January 02, 2016

Cavin Ridley surprises everyone with South Carolina commitment after Under Armour All-America Game

Cavin Ridley
Cavin Ridley. Photo by David Furones.

Deerfield Beach four-star wide receiver Cavin Ridley shocked reporters after the Under Armour All-America Game on Saturday, announcing a commitment to South Carolina.

The news was unanticipated as Ridley was not scheduled to announce a commitment on the national broadcast and didn't make any Twitter announcement, which has become commonplace in the recruiting world.

Ridley told new Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp and defensive coordinator Travaris "T-Rob" Robinson on Friday night.

"They were recruiting me since they were at Auburn," Ridley said. "They recruit well. They recruit South Florida kids and recruit them the best they can, and I just believe in Coach T-Rob and the things they tell me. I just ran with them.

"It's a new staff, and I think everybody in the world would like a new start. I feel like I can go in there and make an impact."

Of course, Ridley's older brother is Alabama freshman Calvin. He took the news that little brother wouldn't be tagging along in Tuscaloosa well.

"He's just going to let me do me," Ridley said. "He wants what's best for me, and just do what I've got to do."

Ridley will be enrolling early at South Carolina.

"I'm just ready to get up there," he said.

So why didn't Ridley announce on national TV if he was going to let it be known at the Under Armour game on ESPN 2?

"I'm not really big on the media," he said.


December 31, 2015

South Florida 2019 prospects make MaxPreps Freshman All-American Team

James Cook
Miami Central RB James Cook. Photo: Manny Navarro//MIAMI HERALD

A total of six freshmen from Miami-Dade and Broward County earned their way onto the MaxPreps Freshman All-American Football Team -- five of them making the first team.

OL – Dontae Lucas, 6-5, 290, Booker T. Washington (Miami)

RB – Nay'quan Wright, 5-9, 185, Carol City (Miami)

RB – James Cook, 5-11, 190, Central (Miami)

LB – Ge'mon Eaford, 6-2, 215, Deerfield Beach (Fla.)

DB – Kenny McIntosh, 6-1, 204, University (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

LB – Diamante Howard, 6-2, 200, Southridge (Miami) (2nd team)

Check out the full MaxPreps 2015 Football Freshman All-American Team here.



December 30, 2015

USA Today All-USA Florida Team loaded with South Florida recognitions

Flanagan coach Devin Bush Sr. won Coach of the Year and American Heritage defensive end Brian Burns earned Defensive Player of the Year honors as USA Today released its All-USA Florida Football Team on Wednesday.

Here's what USA Today had to say about the two.

First, Bush:

Bush led the Falcons to their first-ever state crown this season with a victory over Osceola in the Class 8A final. Led by the coach’s son, linebacker Devin Bush Jr., defense was Flanagan’s calling card. The Falcons allowed a measly 6.4 points per game in the state’s highest classification and posted three shutouts in the postseason.

And Burns:

Burns was a menace for the Patriots this fall, recording 60 tackles (19 for loss) and 15.5 sacks. The U.S. Army All-American reportedly has a top two of Florida and Florida State.

The rest of the all-state team was loaded with players from Miami-Dade and Broward County.

First Team

DL Nick Bosa (6-4, 255, Sr.), St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale)

DL Brian Burns (6-5, 220, Sr.), American Heritage (Plantation)

DL Keir Thomas (6-1, 245, Sr.), Miami Central (Miami)

LB Devin Bush Jr. (5-11, 225, Sr.), Flanagan (Pembroke Pines)

DB Trayvon Mullen (6-1, 175, Sr.), Coconut Creek (Pompano Beach)

K James McCourt (6-1, 185, Sr.), St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale)

Second Team

QB Tyler Huntley (6-2, 185, Sr.), Hallandale

OL Navaughn Donaldson (6-6, 335, Jr.), Miami Central (Miami)

DL Nik Bonitto (6-3, 215, So.), St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale)

DL Joshua Uche (6-1, 220, Sr.), Columbus (Miami)

LB Vosean Joseph (6-2, 210, Sr.), Norland (Miami)

LB Emmett Rice (6-3, 200, Sr.), Norland (Miami)

DB Jamel Cook (6-4, 185, Sr.), Miami Central (Miami)

DB Stanford Samuels (6-1, 165, Jr.), Flanagan (Pembroke Pines)

In addition to Donaldson, University of Miami commitments Travis Homer of West Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy, Shaquille Quarterman of Orange Park Oakleaf, Patrick Bethel of Vero Beach, Michael Pinckney of Jacksonville Raines and Tyler Byrd of Naples were recognized. Former UM commits Uche and Ahmmon Richards also were named.

December 16, 2015

Recruiting Roundup: Bush recruiting Pie to join him at Michigan

The biggest news Wednesday came in Devin Bush Jr. announcing his commitment to Michigan (read Andre Fernandez's full story on that), but a subplot developing is Bush's recruitment of Miami High wide receiver Keyshawn "Pie" Young.

Bush, the four-star Flanagan linebacker, spoke with Young moments after announcing he was choosing the Wolverines over Florida State. Young, reported by the Miami Herald in October as a Michigan lean, was on FaceTime with Falcons lineman Natrone Ray during the ceremony to watch it live -- "a moment I will never forget," he called it. Shortly afterward, Bush got a hold of Ray's phone and told Young he's next. 

Young is still keeping things open at the moment, saying Alabama, Tennessee and USC are schools he has up there for his services. He has a visit with Tennessee scheduled for Jan. 29 and already visited Michigan during the season.

Oh, then he sent this tweet out and revealed another school he hasn't counted out yet. It's not too far from where he lives.

**UM had Miami Jackson athlete Desmond Phillips, a quarterback for the Generals being recruited as a slot receiver, decommit on Wednesday. He originally committed just three weeks prior after getting the UM offer slightly before the Al Golden firing.

**Another Hurricane recruit whose commitment was accepted in between the Golden firing and Mark Richt hiring, South Dade running back Jawon Hamilton, is wavering on his pledge to the Canes at the moment.

"I haven't received a call from Richt yet, so I'm going to keep my recruiting open," Hamilton said.

That doesn't mean he is decommitting at the moment, he adds.

**Another prospect that did decommit on Wednesday was Hallandale wide receiver Neru N'Shaka, who went back on his commitment to Virginia, saying "it just felt right."

Before anyone starts speculating that a fourth Hallandale prospect is Utah-bound, N'Shaka, who missed his entire senior season with a knee injury, does not hold an offer from the Utes.

He says he's not sure of his top at the moment, but did say the schools recruiting him the hardest are Toledo, Virginia, Syracuse and Mercer -- notice the Cavaliers are still in that group.

**Miami Jackson linebacker Shemar Smith signed with Oregon State on Wednesday after committing to the Beavers last Thursday.

"I chose Oregon State because when I took the official visit it felt like home, they made me feel like family and the chemistry with the team and the coaches is unbelievable," Smith says. "It was an amazing place."

Oregon State assistant and former Miami Central coach Telly Lockette is getting a good one in Smith, who was the Miami Herald's Defensive Player of the Year in 2014.

**At the same ceremony Wednesday, Jackson offensive lineman Carl Thompson also signed early with Alabama State.

**Hialeah American defensive end Jamal Smith committed to UCF on Tuesday upon receiving an offer from the Knights the same day.

Smith joins South Dade offensive tackle Boman Swanson and Norland cornerback Bryon Brown as Dade County seniors committed to UCF.

**Some news that slipped through on Monday but worth noting even if it's late: Hallandale quarterback Tyler Huntley signed with Utah and is set to enroll in the spring semester.

December 12, 2015

Samuels wears FSU gloves to state title game, Flanagan recruiting notes

Flanagan didn't win its first state championship without the help of some exceptional prospects. Team Herald went inside the recruiting outlook for some of the Falcons' top prospects.

Stanford Samuels III, a highly-touted 2017 cornerback had the game-clinching interception return for a touchdown. 

Samuels wore FSU gloves to the title game, but the four-star prospect wouldn't show his hand in recruiting after the game.

With the Seminole gloves on, though, is he leaning toward heading to Tallahassee as the son of a former Seminole?

"I don't want to say that," he said.

Samuels did say FSU is among his top schools recruiting him, a list that also includes Georgia, Alabama, Maryland and Michigan.

Samuels isn't ready to proclaim that Mark Richt heading to UM boosts the Hurricanes with him. He says he would need to speak with him and his new assistants.


 **Dredrick Snelson and Devin Gil reaffirmed that their commitment to Minnesota and Michigan respectively are strong.



**Clevan Thomas, a 2017 wide receiver, holds offers from Michigan, Louisville and Temple, but he says the schools showing him the most love right now are UCF, USF, FAU and Texas.



**Four-star linebacker Devin Bush Jr. will announce his college commitment on Wednesday. While he didn't discuss his recruiting Saturday night, here's his postgame reaction to going out on top with a state title.


BONUS MATERIAL: Wide receiver Jahcour Pearson, a Northern Illinois commitment, postgame interview.


FSU back in picture for Keir Thomas, more Miami Central recruiting tidbits

As the Miami Central football team won its fourth state title in a row and fifth in six seasons, the Miami Herald prep sports team proved similarly unstoppable in providing the utmost coverage of South Florida's top athletes.

Keir Thomas, who decommitted from FSU in November, said "Florida State is back in the picture."


He was previously listing Auburn as his leader following his decommitment, but now likes South Carolina with Travaris "T-Rob" Robinson taking the defensive coordinator job under Will Muschamp with the Gamecocks.

Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma and UCF are other schools he's considering. Thomas says he wants to make a decision "no later than Jan. 1".

**Jamel Cook says he's solid to Florida State, but said he'll probably take visits to Miami, Alabama and South Carolina.

He adds that Auburn lost him without T-Rob there anymore.


**Darnell Salomon, a recent USF commit, said he's shut down his recruitment and the Bulls will be his team come National Signing Day.


**Navaughn Donaldson, a 2017 offensive line UM commit said the Canes will "100-percent" be his team.


**Another 2017 UM commit, Waynmon Steed, gave us an update on his rehab after missing his entire junior season with a left knee sprain.


**UF commit Eric Mitchell says his commitment to the Gators is "70 percent" at the moment. Mitchell says Lousiville, UCF and Colorado are the main ones "showing love" to comprise the other 30 percent.

Mitchell wants to visit Louisville on Jan. 15 followed by trips to UCF, Colorado and wrap it up before Signing Day at Florida.

He said all that off camera after he brought 2017 cornerback Allen Jones, who had a 90-yard fumble recovery returned for a touchdown early, into the interview.


**James Cook, Dalvin's younger brother and a freshman running back for Central, tore it up with 178 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

It's early in his recruitment as a 2019 recruit, but he did mention that the Canes were the school he grew up rooting for. Dalvin being at FSU may make a commitment to UM tough for him, however. Listen to everything he had to say in this one-on-one with Manny Navarro.


 **Also, a great moment in how injured 2017 cornerback Christopher Williams was brought out onto the field first in his wheelchair. Jamel Cook swapped jerseys with him for the game. He speaks: 


**One more interview with FIU commit and three-time varsity champ with Central, Donavan Thompson.


*Herald sportswriters David Furones, Manny Navarro and Andre Fernandez all contributed to this report.

December 11, 2015

Bruce reaffirms UM commitment, more recruiting notes from STA

Tons of recruiting notes and content from St. Thomas Aquinas' state championship victory on Friday night... starting... NOW.

Sam Bruce once again reaffirmed how strong his commitment is to UM. Bruce stuck with the Canes through the Al Golden firing and things remain the same now that Mark Richt was hired.


"We had a couple guys decommit, but just how I tell Michael Irvin, 'We're going to build off who we have and what we have,'" Bruce said.

He continued: "Miami's home. Who doesn't want to play at home in front of their home crowd? Who cares that it ain't that many people in the stands? It ain't that many people here [at the Citrus Bowl], but we got the job done, right? As long as we're getting the job done, who cares?"

Bruce also called Mark Richt a "phenomenal hire."

It was special for Bruce to get to share the moment with UM wide receivers coach Kevin Beard, who was in the front row of the stands. Beard coached Bruce when the two were together at University School under current St. Thomas coach Roger Harriott.

"That just shows how important I am to him," Bruce said. "He's an important dude to me. He's been a father figure in my life since eighth grade. KB is KB."

Bruce, who caught the Raider's first touchdown in a 45-10 rout, was one of three Hurricane commits to win a state title Friday night.


**Michael Irvin II said he's been waiting to play at UM since the second grade and is excited to finally make it happen.


Watch this video interview with Manny Navarro.

 **Trevon Grimes, a 2017 five-star wide receiver, still didn't show his hand in a potential commitment, but he did indicate that Ohio State, Florida and Florida State comprise his top three.

Grimes had several highlight-reel catches in the championship victory.

Grimes said Ohio State is his leader and that UM is still somewhere in the picture and potential for a spark later in his recruitment is there with Bruce talking to him.


**Jake Allen remains strong in his commitment to UF.

"I'm just happy to be a Gator," Allen said. "Coach Mac (Jim McElwain) is very happy. I talked to him before the game he just told me to go out there and do what I do every day. Overall, he's very happy with my season. I'm going to talk to him tonight."

Allen addressed how the Gators are recruiting other quarterbacks, including committed 2016 four-star Feleipe Franks from Wakulla (who played earlier Friday in the 5A title game) and Jacob Eason, a five-star recruit from Washington who has been committed to Mark Richt and Georgia since July 2014.

"I don't mind a bit," Allen said. "I love competition. When I came to St. Thomas there was competition, and I would expect it anywhere else I go. I embrace it. It brings out the best in me.

"I'm just gonna do what I do and let everything play out."

**2017 UM commit Tyler Dunning noted that he feels Rich was a great hire for the Canes and that he will meet him soon at a bowl practice.


*Herald sportswriters David Furones, Manny Navarro and Bill Daley contributed to this report.

Malek Young decommits from Georgia

Coconut Creek four-star cornerback and U.S. Army All-American Malek Young announced a decommitment from Georgia on Friday.

Young, previously not considering Miami, is now thought be a possibility to hop on board with the UM depending on the defensive assistant coaches hired by former Bulldogs coach -- now at the helm with the Canes -- Mark Richt.

Young currently has a UM visit scheduled for Jan. 15 and an Auburn visit set for the ensuing weekend.

December 07, 2015

Richt visits linebacker commits Pinckney, Quarterman

With UM linebacker commits Michael Pinckney and Shaq Quarterman good friends, it was only natural that after new coach Mark Richt, along with linebackers coach Hurlie Brown, visited each at their respective schools (Jacksonville Raines and Orange Park Oakleaf, which are about 20 miles from each other), they would all get together.

Once Richt did an in-home visit with Quarterman on the night cap, Pinckney decided it'd be best that for his visit all of them get together for dinner. They enjoyed a meal at Outback Steakhouse.

"It was most convenient," Pinckney said. "Shaq is my dog, so you know we had to link up when the coaches came in town."

The highlight of dinner? Pinckney says it was Richt's sense of humor.

People at the restaurant would walk up and approach Richt. It was like hanging with a celebrity for the two prospects.

"That's Mark Richt," Pinckney says. "A legend in football."

Quarterman enjoyed Richt's company.

"The visit went great," said Quarterman, who also watched Pinckney play in the Class 4A state championship game at the Orlando Citrus Bowl in the stands with Richt on Saturday. "We talked about the future and life and had a great time."

During the day, Richt and Brown visited the two at their respective high schools.

"He said he loves my film and the way I play and I can do some great things at the U," Pinckney said.

Both Quarterman and Pinckney will visit UM this weekend and are set to enroll early.

Richt also passed by Mandarin High School while on his Jacksonville tour. The Canes have a 2017 linebacker commit in Aundre Ricardo-Kearney from Mandarin.

December 06, 2015

Richt prioritizing linebacker recruiting, more UM recruiting nuggets

It really seems as if new Miami Hurricanes coach Mark Richt has taken a liking to the linebackers former coach Al Golden had committed.

He's made them a priority, already having some form of contact with commit Shaquille Quarterman and former commit Zach McCloud, who decommitted after the Al Golden firing but is close to jumping back into the class. Richt also watched Jacksonville Raines linebacker and UM commit Michael Pinckney play in his final high school game, a 43-23 defeat at the hands of now four-time Class 4A state champion Booker T. Washington.

Pinckney was a monster and all over the field. He finished the night with seven tackles (four solo), three for loss, an interception, a forced fumble, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry. Again, he was extremely impressive on the biggest stage at state in Orlando.

Richt, who was at the Citrus Bowl with running backs coach and former Booker T. coach Tim "Ice" Harris, as well as linebackers coach Hurlie Brown, had to have come away impressed.


"It's a great honor," said Pinckney of having Richt come out to watch him so early in his tenure. "That means they really care about me. That's why I committed -- because I know they care about me -- and I have a chance to do some great things in that program."

Richt is scheduled for an in-home visit with Pinckney on Monday.

What are Pinckney's thoughts on the Richt hiring?

"It's a great hire. He's a great coach," says Pinckney, who is set to be an early enrollee. "I feel like he can come in and do some great things for the University of Miami. I'm ready to play for him. I'm ready to get down there in January."

Pinckney played with a UM headband under his helmet -- one he says he wears for every game.

"It's pride. It's U pride," said Pinckney. "I've been a Cane since who knows when."

[[Check out this awesome picture of him coming out of the tunnel before the game.]]

Richt spent a portion of the game sitting in the stands and he just so happened to have a seat next to another linebacker commit in Quarterman.

Thanks to coordinator of on-campus recruiting Jorge Baez for capturing this moment with Richt and Quarterman combining to throw up the U.

With Pinckney's visit on deck in Jacksonville, McCloud got a visit from Richt, Brown and interim coach Larry Scott in his abode in Palm Beach County.

By the looks of the tweet, the smiles and the U's, it was a very successful trip.

As I've previously reported, McCloud has been planning a recommitment to the Canes for a while. It is likely to occur on his upcoming Dec. 13 visit -- a weekend that is also scheduled to host Pinckney, Quarterman, committed four-star quarterback Jack Allison and a slew of other top targets, according to 247 Sports.

Speaking of Allison, there's been a lot of talk about him lately because Richt had one of the top-rated quarterbacks in the nation committed to him while at Georgia in Washington-based five-star Jacob Eason. There's the thought floating around that Eason may follow Richt to the Canes.

Allison made an interesting public statement Sunday night.

One of the other recruits expected to be on UM's campus this upcoming weekend is Patrick Bethel, a four-star defensive end out of Vero Beach, who many believe is a Cane lean. Peter Ariz of CanesInSight.com reported that Bethel also had Richt and Brown visit him Sunday.

A couple of current three-star commits in Fort Lauderdale defensive end Jaquwan Nelson and Deltona tight end Evan Hinson remain firmly committed to UM and await to see how things play out regarding whether Richt will continue to recruit them as he begins combining recruiting boards at Georgia and Miami.

Hinson, who had 32 receptions, 541 yards and six touchdowns this season, was quoted in the Daytona Beach News-Journal as saying, "If they don't want me [anymore], that's probably not the school for me, but if they do want to still recruit me, I'll be right with them and stay committed."

Kentucky is a potential Plan-B destination for Nelson, who finished an incredible senior season with 75 tackles, 24 for loss, 18 sacks, three forced fumbles a fumble recovery and an interception.