January 27, 2016

Independent Gulf Coast Conference football expands to 10 teams

The Gulf Coast high school Football Conference, a south Florida Independent league, is getting stronger next season.

In addition to the six teams in the league in 2015 - Archbishop McCarthy, Key West, Pembroke Pines Charter, Coral Glades, North Broward Prep and Riviera Beach's Inlet Grove, the league has added four of the top teams from the Southeastern Football Conference.

SFC champion Coral Springs Charter, which went 11-0 this past season, and runner-up and 2014 champion Calvary Christian have moved to the GCFC.

They will be also be joined by two more of that conference's top teams, Westminster Academy and Pompano Beach.

The four should bring depth to a league that had one of the area's strongest independent teams in GCFC champion Archbishop McCarthy. The Mavericks went 11-0.

FABC-Source Hoops Florida State boys' basketball rankings

1. Sarasota Riverview 20-2
2. Wellington 20-4
3. Martin County 21-0
4. Lake Brantley 19-3
5. Spruce Creek 18-4
6. Vero Beach 18-3
7. South Miami 16-6
8. Alonso 17-4
9. Evans 14-7
10 tie. Oak Ridge 15-6
10 tie. Kissimmee Osceola 17-6
1. Hialeah Mater Academy 19-3
2. Bartow 14-8
3. Sickles 21-2
4. Melbourne 20-2
5. Lakeland 16-5
6. St. Petersburg 17-6
7. Wharton 18-4
8. St. Thomas Aquinas 12-4
9. Nova 18-3
10. Dwyer 18-3
1. Dillard 18-5
2. Norland 18-4
3. Miami Central 17-4
4. Pembroke Pines Charter 16-6
5. Port Orange Atlantic 22-2
6. Deltona 18-6
7. Gainesville 18-4
8. Golden Gate 19-4
9. Pensacola 22-3
10. Leesburg 19-3
1. Godby 19-2
2. Bishop Kenny 21-2
3. Gibbs 20-3
4. Jesuit 20-3
5. Wolfson 22-1
6. Mariner 20-1
7. Titusville 20-2
8. Rickards 16-6
9. Poinciana 19-4
10. Zephyrhills 18-4
1. Tampa Catholic 19-4
2. St. Andrews 20-1
3. Bolles 21-2
4. Master’s Academy 20-3
5. Brooks DeBartolo 17-5
6. Andrew Jackson 15-5
7. Trinity Prep 19-4
8. Marianna 18-6
9. Chaminade-Madonna 15-8
10. Community School of Naples 19-4
1. Windermere Prep 20-3
2. First Academy 18-4
3. Sagemont 16-5
4. Archbishop Carroll 22-3
5. Westminster Academy 16-6
6. Providence 16-6
7. P.K. Yonge 18-3
8. Seffner Christian 16-7
9. Santa Fe Catholic 18-0
10. Jacksonville Trinity Christian 13-8
1. Grandview Prep 23-0
2. Zion Lutheran 19-5
3. Miami Christian 17-6
4. Mt. Dora Christian 23-0
5. Orlando Christian Prep 13-11
6. Trinity Christian Academy 16-6
7. Community Christian 18-2
8. Bradenton Christian 21-2
9. Westwood Christian 11-7
10. FAMU DRS 11-10
1. Chipley 21-3
2. Hawthorne 17-5
3. Paxton 20-3
4. Malone 15-9
5. West Gadsden 12-6
6. Hamilton County 16-4
7. Cottondale 17-8
8. Madison County 17-6
9. Union County 21-6
10. Dixie County 17-6

FABC-Source Hoops Girls' Florida State rankings

1. Boca Raton 20-5
2. Flagler Palm Coast 22-1
3. Colonial 20-4
4. Flanagan 20-4
5. Vero Beach 20-1
6. Miami 20-3
7. Ferguson 18-7
8. Lourdes 16-7
9. Winter Park 12-4
10. Seminole 21-4
Honorable Mention- Palm Beach Gardens 17-5, West Port 16-6, Wekiva 18-7, Haines City 20-2, Lake Worth 15-7, Deerfield Beach 20-5, Boone 18-7

1. Winter Haven 17-3
2. Lakewood Ranch 20-4
3. Oakleaf 21-3
4. Ely 16-4
5. Wiregrass Ranch 25-2
6. Strawberry Crest 21-0
7. South Broward 23-6
8. Bartram Trail 19-6
9. Sarasota 19-6
10. Melbourne 20-2
Honorable Mention- Fort Lauderdale 14-8, St. Cloud 20-4, Plant 20-5, Lee 19-6, Ocoee 17-9, Creekside 14-7, Fleming Island 15-7.

1. Dillard 17-5
2. Ft. Myers 20-5
3. Edgewater 16-5
4. Northeast 14-7
5. Norland 14-9
6. New Smyrna Beach 22-3
7. Nease 20-5
8. Choctaw 22-4
9. Lehigh 17-5
10. Golden Gate 20-4
Honorable Mention- Fort Walton Beach 17-8, Barron Collier 18-6, Pine Forest 16-6, Gainesville 17-6, Clearwater 20-3.

1. Ribault 21-1
2. Dunbar 19-5
3. American Heritage Plantation 15-5
4. Bishop Moore 20-4
5. Lakewood 13-7
6. Paxon 14-8
7. Rickards 19-6
8. Suncoast 16-3
9. Southeast 22-3
10. Leesburg 15-10
Honorable Mention- Parker 14-6, Mosley 14-6, Rockledge 19-7, Titusville 20-4.

1. Lake Highland Prep 22-3
2. Cardinal Newman 23-1
3. Brooks DeBartolo 22-4
4. Jones 15-8
5. Oxbridge Academy 13-8
7. St. Andrews 16-2
8. Gulliver Prep 22-3
9. Father Lopez 19-5
10. Lincoln Park 19-2
Honorable Mention- Holy Names 14-9, Raines 16-7, East Gadsden 15-6, Cardinal Gibbons 17-4, Monsignor Pace 10-3, McKeel 24-2, Fernandina Beach 24-3, Keys Gate 21-4

1. Miami Country Day 19-6
2. Community 20-2
3. Seffner Christian 22-3
4. Calvary Christian (Clearwater) 19-4
5. University Christian 17-4
6. Providence 19-6
7. Benjamin 21-3
8. PK Yonge 16-7
9. Indian Rocks 17-7
10. Westminster Academy 18-5
Honorable Mention- The First Academy 17-6, Neumann 18-6, St. Joseph Academy 15-8

1. FAMU 21-2
2. Academy at the Lakes 20-3
3. Covenant Christian 15-6
4. Calvary 13-9
5. Geneva 12-4
6. Orlando Christian Prep 18-5
7. Aucilla Christian 12-5
8. Miami Christian 11-4
9. Hollywood Christian 12-7
10. Harvest Community 11-2
Honorable Mention- Seacoast Christian 17-3, International Community School 15-8, Bradenton Christian 13-5.

1. Trenton 24-0
2. South Walton 22-3
3. Wildwood 17-7
4. Madison County 22-5
5. Holmes County 20-5
6. Paxton 18-5
7. Ponce de Leon 16-5
8. Chiefland 13-2
9. Fort Meade 15-5
10. Bronson 17-7
Port St. Joe 16-5, Williston 14-8, Poplar Springs 17-6, Hilliard 15-8

January 26, 2016

Cooper City DE Rashad Weaver sees wave of recruiting interest

Not even 24 hours after Cooper City defensive end Rashad Weaver decommitted from Michigan with an announcement on Twitter that caught many followers' attention, college coaches swarmed to his high school to sway the talented pass rusher.

After announcing on Monday his decision to back off of the Wolverines -- which had essentially backed off entirely in recruiting him -- Weaver had a "hectic" day Tuesday hosting prospective schools.

He received offers from UCF, Hawaii, Iowa State, East Carolina, Kansas and Toledo.

He also was visited by Kentucky, Arkansas, Indiana and Pittsburgh, who didn't offer but advised him one could come if he reciprocates interest to them as Signing Day (Wednesday, Feb. 3) approaches.

On Wednesday, Weaver expects to host Penn State, Iowa State, Virginia, Minnesota and possibly UNLV among others that my surprise him. Duke visited him on Monday.

"They said they all knew me but never contacted me 'cause they all assumed [I was] 100-percent to Michigan, which I was," Weaver said.

Here's what Weaver's decommitment announcement read:

"After being committed for about seven months and receiving little to no contact from staff, I was informed by coach [Jim] Harbaugh that there is a 50/50 chance that he would or would not have room for me on [National Signing Day]. So I was basically a Plan B, and I know within myself I am not a Plan B player. I was offered a [preferred walk-on] spot or to go to prep school, but that isn't an option for me when I have multiple other Division-I offers. I believe I'm better than that. But it's OK; it's all business...

"I am upset about the whole situation, but I will find a new school that I love and that shows me they want me. I WILL STRIVE THERE ON AND OFF THE FIELD WHEREVER I ATTEND."

Weaver hopes to decide what school(s) will get an official visit from him on Wednesday. He's already taken officials to USF and Temple.

Weaver was "very" surprised at how quickly all the schools that visited him reacted to his decommitment.

Does he wish he would've decommitted earlier?

"Somewhat," he says. "But on the other hand, I loved Michigan and wanted to see how it was going to play out."

Weaver's senior season highlights:

Follow @DavidFurones90 on Twitter for recruiting updates from now through Signing Day.

January 25, 2016

Steve Davis steps down as football coach at Plantation High

Steve Davis isn't sure yet if he's going to be out of the head coaching game for good. But he is taking the 2016 season off for now.

The 46-year-old coaching veteran who has guided Plantation High's football program since 2005 said he told school administrations last Friday he's stepping down and planning to take a year off.

Davis, who won a state title at Blanche Ely in 2002, guided the Colonels to a 8-3 record this past season and six playoff appearances in his 11 seasons there. Davis said he will continue to teach at Plantation and remain involved in athletics in a smaller role for now.

"I'm going to work on my golf game a little bit now," said Davis, who has a career 121-64 record. "I've been coaching since I left college in 1994. Like I told the guys, I'm not sure if I'm going to retire for good. I'm just going to take some time off for now. It was nothing with the school. I have a great principal and we have great kids there."

Davis becomes the second head coach in Broward County with a state championship under his belt to step down in the past month. American Heritage's Mike Rumph, who won two state titles, joined Mark Richt's coaching staff at the University of Miami.

There are four active head coaches left in the county who have won state titles: Archbishop McCarthy's Byron Walker, Cypress Bay's Mark Guandolo, Flanagan's Devin Bush and St. Thomas Aquinas' Roger Harriott.

Sam Bruce staying home

Bruce Richt
Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas four-star wide receiver Sam Bruce has been committed to the Miami Hurricanes for the past 18 and a half months.

But all that matters is the school he signs with on National Signing Day in nine days. On Monday, Bruce reaffirmed one final time that it would indeed be UM on the Tony Sands Show on BBS Radio.

“The next three-four years, I will be playing football at the University of Miami,” Bruce said on the radio show Monday night.

The explosive and agile 5-8 receiver, who began receiving FBS scholarship offers his freshman season, stuck with the Hurricanes despite growing chatter that he would go elsewhere after the firing of former coach Al Golden and dismissal of wide receivers coach Kevin Beard.

“Who doesn’t want to play [at] home, man? I’m playing in front of my people, playing in front of my city,” Bruce said. “I’ve been playing here forever, and I don’t want to take that away from my people.

“I want to play in front of my fans that have been my fans since the beginning.”

Bruce came to his final decision on Sunday night after a discussion with his family upon returning from his official visit to UM.

“I just felt at home,” he said of the visit.

His mother Tracye Wilkerson, who has been known to play a major role in helping Bruce decide, joined the radio show moments before Bruce for an interview.

Bruce’s other finalists were Ohio State and South Carolina. He visited the Buckeyes in October and the Gamecocks on Jan. 15.

Bruce was also previously considering the Florida Gators but eliminated them when he scratched his visit scheduled for the past weekend and replaced it with the decisive trip to Coral Gables, which he moved up from its original Jan. 29 date.

Bruce won’t get to play for the wide receivers coach he dreamed he would end up with throughout the recruiting process, but he was able to grow at peace with that reality over time.

“Of course it affected me, knowing that if I chose Miami that I wouldn’t be able to be coached by Kevin Beard,” Bruce said. “I just had to sit down with my family and do all the praying about it and come to a decision.”

Bruce had previously said UM's decision on Beard would "make a factor."

"There's no guarantee that I would leave the University of Miami, but it'll be something to definitely think about," he said after the Under Armour All-America game on Jan. 2 before a final decision had been made on Beard. UM has since hired former USF wide receivers coach Ron Dugans.

Beard was known to be close to Bruce as a long-time mentor. He coached him at Davie University School, where Bruce played as a freshman and sophomore before transferring to Aquinas.

Bruce had 46 receptions for 427 yards and four receiving touchdowns plus three more rushing touchdowns as a senior on Class 7A state champion St. Thomas Aquinas.

Follow @DavidFurones90 on Twitter for recruiting updates from now through Signing Day.

Syracuse making an imprint on recruiting South Florida

It's no secret Syracuse is trying to make its impression recruiting South Florida.

It certainly has, and the Orange's efforts were truly solidified over the weekend.

Syracuse got three commitments from South Florida football prospects with Dillard defensive lineman McKinley Williams, Fort Lauderdale defensive end Jaquwan Nelson (a former UM commit) and Homestead safety/linebacker Rashad Smith.

This adds to a 2016 class that already had a commitment from Dillard linebacker Kenneth Ruff. The Orange have three more senior commits outside of Dade and Broward in the state of Florida.

Syracuse has been hot overall in recruiting lately as eight of its 21 current commitments came over the weekend and 12 since the new year.

Follow @DavidFurones90 on Twitter for recruiting updates from now through Signing Day.

January 23, 2016

Jaxson Kincaide commits to Nevada

St. Thomas Aquinas running back Jaxson Kincaide had a tremendous senior season culminate in a college decision on Saturday night.

After leading the Class 7A state champion Raiders with 1,285 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns, Kincaide (5-9, 185 pounds), a three-star prospect according to 247 Sports, committed to Nevada.

"The program is headed in the right direction with a great head coach [Brian Polian] leading the way," Kincaide told the Miami Herald. "Two backs went over 1,000 yards last year and I feel like I can come in and make a huge impact on the team."

With Kincaide Nevada bound and fellow St. Thomas running backs Devonta'e Henry-Cole and James Charles going to Utah and FAU, respectively, that makes for three senior running backs from Aquinas on their way to an FBS program.

The Raiders already have one such back in place for 2017. Junior Mike Epstein is currently committed to Illinois.

January 22, 2016

South Dade's James Wiggins decommits from UM

James Wiggins AD
James Wiggins at Miami Herald All-Dade photo shoot. JUSTIN AZPIAZU

South Dade defensive back James Wiggins announced his intention to decommit from the University of Miami on Friday.

It comes as little surprise as new Hurricanes coach Mark Richt and his staff were not actively recruiting Wiggins.

"The new coaching staff -- they haven't been on me that much," Wiggins said. "Last time I spoke to them was two or three weeks ago with Mike Rumph.

"He talked about his background, how he was in high school, college, pros, how UM is becoming better. That was great to hear, but since then I haven't heard from them."

Wiggins, a three-star prospect who was named first team All-Dade by the Miami Herald and third team All-State in Class 8A by the AP, received an Illinois offer Thursday and will try to visit the Fighting Illini over the weekend. The Canes were going to get that weekend visit, but without hearing from them, Wiggins had to look elsewhere.

Wiggins is also considering Cincinnati, which he visited Jan. 15, Temple, Purdue and USF.

What is Wiggins looking for in a school?

"Just to get my education, be a part of a good program, try to make it to the [National Football] League, and if I don't, let my degree take me where it takes me," he says

Wiggins' decommitment follows the same narrative to that of high school teammate and running back Jawon Hamilton, who within the month backed off his pledge to the Canes and then committed to UCF for similar reasons.

January 21, 2016

Southwest DB and UF commit CJ McWilliams replaces UNC visit with UM

CJ McWilliams
CJ McWilliams (a.k.a. Calle 8)

With severe winter weather hitting the mid-Atlantic, Southwest Miami defensive back CJ McWilliams had to cancel his visit to UNC this weekend.

Instead, the three-star UF commit will take a much shorter, warmer trip to Coral Gables and the University of Miami.

At UM, McWilliams wants to get to know the new coaching staff a little better.

"I just want to see how the environment is with them, and I want to be comfortable," McWilliams says. "[New cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph says] he sees that I can be a top corner for them. I can help them out, especially on special teams too."

Rumph and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz went in-home with McWilliams earlier this week.

"They were just hoping that they still have a shot at me," McWilliams says. "After the talk went well, they said they're just looking to change the program to the way the U was before, so I'm looking forward to it and you know UM is close to home."

UNC, UF and USF all visited McWilliams at home as well within the week.

About UNC: "I've never really been outside of Florida, so I wanted to see how it is over there -- and the education too."

What keeps McWilliams committed to the Gators which he first pledged to in May?

"The coaches -- our relationship is real close, it's tight. They've always been recruiting me till the end," he says.

McWilliams is still trying to fit a UNC visit in -- possibly midweek. Had the weather in North Carolina not kept him away this weekend, he would've taken an official to UM in the midweek between UNC and UF visits.

The Gators will get him the final weekend before National Signing Day. Last weekend, McWilliams took his USF official.

"They're really welcoming me, and they're giving me a lot of love," McWilliams says of the Bulls.

As far as what kind of chance any of the other schools has in flipping McWilliams, he says, "Won't know until Signing Day."

Stay tuned.