March 10, 2016

Dunning high on LSU, wants Alabama offer


Tyler Dunning
Photo: David Furones.

Since decommitting from Miami, St. Thomas Aquinas four-star linebacker Tyler Dunning has had a new list of suitors he's surveying.

LSU, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Kentucky and Syracuse comprise his top five of schools he currently has offers from.

"I'm looking at LSU a lot," Dunning says. "I've always liked LSU. LSU has always been that school to me, that type of school that I like."

Alabama has also begun to show interest since Dunning decomitted and coaches have told him they will swing by to check him out in the spring. Dunning says an offer from Alabama could catapult the Crimson Tide to the top of his list.

On the field, Dunning hopes to improve on his pass coverage. The 7-on-7 season will present him with the right opportunity to do that.

He likes what the Aquinas defense will be able to do next season.

"Our defense is going to be crazy," he says. "We might have cheat codes over there."

He's especially thankful for the transfer of defensive end Lashawn Paulino from Coconut Creek.

"That's my boy. He's going to make sure the O-line stays off my knees," he says.

Last season Dunning was effective on the defensive line (as seen in his highlights) from the time five-star Ohio State-bound defensive end Joey Bosa went down. He will return to his natural linebacker position for his senior season.

Twitter: @DavidFurones90

March 09, 2016

'Big chance' LB Miller commits to UM, Canes also top WR Harley's list

Miami recently lost commitments from a local linebacker and local pass catcher in Tyler Dunning and Kemore Gamble, but in-state replacements in the 2017 recruiting class could come imminently. 

Lakeland Kathleen three-star linebacker Ventrell Miller told the Miami Herald there's a "big chance" he commits to the Hurricanes, and three-star St. Thomas Aquinas wide receiver Mike Harley has called the Canes his clear No. 1.

Miller (6-0, 227 pounds) says he likes the new coaching staff at UM and the fact that it's a private school.

"It's a place where I can grow and develop as a linebacker," Miller says. "It feels like home, it's not far from home and they have a tendency to send linebackers to the NFL."

A notable one would be Ray Lewis, who went to his same high school. You think he's heard of him?


Miller adds he needs to take another visit to the Coral Gables campus before making any kind of decision and that UNC is the only other school in contention for his services at this time.

Harley (5-10, 170) says the Canes have topped his list for about a month now.

"Good coaching staff and it's home where my family can see me play," he says.

He doesn't know when he'll knock out a final decision, adding he's "still letting the recruiting flow through."

Harley's 21 other offers, according to 247 Sports, include South Carolina, Mississippi State, Utah, Wisconsin and West Virginia.

Harley won wide receiver MVP honors at Sunday's The Opening Miami Regionals and also impressed at the Rivals Camp the previous week.

Twitter: @DavidFurones90


Canes surging for Jeudy; Tigner likes UF, Auburn

Jerry Jeudy
Jerry Jeudy at The Opening Miami on Sunday, March 6, 2016. Photo: David Furones.

Deerfield Beach will once again have one of the most formidable wide receiver tandems in South Florida with four-star Under-Armour All-American Jerry Jeudy and three-star Lavarus Tigner.

Jeudy (6-1, 180 pounds) told the Miami Herald at The Opening Miami Regional on Sunday (where he qualified for The Opening in Oregon) "all my top is equal."

But Bud Elliott of SB Nation and Peter Ariz of CanesInsight have reported that it's Alabama and Miami at the top for Jeudy, who also noted to Zach Abolverdi of SEC Country that he doesn't have a leader (when previously listing the Crimson Tide as his favorite) and "all of the schools are equal right now."

While Jeudy is giving off some mixed signals, one thing that's clear is that UM has boosted itself immensely in recruiting him since the new coaching staff has taken over.

"They have a nice coaching staff," Jeudy said of the Canes. "They moved up a lot. It was just cool [taking an unofficial visit last week]. I like the way the coaches were talking to me. We were just going over what I'd be doing in their offense."

The Hurricanes stand in a much better position with Jeudy now than they did in December when he tweeted out this top 10 that made no mention of them.

Jeudy feels his speed and ability to get open is what makes him elite. He says his two favorite things to do as a receiver are either to take a screen and go all the way with it or blow the top off a defense with a deep route.

**Tigner (6-0, 180.5) has Florida and Auburn a his top two schools with the Gators in the lead.

"Florida I just feel like is another home. Academic-wise, I like both schools, but I just feel more comfortable at Florida," Tigner says. "If I had [to go with] any other option, I'd go with Auburn."

Also helping UF is that Tigner considers himself good friends with St. Thomas Aquinas quarterback and Gators commit Jake Allen.

Last season Tigner wasn't able to be as impactful as he wanted to be playing behind Jeudy and Riley Ridley, now at Georgia. He's excited about what he can do either opposite of Jeudy or alongside him.

"This year is my year," Tigner says. "Two great receivers on the same side of the ball, nobody can [handle] that."

Tigner is a player with the ideal confidence and attitude for a receiver that is bound for success.

"I come out here to prove a point. I'm the best," he says.

He was impressive when seen at the South Florida Express tryouts in late January, winning virtually every one-on-one matchup.

Twitter: @DavidFurones90

March 08, 2016

Marco Wilson a more complete player since recovering from ACL

Marco Wilson
Marco Wilson at The Opening Regionals at Plantation American Heritage on Sunday, March 6. Photo by David Furones.

Four-star American Heritage cornerback Marco Wilson sat out his entire junior season recovering from surgery on a torn ACL.

Now saying he is 100-percent complete in his recovery, the limits the injury put on his legs helped him make strides in other areas.

"I gained a lot of upper-body strength. Also, mentally, I paid attention to more things throughout the game. Watching my teammates play, I learned how offenses line up, how to watch receivers," says Wilson, who is now 5-11, 180 pounds. 

"I think everything happens for a reason, so it just makes me more hungry because I really miss the game of football. It makes me play harder."

Wilson listed Ohio State, UM, UF, Tennessee and Oklahoma as schools he is highest on at Nike's The Opening Regionals on Sunday at his high school, an event he didn't participate in but was present to watch.

If he chooses the Hurricanes, his position coach in Coral Gables would be his former high school coach in Mike Rumph.

"It helps a little bit because I'm comfortable with him. I know how much of a great coach he is. I know what he can do on and off the field for a player," Wilson said. "I think he'll develop those guys that he's coaching."

What did Rumph teach Wilson during his time at American Heritage?

"He just helped me with basic technique things. When I came in here as a young guy, I didn't really know that much -- although I also got coaching from my dad (former Miami Hurricane Chad Wilson) -- but he would help me with small things that would make me perform better on the field," Wilson added. "He's always going to be looking out for you and making sure you're doing the right things in school and not just on the field."

While Wilson did not participate in the Miami Regionals of The Opening, he says he will instead opt for the one on May 1 in New Jersey.

"I hope I get invited to The Opening (in Oregon). I heard it's a great experience. My brother (current UF defensive back Quincy Wilson) went there. He told me how good it is," Wilson said. "And I know I'm the best corner in 2017. That's how I look at it."

Marco Wilson was quoted in a 247 Sports article as saying that Miami and Florida -- the two programs he has family ties with -- are recruiting him the hardest.

"I'm not going to anywhere just because of my dad or my brother," Wilson said, however. "I want to play early. I want to make sure I start my career on the right track to get to the next level. Also, I don't want to come in to a college and leave as the same player. I want to make sure that I learn new things and become a better player."

As far as offers he doesn't have that he hopes to get at some point, he goes cross country with USC and UCLA. Distance is not a factor for him.

Before Wilson sat out his junior season, he was last seen making insane highlight catches in practice (like this backflip catch). 

"I could still do all that," Wilson says. "I don't know what I'd do without doing that because I'm very athletic and I like to show it."

He says he is yet to come up with any new tricks but will be back at it.

Wilson's sophomore highlights:

March 07, 2016

Al Blades Jr. debuts his recruit diary

It's not often fans get to see high-end recruits truly open up to the world. They are mostly restricted to their responses to the basic recruiting questions -- who's in your top right now? What schools are recruiting you the hardest? Got any visits planned? When do you think you'll make a final decision?

Al Blades Jr., one of the top 2018 prospects who is already set to play in that year's Under Armour All-America game, is changing that, debuting his recruiting diaries with a comprehensive video introducing himself to the world.

Even those who are already familiar with the St. Thomas Aquinas defensive back's work will learn a lot about him by watching his in-depth video, which covers a wide range of topics.

Blades isn't sure how often he will continue putting videos out, but by the looks of the debut, it will be a series to follow throughout his recruitment.


For the link to the page, click here.

And while we're on the topic of Blades Jr., you may want to check out his sophomore highlights at University School.

Twitter: @DavidFurones90

Ohio State, Florida steady at the top for Grimes

Trevon Grimes
Trevon Grimes at The Opening Regionals at Plantation American Heritage on Sunday, March 6, 2016. Photo: David Furones.

Ohio State and Florida remain the two schools in the lead for five-star St. Thomas Aquinas wide receiver Trevon Grimes -- with OSU at the top.

The Buckeyes have been known to be the top choice for the Midwesterner from Indiana who grew up an Ohio State fan for some time.

"Since I was a freshman, they just treated me like a son," said Grimes at Nike's The Opening Regionals on Sunday at Plantation American Heritage -- where he earned a spot at The Opening in Oregon. "They didn't look at me as a recruit. They looked at me as more of a family member."

Grimes added that having Hall of Fame wide receiver and former Buckeye Cris Carter as his position coach as a freshman only added to his feelings toward the program. 

Despite everything that has pointed toward Ohio State for Grimes' services, he's still taking a good look elsewhere to assure he makes the best decision.

"Now that I have the opportunity to go there [OSU], it's like, 'Why not?' But as time has gone on, I've had a chance to look at other colleges -- Florida, Miami," Grimes says. "I know that it's a tough decision, but there are other schools in the running too."

You'll notice Grimes included UM on his own. He wasn't asked specifically about the Hurricanes. He clarified, though, that the Gators are No. 2 for him and the Canes are just one of the schools in the mix after the top two.

He first moved UF into that second spot when he took a Junior Day visit to Gainesville. The UF momentum remains since the trip in late January, which allowed him to see first-hand what his quarterback teammate, UF commit Jake Allen, means when he talks up the Gators.

"All he does is, 'Florida this, Florida that.' Now that I get a chance to actually know what he's talking about, I understand why he says the things that he does," Grimes notes. "He just says Florida has an amazing atmosphere, has amazing coaches, great facilities. Once I got up there, I walked through the doors to get there and right once I stepped in I felt love... I just felt welcome."

Of the Hurricanes, Grimes says he likes wide receivers coach Ron Dugans.

"He's a great man," Grimes says. "We sat down in his office and he didn't talk to me like a recruit, he talked to me like life lessons."

How hard will it ultimately be for any other school to beat out Ohio State?

"Pretty hard," Grimes says. "They have the lead, but nothing is impossible."

Grimes is uncertain of when he will make a final decision.

**Grimes and Allen say he will be the newly-minted No. 1 overall player in the nation in the Rivals rankings next time they are updated. As of now, he's ranked third and the nation's top receiver. He was alerted of the news on Saturday.

"I woke up, saw it and I was just amazed," Grimes says. "Hard work has paid off. I'm still speechless. It's a dream come true."

**A 6-4 receiver, Grimes models his game after someone similar in stature -- Calvin Johnson.

"Why not him? Growing up, I loved everything about his game. He's a big, tall receiver, stretches the field, deep threat guy -- huge and he's fast," Grimes says.

**While receivers like Miami-bound Sam Bruce and Michael Irvin and Illinois-bound Dominic Thieman are moving on from Aquinas, the Raiders will be reloaded once again with returning producers like Michael Harley and up-and-coming talent, including a transfer from Western in 2018 receiver Elijah Moore, a close friend to Grimes.

"I'm just looking at bringing him in, embracing him, getting him acclimated, showing him the little things," Grimes says. "I just feel me and Jake Allen's connection -- we all have an amazing bond.

"We look at each other like brothers, not teammates."

In addition, the Aquinas offense received a big transfer at running back from four-star senior Kyshaun Bryan.

Here are Grimes' junior year highlights:

Twitter: @DavidFurones90



February 25, 2016

Louie Bing Scholarship Foundation banquet Friday

The 30th annual Louie Bing Athletic Scholarship Fund awards banquet will be held Friday at Florida Memorial University.

The ceremony annually honors people who have made a difference in the lives of youth in the local community. Among this yearโ€™s honorees are former Miami Norland athletic director Ira Fluitt and Booker T. Washington assistant coach Earl Tillman, who guided the Tornadoes to their fourth consecutive state title this past season.

Tickets are $50 per person and can be purchased by calling 305-233-0652.

February 23, 2016

Frierson 'blessed' to join hometown Hurricanes

Gilbert Frierson
Gilbert Frierson (Twitter)

Since putting his skills on display at the South Florida Express tryouts in January, Coral Gables 2018 defensive back Gilbert Frierson has seen his recruitment erupt with major programs from across the country offering him scholarships.

On Saturday at UM's Junior Day, Frierson got the one he was apparently looking for the whole time as it turned out to be the offer he would commit to on Tuesday -- the Miami Hurricanes.

"I was truly blessed to receive an offer from my hometown team," said Frierson, who is the cousin of another Coral Gables Cavalier turned Miami Hurricane in Frank Gore. "It felt like home.

"On Junior Day when I was out there, [defensive coordinator] Manny Diaz told me [I had an offer]. It was a great feeling."

Although early for the sophomore that measures up at 6-1 and 170 pounds, Frierson adds that "so far" he is certain UM is the school he'll sign with in nearly two years.

"Real long limbs, long arms, very rangy at that safety position or at corner. Just very instinctive," say Coral Gables coach Roger Pollard. "He's working on his speed right now running track."

In the past month, Frierson has received other offers from Alabama, Georgia, USC, LSU and Oklahoma among his 10 in total.

"The attention and all of the offers from all over the country I think is a tribute to the caliber of player he's going to be and really that he is right now" Pollard says. "I'm excited that I've got him for two more seasons."

Mark Richt has been able to recruit Coral Gables in the past with wide receiver Shaquery Wilson currently a Georgia Bulldog.

On top of being Gore's cousin, Frierson's brother is senior Gables linebacker Shakur Cooper, who signed with FIU.

"He's the youngest of a lot of talented guys to play football," Pollard said. "His football knowledge is through the ceiling."

Frierson is now one of five prospects committed in UM's 2018 recruiting class -- four of which are fellow defensive backs.

Frierson's sophomore highlights:

February 21, 2016

'The next Tyrann Mathieu,' Trajan Bandy, commits to Oklahoma

Trajan Bandy
Trajan Bandy at All-Dade interviews. Photo: Justin Azpiazu//FOR THE MIAMI HERALD

Four-star Columbus cornerback Trajan Bandy announced on Sunday that he committed to Oklahoma.

Coach Bob Stoops and secondary coach Kerry Cooks had their messages to Bandy appeal to him. Their persistence in his recruitment paid off.

"Coach Stoops has been in contact with me since they offered -- and also Kerry Cooks," Bandy said. "They're genuine and they are real."

The commitment comes after Bandy (5-10, 180 pounds) named the Sooners his favorite on Wednesday, according to 247 Sports. He had noted Clemson was a school he liked during his junior season.

The highly-sought prospect had offers from major programs all over the country, except -- oddly enough -- the big three schools in the state of Florida (UM, UF and FSU).

"They didn't [offer] and they will regret it -- I promise. I will never stop going in," Bandy said. "Just know this -- I will be the next Tyrann Mathieu wherever I go.

"[Cooks] said from day one they know a lot of schools overlook me, but he said he loves my style of play and he likes me a lot." 

Some of the other offers aside from Oklahoma and Clemson included Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Michigan and USC.

As for the "Honey Badger" comparison, Bandy says when he plays in tournaments teammates tell him he plays just like Mathieu. Check out his highlights and see if you think the comparison is legitimate.

February 20, 2016

Outpour of positive reaction on social media from recruits at UM Junior Day

Despite the decommitment of St. Thomas Aquinas linebacker Tyler Dunning -- one that was a foregone conclusion anyway -- new UM football coach Mark Richt's first Junior Day with the Hurricanes received rave reviews on social media from recruits.

We begin with committed four-star defensive lineman out of Fort Lauderdale Dillard, a former teammate of Dunning's in Jon Ford.

Ford wasn't the only one posing with new defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski on Saturday as he endured quite the photo shoot in front of the big U on campus based on the frequency of tweets from other recruits that took pictures with him.

Below we see Mobile (Alabama) St. Paul's Episcopal defensive lineman Ryan Johnson and Miami Carol City defensive tackle Rashad Colson with the man they call Coach Kool.

A top priority in four-star outside linebacker/defensive end out of Carol City, De'Andre Wilder, who currently lists UM as his leader, is seen here in this post by Hialeah Champagnat Catholic linebacker Donovan Georges, a 2018 prospect.

Here we see UF-committed offensive tackle Kadeem Telfort out of Miami Norland (a former UM commit) with Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson quarterback Shabazz Telfort.

One recruit who is considered a Gator lean in four-star Cocoa athlete Bruce Judson appears to have enjoyed "Miami life" with the family.

Committed linebacker out of Miami Central, Waynmon Steed, called it "home sweet home."

A trio of Brunswick (Georgia) recruits in wide receiver Shawn Smith and offensive linemen D'antne Demery and Jabori Williams had fun throwing up the U.

More reaction from Mobile (Alabama) Murphy running back Nicholas Sims, 6-6 Neptune Beach Fletcher offensive lineman Cordavien Suggs and Palm Beach Gardens athlete Amari Carter.

Under-recruited Champagnat Catholic running back Javier Zuniga, Dade County's leading rusher last season at Miami Sunset, got a chance to check out the U.

Junior Day isn't only for juniors, of course -- you already saw the high-profile Georges. Another key development on Saturday was that 2018 Coral Gables defensive back Gilbert Frierson, who lists numerous other offers from major programs got his hometown scholarship offer.

Below we see reaction from one prospect who's certain to be a top 2019 recruit in Loganville (Georgia) Grayson outside linebacker Owen Pappoe, who is throwing up the U with co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach Thomas Brown. 

Apopka 2018 athlete Steven Billings-Larson Jr., someone with incredible credentials on the field and in the classroom, said he "got to know the entire staff and received encouraging feedback from the coaches." Because he's so ahead academically, he may be able to reclassify to 2017 and would look into it if he gets a UM offer.