September 02, 2015

Heritage's Brandon Johnson commits to Tennessee

Plantation American Heritage senior wide receiver Brandon Johnson committed to the Tennessee Volunteers on Wednesday.

The four-star prospect chose Tennessee over other notable offers from UM, LSU, Georgia, Clemson, South Carolina and Wisconsin among several others.

Johnson announced his commitment on Twitter shortly after it was first reported by Ryan Bartow of 247 Sports.

"[Tennessee fans] can look forward to a player that is going to do nothing but work hard," Johnson said in an interview with 247 Sports. "I am a good athlete. I am a good football player and a good basketball player and I can compete at the highest level."

The 6-3, 172-pound wide receiver is the son of former Miami Hurricanes and Florida Marlins catcher Charles Johnson. Charles had mentioned to me before that he wanted his son to be a Hurricane, but while Brandon did have a UM offer, the Hurricanes weren't recruiting him as actively as other schools.

Brandon Johnson caught 13 touchdowns in his junior and sophomore seasons combined.

His Patriots host Maryland powerhouse DeMatha Catholic on Saturday night in a game with major national title implications.

DAVID FURONES

Johnson's highlights: 

September 01, 2015

Colleges contact 2017 recruits for first time

At midnight Tuesday, college coaches were able to contact 2017 recruits (juniors in high school) for the first time via direct messages on Twitter, and several talented prospects in Dade and Broward had coaches contact them right away.

Coaches are still unable to contact juniors over the phone, but many rushed to "slide into their DMs," as they say.

Up to this point for 2017 kids, a recruit would've had to reach out to the coach recruiting him -- no contact initiated by the coach -- after that college coach has expressed interest in the prospect to the recruit's high school coach. (Confusing, I know, and I probably could've worded that better. But anyway, here are some of these recruits and the schools that have contacted them):

I will update this as I continue to receive updates.

Stanford Samuels, Flanagan CB: South Carolina, LSU, West Virginia, Clemson, Rutgers, UCF, Georgia, FSU, Oklahoma, Michigan, Tennessee.

De'Andre Wilder, Carol City LB: Michigan, Notre Dame, Alabama, LSU, UM, UF.

Jake Allen, St. Thomas Aquinas QB (UF commit): UF, Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Colorado, UCF, Rutgers, South Carolina, Duke.

Jake Lichtenstein, Cypress Bay DE: FAU, Purdue, Northwestern, UCF, FSU, Virginia, California.

Kadeem Telfort, Norland OL (UF commit): Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, UM, UCF, UF.

Marco Wilson, American Heritage CB: UM, Tennessee, Alabama, Notre Dame, UF, UCF, FAU.

Waynmon Steed, Miami Central LB (UM commit): UM, UF. 

Naytron Culpepper, American DB: Syracuse, Alabama, UCF, FSU, Middle Tennessee State (according to 247 Sports).

Kevaughn Dingle, Carol City WR: UM, Tennessee (according to 247 Sports).

Daewood Davis, Stranahan WR  (Syracuse commit): Purdue, Temple, UCF, Syracuse, Pittsburgh.

Jonathan Ford, Dillard DE: UM, Alabama, UCF, Purdue, South Carolina.

Mike Epstein, St. Thomas Aquins RB (Illinois commit): Syracuse, Purdue, Tennessee, Kentucky, Cincinnati, FAU, Arizona State, Illinois, Temple, UCF, Duke, Colorado, Western Michigan, Stanford, Miami (OH), Vanderbilt, Central Michigan.

Tyler Dunning, St. Thomas Aquinas LB (UM commit): UM, Pittsburgh, Alabama, UCF, Arkansas, Syracuse, Temple, Purdue.

Clevan Thomas, Flanagan WR: UCF, FAU.

Kyshaun Bryan, American Heritage RB: UF, FSU, Virginia Tech, Clemson, UM, Colorado, Alabama, West Virginia, Arkansas, Ohio State.

*You can notice some consistencies with what schools are recruiting South Florida the hardest.

Homer as solid as it gets with Canes

One UM commit looking to go nowhere else anytime soon: Oxbridge Academy running back Travis Homer.

Since deciding to commit at the UM 7-on-7 this summer, he's one of the more solid commits out of the 22 in the Canes' class of 2016.

"I just wanted to be a man of my word, and I wanted to stay committed wherever I committed," said Homer after a win against Gulliver on Friday. "That's why I took a little while to commit."

 

Coach Al Golden, while not the only reason for his commitment, played a major role in it. 

Golden made a much stronger impression on him and his mother, Karri Valot, than other coaches that have tried to recruit Homer. Valot feels Golden is an overall great person and not just a coach trying to recruit a four-star prospect. Homer has expressed similar positive sentiments about Golden to me in a previous interview.

"Golden appears to have a great character," Valot said in a message. "It seems like his moral compass points in the right direction, and those qualities are important to me when it comes to my kids."

Barring any unforeseen changes, Homer has shut down his recruitment and won't take any official visits other than UM at this time.

In Friday's 46-0 win that Homer and his Oxbridge ThunderWolves had over Gulliver, Homer got the best of fellow UM commits Joseph Jackson, Cedrick Wright and Robert Burns.

"I think it was just great to play against them -- teammate against teammate, just get some chemistry between us," said Homer, who finished with 90 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries plus 31 receiving yards on two catches, including one where he caught it in the flat and leaped over a defender diving for his legs.

 

Jackson, a four-star defensive end, joked postgame that most of Homer's yards were gained running away from his side of the defense. Jackson, who also had a couple of catches at tight end, moved inside and outside on the defensive line and was in the backfield plenty but the quick, short passing game for the ThunderWolves would get the ball out of the quarterback's hands before Jackson could get there.

Wright was kept busy at safety. With the defense on the field most of the game and ThunderWolves skill players getting into the secondary often, he finished with 17 tackles.

Burns, the junior four-star running back, only carried the ball one time. The Raiders would offer no explanation as to why postgame. Dionte Mullins, a four-star senior receiver for Gulliver who is also committed to the Canes, did not travel to West Palm Beach for the game due to academic ineligibility.

August 28, 2015

Pierre firm with Canes, Ridley has top three

Senior safety James Pierre reaffirmed how strong his UM commitment is, stating it is "very firm" after Deerfield Beach defeated Cypress Bay 35-14 on Friday night.

Pierre added he doesn't see his mind changing before National Signing Day.

The three-star commit made five tackles in the win over the Lightning, including a touchdown-saving tackle late in the first half as the last man to beat.

Cavin Ridley, the Miami Herald's sixth-best senior in Broward County, is down to a top three and it's all SEC: Tennessee, Alabama and Auburn.

Ridley, a four-star recruit, took a screen pass 70 yards for a touchdown on the opening play of the game and finished with five catches for 123 yards. His older brother Calvin currently attends Alabama.

MARK SINGER

UM commit Dionte Mullins ineligible to start season, Robert Burns barely plays in Gulliver opener

Wide receiver and four-star UM commit Dionte Mullins did not travel with Gulliver up to West Palm Beach for its game with Oxbridge Academy on Friday night.

Mullins, the Miami Herald's sixth-best senior in Miami-Dade County, has been academically ineligible for the Raiders since the summer and remains ineligible for the start of the regular season.

He needs to finish one more summer online course to return to the field, I was told by someone on the Gulliver sideline.

Both athletic director Mark Schusterman and coach Earl Sims are hopeful Mullins can return in "a couple of weeks."

The effect his high school ineligibility has on his status with UM next season -- if the commit ends up signing with the Hurricanes -- is unknown as Gulliver sets high academic for its athletes to be able to take the field on game day.

The Raiders struggled without his presence in a 46-0 trampling at the hands of the ThunderWolves.

"It'll be a big boost when he comes back," says Sims.

Mullins did participate in 7-on-7 action over the summer with his teammates.

Another UM commit, 2017 four-star running back Robert Burns, barely played for the Raiders. The wrecking ball of a back carried just one time for six yards. Neither Schusterman, Sims or Burns would comment on the reason behind his seldom play Friday.

He was seen standing on the sideline during the second half walking fine.

DAVID FURONES

August 27, 2015

Recruiting notes and observations from South Dade-Coral Reef

South Dade took down Coral Reef 40-24 in the season opener, and there were plenty of athletes from down south that stood out. 

Before we get into that, let me note that the fight the Barracudas exhibited under new head coach Javi Valdes was exemplary. Trailing 34-7 at halftime and the game looking like it was headed toward a running clock, Coral Reef responded to get it to 34-17 midway through the third and looked like it could mount a comeback. South Dade just ultimately proved to be too much for the young Barracudas.

UM commit James Wiggins played center field at safety in South Dade's defensive scheme in the opener. Wiggins says the team will use him either there or at corner throughout the season. The Canes are recruiting the three-star senior at cornerback.

 

He appeared to cramp up a little bit but proved fine shortly thereafter with some nifty moves on a punt return where he slipped a few tackles. Wiggins was held out most of the spring with a swollen knee.

Wiggins says he will look around and take visits other than the one he already has planned for UM on January 22. Other schools coming after Wiggins are Cincinnati, Purdue and USF.

Coral Reef 2018 running back Jordon Donaldson is going to be something special. In his first regular-season varsity game, he reeled off 125 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. He broke about three tackles bursting through the trenches on his 25-yard scamper for a score.

"Jordon Donaldson is going to be a special player in Dade County. We're looking forward to showing his talents," Valdes said.

Donaldson also led Reef in rushing in the preseason game against Pace.

The South Dade running back tandem of Jawon Hamilton and Ivan Smith is going to be one of the best in Dade County this season. Hamilton ran for 128 yards and two touchdowns. Smith, the Columbus transfer, took his first touch as a Buccaneer all the way back on the opening kickoff and added two more rushing touchdowns.

 

"That's the luxury of having both of them," South Dade coach Nate Hudson says. "I like the fact that they go hand in hand. Neither one is selfish. They feed off each other."

Smith has offers from Florida A&M and Bowling Green. He's also receiving interest from Illinois, Purdue and hearing a little bit from UM.

Hamilton, the FIU commit, could've easily surpassed 200 yards had two long runs not been called back by holding calls. A strong South Dade O-line that consists of Mike Davis and Marshall commit Kyron Taylor was without senior Boman Swanson in this one.

Chei Hill, a 2017 linebacker/defensive end that measures up at 6-1 and 220 pounds, already has the build that you look for in that hybrid pass rusher at the next level. He laid a crushing hit as Coral Reef QB Keith Anderson threw on the run on one play.

"Beast" is the word Hudson uses to describe him to college coaches scouting him (I used it too in one of my tweets). Schools after Hill include Illinois, Arkansas and FIU.

Harvey Clayton, who lists Illinois and Louisville among his seven offers, was solid on both sides of the ball for Coral Reef, being used in multiple ways offensively and making some touchdown-saving tackles as the last line of defense at safety for a Barracudas defense that could not contain South Dade's attack.

Other Barracudas that shined:

-Sophomore corner K'Toney Hills displayed his one-on-one ball skills beating his man in single coverage and intercepting a floating pass right before halftime.

-Senior linebacker Tomo Sloane is strong in pursuit of a ball carrier. He made a couple of nice tackles in the open field.

-Sophomore lineman Jaylaan Williams used his big 6-3, 280-pound frame to make several key blocks, including one where he sprung Donaldson for a 57-yard run that got the Cudas down to the 1.

 

August 23, 2015

FIU gets commitment from Booker T kicker Jose Borregales

Tim Harris Jr. will get his kicker in a year.

The former Booker T. Washington state-title winning coach and current FIU running backs coach will be reunited with Tornadoes kicker Jose Borregales as Borregales announced his commitment to FIU on Sunday.

"I'm really excited about being a Panther, and I'm just thankful that they gave me the opportunity to not only play football and be a part of the Panther family but to be a part of an amazing university," Borregales told the Miami Herald in a message. "It's a great opportunity to be able to stay close to home and have my family be able to go to every single game."

Borregales got the FIU offer on Saturday. It was his first offer. Other schools had recruited him but the Panthers were the first to offer the kicker who says has booted a 61-yard field goal through the uprights in practice.

Borregales is certain he wants to stick with FIU but leaves a slight window open if other schools start recruiting him.

"I'll evaluate them and see how their depth chart is on kickers and punters, but right now I'm sticking with FIU 100 percent," he says.

Borregales made the game-winning 44-yard field goal, his in-game career long, in Booker T.'s preseason classic victory over Citra North Marion on Friday night at Traz Powell Stadium.

August 12, 2015

"Pie" Young has Alabama and Michigan at the top

In a recent interview with the Miami Herald, Miami High four-star wide receiver Keyshawn "Pie" Young listed Alabama and Michigan as his top two schools.

According to Young, he speaks with Michigan's new head coach Jim Harbaugh every day, which is rare to see so much contact come from a head coach recruiting one player.

"He makes me feel like he needs me as a player, he wants me as a player, he feels like I could fit in with Michigan," says the 5-11, 175-pound 2016 prospect. "He talks about how he loves Michigan."

With the Crimson Tide, Young is getting recruited by Mario Cristobal, a man with countless South Florida ties.

"Coach Cristobal, I love that guy," Young says. "If I'm having a bad day, he'll pick me up, put a smile on my face."

After Young's top two, he also has a few schools that he lists as "in the hunt."

Miami, Georgia, West Virginia and USC are the schools Young currently has in that second tier.

Young says the other schools need to show more interest in order to creep into the mix.

"Show me that you want me at your school," he says.

 

 

August 06, 2015

Aquinas' Epstein commits to Illinois

St. Thomas Aquinas 2017 running back Mike Epstein committed to Illinois on Thursday.

The 6-0, 185-pound three-star junior, who transferred to Aquinas from Cypress Bay in the offseason, chose the Fighting Illini over offers from Cincinnati, UCF, FAU, Temple and New Mexico.

"Big Ten football, great relationship with coaches, want to play big-time football," Epstein listed as reasons he chose Illinois to the Miami Herald.

He became the Fighting Illini's first commit in the class of 2017. Teammate at St. Thomas and senior wide receiver Dominic Thieman is committed to their 2016 class.

Epstein is part of a deep Aquinas backfield that also has Devonta'e Henry-Cole committed to Utah and FAU-bound James Charles.

Below are his sophomore highlights from Cypress Bay.

August 04, 2015

Johnny Huntley commits to Colorado

South Plantation three-star wide receiver Johnny Huntley announced a commitment to Colorado on Tuesday.

Huntley chose the Buffaloes over offers from Louisville, TCU, Tennessee and West Virginia among his list of 17 total offers.

"It felt like home on the visit and they love me," Huntley said in a message.

Colorado is not a school known to dip into the state of Florida in recruiting. Huntley becomes the first Florida prospect in a Colorado recruiting class since Apopka's Henley Griffon in 2010.

The last South Florida high school football player to end up with Colorado was Northeast outside linebacker Josh Hartigan in 2007.