and I capitalized on it."

He's been a spark plug for the Raiders offense in practices and scrimmages and college coaches have noticed. With offers from Cincinnati and UCF coming in on Thursday, Thieman upped his list to 16 total offers - a list that also includes the likes of Illinois, FAU, Army, Ohio, Miami (OH), Southern Miss and New Mexico.

"I bring a big frame, great hands and the ability to get in and out of cuts quick for a tall wide receiver," Thieman says of his skill set. "I'm hard-working and can pick things up fast, fearless when it comes to going across the middle and explosive off the line."

Thieman says he currently has no top with how quickly offers have been swarming -- all within the past couple of weeks -- but if everything goes as planned, he hopes to make a decision by the end of the summer.

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.