VIDEO: Interviews with Aquinas football standouts Moten, Linder, Holmes, London, Absheer on Signing Day
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North Miami Beach receiver Steve Ishmael, one of the top remaining uncommitted recruits in South Florida heading into the final days leading up to National Signing Day, committed to Syracuse University on Tuesday.
Ishmael picked the Orange over Cincinnati and Illinois where he will join former NMB teammate Ritchy Desir.
"I just want to go to Syracuse and help build an ACC Champion," Ishmael said. "We will have the opportunity to play against great competition and I am going to my best to get on the field as early as possible. Coach Cubit at Illinois and Coach Gran at Cincinnati did a great job of recruiting me but in the end I felt more at home at Syracuse. Go Orange."
Ishmael earned All-Dade First Team honors this past season, hauling in 68 passes for 951 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Here is a link to a story I wrote on Ishmael before the start of the season.
NMB offensive lineman Osman Aguilera and defensive back Immel Raj are expected to sign with Florida A&M and Highlands Community College, respectively.
> Former NMB defensive back Correy Omeally, who was a JUCO All-American at Elsworth Community College in Iowa this past season, will sign with Texas Christian University Wednesday, NMB coach Jeff Bertaini said. Omeally graduated from NMB in 2012.
-- MANNY NAVARRO
George Rushing and Trevon Lee have seen the repercussions coaching changes in college football have had on current and prospective players firsthand.
In the end, choosing the colleges that offered the two Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons wide receivers the most stability where major factors in their decisions.
Rushing announced his commitment to Wisconsin, with Lee deciding to take his talents to Duke. Both made their decisions public on WQAM Monday night.
Rushing, rated a three-star receiver by multiple media outlets, has had a hectic start to 2014 to say the least. He was previously committed to Louisville since May 2013, but Charlie Strong’s departure to take the head coaching position at Texas left Rushing trying to put all the pieces in his recruitment back together since withdrawing his pledge on Jan. 8.
“It’s been crazy,” Rushing said to the Miami Herald about 90 minutes before announcing his decision.
Rushing took official visits to Wisconsin on Jan. 17, Louisville on Jan. 24 and TCU this past weekend in hopes of finding some clarity, and did with a school kept its persistence.
“The only school I’ve known for a really long time has been Wisconsin,” Rushing said. “They’ve been recruiting me since April. They never gave up even when I committed [to Louisville].”
Rushing said getting to know the new staff at Louisville and trying to quickly build a relationship with those at TCU “as kind of hard, but worth it.”
In the end, joining Wisconsin’s pass-heavy offense was the deciding factor for Rushing, who has grown close with Badgers head coach Gary Andersen and wide receivers coach Chris Betty. Rushing should have no problems thriving as he secured the third-most touchdowns amongst players in Miami-Dade and Broward County last season with 13.
“Basically what [Andersen] wants to do is bring in some playmakers to throw the ball” said Rushing, who had 47 catches for 598 yards. “And I feel like I can be that playmaker especially in the Big Ten.”
For Lee, seeing Duke coach David Cutcliffe promote passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach Scottie Montgomery to offensive coordinator once Kurt Roper left for Florida was reassuring to say the least.
“That was a very big factor to me since a lot of coaches have been swapping schools lately,” Lee said before an hour his announcement. “But Coach Roper leaving didn't really affect me, and I know for a fact Coach Cut isn't going anywhere.”
Duke defensive backs coach Derek Jones was also a key component for Lee, who visited the school this past weekend after taking an official visit to Vanderbilt on Jan. 24. Ultimately, Duke provided more stability after seeing James Franklin leave Vandy to take the helm at Penn State.
Lee, who was tied in 15th place amongst Miami-Dade and Broward County players last season with 741 receiving yards, will now share receiving duties with another South Florida stud in Chris Taylor from Davie University School.
“I say we're pretty close,” Lee said of his friendship with Taylor. “Still working on our friendship since we pretty much just met in the middle of this football season, but we're really cool. He's been telling me about the program and why I should go there with him.”
In the meantime for Rushing and Lee, announcing their decisions together was a lasting moment for both.
“It means a lot,” Lee said. “[Rushing has] been my bro since he got to [Cardinal Gibbons] so I'm glad we're ending our recruiting process together. “We both worked very hard for this moment.”
-Two more local prospects announced their commitments Monday night. Miami Columbus linebacker Nick MeBeath will sign with Holy Cross. Miramar quarterback Nick Jeanty will head to New Mexico State.
Shawn Burgess-Becker and Calvin Ridley have been close friends since the third grade.
On Sunday, they plan on announcing their college decisions to keep their friendship going at the same college.
Burgess-Becker (left) and Ridley – two of South Florida’s most talented Class of 2015 prospects – took to their Twitter accounts Thursday to post a list of top schools with Miami, Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State in common. Burgess-Becker also listed UCF and Florida among his possible suitors with Ridley adding Clemson.
“I’ve visited most of the colleges [on my list],” Burgess-Becker said at Monarch High School on Thursday afternoon. “All of the schools have beautiful campuses. All of those schools have just been recruiting me heavy.
“I just felt good to make my decision on Sunday.”
Added Ridley, a young man of few words: “I’ve been known what school I wanted to go to.”
Looks like Arkansas is doing alright without with Charlie Partridge on its staff.
Despite getting a decommitment in the last week from Plantation tight end Ravian Pierce – who was close with Patridge, FAU’s new coach – the Razorbacks received oral commitments from three South Florida players in two days.
Fort Lauderdale Dillard safety Randy Ramsey announced his pledge to Arkansas on Sunday with Miami Norland wide receiver Kendrick Edwards and Miami Gulliver Prep receiver Cornelius Floyd following suit on Monday.
Ramsey and Edwards are fresh off of their official visits to the school this past weekend, while Floyd took his official visit on Jan. 17.
All three prospects – rated three stars by 247 Sports – were heavily recruited by former Miami Hurricanes head coach and current Arkansas assistant/linebackers coach Randy Shannon.
"I think it's a great fit," Ramsey said to 247Sports. "I love the players and the school. I could play early.
“The fans are crazy. They love the football players. They love the school."
Ramsey, who plays defensive end at Dillard will play outside linebacker in college. He picked the razorbacks over Kentucky and N.C. State.
Floyd, who had five catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns last season, picked Arkansas over offers from more than 15 schools including UCF, Virginia, West Virginia and Oklahoma.
Edwards, who had 15 catches for 256 yards and two touchdowns last season, picked the school over offers from more than 10 schools including Rutgers and FAU.
This post will be updated throughout the night.
UM’s Junior Day event is already starting to pay off.
The Hurricanes got a commitment from 2015 Pembroke Pines Flanagan wide receiver Emonee Spence on Sunday afternoon, a few hours after receiving a scholarship offer from Canes coach Al Golden and touring the campus.
“I spoke to the [Golden] about everything, and I walked around campus, and I fell in love with it instantly so I decided to commit,” Spence said.
Here's Spence in a photo he posted on his Twitter account with Golden, right, and wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Brennan Carroll.
Blessed # pic.twitter.com/pPtoj5XjQ7— Emonee Spence #81 (@Emonee_NikeMan) January 26, 2014
Spence told Carroll of his intentions after the experience he had getting familiar with UM.
The University of Miami will host a number of rising Class of 2015 prospects on its campus for its Junior Day event on Sunday.
Below is a tentative list of juniors, and a Class of 2016 prospect expected to be in attendance (With SATs and Strong Arm 7-on-7 team tryouts Saturday morning, this list will be updated throughout the day).
Canes fans, it's really a who's who list of rising, up-and-coming players in South Florida.
Here’s who has confirmed so far: