February 20, 2016

Former Miramar coach Damon Cogdell back in South Florida at Carol City

Former Miramar coach Damon Cogdell is coming back to South Florida.

After a two-year stint as co-defensive line coach at West Virginia, Cogdell was named defensive coordinator/assistant head coach at Carol City under coach Aubrey Hill.

It's a homecoming of sorts for Cogdell, who grew up in Opa-Locka but moved when he was in ninth grade and attended Miramar High. While Miramar is in Broward County and Carol City is in Miami-Dade, the two are very close to each other geographically and Cogdell says most of his family members attended Carol City.

"It's going to be a treat for me," Cogdell told the Herald. "It was a home away from home; it was up the street."

Cogdell's contract with the Mountaineers expired on Jan. 30.

"I had some other things that I could've done [at West Virginia], but it was tough for me to be away from my kids," Cogdell said. "It was a great experience for me up at West Virginia -- glad to be back at home with the wife and kids, though."

Cogdell will get the opportunity to coach a talented defense, spearheaded by outside linebacker/defensive end De'Andre Wilder, defensive tackle Rashad Colson and defensive back transfer from American, Naytron Culpepper.

Tyler Dunning decommits from UM at Junior Day

Tyler Dunning
Tyler Dunning at Class 7A state championship game on Dec. 11, 2015. Photo by David Furones.

The expectation at Junior Day is to add commitments early in the recruiting cycle for soon-to-be seniors, but the first action the UM 2017 recruiting class sees is the loss of a commitment -- although it was one that appeared imminent in the past week.

St. Thomas Aquinas four-star linebacker Tyler Dunning (6-2, 230 pounds) decommitted from the Miami Hurricanes at Junior Day on Saturday.

"Just opened it back up," Dunning told the Miami Herald in a message. "Back on the market."

Dunning said he pulled one of the coaches aside and let him know.

He tweeted: "After much consideration and discussion with my family, I have decided to open my recruiting process. We'd like to thank University of Miami and wish them all the best next season."

"Didn't feel at home," he added. "Environment -- didn't feel comfortable."

Dunning had been reported within the past week by Rivals as being close to decommitting. He told the Herald coach Mark Richt and the new staff wasn't recruiting him hard, and he was uncertain about attending Junior Day until Friday night.

Dunning says his current top is Pittsburgh, LSU, Tennessee, Syracuse and Kentucky.

Dunning was committed to UM since the offseason between sophomore and junior year while he was still at Dillard and Al Golden was head coach of the Hurricanes.  

FIU adds Southridge's Freddie Pinder

FIU had just four signees from its fertile home recruiting grounds of Miami-Dade County on National Signing Day.

The Panthers added one more on Friday night as three-star Southridge wide receiver Freddie Pinder signed late with coach Ron Turner and FIU.

"I'm truly thankful and blessed for this opportunity," Pinder tweeted. "I would like to say thank you to FIU Panthers coach Ron Turner for giving me an opportunity to attend college, to further my education and to play football here in my backyard."

Pinder told the Herald that FIU started recruiting him harder than any other school after Signing Day.

Turner welcomed the newest FIU Panther with this tweet.

Pinder is an elite possession receiver at 6-4. He was rated as high as four stars as a junior.

"Coach Turner is a great coach. He has experience at the next level and knows what it takes to get there," Pinder said to the Herald. "FIU is an amazing place. It's close to home and the team is full of great players."

Marshall and Temple were other schools Pinder was known to be looking at as of Signing Day. The junior college route was also thought to be possible for Pinder as Signing Day approached, according to coaches close to him -- a notion Pinder refuted on social media once reports were publicized. 

February 18, 2016

Flanagan coach Devin Bush takes defensive analyst job at Michigan

Flanagan coach Devin Bush accepted a position on the Michigan football staff on Wednesday, confirming our report from last week.

Bush, who led the Falcons to their first Class 8A state championship this past season, will be reunited with three defensive recruits that signed with Michigan this past recruiting cycle in son and linebacker Devin Bush Jr. and safeties Devin Gil and Josh Metellus as a defensive analyst.

"I'm really excited about the opportunity to be at Michigan with my son and my two other players," Bush said. "A little bit bittersweet at the same time. I'm leaving the players [at Flanagan] and my other extended family. Taking this opportunity has a sacrifice to it."

Bush said that leading up to communication opening up with Michigan, he would continue to see various changes on the staff this offseason and finally decided to inquire with the Wolverines. There were swirling rumors all season that Bush and Michigan could be a potential marriage.

In his position as defensive analyst, Bush expects to break down film, analyze and provide input on the team's defense, assist with practices or practice scheduling and any other duties as assigned under coach Jim Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Don Brown.

Bush has goals of one day becoming a defensive coordinator himself at the collegiate level.

"That's my first goal. I've never thought about being a college head coach," he says. "I'm just happy with forming those relationships or those bonds with young men coming in."

On Wednesday it was announced that Michigan's defensive backs coach position became vacant as Greg Jackson departed to become safeties coach with the Dallas Cowboys. While Bush is unaware of any possibility of him already receiving a promotion into that spot as he only spoke with Michigan about the defensive analyst job, it's a position he would fit and one that would be another stepping stone to his career aspirations.

While Bush won't be able to actively go out on the road and recruit in his role, he will be allowed to communicate over the phone or via social media with recruits. His impact on Michigan's ability to recruit South Florida, which was already proven to be potent this past recruiting cycle, has the potential to become immense.

Flanagan athletic director Al Guzzo first confirmed the hiring to the Herald on Thursday afternoon.

"He had called me up to notify, and I told him to enjoy the moment and let everybody know," Guzzo said. "We're going to sit down and we'll talk, but I just wanted to congratulate him and let him enjoy the moment."

Sources have told the Herald that defensive coordinator Stanford Samuels would be promoted as Flanagan's next head coach. Guzzo would not confirm that is the case.

"We've got a plan in place and I don't want to reveal that, but we've got a plan in place," he said. "Coach Bush has been involved. He was part of the process. 

"We feel confident, Coach Bush feels confident in who the next coach is."

Added Bush: "That's my guy -- my right hand. Very qualified, does an awesome job."

Bush is expected to fly up to Michigan on Sunday for an orientation, return to South Florida for a couple of days next week and finally get situated back up in Ann Arbor permanently.

Bush is a former Super Bowl winner with the St. Louis Rams and college football national champion with Florida State. He was head coach at Flanagan for the past three seasons after spending a year as defensive coordinator and played his high school ball at Hialeah-Miami Lakes.

February 15, 2016

High school baseball at Marlins Park

With the Marlins still a little over six weeks away from playing their first games of the season at Marlins Park, it's time again for some of South Florida's top high school teams to play baseball like a pro.

Marlins Park will once again host a series of games over the next week starting Tuesday morning.

The seven-game slate begins with Doral Academy taking on Coral Springs Christian Tuesday at 10 a.m.

The rest of the schedule:

Wednesday - McArthur vs. South Broward, 11 a.m.

Thursday - Hialeah Educational vs. Carol City, 10 a.m.

Monday, Feb. 22 - Miami Beach vs. Somerset Academy, 9 a.m.; Archbishop McCarthy vs. Mater Lakes, 11:45 a.m.

Tuesday, Feb. 23 - Killian vs. Coral Reef, 9 a.m.; Coral Glades vs. Cypress Bay, 11:45 a.m.

February 12, 2016

Columbus' CJ Henderson commits to UM

Columbus junior two-way player C.J. Henderson was one of the most electrifying players on the state semifinalist Explorers last season.

On Friday, he decided to commit to the hometown team for college in a year and a half.

Henderson, a three-star or four-star athlete depending on the service who has previously listed UM as his top choice, committed to the Miami Hurricanes Friday afternoon on a campus visit.

UM is recruiting Henderson as a cornerback, he confirmed in a message.

His father, Chris Henderson Sr., told CaneSport.com that Henderson is listing himself as a soft commitment.

"He really wanted to commit and I told him it's okay, just let it be known he still wants to look. But that's where he wants to be," Henderson Sr. told CaneSport.

Henderson also holds offers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Auburn, USC and Virginia Tech among his 17 offers.

Last season Henderson ran for 932 yards and 12 touchdowns on 100 carries. He also had 245 receiving yards and two scores through the air.

Here's his junior year highlight reel.

In other 2017 UM recruiting class news, Jacksonville Mandarin linebacker Aundre Ricardo-Kearney decommitted earlier Friday.

He had committed to the Hurricanes under Al Golden in June. Mark Richt visited his high school in December when he was in Jacksonville to solidify the commitments and early enrollments of linebackers Shaquille Quarterman and Michael Pinckney.

February 09, 2016

Sources: Flanagan coach Devin Bush could be next to join Michigan

Bush Sr and Jr
Flanagan coach Devin Bush with son Devin Bush Jr. after announcement to commit to Michigan on Dec. 16, 2015. Photo: Andre C. Fernandez//MIAMI HERALD

Flanagan won its first state championship this past season with three Michigan recruits on the roster.

Now it appears their high school coach may be following them to Ann Arbor.

Multiple sources have told the Miami Herald on Tuesday that Flanagan coach Devin Bush is on the verge of joining the staff at Michigan where three of his Falcons -- son and linebacker Devin Bush Jr. and safeties Devin Gil and Josh Metellus -- have signed. Bush Jr. has already enrolled at Michigan for the spring semester.

Bush, when reached, said he has not been in current communication with the Wolverines but described "hearsay" that there may be a position for him with the team in some capacity.

Flanagan athletic director Al Guzzo told the Herald that there was nothing mentioned to him when he spoke with Bush earlier Tuesday.

"It's all speculative right now and there's nothing concrete," Guzzo said.

Bush joining the Wolverines was rumored all season. In December, Bush said from the Class 8A state championship game that no one has approached him with college job offers in a column by Manny Navarro.

One source said an announcement is expected sometime next week. Both sources said defensive coordinator Stanford Samuels would become Flanagan's next head coach.

Bush is a former Super Bowl winner with the St. Louis Rams and college football national champion with Florida State. He has been head coach at Flanagan for the past three seasons after spending a year as defensive coordinator and played his high school ball at Hialeah-Miami Lakes.



Al Blades Jr. touches on St. Thomas Aquinas transfer, more Elite Prep 300 coverage

Former Miami Dolphins safety Arturo Freeman's showcase Elite Prep 300 Series at University School on Sunday had several South Florida high school athletes attend, as well as key college figures, including former UM wide receivers coach Kevin Beard and former FIU quarterback Wes Carroll.

St.Thomas Aquinas 2018 Defensive back Al Blades Jr., a former Hurricane commit who decommitted on October 25th, plans to be active in taking upcoming visits.


"I'm planning to travel to South Carolina, Texas and California real soon," he said.

Blades (6-0, 160 pounds) on his recent transfer from University School to Aquinas said, "I think it's a better opportunity for me. For the next two years I can develop more and they have a lot of good wide receivers I can work against."

Miles Jones, an American Heritage 2018 running back, has been receiving preliminary interest from Kentucky, but right now his concentration is on getting fully recovered and trying to help his team win.

Adetutu Daranijo, a St. Thomas Aquinas 2018 linebacker, has received an offer from Northern Illinois University. The Huskies have been recruiting the South Florida area hard, picking up three commitments this past recruiting cycle -- Cypress Bay' wide receiver Andrew Parchment, Norland wide receiver Jordan Robinson and South Dade running back Ivan Smith.

Eugene Witherspoon, a 2016 Miami Jackson wide receiver, didn't sign on National Signing Day. He is still weighing his options but is leaning toward inking with Howard University.

Check out videos below on what Beard, Freeman and Carroll were saying during Sunday's action.





February 05, 2016

Source: Rising sophomore QB Daniel Richardson back at Booker T. Washington

Rising sophomore quarterback Daniel Richardson has re-enrolled at Booker T. Washington according to a source.

Richardson, who led Miami-Dade County in passing and helped the Tornadoes win their fourth consecutive state championship this past season, transferred to Miramar in December.

Richardson threw for 2,765 yards and 33 touchdowns on 201 of 325 attempts this past season to earn first team All-Dade honors.

Montray Smith inks with Southern Illinois day after National Signing Day

Montray Smith
Montray Smith -- Photo by David Furones.

Carol City wide receiver Montray Smith was one of the better South Florida prospects whose recruitment remained unresolved after National Signing Day. He didn't sign anywhere on Wednesday still surveying a number of options.

On Thursday night, he decided he shouldn't wait any longer.

Smith, the 6-4 three-star rangy wide receiver, sent in his letter of intent to Southern Illinois.

Smith, ranked 22nd in the Miami Herald's list of 2016 prospects, didn't sign on Wednesday despite having an offer from the Salukis because Toledo, which still wasn't offering Smith, had expressed significant interest in him. Siding with the Rockets would've presented Smith with an opportunity to play with Carol City teammates David Hood and Keelen Roberts.

But without a guaranteed spot there for him and the clock ticking, Smith made sure to take the scholarship offer from SIU. He also visited Carbondale the weekend before Signing Day.

At Southern Illinois, he'll have Coconut Creek quarterback Jhakari Harrison throwing to him. Harrison set a Broward County record for touchdowns thrown in a game during his senior season.

He also had options in multiple sports, including a potential track scholarship to a school with a Power Five conference football program to then walk on. South Carolina was one school that was interested in offering Smith, who also plays basketball, in track.

You can see Smith's highlights below.