May 31, 2015

Sights from 7-on-7 event at UM


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.


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.




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.


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.


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.


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.


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

June 14, 2014

Mark Walton's commitment to Miami 'as solid as they come' with reclassification to 2015 class

Mark Walton, Miami Booker T. Washington’s stud running back and University of Miami commitment, has reclassified to the Class of 2015.

Walton and his coach Tim Harris Jr. confirmed Walton’s move up from the Class of 2016 on Saturday while participating in the Miami Dolphins 7-on-7 tournament at Plantation Park.

With the news, UM’s 2015 recruiting class is now up to 15 members and ranked ninth overall in the country by 247Sports. Running backs Jordan Cronkrite from Westminster Christian and Dexter Williams from Winter Garden West Orange are also committed to the Canes, who could boast one of the most talented backfields in the country with former Miami Central back Joseph Yearby already enrolled.

"Man, that would be a great backfield," Walton said.

Harris said Walton’s process began at the end of last season, and included Walton taking a night-school class and online classes to meet requirements.

“He dedicated to wanting to reclassify and we’ve been all behind him,” Harris said. “Every kid’s situation is a little different, and we want to help Mark to be able to one day do all the things he wants to do for himself and his family.”

Walton, who visited UM on Tuesday with teammates including wide receiver Antonio Callaway and cornerback Devante Davis, said the Canes’ coaching staff was elated to hear the news.

“The coaching staff was excited, and I’m excited about it, too,” Walton said. “When I saw they’re reaction, my reaction went up.”

Walton -- who has seen his recruitment slow in recent months -- hopes to receive offers from Alabama, Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Arkansas, but still relishes his close relationships with the Canes staff, including running back coach Hurlie Brown.

“I try to convince people to come to the University of Miami and get that swagger back down in Coral Gables, and try to get the tradition back going and try to win a National Championship,” Walton said.

Added Harris: “He’s still committed to Miami. He’s as solid as they come.”

September 27, 2013

Hurricanes on the Horizon: Nigel Bethel II

NigelBethel_RickRossEditor’s Note: Welcome to the first Hurricanes on the Horizon post here on the Miami Herald’s high school sports blog. This will be the first of many blog posts bringing you updates from University of Miami oral commitments in South Florida.

First up is the soft-spoken Nigel Bethel II, a Miami Booker T. Washington cornerback who has been committed to Al Golden and the Hurricanes since July. Bethel, formerly known as Nigel Pattontalks about a unique perk of playing for the No. 1 high school football team in the nation, how things are going in his personal life, and where he stands with the University of Miami.

On Wednesday night, some of my teammates and I met Rick Ross at Dave & Busters in Hollywood. It was cool meeting him. He's from Miami so he heard about us being the No. 1 team in the country so he wanted to meet us, and we didn't find out till the night of. It was a great experience though. He just said have tunnel vision, and stay focused because it ain't nothing out here in these streets. He was happy I'm committed to Miami and said ain't nothing better than putting on for the crib.

It's great being a 4-year starter at a top program like Booker T. We play Pace [Friday] at Pace so it should be a good game. I'm not recruiting anyone [to UM at the moment]. I'm trying to focus on winning a national title. We never won one.

Outside of football, I just brought Drake’s new album and I'm playing Grand Theft Auto 5 as we speak lol. This is my first time playing GTA in about six years. I don't know how to do nothing on here. Drake Cd's amazing. He's my favorite artist -- him and Kanye West.

I’m going to take an official visit to West Virginia on Oct. 19 with [my wide receiver teammate and Mountaineers commitment] Lamar Parker. My other visits [to Utah and Texas Tech] have been fun and been great experiences. I'm just going just to have fun that's all.

The UM coaches don't think much of me taking visits at all because they know I’m a 100 percent Miami boy.

Click here to follow Nigel Bethel on Twitter. And if you’re a South Florida high school sports player interested in having your own version of this blog, feel free to get in touch with Safid Deen (@Safid_Deen) at