October 29, 2015

Plantation rich with under-the-radar prospects

The Plantation Colonels aren't 7-2 by accident.

While they may not have a slew of highly-touted college football recruits like most of the schools that can hang with the competition in South Florida, a stacked group of under-the-radar prospects mixed with the stellar tutelage of coach Steve Davis has Plantation rolling. The two losses thus far -- to St. Thomas Aquinas and Flanagan, two legitimate state title contenders in Class 7A and 8A respectively.

The Colonels are coming off a big 23-14 victory against Dillard that saw UM defensive line coach Randy Melvin present -- probably to look at Dillard defensive tackle Aaron Thompson, but hopefully he came away with some of Plantation's prospects, as well. FIU was also represented on the sidelines.

Let's take a look at the talent this team possesses, mostly on defense, but I'll first spotlight a few key offensive playmakers in Davis' Wing-T attack.

With the Wing-T being a run-first system, players that may project as receivers don't get many chances to show what they can do when the ball's in the air, but that didn't prevent sophomore tight end Robzel Sylvester from scoring two touchdowns of 50-plus yards in last Friday's victory against a tough Dillard team.

Sylvester says the offense runs the waggle off play action looking for him over the top of the defense once or twice a game, and he made the most of his two chances against the Panthers. He similarly caught a pair of scores against Everglades earlier in the year.


Sylvester is mostly known for his run-blocking abilities in Plantation's scheme, but the big-bodied tight end (6-3, 220 pounds) can also extend the field and get open deep as he's proven. A 2018 prospect, he is yet to draw interest from college programs but has UM as his dream school.

*At running back, sophomore Jordan Johnson (5-10, 190) will be one to watch in the future. He leads the way in the Colonels' rushing attack with senior Maurice Lawrence not far behind. Quarterback Archie Banton orchestrates the Wing-T for Plantation.

Banton has received interest from Florida A&M and Delaware State while Johnson, a 2018 recruit, is rumored to already have UM looking at him.

Now to the defense where Plantation has a number of players that could make an impact at the next level.

*Senior linebacker Malik Jones (6-0, 210) had an interception, sack and another tackle for loss in the 23-14 victory against Dillard, leading the way for a defense that recorded nine sacks.


Jones is currently hearing from Illinois, Purdue and Cincinnati but is yet to receive his first offer, which is a travesty for such a talented linebacker with good size who can run well.

*His brother, Tyrik Jones, a 6-3, 230-pound defensive end/linebacker had a pair of sacks in that game and currently has an impressive list of schools looking at him like UF, FSU, Kentucky, Missouri, Oregon State, Louisville, South Carolina, Pittsburgh and Delaware State.

*Deland Rock-Johnson recorded a late safety that clinched Friday's win. At 6-1, 210, he has heard from Missouri, Purdue and FAU.

*Senior cornerback Justin Lyle already lists a Toledo offer and has also received interest from Cincinnati and Indiana.

*Another talented 2016 defensive back, Jacques Tanelus, has UF, Illinois and Delaware State recruiting him.

*Big 6-5, 265-pound defensive tackle Robert Hawkins, who doubles as an offensive lineman, has been contacted by UM, Purdue and Penn State.

You can catch the Colonels at home in a neighborhood rivalry game against South Plantation at 7 p.m. on Friday.


Inside The Huddle - Northwestern Bulls

Wednesday, I got a chance to catch up with the Northwestern Bulls, who have a big game with playoff implications Friday night at Traz Powell with the Carol City Chiefs.

I spoke with coach Max Edwards and sophomore cornerback Thomas Burns, whose mother tragically passed away earlier this week. It figures to be an emotional week for the Bulls.

October 27, 2015

AP Florida High School Football state rankings - week 10

   Florida High School Football Poll

   By The Associated Press

   The Associated Press Top 10 Florida high school football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records, rating points and previous rankings:

Class 8A

                                              Record  Pts                                               Prv

 1. Columbus (13)                                 8-0     130 1

 2. Atlantic Community                        8-0     100 2

 2. Vero Beach                              7-0     100 3

 4. Flanagan                          7-1     78  4

 5. West Orange                               7-1     68  5

 6. Mandarin                                  8-0     62  6

 7. Apopka                                    8-1     51  7

 8. Kissimmee Osceola                         8-1     41  8

 9. Lake Brantley                             8-0     27  9

10. Deerfield Beach                           7-1     24  10

   Others receiving votes: Boca Raton Community 14, Coral Gables 11, South Dade 6, Manatee 3.

Class 7A

                                              Record  Pts                                               Prv

 1. Dwyer (12)                                8-0     129 1

 2. Braden River                              8-0     113 2

 3. St. Thomas Aquinas (1)                    6-1     106 3

 4. Kathleen                                  9-0     91  4

 5. Columbia                                  7-1     70  5

 6. Venice                                    7-1     55  6

 7. Buchholz                                  7-1     49  7

 8. Oakleaf                                   7-1     37  8

 9. Plant                                     7-2     33  9

10. Mater Academy                             8-0     20  10

   Others receiving votes: Lakeland 8, Sickles 3, Edgewater 1. 

Class 6A

                                              Record  Pts                                               Prv

 1. Armwood (13)                              8-0     139 1

 2. Mainland (1)                              8-1     118 3

 3. Navarre                                   8-0     103 4

 4. Naples                                    7-1     91  5

 5. Charlotte                                 8-0     89  6

 6. Miami Central                             7-2     50  7

 7. Niceville                                 7-1     49  8

 8. St. Augustine                             7-1     46  2

 9. Heritage                                  7-1     31  9

10. Tate                                      7-1     16                                               T10

   Others receiving votes: Sebring 15, Carol City 7, Boyd Anderson 5, Northwestern 5, Mitchell 3, Matanzas 2, Ocala Vanguard 1. 

Class 5A

                                              Record  Pts                                               Prv

 1. Plantation American Heritage (11)         7-1     134 1

 2. Bishop Moore (3)                          8-0     127 2

 3. Hallandale                                7-1     109 3

 4. North Marion                              8-0     104 4

 5. Jesuit                                    8-0     84  5

 6. Wakulla                                   7-1     64  6

 7. Suwannee                                  6-1     50  7

 8. Nature Coast Tech                         8-0     43  8

 9. River Ridge                               8-0     35  9

10. Bay                                       7-1     10  NR

   Others receiving votes: Merritt Island 4, Palm Bay 3, Coconut Creek 1, West Florida 1, Ponte Vedra 1. 

Class 4A

                                              Record  Pts                                               Prv

 1. Raines (12)                               8-0     137 1

 2. Bolles School (1)                         8-1     122 2

 3. Dunnellon                                 8-0     112 3

 4. Cocoa (1)                                 6-2     95  4

 5. Walton                                    8-0     43  NR

   Others receiving votes: Avon Park 33, Glades Central 18.

Class 3A

                                              Record  Pts                                               Prv

 1. Trinity Christian-Jacksonville (13)       8-0     130 1

 2. Lakeland Christian                        8-0     116 2

 3. Clearwater Central Catholic               9-0     105 3

 4. Westminster Christian                     7-1     76  4

 5. Tampa Catholic                            7-1     62  5

   Others receiving votes: Oxbridge Academy 13, Trinity Prep 12, Delray American Heritage 6.

Class 2A

                                              Record  Pts                                               Prv

 1. Northside Christian (12)                  8-0     129 2

 2. Cambridge Christian                       8-0     113 3

 3. Admiral Farragut                          7-1     91  4

 4. Dade Christian                            6-1     73  5

 5. University Christian (1)                  6-2     67  1

   Others receiving votes: First Baptist 26, Community School of Naples 15, Moore Haven 6. 

Class 1A

                                              Record  Pts                                               Prv

 1. Trenton (9)                               8-0     133 2

 2. Pahokee (5)                               7-1     131 3

 3. Fort Meade                                6-1     103 1

 4. Port St. Joe                              6-1     92  4

 5. Fort White                                6-2     52  NR

 Others receiving votes: Blountstown 25, Union County 18, Dixie County 6.

October 25, 2015

Cane commits react to Golden firing

With the firing of Al Golden announced by UM Sunday evening, recruits reacted.

Wellington wide receiver Ahmmon Richards responded in the most extreme way. He decommitted Sunday night with this tweet.

*Three-star cornerback out of Hallandale Deion Jackson said the firing won't affect his commitment, but did say he felt the move was "stupid."

He added: "Golden was a good coach. He had chemistry with the team. He literally used to go on the field and work with the players himself.

"Golden brought a family together. He always used to say, 'This is not just a football program, it's a family.' Half of these college coaches don't care. They don't care. They don't even look some recruits in the eye when they speak to recruits. Golden did and always stayed on top of me with my grades and things like that.

"Other college coaches don't care about building chemistry. If you're good, they want you just to win."

*Jackson's teammate at Hallandale, running back Zack Moss, says the change doesn't affect his commitment.

"I didn't commit to the coaches," he says. "I just look at rosters, mainly my position."

*Lantana Santaluces linebacker Zach McCloud will take a wait-and-see approach. He doesn't have much time as he plans to be an early enrollee in January for the spring semester.

"To be honest, I'm waiting before I make any big decisions. My biggest concern in this process is my future with only three months to decide since I'll be an early enrollee," he says. "I'm not comfortable at the moment, still being patient, though. I want to make an informed decision."

*Columbus defensive end Josh Uche told 247 Sports, "I don't know yet, honestly ... I will talk to my family and coaches [Monday] and then decide. I will make my decision soon."

Uche is still strongly considering Florida and Alabama, both which offered him in the summer after he committed to UM.

*Quarterback commit Jack Allison was not available for comment, but Palmetto coach Dave Marino said Allison was "disappointed" and that Allison sticking with UM "all depends on who they hire and if Coach Coley is retained."

*Four-star St. Thomas Aquinas wide receiver Sam Bruce, who was in attendance to watch UM's 58-0 debacle against Clemson and has also recently taken an Ohio State visit, when reached said: "No comment."

But Bruce later made his opinion known with the tweets below.

The latter of the two statements, of course, is in reference to UM wide receivers coach Kevin Beard who once coached Bruce at University School. 

*Fellow Aquinas wide receiver and legacy Cane commit Michael Irvin II voiced his displeasure with the decision earlier Sunday.

*Teammate at Aquinas and 2017 linebacker Tyler Dunning had no comment but did post this to Twitter.

*Dionte Mullins' mother posted this on Twitter, noting "#StillCommitted" at the end.

*2017 safety out of Jacksonville Bolles Ahman Ross said, "Committed to UM. I will, of course, evaluate the staff, but I am committed to UM."

*Four-star athlete Tyler Byrd out of Naples posted this.

*Nick Roberts, 2017 defensive back out of Orange Park Oakleaf, expressed similar sentiments in this post.

*Deltona assistant coach David Williams said of senior tight end/defensive end Evan Hinson: "We're staying committed on our end."

*Fort Lauderdale coach Richard Dunbar said of committed defensive end Jaquwan Nelson, "Jaquwan will stay committed to UM but will take all of his visits. Just not sure what the university is thinking at this point. That's very critical for him."

Dunbar is referring to whether the new staff that comes in will continue to recruit his three-star defensive end, who has recorded 66 tackles and 15 sacks on the year.

*The latest UM commit, 2018 wide receiver Daquris Wiggins, said: "I'm still committed."

October 24, 2015

Chaminade's Shivers looking at West Virginia

Chaminade-Madonna running back Shaun Shivers might only be in his sophomore year, but that doesn’t mean he’s not already looking at where he intends to take his talents to the next level.

Following another terrific performance on Friday night as he rushed for 125 yards on 17 carries and scored two touchdowns to help lead the Lions to a big 40-7 win over host University School, Shivers confirmed to the Herald that West Virginia is No. 1 on his target list of colleges.

Shivers, who crossed over the 1,000-yard barrier on Friday night and now has 1,014 yards with 15 touchdowns and is averaging an eye-popping 9.6 yards every time he touches the ball, said that he intends to take a visit to Morgantown after the season is over.

“Right now I need to worry about what’s going on with my team but I’m going to schedule a visit to go up there after the season is over,” said Shivers who has not heard from many other schools, perhaps because he's still two years away from his senior year. “I really like their offense and the style that they run. They run an option offense where they spread out the field with one running back and let the running back do what he’s got to do.”


October 23, 2015

'Pie' a heavy Michigan lean, other Miami High recruiting notes

Pie Young

Miami High wide receiver Keyshawn "Pie" Young, ranked the No. 2 senior in Dade by the Miami Herald, is strongly leaning toward Michigan.

Young said on his thoughts so far about recruiting, "Go Blue."

The 6-0, 190-pound Young plans to visit Michigan on Nov. 28. Besides the Wolverines, Young is also considering Alabama and Georgia. So far Young has received 25 official offers.

*Unranked Miami High linebacker Harrison "Burger" Riggins has been receiving strong interest from FIU, Appalachian State and Valdosta State. Riggins (5'9, 175 pounds) plans on visting FIU after the season. Riggins says Appalachian State is his top choice.

"I liked the campus a lot and I would really like a chance to get away from home," Riggins said.

*Wide receiver Desmond Fairwell has received strong interest from both Florida and Texas. Fairwell (6-1, 195) plans on unofficially visiting both schools in November.

*Wide receiver Murphy Theodore (5-10, 175) has been in contact and has mutual interest with Nebraska, Temple and Appalachian State.

*Junior quarterback Marcelo Rodriguez has been getting interest from the University of Michigan just like Young. The 6-2, 205-pound Rodriguez has also been getting interest from fellow BIG-10 school Purdue.


October 22, 2015

Mullen to take unofficial to LSU, Victor talks official to OSU

Trayvon Mullen recently decided he'd take an unofficial visit to LSU this weekend to watch the Tigers' homecoming game against Western Kentucky. He'll fly out to Baton Rouge Friday morning instead of checking out the UM-Clemson game like he originally planned.

On top of FSU and LSU, Mullen figures he'll take official visits to Clemson and TCU and will have to figure out a fifth. He wants to knock out a decision in January.

Here's everything he had to say in this video interview with the Miami Herald.


Binjimen Victor still insists his recruitment is wide open.

He's already taken official visits to West Virginia and most recently Ohio State, and says Tennessee, Florida, Louisville and Auburn are all in the mix for his last three official visits.

Victor plans to make his decision at the U.S. Army All-American Game. He discusses all of the above, his three touchdowns on Thursday plus hanging out with Sam Bruce in Columbus, Ohio in the video interview below with the Miami Herald.


EXTRA: This one-on-one touchdown catch in slow motion by Victor is a must-watch.


October 21, 2015

Canes get 2018 commitment from Killian receiver

Killian sophomore wide receiver Daquris Wiggins committed to UM on Wednesday after initially receiving an offer in the spring.

"I felt like I liked the environment there, and I felt like that's where I need to be," Wiggins said. "I like the coaching staff. I like how it's going there."

Wiggins is a big target at 6-3. He caught two touchdowns in an upset victory over South Dade last Thursday.

Miami is the only school thus far to offer the tall, athletic sure-handed receiver who adds that FSU and Purdue are showing plenty of interest and may be close to offering.

Wiggins says he likes how the Cane coaches look out for him, stressing the importance of academics to him and giving him drills he should try on his own.

UM now has six players committed in its 2018 class -- all from Florida.

Wiggins joins 2017 running back and teammate Bentavious Thompson as Cougars committed to play with the Hurricanes. 

Last recruiting cycle UM signed a pair of defensive backs from Killian in Jaquan Johnson and Sheldrick Redwine. Current Miami Dolphin Lamar Miller is also a player that went from the K to the U.

"[Johnson and Redwine] told me they like it. It's hard work. I've got to go over there and work hard if I want to go," Wiggins said. "I just have to stay focused and do everything that I need to do and get better every day."

Wiggins' freshman highlights:


Killian win over South Dade proves 2015 to be more than just rebuilding year for Cougars

Killian coach Cory Johnson is no stranger to having to bring the Cougars up from a parched roster. After he lost more than 50 seniors his first two seasons combined as coach at Killian, he fielded a 1-9 team in 2010 that had 18 sophomores starting at the 22 offensive and defensive positions.

By the time those players were seniors, they lost just one game in the regular season and reached regional finals. 

While not as extreme an example this season, there are some similarities. Jaquan Johnson and Sheldrick Redwine are now at UM, and with their departures plus some other seniors moving on and a list of transfers to neighboring schools, just five starters from last season's team returned.

But instead of going through a rebuilding phase, Killian's 32-29 win over powerful South Dade proved that the Cougars can contend now with their young team. And it's only growth from here.


Here's a look at a few of the prospects that stood out for the Cougars in the upset win:

QB Cariq Rackley: The freshman quarterback was outstanding against a fierce South Dade defense, shaking off an interception on his first pass attempt to throw for 263 yards and three touchdowns.

RB Joshua King: One of the seven seniors on this team, he looked like Marshawn Lynch bouncing off tacklers on an 82-yard touchdown run that made it a two-possession game in the fourth quarter.


RB Bentavious Thompson: The most prized recruit as of now on this Killian team. The 2017 UM commit recently returned to this offense and is a spark plug for the Cougars now that he's back.

WR Daquris Wiggins: One to watch in the class of 2018. Gets open with ease and is tough to cover at 6-3. He scored twice on the Bucs.

ATH Antwan Collier:  Scored once on the ground and another time through the air. Very versatile for Killian. The junior is listed as a QB/DB on the roster but also plays receiver and can run the rock.

DB Herman Jackson: Jackson, a sophomore, is a youth football legend down south from what I've heard.

LBs Romelo Brooks and Michael Martinez: A pair of hard-hitting junior linebackers.

WR Jordan Dillard: Big target at 6-2. Wasn't seen much against South Dade, but scored the game-winner

DL Raekwon Adderly: The effectiveness of the Killian defense all starts up front, and the senior Adderly spearheads this unit.

You can catch Killian play Homestead Friday at 4 p.m. in another district battle.