June 15, 2015

Jackson's Shemar Smith motivated for senior season

Miami Jackson linebacker Shemar Smith, the reigning Miami Herald Defensive Player of the Year, is going into his senior season with a chip on his shoulder to prove the recruiting services wrong on his two-star rating.

In this exclusive interview with the Miami Herald, Smith, who lists a Texas offer among many others, talks recruiting and a variety of other topics at the Miami Dolphins 7-on-7 last Saturday.

 

June 14, 2015

Deon Bush-like 2018 DB commits to UM

The Miami Hurricanes are looking to return to DB U status in a few years.

UM got its fourth commitment from a defensive back -- and fifth overall -- in its class of 2018 from Columbus defensive back Josh Jobe.

Jobe is a long, athletic 6-1 and joins Thomas Burns of Miami Northwestern, Al Blades Jr. of University School and Jalen Patterson of Citra North Marion as other defensive backs in Miami's 2018 class, which also has a commitment from Booker T. Washington linebacker Billy Joseph.

"They're getting somebody who is almost identical to Deon Bush," Columbus coach Chris Merritt said. "Very similar build, long body, athletic -- almost like a carbon copy. Just like Deon, he's going to have the ability to play corner or safety, but he's got a lot of development [ahead of him]. In our terms even, he's still a baby."

Jobe played sparingly on defense and plenty on special teams as a freshman, including a kick return for a touchdown at Highlands High in Kentucky.

"For a freshman to break the lineup like he did was pretty special," Merritt said. "We anticipate him being an every-down player for us this year coming up."

Jobe had one other offer early in his recruitment from Cincinnati. He will get plenty of other offers before he signs three years from now, but Merritt sees him sticking with the Canes all the way through.

"The school everybody wants an offer from in Dade County is University of Miami," Merritt says. "That's where you set the bar."

Check out Jobe's highlights below for a look at the Deon Bush resemblance.

June 13, 2015

Sights from Dolphins 7-on-7

Here are some shots I took from the Miami Dolphins 7-on-7 event on Saturday at Central Park in Plantation.

Carol City quarterback Stephen "Buckshot" Calvert was very impressive with the accuracy on his throws. Here he is dropped back ready to let one rip.

Buckshot

One of the more talented teams definitely appeared to be Gulliver, especially with a pair of UM commits in Dionte Mullins and Joseph Jackson. While eventually eliminated in an upset against Coral Reef, this was Mullins all smiles after a game-clinching touchdown grab against Taravella.

Dionte Mullins

Canes fans will love this one. Legacy Cane Al Blades Jr., a 2018 commit from University School, repping the school he's committed too. I have a video interview with him that will be published soon, so make sure to check back to the blog for that.

AJ Blades

You want to know what a Defensive Player of the Year looks like? Here's Jackson linebacker Shemar Smith below. A video interview with him will also be up soon.

Shemar Smith

Seven teams will continue play on Sunday in Booker T. Washington, Carol City, Coral Reef, Dillard, Fort Lauderdale, Miramar and Pahokee.

June 12, 2015

Daewood Davis commitment not accepted by UM ... yet

In the wacky world of recruiting, you can add another story that had everyone confused, including those involved.

It appeared Thursday night that the Miami Hurricanes added another commitment to their class of 2017 with speedy 6-2 wide receiver Daewood Davis of Somerset Academy. Davis announced on Twitter his intention to commit to UM and tagged head coach Al Golden and wide receivers coach Kevin Beard.

Davis says he texted Golden that he was committing earlier Thursday night after receiving the UM offer last month from defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio. He proceeded to release his commitment news on social media before receiving a reply.

Then Friday Davis heard back after reports surfaced that he was not being accepted into the class. He says he was informed by UM coaches that there was a miscommunication within the team on whether he had been offered, and after a meeting, coaches decided not to accept his commitment to their scholarship offer -- yet.

Davis and Somerset offensive coordinator Willie Hill both told the Miami Herald that UM still has its offer on the table for Davis but that they want to let the media firestorm the entire situation has drawn die down before allowing him to commit.

So essentially, Davis was offered by UM, he took UM up on that offer and then UM was unsure it actually did offer and told him the team will not accept his commitment at this time -- but will eventually. So Davis' recruitment is still technically open and he lists Miami as the leader for his services.

 

What does Davis mean by "the right way?"

He says when he is ready to commit he will let his coach call first and confirming that he has his spot.

What made it odd from the start was that there was no confirmation on the Hurricanes end.

Whenever a recruit commits to the Canes, UM football coaches and staff usually send a "bat signal" on social media of "#WelcomeToTheU" as a way to announce the good news without referencing the player directly. College coaches are not allowed to comment on recruits publicly by name under NCAA regulations.

No such "bat signal" had been made by UM football coaches or staff.

Earlier Friday morning InsideTheU reported "Davis has lied about having a Miami offer and Miami is not accepting a commitment from him."

Davis responded to the allegations on Twitter saying, "Why would I lie about an offer I got in May?"

Davis has been a UM lean since he first announced that he received that offer and already proved he's willing to choose the Canes over other early offers from Louisville, N.C. State, Duke, Utah, Syracuse, Indiana and Marshall.

"I just [chose] Miami because they have an excellent program and coaches," Davis told the Miami Herald in a message. "I just want to bring a national title to South Florida, and I wanted to [commit] before my season started."

Says Hill of his talented receiver: "Has the intangibles that you can't coach -- speed, size, quickness and IQ. Daewood Davis has the 'it' factor. He is a gamer."

Here are some highlights on the electric speedster, whose 40-yard dash time is listed at 4.38 seconds on his Rivals profile.

 

June 07, 2015

One-on-one with Southridge 4-star WR Freddie Pinder

Freddie Pinder, four-star wide receiver from Miami Southridge, took some time to speak with me last Sunday at the UM 7-on-7. Here's everything he was talking about in this exclusive interview with the Miami Herald.

 

Besides Miami, the 2016 prospect lists West Virginia, Alabama, South Carolina and Louisville among his top college choices.

Regarding Miami, Pinder says, "They still hold a place in the top. They still have a chance."

The 6-5 receiver would like to visit the other schools more often but distance plays a factor. That works in favor of the hometown Hurricanes.

"My mom wants me to stay home, but she's going to support me wherever I go," he says.

Pinder adds that he is willing to travel regardless.

May 07, 2015

State boys' volleyball preview

BY WALTER VILLA

The boys’ volleyball state championship, which will be played out Friday and Saturday at Fort Lauderdale’s Pine Crest High School, features eight teams – six of them from South Florida – and no clear favorite.

Tampa’s Berkeley Prep beat Longwood Lyman for the 2014 title, but both of those schools failed to make it back to state. Also missing is Orlando’s Dr. Phillips, which was 25-0 before getting upset in the district playoffs.

Of the eight teams that will be at Pine Crest this weekend, only

two - Timber Creek (2009) and Bishop Moore (2010, 2012) - have won state titles. Both of those schools are from Orlando.

“It’s up for grabs,” Palmetto Coach Chris Kallinosis said of the tournament. “Usually there’s a strong favorite or two. But I think there are at least five teams who have a legitimate shot.”

Palmetto (19-7) got perhaps a tough draw by having to face Bishop Moore (20-5) in Friday’s quarterfinals. Bishop Moore swept Berkeley Prep to get here. But a further look reveals that Palmetto beat Bishop Moore 25-15, 25-22 during the regular season. Bishop Moore also lost to Wellington, a team Palmetto beat.

In addition, Palmetto has 6-6 senior outside hitter Devin Decker, a player Kallinosis considers to be the best in the county.

“He’s been starting for us all four years,” the coach said.”He’s a force at the net. He’s our captain and a big reason why we are at state.”

Wellington (18-8) takes on Mourning (24-6) in the other part of Palmetto’s side of the bracket. Mourning beat Wellington 2-1 earlier this season.

Mourning has won eight matches in a row. During that streak, the Sharks beat Southwest and Palmetto, avenging earlier losses to those teams. They also beat Berkeley Prep.

But the Sharks, who lost to Bishop Moore in the 2013 state quarterfinals and Lyman in last year’s state semifinals, were 0-3 against Orlando teams this season, losing to Dr. Phillips, Bishop Moore and Apopka.

The other half of the bracket features Monarch (21-2) against Archbishop McCarthy (18-8) and Timber Creek (22-4) vs. Columbus (24-2).

Monarch is the surprise team of the tournament. The Knights went 2-13 in 2012 and 3-13 in 2013 before posting a winning record last year.

This year, they won a district title for the first time in program history, but they have yet to play a team outside of South Florida.

They lost in straight sets to Wellington in their only matchup against a team currently at state.

McCarthy is back at state for the first time since 2012. From 2009 to 2012, the Mavericks lost to the eventual state champion four years in a row: Timber Creek, Bishop Moore, Seminole Ridge and Bishop Moore.

In terms of common opponents with Monarch, McCarthy has the edge having beaten Wellington 3-1.

Columbus, which reached the state semifinals in 2012, may have the toughest challenge of all the local teams in its matchup with Timber Creek, which is led by 6-5 junior Michael MacGillivray, a Division I prospect according to his coach.

McCarthy Coach Karen Frank, who has seen every team at state play this season, believes it will be a “close” tournament.

“At the beginning of the year, everyone was talking that it would be a Lyman-Dr. Phillips final, and neither of those teams are here,” she said. “I think all eight teams have the ability to advance to the final.”

February 22, 2015

State boys' basketball tournament schedule

STATE BOYS’ BASKETBALL

When: Tuesday through Saturday.

Where: The Lakeland Center, 701 W. Lime St., Lakeland.

Admission: $10 per session; Parking: $8.

Defending state champions – Class 8A: Winter Park; 7A: Oviedo; 6A: Miami Norland; 5A: Plantation American Heritage; 4A: Orlando Lake Highland Prep; 3A: Weston Sagemont; 2A: Orlando Christian Prep; 1A: Malone.

Tuesday’s schedule – Class 1A semifinals: Chipley vs. Malone, 10 a.m.; Hawthorne vs. Crescent City, 11:30 a.m.; Class 2A semifinals: Land O’Lakes Academy at the Lakes vs. Orlando Agape, 2:30; Miami Christian vs. Sarasota Christian, 4; Class 3A semifinals: Orlando First Academy vs. Jacksonville Providence, 7; Sagemont vs. Sarasota Cardinal Mooney, 8:30.

Wednesday’s schedule – Class 4A semifinals: West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman vs. Fort Myers Dunbar, 9:30 a.m.; Tallahassee Godby vs. Melbourne Holy Trinity, 11 a.m.; Class 1A final: 5:05; Class 2A final: 8:35.

Thursday’s schedule – Class 3A final: 9:30 a.m.; Class 4A final: 1:05; Class 8A semifinals: Oviedo Hagerty vs. St. Petersburg, 7; Hollywood McArthur vs. Wellington, 8:30.

Friday’s schedule – Class 5A semifinals: Tallahassee Rickards vs. Tarpon Springs, 10 a.m.; Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons vs. St. Petersburg Gibbs, 11:30 a.m.; Class 6A semifinals: Gainesville vs. Orlando Edgewater, 2:30; Miami Norland vs. Tampa Jefferson, 4; Class 7A semifinals: Blanche Ely vs. North Port, 7; Kissimmee Osceola vs. Oviedo, 8:30.

Saturday’s schedule – Class 5A final: 10:05 a.m.; Class 6A final: 1:35; Class 7A final: 5:05; Class 8A final: 8:35.

February 15, 2015

State girls' basketball tournament schedule and info

When: Tuesday through Saturday.

Where: The LakelandCenter, 701 W. Lime St., Lakeland.

Admission: $10 per session; Parking: $8.

Defending state champions – Class 8A: Miami High; 7A: Apopka Wekiva; 6A: Orlando Edgewater; 5A: Bradenton Southeast; 4A: Jacksonville Ribault; 3A: Miami Country Day; 2A: Boca Grandview Prep; 1A: Paxton.

Tuesday’s schedule – Class 2A semifinals: Land O’Lakes Academy at the Lakes vs. Tallahassee FAMU, 10 a.m.; Boca Raton Grandview Prep vs. Sarasota Christian, 11:30 a.m.; Class 3A semifinals: Miami Country Day vs. Clearwater Calvary Christian, 2:30; Seffner Christian vs. Jacksonville University Christian, 4; Class 4A semifinals: Jacksonville Ribault vs. Orlando Lake Highland Prep, 7; West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman vs. Fort Myers Dunbar, 8:30.

Wednesday’s schedule – Class 1A semifinals: Hilliard vs. Wildwood, noon; Paxton vs. Freeport, 1:30; Class 3A final: 4:35; Class 4A final: 8:05.

Thursday’s schedule – Class 1A final: noon; Class 2A final: 3:35; Class 7A semifinals:HainesCity vs. Wekiva Apopka, 7; Fort Myers vs. Palm BeachLakes, 8:30.

Friday’s schedule – Class 8A semifinals: Orlando Colonial vs. Flagler Palm Coast, 10 a.m.; Miami High vs. Boca Raton, 11:30 a.m.; Class 6A semifinals: Winter Haven vs. Pensacola Pine Forest, 2:30; Miami Norland vs. Naples Barron Collier, 4; Class 5A semifinals: Land O’ Lakes vs. Jacksonville Paxon, 7; Fort Lauderdale Dillard vs. Bradenton Southeast, 8:30.

Saturday’s schedule – Class 7A final: 10:05 a.m.; Class 8A final: 1:35; Class 6A final: 5:05; Class 5A final: 8:35.

January 16, 2015

Northeast football makes a coaching change

            Oakland Park Northeast football coach Christopher Hay told The Miami Herald Friday he has been dismissed from his coaching duties at the school.

            Hay, a South Broward graduate, coached the Hurricanes to a 1-9 record this past season after previous stint at Hollywood Hills as an assistant coach.

            Northeast is still in the process of hiring a replacement.

“I love my kids and I just want to thank them for the hard work they put in and same goes for all the coaches out there doing things the right way,” Hay said. “Unfortunately [Northeast] decided they wanted to go in another direction. Whoever takes over will inherit a solid, disciplined program on and off the field.”

ANDRE C. FERNANDEZ

January 08, 2015

Class 8A All-State football team

The Florida All-State Class 8A team as chosen by newspaper editors and reporters.

FIRST TEAM OFFENSE

QB - De'Andre Johnson 6-1 180 Sr., JacksonvilleFirstCoast

RB - Jacques Patrick 6-2 230 Sr.., Orlando Timber Creek

RB - Johnnie Lang 5-9 185 Jr., Bradenton Manatee

WR - Nick Westbrook 6-3 190 Sr., LakeMary

WR - M.J. McGriff 5-9 175 Jr., Vero Beach

WR - Jerad Washington 5-9 165 Sr., JacksonvilleFirstCoast

OL - Martez Ivey 6-6 290 Sr., Apopka

OL - Jake Fruhmorgen 6-5 285 Sr., Tampa Plant

OL - William Sweet 6-7 295 Sr., JacksonvilleFirstCoast

OL - Stewart Reese 6-7 330 Jr., Fort Pierce Central

OL - Zach Sharp 6-7 315 Sr., LakeMary

UT - Chandler Cox 6-2 225 Sr., Apopka

K - Stephen Yaffe 6-1 180 Jr., Tampa Plant

 

FIRST TEAM DEFENSE

DL - Alec Shriner 6-4 287 Sr., Oviedo

DL - Kyle Henderson 6-1 280 Sr., Tampa Plant

DL - Kwanzi Jackson 6-3 215 Jr., Bradenton Manatee

LB - Sherrod Pittman 6-2 228 Sr., JacksonvilleFirstCoast

LB - Devin Bush Jr. 6-0 215 Jr., Pembroke Pines Flanagan

LB - Adrienne Talan 6-1 210 Sr., Pembroke Pines Flanagan

LB - Jacob Douglas 5-10 215 Sr., Jacksonville Mandarin

DB - Jacquan Johnson 5-10 180 Sr., Miami Killian

DB - Ronnie Hoggins 5-9 170 Sr., Coconut Creek Monarch

DB - Sean Burgess-Becker 6-1 195 Sr., Coconut Creek Monarch

DB - Antonio Davis-Jones 6-1 190 Sr., Vero Beach

UT - Derrick Baity 6-2 185 Sr., Tampa Plant

P - Tommy Townsend 6-2 180 Sr., Orlando Boone

 

SECOND TEAM OFFENSE

QB - Cannon Thompson 6-1 185 Sr., Lake Mary

RB - Travis Liburd 5-9 180 Sr., Sunrise Piper

RB - Patrick Brooks 5-11 180 Sr., Tampa Plant

WR - Ahmmon Richards 6-3 175 Jr., Wellington

WR - Adam Anderson 6-3 180 Sr., Orlando Boone

WR - Phillip Benker 6-2 190 Jr., Jacksonville Sandalwood

OL - Jake Dempsey 6-2 295 Sr., FlaglerPalmCoast

OL - Stone Forsythe 6-3 320 Jr., Winter Garden West Orange

OL - Richard Williams 6-1 280 Sr., Miramar Everglades

OL - Justus Basinger 6-5 310 Sr., Altamonte SpringsLake Brantley

OL - Calvin Ashley 6-7 280 So., Orlando Dr Phillips

UT - Jean Rene 5-11 175 Sr., Wellington

K - Nick Null 5-11 170 Jr., Bradenton Manatee

 

SECOND TEAM DEFENSE

DL - Tyler Horstman 6-4 230 Sr., Vero Beach

DL - Shakur Cooper 6-0 200 Jr., Coral Gables

DL - Matt Bukovi 6-0 225 Sr., Weston Cypress Bay

LB - Tevon Coney 6-2 225 Sr., Palm BeachGardens

LB - Jack McCloud 6-2 220 Jr., Lantana Santaluces

LB - Dylan Meeks 6-2 215 So., Orlando Dr Phillips

LB - Brayce McKenzie 6-2 225 Sr., Oviedo

DB - Samuel Johnson 5-10 165 Sr., JacksonvilleFirstCoast

DB - Darrell Malone 5-11 165 Jr., Weston Cypress Bay

DB - Devin Gill 6-1 200 Jr., Pembroke Pines Flanagan

DB - Sheldrick Redwine 6-2 190 Sr., Miami Killian

UT - Jimmie Robinson 5-8 170 Sr., FlaglerPalmCoast

P - Matthew Beadle 6-4 180 Sr., Tampa Plant

 

THIRD TEAM OFFENSE

QB - Ryan Stanley 6-2 190 Sr., Pembroke Pines Flanagan

RB - Kerrith Whyte 5-10 190 Sr., Loxahatchee Seminole Ridge

RB - Que'shan Byrd 5-8 165 So., FlaglerPalmCoast

WR - Austin Maloney 6-0 175 Sr., Miami Columbus

WR - Eddie McDoom 6-1 170 Jr., Winter Garden West Orange

WR - Keavon Mitchell 5-11 175 Sr., Pembroke Pines Flanagan

OL - Colby Meeks 6-4 295 Sr., Orlando Dr Phillips

OL - Jonathan Maccolister 6-3 250 So., DeLand

OL - Jason Rodriguez 5-11 240 Sr., Miami Columbus

OL - Cameron Campbell 6-2 275 Sr., Pembroke Pines Flanagan

OL - Jacob Dilliplane 6-4 260 Sr., OrangeCityUniversity

UT - Jeremy Diaz 5-11 185 Sr., OrangeCityUniversity

K - Jake Fuhrman 5-9 150 Jr., Weston Cypress Bay

 

THIRD TEAM DEFENSE

DL - Raeder Frantzen 6-2 220 Sr., Tampa Plant

DL - Alejandro Levy 6-2 240 Sr., Miami Columbus

DL - Matthew Croyle 6-2 260 Jr., Coconut Creek Monarch

LB - Joe Ryan 6-1 220 Jr., Tampa Plant

LB - Billy Caughell 6-2 230 Sr., Apopka

LB - James Bowe 6-1 205 Sr., Miami Killian

LB - Fernando Escobar 5-10 185 Sr., Miami Columbus

DB - Vernon Walker 6-1 190 Sr., Orlando Dr Phillips

DB - C.J. Lamar 6-2 215 Sr., LakeMary

DB - Antonio Henderson 6-0 200 Sr., Bradenton Manatee

DB - Scoop Bradshaw 5-11 190 Jr., Tampa Plant

UT - Jalen Young 5-11 185 Sr., Loxahatchee Seminole Ridge

P - Brett Gordon 6-3 180 Sr., Jacksonville Mandarin

 

HONORABLE MENTION

QB Michael Harris 6-1 180 Sr., Coconut Creek Monarch; QB Shannon Patrick 6-1 195 Sr., Wellington; QB Carter Stanley 6-2 190, Vero Beach; QB Hilton Joseph 5-10 165 Sr., North Miami; QB Tucker Beirne 6-2 225 Sr., Miami Columbus; QB Isaiah McIntyre 6-1 180 Jr., Valrico Bloomingdale; QB Woody Barrett 6-3 230 Jr., Winter Garden West Orange; Rex Culpepper 6-3 210 Jr., Tampa Plant; QB Deundre Pickett-White 6-0 193 Sr., Southwest Miami; QB Jake Bofshever 6-1 192 Sr., Coral Springs; RB Karon Higdon 5-10 190 Sr., Sarasota Riverview; RB Jurell Green 5-9 190 Sr. Oviedo; RB Daquan Isom 5-9 180 Sr., Orlando Dr Phillips; WR Ellex Davis 5-10 175 Sr., Coconut Creek Monarch; WR Tavaris Harrison 6-2 175 Sr., North Miami; WR DJ Matthews 6-1 165 So. Jacksonville First Coast; WR Tristan Payton 6-2 180 Sr., Jacksonville First Coast; WR Doug Sandberg 5-9 170 Sr., Valrico Bloomingdale; WR Kelvin McKnight 5-10 180 Sr., Bradenton Manatee; WR Emonee Spence 6-2 190 Sr., Pembroke Pines Flanagan; UT Marcell Williams 5-10 165 Sr., Flagler Palm Coast; UT Demetri Burch 6-0 170 So., Apopka; DL Jarrod McGahee 6-0 260 Sr., Coral Gables; DL Joe Suarez 6-2 230 Sr., Homestead South Dade; LB Johnny Robinson 6-1 250 Sr., Apopka; LB Doyle Grimes 6-2 200 Sr., Homestead South Dade; LB Kelvin Clue 5-9 190 Sr., Orlando Dr Phillips; DB Ray Ray Smith 6-0 190 Sr., Apopka; DB Ben Bascom 5-10 175 Sr., Apopka; DB Jonah Castro 6-1 208 Sr., Oviedo Hagerty.