February 20, 2016

Former Miramar coach Damon Cogdell back in South Florida at Carol City

Former Miramar coach Damon Cogdell is coming back to South Florida.

After a two-year stint as co-defensive line coach at West Virginia, Cogdell was named defensive coordinator/assistant head coach at Carol City under coach Aubrey Hill.

It's a homecoming of sorts for Cogdell, who grew up in Opa-Locka but moved when he was in ninth grade and attended Miramar High. While Miramar is in Broward County and Carol City is in Miami-Dade, the two are very close to each other geographically and Cogdell says most of his family members attended Carol City.

"It's going to be a treat for me," Cogdell told the Herald. "It was a home away from home; it was up the street."

Cogdell's contract with the Mountaineers expired on Jan. 30.

"I had some other things that I could've done [at West Virginia], but it was tough for me to be away from my kids," Cogdell said. "It was a great experience for me up at West Virginia -- glad to be back at home with the wife and kids, though."

Cogdell will get the opportunity to coach a talented defense, spearheaded by outside linebacker/defensive end De'Andre Wilder, defensive tackle Rashad Colson and defensive back transfer from American, Naytron Culpepper.

February 18, 2016

Flanagan coach Devin Bush takes defensive analyst job at Michigan

Flanagan coach Devin Bush accepted a position on the Michigan football staff on Wednesday, confirming our report from last week.

Bush, who led the Falcons to their first Class 8A state championship this past season, will be reunited with three defensive recruits that signed with Michigan this past recruiting cycle in son and linebacker Devin Bush Jr. and safeties Devin Gil and Josh Metellus as a defensive analyst.

"I'm really excited about the opportunity to be at Michigan with my son and my two other players," Bush said. "A little bit bittersweet at the same time. I'm leaving the players [at Flanagan] and my other extended family. Taking this opportunity has a sacrifice to it."

Bush said that leading up to communication opening up with Michigan, he would continue to see various changes on the staff this offseason and finally decided to inquire with the Wolverines. There were swirling rumors all season that Bush and Michigan could be a potential marriage.

In his position as defensive analyst, Bush expects to break down film, analyze and provide input on the team's defense, assist with practices or practice scheduling and any other duties as assigned under coach Jim Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Don Brown.

Bush has goals of one day becoming a defensive coordinator himself at the collegiate level.

"That's my first goal. I've never thought about being a college head coach," he says. "I'm just happy with forming those relationships or those bonds with young men coming in."

On Wednesday it was announced that Michigan's defensive backs coach position became vacant as Greg Jackson departed to become safeties coach with the Dallas Cowboys. While Bush is unaware of any possibility of him already receiving a promotion into that spot as he only spoke with Michigan about the defensive analyst job, it's a position he would fit and one that would be another stepping stone to his career aspirations.

While Bush won't be able to actively go out on the road and recruit in his role, he will be allowed to communicate over the phone or via social media with recruits. His impact on Michigan's ability to recruit South Florida, which was already proven to be potent this past recruiting cycle, has the potential to become immense.

Flanagan athletic director Al Guzzo first confirmed the hiring to the Herald on Thursday afternoon.

"He had called me up to notify, and I told him to enjoy the moment and let everybody know," Guzzo said. "We're going to sit down and we'll talk, but I just wanted to congratulate him and let him enjoy the moment."

Sources have told the Herald that defensive coordinator Stanford Samuels would be promoted as Flanagan's next head coach. Guzzo would not confirm that is the case.

"We've got a plan in place and I don't want to reveal that, but we've got a plan in place," he said. "Coach Bush has been involved. He was part of the process. 

"We feel confident, Coach Bush feels confident in who the next coach is."

Added Bush: "That's my guy -- my right hand. Very qualified, does an awesome job."

Bush is expected to fly up to Michigan on Sunday for an orientation, return to South Florida for a couple of days next week and finally get situated back up in Ann Arbor permanently.

Bush is a former Super Bowl winner with the St. Louis Rams and college football national champion with Florida State. He was head coach at Flanagan for the past three seasons after spending a year as defensive coordinator and played his high school ball at Hialeah-Miami Lakes.

February 12, 2016

Columbus' CJ Henderson commits to UM

Columbus junior two-way player C.J. Henderson was one of the most electrifying players on the state semifinalist Explorers last season.

On Friday, he decided to commit to the hometown team for college in a year and a half.

Henderson, a three-star or four-star athlete depending on the service who has previously listed UM as his top choice, committed to the Miami Hurricanes Friday afternoon on a campus visit.

UM is recruiting Henderson as a cornerback, he confirmed in a message.

His father, Chris Henderson Sr., told CaneSport.com that Henderson is listing himself as a soft commitment.

"He really wanted to commit and I told him it's okay, just let it be known he still wants to look. But that's where he wants to be," Henderson Sr. told CaneSport.

Henderson also holds offers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Auburn, USC and Virginia Tech among his 17 offers.

Last season Henderson ran for 932 yards and 12 touchdowns on 100 carries. He also had 245 receiving yards and two scores through the air.

Here's his junior year highlight reel.

In other 2017 UM recruiting class news, Jacksonville Mandarin linebacker Aundre Ricardo-Kearney decommitted earlier Friday.

He had committed to the Hurricanes under Al Golden in June. Mark Richt visited his high school in December when he was in Jacksonville to solidify the commitments and early enrollments of linebackers Shaquille Quarterman and Michael Pinckney.

February 09, 2016

Sources: Flanagan coach Devin Bush could be next to join Michigan

Bush Sr and Jr
Flanagan coach Devin Bush with son Devin Bush Jr. after announcement to commit to Michigan on Dec. 16, 2015. Photo: Andre C. Fernandez//MIAMI HERALD

Flanagan won its first state championship this past season with three Michigan recruits on the roster.

Now it appears their high school coach may be following them to Ann Arbor.

Multiple sources have told the Miami Herald on Tuesday that Flanagan coach Devin Bush is on the verge of joining the staff at Michigan where three of his Falcons -- son and linebacker Devin Bush Jr. and safeties Devin Gil and Josh Metellus -- have signed. Bush Jr. has already enrolled at Michigan for the spring semester.

Bush, when reached, said he has not been in current communication with the Wolverines but described "hearsay" that there may be a position for him with the team in some capacity.

Flanagan athletic director Al Guzzo told the Herald that there was nothing mentioned to him when he spoke with Bush earlier Tuesday.

"It's all speculative right now and there's nothing concrete," Guzzo said.

Bush joining the Wolverines was rumored all season. In December, Bush said from the Class 8A state championship game that no one has approached him with college job offers in a column by Manny Navarro.

One source said an announcement is expected sometime next week. Both sources said defensive coordinator Stanford Samuels would become Flanagan's next head coach.

Bush is a former Super Bowl winner with the St. Louis Rams and college football national champion with Florida State. He has been head coach at Flanagan for the past three seasons after spending a year as defensive coordinator and played his high school ball at Hialeah-Miami Lakes.



Al Blades Jr. touches on St. Thomas Aquinas transfer, more Elite Prep 300 coverage

Former Miami Dolphins safety Arturo Freeman's showcase Elite Prep 300 Series at University School on Sunday had several South Florida high school athletes attend, as well as key college figures, including former UM wide receivers coach Kevin Beard and former FIU quarterback Wes Carroll.

St.Thomas Aquinas 2018 Defensive back Al Blades Jr., a former Hurricane commit who decommitted on October 25th, plans to be active in taking upcoming visits.


"I'm planning to travel to South Carolina, Texas and California real soon," he said.

Blades (6-0, 160 pounds) on his recent transfer from University School to Aquinas said, "I think it's a better opportunity for me. For the next two years I can develop more and they have a lot of good wide receivers I can work against."

Miles Jones, an American Heritage 2018 running back, has been receiving preliminary interest from Kentucky, but right now his concentration is on getting fully recovered and trying to help his team win.

Adetutu Daranijo, a St. Thomas Aquinas 2018 linebacker, has received an offer from Northern Illinois University. The Huskies have been recruiting the South Florida area hard, picking up three commitments this past recruiting cycle -- Cypress Bay' wide receiver Andrew Parchment, Norland wide receiver Jordan Robinson and South Dade running back Ivan Smith.

Eugene Witherspoon, a 2016 Miami Jackson wide receiver, didn't sign on National Signing Day. He is still weighing his options but is leaning toward inking with Howard University.

Check out videos below on what Beard, Freeman and Carroll were saying during Sunday's action.





February 01, 2016

Pierre, McWilliams committed to rival schools but still have Canes on their mind

A pair of South Florida defensive backs are committed to rival schools but still have the hometown Miami Hurricanes on their mind as National Signing Day approaches.

Deerfield Beach three-star safety James Pierre, committed to ACC Coastal rival UNC, and Southwest Miami three-star cornerback Christopher McWilliams, committed to in-state rival UF, will still weigh their option to attend UM and both decisions appear to be coming down to Wednesday.

Pierre is a former UM commit that flipped to the Tar Heels in October. Al Golden was fired shortly thereafter, but he's liked what he's seen from new coach Mark Richt.

"The new coaching staff made a big impact on my decision toward [reconsidering] the U," Pierre says. "I'm very interested in what coach Mark Richt brings. Coach [Mike] Rumph, I can relate to him. He knows what it takes to be the best."

The process has taken its toll on Pierre.

"It's a lot of pressure coming at me, and you know, I'm just a kid, so it's just stress for me," he says.

McWilliams is taking his recruitment a little more in stride, but still isn't certain of what he wants to do.

"I'm feeling good. I'm excited to finally get this decision over with and ready to play college ball," McWilliams says. "I made my decision, but I'm still thinking about it, though... It's very hard. I can't tell till Signing Day."

While many believe that the Canes are the top team challenging the Gators for McWilliams' services, he insists UM and USF are even behind UF as his leader going into Signing Day.

McWilliams adds that the decision may come down to how he feels waking up that morning or once he's sitting in the chair to announce his commitment.

McWilliams visited UF over the weekend.

"It went good. The environment there, the campus was cool," McWilliams said. "My host was Chauncey Gardner. He's a funny dude, and we just had a good time. It was enjoyable just to throw on that jersey and stuff."

The trip was a positive stride for the Gators, but the Canes and Bulls are still alive.

UM had good fortune with the snowstorm in the mid-Atlantic stepping in the way from allowing McWilliams to visit UNC the week he originally planned to. He ended up replacing that official with UM, a decision made easier after Richt and Rumph went in-home with him that week.

"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," he told the Herald at that point.

These will be two decisions to keep a close eye on on Wednesday.



January 29, 2016

Dade/Broward decisions to keep an eye on as National Signing Day approaches

Here are some quick hits on the top scenarios to follow as we wind down on the end of the 2016 recruiting cycle. These prospects are either undecided or are committed but have other schools giving them something to think about before National Signing Day.

Brian Burns, American Heritage 5-star DE: The blue-chip prospect, Army All-American and No. 2 overall senior in Broward County (behind Nick Bosa), according to the Miami Herald, will choose between UF, FSU, Georgia and Alabama. FSU is getting the final visit as Burns has seen all four campuses since the recruiting dead period ended (Jan. 15).

Trayvon Mullen, Coconut Creek 4-star CB: The ultra-talented Army All-American from the #CreekBoyz has a final five of FSU, LSU, Clemson, TCU and Louisville. The first three of the five have consistently been atop his list of college choices. He has taken all his visits and will make his decision live on ESPNU at 8:45 a.m. on National Signing Day.

Keyshawn "Pie" Young, Miami High 3-star WR: It's been reported that Louisville, USC and Michigan are Pie's final three heading into Signing Day. The Wolverines have been a favorite of Dade's No. 6-ranked senior for some time now.

Dredrick Snelson, Flanagan 3-star WR: The Under Armour All-American who has won four state championships at three different schools has been a Minnesota commit since before the season, but it's a soft commitment. Snelson will check out Penn State this final weekend and also went to UCF on Jan. 15. 

Rashad Weaver, Cooper City 3-star DE: After getting dropped from Jim Harbaugh's class with Michigan within a week and a half of Signing Day, Weaver has spent the week receiving a whirlwind of recruiting interest and offers. He is taking visits to Pittsburgh and Penn State and has already been to USF and Temple.

Zack Moss, Hallandale 3-star RB: A Utah commit who took his Utes visit the weekend of Jan. 22 takes a trip to Tennessee the weekend before Signing Day. The one-time Hurricane commit will determine if it's enough to sway him from Utah, where Hallandale teammates Tyler Huntley and Demari Simpkins are already enrolled.

Vosean Joseph, Norland 3-star OLB: A UF commit, the Gators got his final official visit (Jan. 22) before he went to Texas for the USA vs. Canada Independence Bowl and Alabama had him grace its campus the previous weekend. He hasn't made his decision final but feels he's likely to stick to his UF commitment when he revisits his recruitment upon his return to Miami on Monday.

CJ McWilliams, Southwest 3-star DB: Another UF commit, he has UM on him heavy, and according to coach Tim Neal, the Jan. 22 visit -- which he took to UM because he had to cancel plans to check out UNC with the snow storm in the Mid-Atlantic -- is giving McWilliams something to think about with regards to potentially staying home with the Hurricanes. The Gators will try to convince him not to back off his May pledge, hosting him on campus the final weekend before Signing Day.

Aaron Thompson, Dillard 3-star DT: He recently committed to Maryland, but South Carolina will get one final shot at swaying him with a weekend visit.

Eric Mitchell, Miami Central 3-star DE/OLB: Recently listed his top three as Louisville, UCF and Colorado to the Miami Herald.

Jerron Rollins, Columbus 3-star WR: Without having taken any other visit, Cincinnati will get a look from the tall, talented Explorers receiver the final weekend before Signing Day. The Bearcats are the favorites to land him over Washington State, Middle Tennessee, FAU and Syracuse if all goes well on the trip.

Freddie Pinder, Southridge 3-star WR: The highly-touted prospect may not sign anywhere on Signing Day and go the junior college route instead. We will see as Wednesday approaches.

Montray Smith, Carol City 3-star WR: The 6-4 Carol City receiver is on a Southern Illinois visit over the weekend.

Jamal Smith, American 3-star DE: Since committing and then decommitting from UCF, Smith says USF and Youngstown State are his top choices. He says he's considering many more schools, so look out for another team to pop up. Pitt was a school he was high on during the season.

Jahcour Pearson, Flanagan 3-star WR: The speedster who had a monster state championship game is choosing between Western Kentucky and Northern Illinois and will announce on Monday.

Harvey Clayton, Coral Reef 3-star DB: Doing a Middle Tennessee State and Illinois combined visit final weekend before Signing Day. Louisville, FIU and Temple also in the mix for former Louisville commit.

Antione Webster, American 3-star DB: Webster is waiting to announce on Signing Day. Massachusetts is a school that's been trending in the recruitment of the long, athletic DB. His other finalists are unknown.

Keelen Roberts, Carol City 3-star DB: Will be visiting Northern Illinois this weekend and is also trying to squeeze in an FIU visit.

Val Mayes, Norland 3-star DB: Likely not to sign on Signing Day as he looks to up his ACT score on Feb. 6. Upon receiving his results, he hopes to follow up on interest from N.C. State, Mississippi State and Illinois.

Ivan Smith, South Dade 2-star RB: Visiting Northern Illinois over the weekend and may commit.

Keldrick Cesar, Edison 3-star OL: Previously had received offers from schools like USF, FIU, Syracuse, Middle Tennessee State and Samford, as well as interest from UM and UF, but he may now be signing with Bethune-Cookman.

Bryce Handy, Gulliver 3-star LB: Will be choosing between Eastern Illinois and UT-Martin. Eastern Kentucky may be making a late push.

Jordan Robinson, Norland 2-star WR: The tall, athletic under-the-radar receiver for the Vikings went to NIU for the weekend after the Huskies went in-home with him earlier in the week.

Deion Jackson, *former* Hallandale 3-star CB: The great unknown. Before the end of the season, Jackson swiftly moved to Jacksonville citing personal reasons and never really said goodbye to anybody at Hallandale. A report since has said he enrolled at Mandarin High while in Jacksonville and was looking to come back to South Florida at South Broward, but South Broward coach Devon Georgia has not heard of such a transpiration. Jackson is no longer on UM commitment lists and we have no idea where he is.

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

January 25, 2016

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 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.