January 18, 2016

Binjimen Victor commits to Ohio State

Binjimen Victor
Coconut Creek four-star wide receiver Binjimen Victor announced where he will be playing his college football on Monday.

The ultra-talented 6-4 standout chose Ohio State with this post on Twitter.

Victor went with the Buckeyes over West Virginia and Tennessee -- two other schools he visited officially with the Vols visit coming over the past weekend.

With Victor announcing his commitment and defensive back teammate Malek Young announcing his to the Miami Hurricanes on Friday, the final piece to the trifecta of Coconut Creek U.S. Army All-Americans (four-star cornerback Trayvon Mullen) let it be known his decision is coming down to Signing Day.

Also cool: This picture that Ohio State wide receiver Michael Thomas, who has declared for the NFL Draft, tweeted out handing down the Buckeyes helmet to Victor.

It was reminiscent of what the Bosa brothers (Joey and Nick) did in July when Nick, the five-star St. Thomas Aquinas defensive end, announced his commitment to Ohio State.

Here's just a glimpse at what Victor is capable of in one-on-one coverage in this slow motion video taken earlier this season in Coconut Creek's win against Stranahan.

January 13, 2016

Did Kirby Smart mistake the name of an early enrollee?

Those who follow recruiting and high school football in South Florida know Deerfield Beach four-star wide receiver Cavin Ridley as -- exactly that -- Cavin Ridley.

So when new Georgia coach Kirby Smart sent out a tweet Tuesday welcoming Ridley to the Bulldogs as he has enrolled early for the spring semester, it rose eyebrows when the image of Ridley photoshopped into a Georgia uniform said "Riley Ridley."

You can only imagine how many people in the replies to the tweet thought Smart made a huge mistake, but don't worry. He knew what he was doing.

Ridley's middle name is Riley, and among his circles, he often goes by Riley as a way to differentiate himself from older brother Calvin, currently a star freshman receiver with Alabama. Before Ridley transferred to the Bucks, the two brothers played together at Coconut Creek Monarch.

Deerfield Beach coach Jevon Glenn goes as far as saying, "That's what everybody calls him."

Ridley will apparently go by Riley at Georgia, although neither Cavin Ridley nor Riley Ridley shows up on the Bulldogs' official roster as of Wednesday afternoon.

Ridley had an eventful week leading up to his early enrollment. He went from committing to South Carolina after the Under Armour All-America game (Jan. 2) for early enrollment with the Gamecocks to decommitting two days later on Jan. 4 and on Thursday (Jan. 7) flipping his commitment to Georgia.

January 10, 2016

Top local women's college basketball prospects on display at Miami High event

Miami High and AAU team Miami Suns combined to host the first annual SUTS Reports New Year's Classic on Saturday and many of South Florida's top girls' basketball players were present.

The Herald had a full report on the results led by the Flangan victory. The eight-game marathon also included a late 57-41 Ferguson win over Nova as Stony Brook signee Giolibeth Perez notched 24 points and eight steals while Natalia Pineda added 19 points and seven rebounds. 

Here are the prospects and the colleges they have signed with:

Mary Katherine Moore (St. Thomas) -- Bucknell*

Tytionia Adderly (Cardinal Newman) -- FGCU

Hayley Duren (American Heritage) -- Pepperdine*

Megan Gorman (Vero Beach) -- Yale

Naila Delinois (Northeast) -- St. Joseph's

Ashley Santigene (Northeast) -- Marshall

Daborah Hudson (Northeast) -- Southern

Giolibeth Perez (Ferguson) -- Stony Brook

Mikiah Harrigan (Flanagan) South Carolina

*=DNP

Others who are not yet signed but are college-level prospects -- Ferguson: sophomore Natalia Pineda; American Heritage: junior Taylor Smith, junior Auviance Lindo; Miami High: freshman Shekinah Rachel, senior Alondra Angulo; Fort Lauderdale: junior Keyanna Warthen, junior Tamiracle Taylor; Oxbridge Academy: freshman Aaliyah Stanley; Northeast: junior Cabria Lee; Nova: junior Rikiah Cowart; Archbishop McCarthy: junior Reagan McCray; Westminster Academy: junior Raquel Rosa; Hallandale: junior Destiny Walters; Grandview Prep: senior Kristin Rampersad; St. Thomas Aquinas: sophomore Emma Krause; Cardinal Newman: junior Sydni Donovan, junior Milan Morris.

Coaches from Marshall, FIU, Coastal Carolina and Barry University were in attendance.

January 09, 2016

'Pie' ranks his college choices

Miami High four-star wide receiver Keyshawn "Pie" Young's college decision will come down to National Signing Day.

On Saturday, he ranked his top  for the Miami Herald as it stands before his January slate of visits: 1. Michigan, 2. Tennessee, 3. USC, 4. Louisville, and 5 is up for competition between Georgia, Miami, Alabama and South Carolina.

Young currently has visits scheduled for Louisville on Jan. 16, USC on Jan. 22, Tennessee on Jan. 27 and either UM or Alabama before Signing Day, as he announced on Friday.

"I want to feel like I'm home," Young says. "Are the coaches there real or fake? Thinks like that."

Young also took a trip to Michigan in October.

With Michigan, Young says he loves coach Jim Harbaugh and that the three Flanagan players committed (linebacker Devin Bush Jr., safety Devin Gil and safety Josh Metellus) are pushing him to the Wolverines, especially Bush.

"He told me he doesn't even want to come home," Young says.

Current UM defensive end Chad Thomas has been in talks with Young about having him join him with the Hurricanes along with running back Mark Walton and cornerback Artie Burns, who will be heading to the NFL Draft.

Of Miami, he says, "They're up there."

Young likes the hiring of Mark Richt, who recruited him at Georgia. Although the Bulldogs crack Young's top five, he says he will not visit them.

He says South Carolina is just coming along now and will compete with the Canes and Crimson Tide for that final visit.

"I have to see how that plays out now," Young says. "That's why I haven't committed nowhere yet."

January 07, 2016

Uche updates his recruitment

Josh Uche 2
Photo: Andre C. Fernandez//MIAMI HERALD

Columbus defensive end Josh Uche's recruitment will be one of the more interesting ones to follow out of prospects in Dade County with a month left until National Signing Day.

Uche (6-3, 218 pounds) has visits scheduled for Michigan on Jan. 22 and Florida on Jan. 29.

Michigan was his most recent offer, coming as a byproduct of new defensive coordinator Don Brown heading to Ann Arbor from Boston College, which had offered Uche before his senior season. Brown led the Eagles to the nation's No. 1-ranked defense despite BC winning just three games in 2015.

"It just showed how much interest in me he has. He thinks I'm the key to that whole defense," Uche says. "Just shows his loyalty and how much he believes in me."

The Flanagan local trio of linebacker Devin Bush Jr., linebacker/safety Devin Gil and safety Josh Metellus (along with Cooper City defensive end Rashad Weaver) are all committed to coach Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines' 2016 class. Although Bush has been known to be pushing Miami High wide receiver Keyshawn "Pie" Young (who has previously listed Michigan as his leader himself), but Uche says he's not as familiar with the Michigan-bound Broward prospects.

UF will get his final official visit before Signing Day.

"They've been loyal to me as well throughout the whole recruiting process," Uche says. "I've been there already twice, but I just want to get a more in-depth look at the campus."

Schools recruiting Uche are looking at him as a hybrid outside linebacker/rush end with some telling him they want him to develop into a pass rush specialist and others indicating they want him to be a "full-blown linebacker."

On his visits, he's looking to see how likes the atmosphere, campus experience and coaches.

Uche, who decommitted from Miami in between the Al Golden firing and Mark Richt hiring, has the first weekend after the recruiting dead period (Jan. 15) open for an official visit. UM, Alabama, UNC and South Carolina are in the mix for that visit.

"I was going to go to UM, but they haven't been communicating with me," Uche says. "I'm still interested, but no one has ever contacted me. I don't want to go somewhere where I'm not wanted."

To Uche's understanding, he still has an offer on the table from the Hurricanes. They haven't told him otherwise.

Uche likes the hiring of new defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski, especially because of the work he did with Shane Ray at Missouri. He sees some similarities between them.

So if he's still interested in the Canes, why did he decommit in November?

"We knew that the coaches were going to get fired, and the new guys coming in -- I didn't know how I would fit in their system," Uche says. 

He wanted to make sure his options were open in case he didn't fit and was then left looking for a school without much time left before Signing day. Uche adds that new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was recruiting him at Mississippi State, but never pulled the trigger on an offer because of his commitment to Miami.

Uche was also once offered by Auburn, but that offer has since gone with Will Muschamp and Travaris "T-Rob" Robinson to South Carolina.

"They've just been recruiting me really hard, calling me almost every day and just talking to me about how I fit into their scheme," he says.

On Uche's stellar senior season, Uche says, "I've improved on my power a lot. Last year, I was more finesse. I was more pass rush only, but now I've shown I can play the run. I was a lot more physical. I showed I can play linebacker."

He also says that his senior year with the Explorers helped him develop leadership skills.

January 04, 2016

Jawon Hamilton decommits from UM; UCF, FAU now at top

Jawon
Jawon Hamilton. Photo by David Furones//FOR THE MIAMI HERALD


On the same day, the Miami Hurricanes announced the departure of former South Dade wide receiver Tyre Brady from the program, another Buccaneer has disconnected from UM.

South Dade running back Jawon Hamilton, a three-star prospect, announced a decommitment from the Hurricanes on Monday, posting a note written from his phone on Twitter.

"At this moment I would like to announce that I'm decommitting from the University of Miami from here on out," Hamilton said in his tweet. "I'm going to open back up my recruiting and move forward with the process and make the decision that's best for me. Thanks for giving me the opportunity."

After originally committing to the Hurricanes on Nov. 22, Hamilton (5-9, 185 pounds) grew increasingly concerned that he hadn't heard from new Hurricanes coach Mark Richt.

When asked why he decommitted Monday by the Miami Herald, Hamilton said, "Better opportunities somewhere else" in a message.

UCF and FAU now top his list, he says.

He's already visited FAU and will take a trip to Orlando to check out UCF on Jan. 15 at the culmination of the recruiting dead period.

Hamilton says he may decide between the Knights and Owls after the UCF visit.

"I think I'm going to decide between those two after the trip," he said. "I'll see how that goes and go from there.

According to his 247 Sports timeline, Hamilton previously had visits scheduled to UM on Jan. 22 and Kansas on Jan. 29, but he says currently doesn't have plans beyond UCF.

Louisville also offered Hamilton in December.

Hamilton was named South Florida Player of the Year this season by Warren Henry Auto Group and Tournament of Champions, Inc.

The Canes still have a commitment from four-star back Travis Homer of West Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy, who is solid to UM.

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.