May 06, 2014

The Miami Herald's Miami-Dade Class of 2016 football recruits

List compiled by Larry Blustein

MIAMI-DADE SPRING TOP 25

1. Mark Walton, RB, 5-11, 185, Booker T. Washington.

2. Dionte Mullins, WR/DB, 6-0 170, Miami Gulliver Prep.

3. Darnell Salomon, WR, 6-3, 185, Hialeah Champagnat Catholic.

4. Cedric Wright, S, 5-10, 185, Miami Gulliver Prep.

5. Kato Nelson, QB, 6-0, 180, Hialeah Champagnat Catholic.

6. Freddie Pender, WR, 6-4, 190, Miami Southridge.

7. Joseph Jackson, DE, 6-6, 240, Miami Gulliver Prep.

8. Donovan Thompson, LB, 6-0, 195, Miami Central.

9. Keldrick Caesar, OL, 6-3, 290, Miami Edison.

10. Shakur Cooper, LB, 6-2, 195, Coral Gables.

11. Jamel Cook, S, 6-3, 185, Miami Central.

12. Jerron Rollins, WR, 6-3, 180, Miami Christopher Columbus.

13. Hosea McMullin, LB, 5-11, 195, Miami Booker T. Washington.

14. Dontye Carriere-Williams, DB, 5-10, 175, Miami Booker T. Washington.

15. Jotavius Barrett, Athlete, 5-10, 175, Hialeah Champagnat Catholic.

16. Rashad Smith, DB, 6-0, 185, Homestead.

17. Amir Rasul, RB, 6-0, 195, Miami Christopher Columbus.

18. James Wiggins, DB, 5-11, 170, Homestead South Dade.

19. Keyshawn “Pie” Young, Athlete, 5-11, 185, Miami Senior.

20. Dontay Mayfield, WR, 6-1, 185, Miami Gulliver Prep.

21. Antoine Webster, S, 5-11, 175, Hialeah Champagnat Catholic.

22. Kier Thomas, DE, 6-2, 220, Miami Central.

23. Vosean Joseph, TE/DE, 6-1, 200, Miami Norland.

24. Elbre Gaiter, WR/DB, 5-8, 160, Miami Westminster Christian.

25. James Sutton, LB, 5-11, 205, Miami Westminster Christian.

The Miami Herald's Broward Class of 2016 Top 25 football recruits

List compiled by Larry Blustein

BROWARD SPRING TOP 25

1. Nick Bosa, DE, 6-4, 240, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas.

2. Sam Bruce, WR, 5-8, 165, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas.

3. Devin Bush, LB, 6-0, 210, Pembroke Pines Flanagan.

4. Aaron Thompson, DE, 6-3, 240, Fort Lauderdale Dillard.

5. Malek Young, WR/DB, 510, 175, Coconut Creek.

6. Dredrick Snelson, WR, 6-0, 190, Plantation American Heritage.

7. Binjimen Victor, WR, 6-4, 175, Coconut Creek.

8. Devin Gil, S, 6-1, 205, Pembroke Pines Flanagan.

9. Deon McIntosh, RB, 5-8, 170, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons

10. Cavin Ridley, RB/WR, 6-1, 185, Coconut Creek Monarch.

11. Chris Cotto, WR, 6-1, 180, Hallandale.

12. Bradley Clements, LB, 5-11, 210, Plantation American Heritage.

13. Trayvon Mullen, DB, 6-2, 175, Coconut Creek.

14. Tyler Huntley, QB, 6-0, 180, Hallandale.

15. Roodney Leon, OL, 6-3, 280, Deerfield Beach.

16. Jaelyn Faulk, DB, 5-9, 165, Hallandale.

17. Brandon Johnson, WR, 6-3, 180, Plantation American Heritage.

18. Calvin Jackson, WR/RB, 5-9, 175, Coral Springs Charter.

19. Matthew Croyle, DL, 6-1, 260, Coconut Creek Monarch.

20. Johnny Johnson, WR, 6-2, 180, Fort Lauderdale Dillard.

21. Obinna Nwanko, OL, 6-3, 255, Miramar.

22. Louie Berkowitz, OL, 6-3, 260, Plantation American Heritage.

23. Marcus Garvin, DB, 5-9, 165, Fort Lauderdale Stranahan

24. Chris Judge, OL/DL, 6-3, 230, Deerfield Beach Zion Lutheran.

25. Neru N'Shaka, WR, 5-10, 165, Hallandale

The Miami Herald's Broward Class of 2015 Top 25 football recruits

List compiled by Larry Blustein

BROWARD SPRING TOP 25

1. Jordan Scarlett, RB, 5-11, 195, St. Thomas Aquinas.

2. Torrance Gibson, QB, 6-4, 200, Plantation American Heritage

3. Calvin Ridley, WR, 6-2, 170, Coconut Creek Monarch. 

4. Shawn Burgess-Becker, S, 6-2, 190, Coconut Creek Monarch. 

5. Tarvarus McFadden, DB, 6-3, 195, Plantation American Heritage. 

6. Tyrek Cole, DB, 5-10, 165, Miramar.

7. Jason Strowbridge, DE, 6-4, 245, Deerfield Beach. 

8. Sh’mar Kilby-Lane, LB, 6-2, 220, Hallandale. 

9. Kendrell McFadden, S, 6-3, 190, Miramar

10. Leeward Brown, OL, 6-4, 300, Miramar.

11. Devante Peete, WR, 6-5, 198, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas. 

12. Alex Anderson, RB, 5-11, 190, Miramar.

13. Khalil Lewis, WR, 6-1, 180, Miramar.

14. Roderick Acher, S, 6-1, 200, South Plantation.

15. Rashard Causey, DB, 6-0, 190, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas. 

16. Brandon Boyce, NT, 6-0, 240, Fort St. Thomas Aquinas.

17. Ronnie Hoggins, DB, 5-10, 165, Coconut Creek Monarch.

18. Taj McGowan, RB, 6-0, 190, Hallandale.

19. Emonee Spence, WR, 6-2, 180, Pembroke Pines Flanagan.

20. Richard McIntosh, DL, 6-4, 240, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons.

21. Deltron Sands, RB, 5-8, 175, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas.

22. Andrew James, WR, 6-0 175, Fort Lauderdale Westminster Academy.

23. Travis Liburd, RB, 5-9, 185, Sunrise Piper.

24. Chris Hart, LB, 6-2, 220, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas.

25. Richie Kittles, DB, 6-0, 180, Fort Lauderdale Stranahan.

The Miami Herald's Miami-Dade Class of 2015 Top 25 football recruits

List compiled by Larry Blustein

MIAMI-DADE SPRING TOP 25

1. Jaquan Johnson, S, 5-11, 180, Miami Killian. 

2. Da’Vante Phillips, WR, 6-1, 180, Miami Central. 

3. Tim Irvin, DB, 5-9, 190, Miami Westminster Christian. 

4. Calvin Brewton, S, 6-0, 170, Miami Central.

5. Carlton Davis, DB, 6-2, 185, Miami Norland.

6. Jordan Cronkite, RB, 5-11, 190, Miami Westminster Christian. 

7. Jovon Durante, WR, 6-1, 175, Miami Norland.

8. Davante Davis, DB/WR, 6-2, 180, Miami Booker T. Washington.

9. Dominic Sheppard, LB, 6-1, 217, Miami Gulliver Prep. 

10. Rashad Fenton, DB, 5-10, 180, Miami Carol City.

11. Gerald Robinson, DB, 5-11, 175, Hialeah Champagnat Catholic. 

12. Trevon Sands, Athlete, 5-10, 180, Southwest Miami.

13. Deundre Pickett-White, QB, 6-1, 180, Southwest Miami.

14. Fermin Silva, DL, 6-2, 220, Miami Central.

15. Devonaire Clarington, TE/DE, 6-5, 220, Hialeah Champagnat Catholic.

16. Robert Knowles, DB, 6-1, 185, Miami Edison.

17. Christian Strachan, OL, 6-4, 315, Hialeah Champagnat Catholic. 

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

19. Shaquery Wilson, WR, 6-2, 190, Coral Gables.

20. Marquis Couch, OLB, 6-2, 215, Miami Central.

21. Antonio Calloway, WR/DB, 5-11, 175, Miami Booker T. Washington.

22. Bruce Davis, S, 6-0, 195, Miami Killian.

23. Andrew Spence, DB, 6, 2, 190, Coral Gables.

24. Michael Frederick, RB, 5-10 175, Hialeah Champagnat Catholic.

25. Maurice Alexander, QB, 5-11, 180, Miami Booker T. Washington.

May 05, 2014

Tennessee, Auburn, LSU sit atop Top 15 list for American Heritage's Torrance Gibson

Tennessee, Auburn, LSU, Ohio State and Clemson sit atop the Top 15 list of possible college destinations for Plantation American Heritage quarterback/athlete Torrance Gibson – the most coveted high school football player in South Florida in the Class of 2015.

Heck, he’s one of the most coveted players in the country. After an hour and 25 minutes of posting his list via Twitter, it garnered more than 1,150 retweets and 1,170 favorites. Here’s the list and real-time updated count in case you’re wondering. 

Gibson – rated a five-star prospected by Scout, ESPN and 247Sports – helped guide Heritage to a Class 5A state championship, with staggering numbers. The 6-5, 198-pounder completed 85 of 153 passes for 1,789 yards last season with 19 touchdowns and only three interceptions. He also gained 1,063 yards on the ground at 9.6 yards a clip and 10 touchdowns – while sharing the backfield with Georgia running back signee Sony Michel.

Tennessee may come as a surprise as the No. 1 school on the list, but Gibson does have his reasons.

“Coach Butch Jones, he has a great plan and a great direction he’s going in,” Gibson said. “The offense fits me – the spread attack offense, fast tempo to the ball. That’s my type of offense.

“And you can’t leave out the academics. That’s the No. 1 thing.”

As for Auburn, a very heavy favorite to land Gibson, offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee visited Gibson at his school on Monday.

“[Auburn has] a great facility, a great campus and a perfect offense for me,” Gibson said. “A lot of people compare me to Cam Newton with my body size and speed.”

Miami and Florida came in at No. 7 and No. 8, respectively, for Gibson – who said there’s an “85 percent” chance he goes to college outside of his home state.

As for the rest of the schools near the bottom of the list trying to land Gibson, all he wants from those teams is an honest attempt to keep courting him.

“Just stay in contact with me and touch base with me every now and then,” Gibson said about the schools towards the bottom of his choices. “When schools fade away, that’s when they start dropping.

“I’m going to talk about Miami, and Miami was high on my list. They were No. 1. And then they started fading away because they’re not staying in contact with me.”

Gibson has no definite plans on when he wants to cut his list down further, or release a list of schools he’d like to take official visits to, but Ohio State and Tennessee make the cut as of now.

April 25, 2014

Football University partners with the SF Express Elite

Fbu
Football University (FBU), a national, invitation-only training camp run by former NFL players and coaches has teamed up with the South Florida Express elite seven on seven football team to create and grow a media and promotional platform focused on elite seven on seven football competitions. Football University and the South Florida Express will be announcing this new partnership during FBU’s South Florida Regional Camp Opening Ceremonies which begin at 5:45pm this Friday April 25, 2014. Press are welcome to attend this event which will be held at Cypress Bay High School in Weston, Florida.

Football University is an invitation-only experience for the serious football player, focusing on teaching technique and skill in a small- group setting with other elite athletes. Modeled after NFL mini-camps, each camp includes 18 hours of training and development— both on the field and off the field—including film study, classroom testing, and access to hi-tech equipment, all under the professional tutelage of former NFL players and coaches. Football University which has become the pipeline for the top youth athletes in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade with their National Championship will grow even stronger with this new partnership.

The South Florida Express was designed to allow the best of the best in youth and high school football to showcase their talents and develop their skills from former college and professional players and top coaches in the area.

Rich McGuiness, founder of Football University added; “The mission of FBU is to identify, train and showcase top athletes. Having the FBU Master Coaches tune up the technique of these Elite 7on7 payers will only help continue the winning tradition of the South Florida Express.”

ABOUT FBU
Football University selects and invites more than 200 of the region’s elite high school and youth players (6th-11th grades) to undergo three days of intense football training, all under the tutelage of former NFL players and coaches. “Football University” is developed by All American Games the creators of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. FBU has attracted the attention and praise from parents, players, coaches and media outlets, including Sports Illustrated, 247Sports, The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, and USA Today. The camp is geared toward helping players reach their full potential, offering training, instruction and equipment usually reserved for professionals.

April 11, 2014

Linebackers taking their place in south Florida

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While many areas across the country seem to produce more linemen than others, the linebacker position is something that actually plays right into the hands of the athletes south Florida produces.

A position where many are placed after outgrowing the safety position – or perhaps moved after showing what they can do as a fullback on offense.

While we have always left our footprint on colleges across the country – with prospects like Marvin Jones and Nate Webster – to early stars such as Ralph Ortega and Glenn Cameron, who would pave the way at Coral Gables for stellar players Jon Vilma and Darryl Sharpton.

The linebacker position, for south Floridians who had been used to game-changers such as the great Derrick Thomas, Darrin Smith and Stephen Tulloch, had been turning the corner in recent years – with quality linebackers who have continued to move on to the next level.

As the classes before them, the rising seniors of 2015 have also made a statement to college coaches across the nation – with other under-the-radar prospects getting ready to show how much they have grown over the past year.

This senior class is a tremendous mix of raw football talent along with physical athletes who have made the most of their exposure.

Going into the off season, there were 10 linebackers who were ready tocontinue turning heads:

Marquis Couch, OLB, 6-2, 235, Miami Central: Has the chance to be very special – after two solid years for the state champions. Controls all the action up front – and that is not likely to change with additional help up front.

Bruce Davis, S/LB, 6-0, 195, Miami Killian: Here is a football talent that may be considered as a safety, but if you watch him play, drop into pass coverage and support the run, it’s really hard to ignore him as a linebacker. This young man has a nose for the ball.

Emilio Gibbs, LB, 6-2, 225, Coral Gables: The size and athletic ability alone gives this impressive playmaker a chance to make a huge impact this coming season for a unit that may be as good as you get in south Florida. Big time playmaker.

Chris Hart, LB, 6-2, 220, St. Thomas Aquinas: One of the true playmakers who continues to impress every time you watch him play. Quick and productive against the pass – as well as being a major run-stopper. Made huge plays for the Raiders this past season.

James King, LB, 6-2, 220, Miami Booker T. Washington: Of all the players to come over last year, this quality prospect perhaps received less fanfare than most expected after a tremendous and record-breaking sophomore year at Miami Beach. If he stays health, he is a nightmare!

Sh’mar Kilby-Lane, LB, 6-2, 220, Hallandale: Coming into the season, this is the player who garnered enough interest last year to really be a huge prospect. Before the spring gets going, he will have well over 30 offers from major colleges all ove the country.

Dominic Sheppard, LB, 6-1, 217, Miami Gulliver Prep: Has been on the radar and on every list since his night grade season. Truly a gifted playmaker who has to be on any list you produce.

Adrienne Talan, LB, 6-1, 195, Flanagan: Coming over from Western where many never had the opportunity to see how quick and athletic this young man is, but when he lines up next to the prospects the Falcons have you will see this quality football talent really make a difference.

Jontavious Testa, LB, 6-2, 220, Coral Gables: Another way under the radar prospect who is not getting anywhere near the publicity he deserves. This is a prospect we watched play four times and come away impressed. Came to the Cavaliers from Gulliver Prep last year.

Juwann Taylor, LB, 6-3, 210, Hallandale: When the Chargers received this transfer from Hollywood Hills, they got a player who is indeed a difference maker. Coming off two solid seasons – and now he will be surrounded by talent that will only enhance what he already can do.

We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. All you have to do is send a You Tube or Hudl link and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein at Floridakids1@aol.com.

Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.

April 02, 2014

Blair leaves Boyd Anderson for Island Coast

Wayne Blair, who starred as a linebacker at St. Thomas Aquinas High School and spent the last three years as the head coach at Boyd Anderson High School, has left to become the new football coach at Island Coast.

Blair, 38, went 18-16 in his three years as the Cobras head coach and led the program to back-to-back playoff appearances over the last two seasons. Boyd Anderson went 10-3 in 2012, losing to eventual state champion St. Thomas Aquinas in the regional finals. The Cobras were 2-9 last season, but still reached the playoffs despite heavy losses to graduation.

"The teaching opportunity and the ability to take care of my family was too much to pass up," Blair explained in a text to The Miami Herald as his reason for leaving Boyd Anderson.

In high school, Blair was named Southeast Region All-America selection by Blue Chip Illustrated as well as Preseason All-American by National Recruiting Advisor. He was also rated among top 30 outside linebackers in the south and came up with 134 tackles, six sacks, eight caused fumbles and 19 tackles for losses as a senior.

Blair then starred at Tulane and spent one year in the Canadian Football League before becoming an assistant under Roger Harriott at University School. Harriott is now at FAU.

-- MANNY NAVARRO

April 01, 2014

Local combine gives athletes added exposure

To fully understand the landscape of the these pre-season combines that have now become an event that you just need to be invited to, there are others - away from the spotlight of the sports apparel brands - that probably serve more of an all-around purpose.

If you are not an elite player who doesn't already have 4 or 5 stars next to your name, these higher profile events may not be the only avenue for exposure. The trip to Oregon is nice - and a chance to play in the Under Armour Game is really great, but when you break things down, events like the Elite Scouting Services combine, held recently at Cardinal Gibbons, may have really unlocked what the greater importance is.

"There is not one player who attends any of the events we have hosted for the past 10 years that we haven't promoted and gotten directly to colleges across the country," said Charles Fishbein, Founder and President of Elite Scouting Services. "When athletes leave one of our events, we want them to be upbeat. They realize that we are here to help and play only on the positives."

Fishbein learned the inner-workings of the camp and combine business while hosting a number of events while with MSL Sports. It was there he had the chance to visit over 35 key football cities across the country in over a year. He saw what the players, coaches and parents liked best about the event - and built from it.

"I saw that parents wanted to know more about what their kids do," Fishbein explained. "So, we let the parents watch all the action from the field. Nobody lets parents and fans on the field, but we feel that the experience is something that everyone should enjoy and learn."

Perhaps the one that that has blown away anyone who hosts a similar event is ESS sends video, and written evaluations on to colleges - from major schools to junior college and every prep school in between.

While he is headed to Lake Mary (Orlando area) for the next ESS event, and fully expects a large group of prospects, Fishbein, like so many, believe that south Florida is so stacked with athletes, missing out on Florida Keys performers like twins Henry and George Jacobsen would have been a shame.

The Tavernier Coral Shores Class of 2015 running back/defensive back combination have enjoyed success over the past year, but many have not had the chance to see them. Attending exposure events - like ESS - is essential for both if they expect to continue playing at the next level.

“The ESS event was great because we had the chance to get some quality work in,” George said. “It really is worth the sacrifice – on our first day of Spring Break – to attend this exposure combine.”
   For underexposed Dillard quarterback Jason Collins. Elite Scouting was the perfect event to thrust himself back into the spotlight. A spotlight that was bright a few months ago - when many were putting him on that Torrance Gibson, Maurice Alexander and Ryan Stanley Class of 2015 level.

“I have worked very hard in the off season with my accuracy,” said Collins, who finished among the top 8 in the Mastrole Elite Passing Academy Challenge back in December. “The only thing I can control is doing the best I can and hope that college coaches see the progress I continue to make.”

While watching prospects such as Jacobsen twins, Collins, and so many others, you have to look at ESS for being the launching pad for Alabama standout receiver Amari Cooper, who attended three years ago.

PROSPECTS TURNING  HEADS
There were so many football players that came from as far away as Homestead and the Palm Beaches, but very few tuned the heads that Archbishop McCarthy tight end J.J. Bost did – with a physical display that include 27 reps of 185 and showing that he has very good feet in drills.

“Great event for me to spotlight my strengths,” Bost said. “Great chance to compete against some quality athletes.”

Deerfield Beach heavily recruited standout Jason Strowbridge took part in the event as well.

Here are 25 more football players who turned heads with a great day of football:
2015
Keyion Batten, OL, Fort Lauderdale Stranahan, Wade Collier, RB/WR, Homestead, Leon Brown, WR, Miami Northwestern, Steven Carter, FS, Pompano Beach Blanche Ely, Peter Delatour, LB, Miami Christopher Columbus, Bryton Diejuste, DL, Miramar, James Gardner, WR, Fort Lauderdale, Akeem Hutchinson, DE/TE, Fort Lauderdale Stranahan, Danzel King, LB, Miramar, Alejandro Levy, DL, Miami Christopher Columbus, Edwin Loveland, QB/WR, Miramar, Jawanza Evans-Morris, RB, Coral Springs Taravella, Rochelin Romain, OL, Pompano Beach Blanche Ely, Korron Rozier, WR, Coconut Creek, Darrell Swanson, DL, Miramar and Demetrius White, WR, Boyd Anderson.

2016
Dicaprio Bootle, DB, Miami Killian, Matthew Croyle, DL, Coconut Creek Monarch, Marcus Garvin, DB, Fort Lauderdale Stranahan, Dedric Luton, WR, Homestead, Deon McIntosh, RB, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons, Emmitt Rice, LB, Miami Norland and Antwan Shipp, LB, Miramar.

2017
Waynmon Steed, LB, Miami Central.

We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. All you have to do is send a You Tube or Hudl link and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein at Floridakids1@aol.com.

Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.

March 17, 2014

USF gets 2015 commitments from Southwest's Deundre Pickett-White and Trevon Sands

Former Miami Central coach Telly Lockette has struck in and for South Florida again.

Two of Miami Southwest’s best playmakers, quarterback Deundre Pickett-White and athlete Trevon Sands, both announced their commitments to USF on Monday night.

Pickett-White, one of the most underrated quarterbacks in South Florida, said he and Sands made their decisions at school Monday after a month of talks with each other pondering the decision. Both players have been playing together since their Pop Warner days, and have been close to Lockette – currently USF’s running back coach – since they were in the 10th grade.

“We were just spoke about our chemistry and how much better we can make a team,” Pickett-White said of his conversation with Sands. “It would be best for us to stick together and keep the chemistry going.”

Pickett-White said Lockette made him work for the USF offer exclusively at the quarterback position, and took heed of the challenge at the end of his sophomore year. He sent midseason highlight film for Lockette to watch, and finally got his offer after accounting for more than 2,100 yards with 25 touchdowns last season.

“I worked much harder in the weight room and on the field,” Pickett-White said. “I studied hard on [watching film], and just to get a better mindset because I wanted to let people know I wanted to be labeled as a quarterback.”

Sands, a dynamic player who can play running back, receiver or defensive back, had 21 catches for 572 yards and 93 carries for 635 yards with 18 total touchdowns, and 65 total tackles last season. Pickett-White said USF wants Sands to play on both sides of the ball.

“All of us know what we want out of each other,” Pickett-White said of himself, Sands and Lockette. “I think it’s going to [continue to] be a good relationship between all three of us [going forward].”

Pickett-White and Sands become the third and fourth members of USF’s 2015 recruiting class under head coach Willie Taggart.

In the last recruiting cycle, Taggart and Lockette landed commitments from Miami Jackson quarterback Quinton Flowers, Central cornerback Deatrick Nichols and offensive lineman Michael Smith and North Miami wide receiver Stanley Clerveaux.