May 06, 2014

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.

March 16, 2014

2014 Miami Nike Football Training Camp Recap

Photo (4)

A who’s who list of high school football players from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties participated at the Nike Football Training Camp at Plantation’s American Heritage High School on Sunday with eight players earning the distinct honor of being invited to Nike’s The Opening event.

From left in the photo above: Palm Beach Gardens linebacker Tevon Coney, Miramar cornerback Kendrell McFadden, Miami Central wide receiver Da’Vante Phillips, Heritage quarterback Torrance Gibson, Monarch wide receiver Calvin Ridley, Heritage cornerback Tarvarus McFadden, Miami Central safety Calvin Brewton and Miramar cornerback Tyrek Cole were all invited to the nation’s premier football camp held in July at Nike’s headquarters in Beavertown, Ore.

“I’ve been watching this event since a little kid and it means a lot,” Cole said. “I feel like I accomplished something big so that feels good.”

Said Coney: “I’ve been praying for a long time that I would get invited, and I just continued to work hard, stay humble, and waited for my chance to get it.”

Added Ridley: “I’m just happy I got it, but I’m going to be more happy when I get there.”

Several players also earned most valuable players honors for their respective positions. Phillips, Coney and Cole won MVP honors for the receivers, linebackers and cornerbacks, respectively. Miami Booker T. Washington quarterback Maurice Alexander, Lake Worth Park Vista running back Zander Bernard, Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna offensive lineman Christian Strachan, and Coral Gables defensive lineman Jarred McGahee also won MVP honors.

“I’m speechless,” Strachan said. “I thought some other guys would’ve got it, but I guess I showed out.”

Honorable mentions from the event:

--Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas 2016 wide receiver Sam Bruce was one of the best performers during the event, but did not receive an invite. Westminster Christian running back Jordan Cronkrite was also a snub. But check out these videos of Bruce, in white, outdueling Killian's Jaquan Johnson (in the first video) and Wesminster defensive back Tim Irvin during 1-on-1 drills. 

 

--Miami Gulliver Prep wide receiver Dionte Mullens was also a standout. Check out this sick catch he had captured by ESPN.

 

Recruiting notes

--As much as Da’Vante Phillips tries to sidestep the topic, it’s close to inevitable he’s going to commit to Florida State to reunite with running back teammate Dalvin Cook.

HvjYw.St.56Phillips, right, visited FSU on Feb. 22 with Cook showing him around Tallahassee, and said “It feels good knowing that’s a good environment.”

Phillips left Sunday’s event to hang out with Cook, who was in town for spring break. On playing together at the next level, Phillips said “We’re going to be dominant. We do good when we’re with each other.”

Phillips also isn’t concerned with having to compete with Seminoles receivers Ermon Lane (Homestead), Travis Rudolph (West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman) and Javon Harrison (Lakeland Kathleen) if he does end up at FSU.

“I’m not going to say I’m better than those guys,” Phillips said, “but I’m just going to have to work to get that spot.”

Phillips, a former Florida commit, said he’s not been having as much communication with the Gators coaching staff as of late. UM is also in the picture for Phillips, who wants to take visits to Auburn, Louisville, Ohio State and Alabama sometime this summer.

 

Photo 2

 --Tevon Coney, right, has seen his recruitment skyrocket once the 2014 signing period came to a close.

Coney holds offers from more than 15 schools in the country and has interest from at least 10 more schools. Coney said he doesn’t have any favorites and is wide open at the moment with visits to UM this coming week, and visiting UF on Friday and Saturday.

Coney said both schools are recruiting hard, with Florida “recruiting him the hardest.” Ohio State, Tennessee and Clemson are also showing him the most love.

 

 

Photo 4--UM commit Charles Perry, a 2015 linebacker from Royal Palm Beach, said he’s “100 percent committed to Miami, but I’m also open because you never know what’s going to happen.”

Perry, who committed to UM in June 2013, said he talks to UM’s coaches about “once a week.” He’s also hearing from Tennessee, West Virginia, Auburn, Illinois, Minnesota and Central Florida.

Perry said he’s not really trying to recruit other players to UM, but is trying to get in Coney’s ear.

“I’d love to play next to him,” Perry said of Coney.

 

RVVhc.St.56--Miami Killian safety Jaquan Johnson said Florida, Miami, Alabama, Ohio State and Florida State have been keeping in touch with him, but said he doesn’t have a school that stands out on top for him at this point.

He plans to visit UM before the end of March and Alabama for its spring game on April 19.

As you see from the photo on the right, UM is the favorite to land Johnson.

 

 

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--Calvin Ridley said Alabama and Miami are still stand on top for him and close friend Shawn Burgess-Becker, but he is not in any rush to commit to a school.

“I just want to take my time, get my work done, and then I’ll focus on [recruiting],” Ridley said.

 

March 14, 2014

7-on-7 Events Open The Way For More Exposure

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It’s official, there is no longer a word in the football vocabulary that has anything to do with the off season. There is simply no off days, weeks or months like in the past. Too much at stake.

So, from the time that the 2013 season ended in Orlando – with South Dade beating Apopka in the 8A title game, there have been combines, clinics, 7-on-7 all-star team tryouts and 7-on-7 tournaments.

That leaves the question – at least for old timers like myself and others – where are the baseball players, track athletes and soccer standouts? Do they no longer play multiple sports?

Well, they actually do. Many football players have been able to do well in track and explode during a 7-on-7 event – and baseball prospects like North Miami’s Victor Sam, who does pretty well on the football as a top receiver prospect for the Pioneers.

It has reached a point – as we saw during last weekend’s 16-team B2G Sports event at Carter Park in Fort Lauderdale – where some will actually split time like many did in the tournament last weekend, opting for track on Saturday and football on Sunday.

Many of the top 7-on-7 teams from across the state find it tough to survive a south Florida tournament that now is home to some 10 different teams and the competition to attract players is as well expected – competitive.

The South Florida Express Elite – the first team to field an off season program nearly 10 years ago – won the event and the trip to Los Angeles to compete in the national tournament.

Brett Goetz, who has helped to build and fund this impressive program that has high profile coaches and players, by taking them to every event and showcasing many colleges to them during the summer months.

While many teams have been added, it’s still Goetz and his loyal coaches that have maintained this program – and many quality teams have followed.

Even Goetz realized that once the popularity of the off season events gained steam, more teams would pop up and the battle to attract players would be tough.

“From the beginning, our intention was to give players such as Ryan Shazier, Geno Smith, Teddy Bridgewater, Ivan McCartney and so many others a place to stay in football mode year round,” Goetz recalled. “To this day, they all reflect on what the experience of playing with us was all about.”

While the 7-on-7 teams do go after a lot of the same players – even after high profile tryouts are held – the real winners in all this are the dozens of young prospects who never get the chance to participate in the off season.

More teams have added to the local competition as well – with Team Strong Arm coming up with a number of prospects that can really play – and that added up to second place finish and a trip with the Express – to California.

Teams such as the Fire North – where coach Dennis Marroquin and his talented Kato Nelson to high school teammate Darnell Salomon combination that paved the way for the 2A state crown this last season at Champagnat Catholic, have become a real force.

The Fire South, GVP All-Stars, Team Red Zone, Team Hard Knocks and Miami Showcase also have given additional players a chance they may not have had in the past.

“The more teams we get to play, the better competition it is for all our kids I south Florida,” said Marroquin, who has coordinated the Hialeah offense the past few seasons. “The thing about all the teams that we have down here is all have so much talent, you never know what will happen from game to game.”

The 7-on-7 tournaments, like many of the camps and combines that are hosted down here, are loaded with prospects. You can just go all day and watch major football talent like Jaquan Johnson (Killian), Dionte Mullins and Cedric Wright (Gulliver Prep), Miramar defensive back Tyrek Cole and South Dade running back Johnnie Hankins.

You could sit there with a top 150 checklist and watch elite football talent such as Torrance Gibson, QB, Plantation American Heritage, Calvin Ridley, Monarch, Da’Vante Phillips, Tarvarus McFadden, Plantation American Heritage, Tim Irvin, Miami Westminster Christian, Kendrell McFadden, Miramar, Calvin Brewton, Central and Jordan Cronkite, Miami Westminster Christian to name a few.

Booker T. Washington coming attractions such as quarterback Maurice Alexander and receiver Antonio Calloway, defensive back Devante Davis - along with 2016 standout Dontye Carriere-Williams and receiver Darrius Scott along with a familiar name, (receiver) Clevan Thomas, who is the freshman son of former Miami High standout “Cookie” Thomas.

Speaking of coming attractions, Flanagan 2017 quarterback Stanford Samuels, Jr., is not only the son of one-time Carol City standout, this is one of the emerging quarterback prospects. Also, Coconut Creek difference-making receiver Emmanuel Green has proven that he can mix it up with anyone.

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 11, 2014

Talented Class of 2016 Already In The Spotlight

On the heels of what many have called two of the most impressive and talented classes that south Florida has developed, 2016 has already proven that it will be loaded with quality football.

With the Classes of 2014 and 2015 already showcasing the many elite prospects that this region always have to offer, this upcoming junior class has been turning heads since many arrived on the high school level.

When this class began, there were a corps of five players that you viewed - earlier on - as prospects who were on that "fast track to the NFL". 

In that mix of players - you had receiver Sam Bruce and defensive lineman Nick Bosa from St. Thomas, Gulliver Prep defensive back/receiver Dionte Mullins, Champagnat receiver Darnell Salomon and Booker T. Washington running back Mark Walton. All impact prospects who take teams to the next level.

Even though these five still stand tall, this is after all, one of the most prospect-rich regions in the country and without hesitation, several other elite prospects have started to join this quality group.

The special players from this class seem to get more exposure each and every week during the season - and take full advantage of the off season.

Among those offensive prospects to keep an eye on include a south Florida quarterback class that many are thinking rivals the 2014 group that sent top-flight prospects across the country.

Champagnat's Kato Nelson, Hallandale's Tyler Huntley, Coconut Creek's Jhakari Harrison, Christian Matos (Belen Jesuit), Eddy Mendez (Edison), Cypress Bay's Kole Stealy, Jackson's Desmond Phillips, Chaminade's Steven “Buckshot” Calvert and Central's Jerrod Thomas have plenty of talent.

"This quarterback class is really impressive," said Ken Mastrole, who runs Mastrole Passing Academy. "From a technical standpoint, one of the dynamic we've had. This is the group that started early and have come on quickly."

While Walton is the marquee back of the class, he isn't alone. Cardinal Gibbons speedster Deon McIntosh and Coral Gables' standout Keino Mike are very impressive. So is Coral Springs Charter's Kalen Carson and a number of other players who will rise to the top during the spring.

Receivers are also going to be special with Northeast's 6-4, 195-pound Binjimen Victor leading the way – along with American Heritage's Brandon Johnson and Dredrick Snelson.

The depth at receiver in this class boasts prospects such as Miami Westminster Christian's Tony Gaiter, Carol City's Steve Newbold, Southridge standout Freddie Pinder, Malek Young (Coconut Creek), Hallandale's Chris Cotto and Neru N'Shaka - as well as North Miami's Henry Payoute. Even tight Vosean Joseph from Norland is looking for a breakout year.

Defensively, linemen such as Gulliver Prep's Joseph Jackson (6-6, 240), Dillard's Aaron Thompson (6-3, 240), Monarch's Matt Croyle (6-1, 250), Zion Lutheran's Chris Judge (6-3, 230) and Central's Kier Thomas (6-2, 225) have the chance to be special.

Coral Gables' linebacker Shakur Cooper has the chance to be as talented as the Cavaliers have had - and they have produced some quality prospects at this position through the years.

Other quality linebackers for the class will include Bradley Clements (American Heritage), South Broward's Edward King, Hosea McMullin (Booker T. Washington) and Donovan Thompson (Central).

Once again, south Florida is not this region without quality defensive backs. Gulliver Prep safety Cedric Wright and Booker T. Washington cornerback Dontye Carriere-Williams - are headed to the next level.

Champagnat's Antoine Webster, Stranahan's Marcus Garvin, Hallandale's Jaelyn Faulk and Central's Jamel Cook are very special as well.

As we continue to do – we will add prospects each week – giving this area the exposure and promotion the stellar athletes deserve.

    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.