January 03, 2016

Jack Allison, Patrick Bethel ready to start college careers at UM

Jack Allison
Jack Allison flashing the 'U' symbol after the Under Armour All-America Game. David Furones//FOR THE MIAMI HERALD

University of Miami early enrollees Jack Allison and Patrick Bethel wrapped up their high school careers at the Under Armour All-America Game in Orlando's Citrus Bowl on Saturday and now look forward to their collegiate careers with the Hurricanes.

Allison says he will arrive in Coral Gables on Wednesday before the spring semester, which begins on Monday, Jan. 11. Bethel is tentatively set to get to campus on Friday.

“I’m super excited,” he says. “It’s a dream come true to play Division-I football.”

In the game, Allison connected with fellow UM commit, Gulliver's Dionte Mullins, who made the play of the game with a one-handed touchdown catch.

“It was unreal. I’ve never thrown [a pass on] a catch like that. I can’t wait to play with him for the next four years,” Allison said. “I knew he was going to beat anyone that was on him, so I thought I’d give him a chance.”

Allison assessed his overall experience.

“I did well. There was a couple of balls that were bad, but it’s a learning experience and I’ll just get better when I get to Miami," he says.

Allison's overall experience of the course of the week: “It was awesome just to compete against these guys, the best in the nation and they showed it every day. They’re just crazy athletes and crazy good. It was a great experience – one of the craziest weeks of my high school career.”

For everything Bethel was talking about after the game, check out the video interview below:

 

January 02, 2016

Sam Bruce on UM's decision on Beard: 'It's going to make a factor'

Sam Bruce UA
Sam Bruce after Under Armour All-America Game. Photo by David Furones.


With the turnover on the University of Miami coaching staff in full swing as the program transitions from Al Golden to Mark Richt, St. Thomas Aquinas four-star wide receiver Sam Bruce, a UM commit, was inevitably asked what any decision with wide receivers coach Kevin Beard would make on his recruitment.

"It's going to make a factor," says Bruce, who has been committed to the Hurricanes since July 8, 2014. "There's no guarantee that I would leave the University of Miami, but it'll be something to definitely think about."

Bruce added his insight on what he knows about the situation.

"There's no guarantee that he's leaving," he said. "He still needs to be reevaluated by Coach Richt."

So where does Bruce stand on the Canes with a lot up in the air in the final month before National Signing Day?

"As of now, I am committed to the University of Miami. I am solid, but only time will tell," he says.

Bruce added that the Canes getting the last visit before Signing Day and him already being committed "definitely" makes them the team to beat for his services.

Before the Jan. 29 trip to Coral Gables, Bruce has visits to South Carolina on Jan. 15 and UF on Jan. 22 in the plans. He already visited Ohio State officially in October.

What does he hope to see from the respective schools?

"Just a family-based team, just for them to show me how I can be a premier athlete in their offense, at their school," Bruce said. "University of Miami and Ohio State -- they really stand out because they [each have a strong School of Communication]. That's a big thing for me. I want to major in sports broadcasting."

With the news coming out that Deerfield Beach receiver Cavin Ridley committed to South Carolina on Friday night, it appears that the Gamecocks are beginning to emerge in South Florida under new coach Will Muschamp and defensive coordinator Travaris Robinson.

"I'll give them a shot," Bruce said. "T-Rob, he's been recruiting me since freshman year when he was at Florida. When he went from Florida to Auburn, he didn't change, nothing changed from all the relationship, and then from Auburn to South Carolina and nothing has still changed."

Bruce has had conversations with former high school teammate Jordan Scarlett, now a freshman at UF who flipped from UM before his Signing Day.

With Scarlett playing behind Kelvin Taylor, Bruce said him not getting ideal playing time this season doesn't discourage him at all. He added that the season Antonio Callaway has had proves the Gators play their freshmen.

Bruce addressed the recent reports of him wearing an Ohio State hat earlier in the week at one of the event's practices. He says there was nothing to it other than to match the colors he was already wearing and that it was blown out of proportion.

"I had on black and red. It wasn't even my hat. I took somebody else's hat," Bruce said. "These people on social media, they're ridiculous."

His thoughts on fellow UM commit Dionte Mullins' highlight-reel one-handed touchdown catch?

"It was nasty," Bruce said. "The ball was put in a place where he could make a play and he made the play. That's what the University of Miami is all about."

"Me and Dionte, we go far back... We actually fought for the Little League Heisman in the eighth grade."

Cavin Ridley surprises everyone with South Carolina commitment after Under Armour All-America Game

Cavin Ridley
Cavin Ridley. Photo by David Furones.

Deerfield Beach four-star wide receiver Cavin Ridley shocked reporters after the Under Armour All-America Game on Saturday, announcing a commitment to South Carolina.

The news was unanticipated as Ridley was not scheduled to announce a commitment on the national broadcast and didn't make any Twitter announcement, which has become commonplace in the recruiting world.

Ridley told new Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp and defensive coordinator Travaris "T-Rob" Robinson on Friday night.

"They were recruiting me since they were at Auburn," Ridley said. "They recruit well. They recruit South Florida kids and recruit them the best they can, and I just believe in Coach T-Rob and the things they tell me. I just ran with them.

"It's a new staff, and I think everybody in the world would like a new start. I feel like I can go in there and make an impact."

Of course, Ridley's older brother is Alabama freshman Calvin. He took the news that little brother wouldn't be tagging along in Tuscaloosa well.

"He's just going to let me do me," Ridley said. "He wants what's best for me, and just do what I've got to do."

Ridley will be enrolling early at South Carolina.

"I'm just ready to get up there," he said.

So why didn't Ridley announce on national TV if he was going to let it be known at the Under Armour game on ESPN 2?

"I'm not really big on the media," he said.

 

December 31, 2015

South Florida 2019 prospects make MaxPreps Freshman All-American Team

James Cook
Miami Central RB James Cook. Photo: Manny Navarro//MIAMI HERALD

A total of six freshmen from Miami-Dade and Broward County earned their way onto the MaxPreps Freshman All-American Football Team -- five of them making the first team.

OL – Dontae Lucas, 6-5, 290, Booker T. Washington (Miami)

RB – Nay'quan Wright, 5-9, 185, Carol City (Miami)

RB – James Cook, 5-11, 190, Central (Miami)

LB – Ge'mon Eaford, 6-2, 215, Deerfield Beach (Fla.)

DB – Kenny McIntosh, 6-1, 204, University (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)

LB – Diamante Howard, 6-2, 200, Southridge (Miami) (2nd team)

Check out the full MaxPreps 2015 Football Freshman All-American Team here.

 

 

December 30, 2015

USA Today All-USA Florida Team loaded with South Florida recognitions

Flanagan coach Devin Bush Sr. won Coach of the Year and American Heritage defensive end Brian Burns earned Defensive Player of the Year honors as USA Today released its All-USA Florida Football Team on Wednesday.

Here's what USA Today had to say about the two.

First, Bush:

Bush led the Falcons to their first-ever state crown this season with a victory over Osceola in the Class 8A final. Led by the coach’s son, linebacker Devin Bush Jr., defense was Flanagan’s calling card. The Falcons allowed a measly 6.4 points per game in the state’s highest classification and posted three shutouts in the postseason.

And Burns:

Burns was a menace for the Patriots this fall, recording 60 tackles (19 for loss) and 15.5 sacks. The U.S. Army All-American reportedly has a top two of Florida and Florida State.

The rest of the all-state team was loaded with players from Miami-Dade and Broward County.

First Team

DL Nick Bosa (6-4, 255, Sr.), St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale)

DL Brian Burns (6-5, 220, Sr.), American Heritage (Plantation)

DL Keir Thomas (6-1, 245, Sr.), Miami Central (Miami)

LB Devin Bush Jr. (5-11, 225, Sr.), Flanagan (Pembroke Pines)

DB Trayvon Mullen (6-1, 175, Sr.), Coconut Creek (Pompano Beach)

K James McCourt (6-1, 185, Sr.), St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale)

Second Team

QB Tyler Huntley (6-2, 185, Sr.), Hallandale

OL Navaughn Donaldson (6-6, 335, Jr.), Miami Central (Miami)

DL Nik Bonitto (6-3, 215, So.), St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale)

DL Joshua Uche (6-1, 220, Sr.), Columbus (Miami)

LB Vosean Joseph (6-2, 210, Sr.), Norland (Miami)

LB Emmett Rice (6-3, 200, Sr.), Norland (Miami)

DB Jamel Cook (6-4, 185, Sr.), Miami Central (Miami)

DB Stanford Samuels (6-1, 165, Jr.), Flanagan (Pembroke Pines)

In addition to Donaldson, University of Miami commitments Travis Homer of West Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy, Shaquille Quarterman of Orange Park Oakleaf, Patrick Bethel of Vero Beach, Michael Pinckney of Jacksonville Raines and Tyler Byrd of Naples were recognized. Former UM commits Uche and Ahmmon Richards also were named.

December 27, 2015

Desmond Phillips recommits to Toledo, will enroll early

Miami Jackson quarterback/wide receiver Desmond Phillips was committed to Toledo for a long time before decommitting and jumping on board with UM in November.

After a short stint as a Hurricanes commit, Phillips decommitted earlier in December and Sunday announced he was back on board with the Rockets.

"I made a decision and talked it over with my family," Phillips said in a Twitter post. "I decided to commit to the University of Toledo and will be enrolling early."

Phillips played quarterback at Jackson but will play slot receiver in college. He displayed his abilities at both positions recently at the Dade County All-Star Game where in an interview with the Herald said the Canes remained in his recruiting picture but added "I just want to play. That's all."

New Toledo coach Jason Candle, who was named Rockets head coach on Dec. 2, provided his insight into what he thinks of Phillips with this tweet shortly after the commitment.

December 25, 2015

Keir Thomas commits to South Carolina

Fresh off back-to-back state championships his junior and senior seasons with Miami Central, defensive end Keir Thomas committed to South Carolina on Christmas Day.

The first thing the 6-2, 249-pound three-star prospect pointed to was the scheme new Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp will run and where he will fit into that scheme. Thomas will play the "Buck," an ultra-important position in the defense where he'll play either defensive end or outside linebacker depending on if the team is in a 4-3 or a 3-4.

Thomas, ranked as the No. 5 senior prospect in Miami-Dade County entering the season, says the combination of Muschamp and South Carolina defensive coordinator Travaris "T-Rob" Robinson has been recruiting him the longest and the hardest and the two were a major key in getting him on board with the Gamecocks on Friday.

"Coach Muschamp coaches hard. I want somebody who's going to stay on me and make sure they get the best out of me," Thoams said. "[Robinson] as well. I can also relate to Coach T-Rob a little bit more because he's from Miami."

Thomas decommitted from FSU in November and at that point was listing Auburn as his leader when Muschamp and Robinson were together on the Tigers' staff.

Arkansas and Tennessee were his other finalists. He visited each of those schools since decommitting from FSU and also was offered by UM.

Although Thomas hasn't visited South Carolina, he felt comfortable making the decision and was somewhat familiar with the school even before Muschamp and Robinson arrived.

"I had a feel for South Carolina before that," Thomas said. "They always have a great defensive line."

In Columbia, S.C., Thomas will be reunited with former Carol City cornerback Rashad Fenton, whom he attended middle school with. The Gamecocks also currently have Skai Moore from University School, Al Harris Jr. from St. Thomas Aquinas and Chris Lammons from Plantation on the roster.

South Carolina has been hot in recruiting with five new commits since Muschamp took over.

December 22, 2015

Jerry Jeudy asks, and he receives

It started a week ago on Tuesday, Dec. 15 when Deerfield Beach 2017 four-star wide receiver Jerry Jeudy tweeted out his very early top 10.

Aside from his emoji game being on point, notice the section at the bottom. He lists schools that he's interested in but haven't offered yet -- USC, TCU and Baylor.

Oh, how quickly things changed when college coaches at those programs got a hold of that information.

Three days later on Friday, the Trojans came through with an offer.

On Monday and three days after the USC offer, the Horned Frogs dished out an offer.

Moral of the story: Jerry Jeudy is so good that when colleges find out he wants an offer, they just go ahead and give him one.

Baylor, where you at?

 

December 20, 2015

UM still in recruiting picture for recent decommit

Jackson quarterback/wide receiver Desmond Phillips recently decommitted from UM, but he said on Saturday after the Dade County All-Star Game that the Hurricanes are still an option for him.

What does he want to see from UM to get him back on board?

"I just want to play. That's all," he says.

Phillips says he hasn't put too much thought on his recruitment since decommitting as he was focused on preparation for the All-Star Game and showcasing his talent. It worked as he won MVP honors primarily for his 80-yard quarterback keeper to start the second half that ignited a comeback for a 23-16 North victory.

Here's everything Phillips was talking about after the game.

 

One of the biggest things to look out for regarding Phillips in the All-Star game was that he would get reps at receiver where he's being recruited by colleges.

Phillips caught two passes. The first one was particularly impressive as he ran a sharp route to get open, made the catch and held on as he took a big hit over the middle.

Here he is on that play:

 Phillips, a one-time Toledo commit before committing to UM in November, doesn't have any visits set up at the moment.

Former Cincy pledge Carriere-Williams commits to Wisconsin

St. Thomas Aquinas senior cornerback Dontye Carriere-Williams announced a commitment to Wisconsin Sunday just four days after decommitting from Cincinnati, where he was previously committed since May.

Carriere-Williams, who transferred to St. Thomas from Booker T. Washington in the summer, joins Fort Lauderdale linebacker Dallas Jeanty as Broward County prospects set to play for the Badgers.