August 27, 2015

Recruiting notes and observations from South Dade-Coral Reef

South Dade took down Coral Reef 40-24 in the season opener, and there were plenty of athletes from down south that stood out. 

Before we get into that, let me note that the fight the Barracudas exhibited under new head coach Javi Valdes was exemplary. Trailing 34-7 at halftime and the game looking like it was headed toward a running clock, Coral Reef responded to get it to 34-17 midway through the third and looked like it could mount a comeback. South Dade just ultimately proved to be too much for the young Barracudas.

UM commit James Wiggins played center field at safety in South Dade's defensive scheme in the opener. Wiggins says the team will use him either there or at corner throughout the season. The Canes are recruiting the three-star senior at cornerback.

 

He appeared to cramp up a little bit but proved fine shortly thereafter with some nifty moves on a punt return where he slipped a few tackles. Wiggins was held out most of the spring with a swollen knee.

Wiggins says he will look around and take visits other than the one he already has planned for UM on January 22. Other schools coming after Wiggins are Cincinnati, Purdue and USF.

Coral Reef 2018 running back Jordon Donaldson is going to be something special. In his first regular-season varsity game, he reeled off 125 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. He broke about three tackles bursting through the trenches on his 25-yard scamper for a score.

"Jordon Donaldson is going to be a special player in Dade County. We're looking forward to showing his talents," Valdes said.

Donaldson also led Reef in rushing in the preseason game against Pace.

The South Dade running back tandem of Jawon Hamilton and Ivan Smith is going to be one of the best in Dade County this season. Hamilton ran for 128 yards and two touchdowns. Smith, the Columbus transfer, took his first touch as a Buccaneer all the way back on the opening kickoff and added two more rushing touchdowns.

 

"That's the luxury of having both of them," South Dade coach Nate Hudson says. "I like the fact that they go hand in hand. Neither one is selfish. They feed off each other."

Smith has offers from Florida A&M and Bowling Green. He's also receiving interest from Illinois, Purdue and hearing a little bit from UM.

Hamilton, the FIU commit, could've easily surpassed 200 yards had two long runs not been called back by holding calls. A strong South Dade O-line that consists of Mike Davis and Marshall commit Kyron Taylor was without senior Boman Swanson in this one.

Chei Hill, a 2017 linebacker/defensive end that measures up at 6-1 and 220 pounds, already has the build that you look for in that hybrid pass rusher at the next level. He laid a crushing hit as Coral Reef QB Keith Anderson threw on the run on one play.

"Beast" is the word Hudson uses to describe him to college coaches scouting him (I used it too in one of my tweets). Schools after Hill include Illinois, Arkansas and FIU.

Harvey Clayton, who lists Illinois and Louisville among his seven offers, was solid on both sides of the ball for Coral Reef, being used in multiple ways offensively and making some touchdown-saving tackles as the last line of defense at safety for a Barracudas defense that could not contain South Dade's attack.

Other Barracudas that shined:

-Sophomore corner K'Toney Hills displayed his one-on-one ball skills beating his man in single coverage and intercepting a floating pass right before halftime.

-Senior linebacker Tomo Sloane is strong in pursuit of a ball carrier. He made a couple of nice tackles in the open field.

-Sophomore lineman Jaylaan Williams used his big 6-3, 280-pound frame to make several key blocks, including one where he sprung Donaldson for a 57-yard run that got the Cudas down to the 1.

 

August 23, 2015

FIU gets commitment from Booker T kicker Jose Borregales

Tim Harris Jr. will get his kicker in a year.

The former Booker T. Washington state-title winning coach and current FIU running backs coach will be reunited with Tornadoes kicker Jose Borregales as Borregales announced his commitment to FIU on Sunday.

"I'm really excited about being a Panther, and I'm just thankful that they gave me the opportunity to not only play football and be a part of the Panther family but to be a part of an amazing university," Borregales told the Miami Herald in a message. "It's a great opportunity to be able to stay close to home and have my family be able to go to every single game."

Borregales got the FIU offer on Saturday. It was his first offer. Other schools had recruited him but the Panthers were the first to offer the kicker who says has booted a 61-yard field goal through the uprights in practice.

Borregales is certain he wants to stick with FIU but leaves a slight window open if other schools start recruiting him.

"I'll evaluate them and see how their depth chart is on kickers and punters, but right now I'm sticking with FIU 100 percent," he says.

Borregales made the game-winning 44-yard field goal, his in-game career long, in Booker T.'s preseason classic victory over Citra North Marion on Friday night at Traz Powell Stadium.

August 13, 2015

Gatewood steps down at South Plantation to care for ailing father

South Plantation will enter the season with a new football coach in charge.
 
Doug Gatewood, who has been at the helm since 2010, stepped down Thursday to spend more time with his family and care for his ailing father. 
 
"Gotta do what ya gotta do," Gatewood said in a text message of his decision to step down.
 
Assistant Nicholas Dellaria, who has spent 18 years in Broward County as an assistant, has taken over the head coaching duties.
 
Gatewood compiled a 61-43 record as a head coach including a 31-19 record in his five seasons with the Paladins. He was at Piper before that.

August 12, 2015

"Pie" Young has Alabama and Michigan at the top

In a recent interview with the Miami Herald, Miami High four-star wide receiver Keyshawn "Pie" Young listed Alabama and Michigan as his top two schools.

According to Young, he speaks with Michigan's new head coach Jim Harbaugh every day, which is rare to see so much contact come from a head coach recruiting one player.

"He makes me feel like he needs me as a player, he wants me as a player, he feels like I could fit in with Michigan," says the 5-11, 175-pound 2016 prospect. "He talks about how he loves Michigan."

With the Crimson Tide, Young is getting recruited by Mario Cristobal, a man with countless South Florida ties.

"Coach Cristobal, I love that guy," Young says. "If I'm having a bad day, he'll pick me up, put a smile on my face."

After Young's top two, he also has a few schools that he lists as "in the hunt."

Miami, Georgia, West Virginia and USC are the schools Young currently has in that second tier.

Young says the other schools need to show more interest in order to creep into the mix.

"Show me that you want me at your school," he says.

 

 

August 08, 2015

August 06, 2015

Aquinas' Epstein commits to Illinois

St. Thomas Aquinas 2017 running back Mike Epstein committed to Illinois on Thursday.

The 6-0, 185-pound three-star junior, who transferred to Aquinas from Cypress Bay in the offseason, chose the Fighting Illini over offers from Cincinnati, UCF, FAU, Temple and New Mexico.

"Big Ten football, great relationship with coaches, want to play big-time football," Epstein listed as reasons he chose Illinois to the Miami Herald.

He became the Fighting Illini's first commit in the class of 2017. Teammate at St. Thomas and senior wide receiver Dominic Thieman is committed to their 2016 class.

Epstein is part of a deep Aquinas backfield that also has Devonta'e Henry-Cole committed to Utah and FAU-bound James Charles.

Below are his sophomore highlights from Cypress Bay.

August 04, 2015

Johnny Huntley commits to Colorado

South Plantation three-star wide receiver Johnny Huntley announced a commitment to Colorado on Tuesday.

Huntley chose the Buffaloes over offers from Louisville, TCU, Tennessee and West Virginia among his list of 17 total offers.

"It felt like home on the visit and they love me," Huntley said in a message.

Colorado is not a school known to dip into the state of Florida in recruiting. Huntley becomes the first Florida prospect in a Colorado recruiting class since Apopka's Henley Griffon in 2010.

The last South Florida high school football player to end up with Colorado was Northeast outside linebacker Josh Hartigan in 2007.

August 03, 2015

Elite Coconut Creek CB Trayvon Mullen releases top three

Coconut Creek cornerback Trayvon Mullen, a high-end four-star prospect, released his top three list of college football programs on Twitter Monday night.

The three lucky schools to have made the cut as the highly sought-after cover corner heads into his senior season -- FSU, LSU and Clemson.

Mullen added that he has no leader among the three and that he is still not blocking out any other school from creeping into that top three.

Mullen is the third-ranked cornerback in the country, according to 247 Sports, with only five-stars ahead of him at the position.

His recruitment has been thought by many to go all the way to National Signing Day -- like Creek coach Kareem Reid told Safid Deen of the Tallahassee Democrat recently.

August 02, 2015

Utah nabs Hallandale QB-WR tandem

One of the top quarterback-wide receiver tandems in South Florida committed to Utah together on Sunday.

The Hallandale duo of Tyler Huntley and Demari Simpkins both announced their commitments to the Utes. First it was Simpkins and Huntley followed by decommitting from FAU and then announcing he would join top target Simpkins at Utah.

Huntley (6-1, 175) and Simpkins (6-0, 176) are both three-star prospects. The two were fresh off a trip out west to Salt Lake City when they decided to commit. 

With former UM legend Dennis Erickson as running backs coach at Utah, the program is experiencing a resurgence in recruiting South Florida. Huntley and Simpkins join St. Thomas Aquinas running back Devonta'e Henry-Cole. The Utes also grabbed Tyson Cisrow and Chris Hart out of Aquinas last recruiting cycle.