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 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."

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 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.

December 12, 2015

FSU back in picture for Keir Thomas, more Miami Central recruiting tidbits

As the Miami Central football team won its fourth state title in a row and fifth in six seasons, the Miami Herald prep sports team proved similarly unstoppable in providing the utmost coverage of South Florida's top athletes.

Keir Thomas, who decommitted from FSU in November, said "Florida State is back in the picture."

 

He was previously listing Auburn as his leader following his decommitment, but now likes South Carolina with Travaris "T-Rob" Robinson taking the defensive coordinator job under Will Muschamp with the Gamecocks.

Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma and UCF are other schools he's considering. Thomas says he wants to make a decision "no later than Jan. 1".

**Jamel Cook says he's solid to Florida State, but said he'll probably take visits to Miami, Alabama and South Carolina.

He adds that Auburn lost him without T-Rob there anymore.

 

**Darnell Salomon, a recent USF commit, said he's shut down his recruitment and the Bulls will be his team come National Signing Day.

 

**Navaughn Donaldson, a 2017 offensive line UM commit said the Canes will "100-percent" be his team.

 

**Another 2017 UM commit, Waynmon Steed, gave us an update on his rehab after missing his entire junior season with a left knee sprain.

 

**UF commit Eric Mitchell says his commitment to the Gators is "70 percent" at the moment. Mitchell says Lousiville, UCF and Colorado are the main ones "showing love" to comprise the other 30 percent.

Mitchell wants to visit Louisville on Jan. 15 followed by trips to UCF, Colorado and wrap it up before Signing Day at Florida.

He said all that off camera after he brought 2017 cornerback Allen Jones, who had a 90-yard fumble recovery returned for a touchdown early, into the interview.

 

**James Cook, Dalvin's younger brother and a freshman running back for Central, tore it up with 178 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

It's early in his recruitment as a 2019 recruit, but he did mention that the Canes were the school he grew up rooting for. Dalvin being at FSU may make a commitment to UM tough for him, however. Listen to everything he had to say in this one-on-one with Manny Navarro.

 

 **Also, a great moment in how injured 2017 cornerback Christopher Williams was brought out onto the field first in his wheelchair. Jamel Cook swapped jerseys with him for the game. He speaks: 

 

**One more interview with FIU commit and three-time varsity champ with Central, Donavan Thompson.

 

*Herald sportswriters David Furones, Manny Navarro and Andre Fernandez all contributed to this report.

December 11, 2015

Bruce reaffirms UM commitment, more recruiting notes from STA

Tons of recruiting notes and content from St. Thomas Aquinas' state championship victory on Friday night... starting... NOW.

Sam Bruce once again reaffirmed how strong his commitment is to UM. Bruce stuck with the Canes through the Al Golden firing and things remain the same now that Mark Richt was hired.

 

"We had a couple guys decommit, but just how I tell Michael Irvin, 'We're going to build off who we have and what we have,'" Bruce said.

He continued: "Miami's home. Who doesn't want to play at home in front of their home crowd? Who cares that it ain't that many people in the stands? It ain't that many people here [at the Citrus Bowl], but we got the job done, right? As long as we're getting the job done, who cares?"

Bruce also called Mark Richt a "phenomenal hire."

It was special for Bruce to get to share the moment with UM wide receivers coach Kevin Beard, who was in the front row of the stands. Beard coached Bruce when the two were together at University School under current St. Thomas coach Roger Harriott.

"That just shows how important I am to him," Bruce said. "He's an important dude to me. He's been a father figure in my life since eighth grade. KB is KB."

Bruce, who caught the Raider's first touchdown in a 45-10 rout, was one of three Hurricane commits to win a state title Friday night.

 

**Michael Irvin II said he's been waiting to play at UM since the second grade and is excited to finally make it happen.

 

Watch this video interview with Manny Navarro.

 **Trevon Grimes, a 2017 five-star wide receiver, still didn't show his hand in a potential commitment, but he did indicate that Ohio State, Florida and Florida State comprise his top three.

Grimes had several highlight-reel catches in the championship victory.

Grimes said Ohio State is his leader and that UM is still somewhere in the picture and potential for a spark later in his recruitment is there with Bruce talking to him.

 

**Jake Allen remains strong in his commitment to UF.

"I'm just happy to be a Gator," Allen said. "Coach Mac (Jim McElwain) is very happy. I talked to him before the game he just told me to go out there and do what I do every day. Overall, he's very happy with my season. I'm going to talk to him tonight."

Allen addressed how the Gators are recruiting other quarterbacks, including committed 2016 four-star Feleipe Franks from Wakulla (who played earlier Friday in the 5A title game) and Jacob Eason, a five-star recruit from Washington who has been committed to Mark Richt and Georgia since July 2014.

"I don't mind a bit," Allen said. "I love competition. When I came to St. Thomas there was competition, and I would expect it anywhere else I go. I embrace it. It brings out the best in me.

"I'm just gonna do what I do and let everything play out."

**2017 UM commit Tyler Dunning noted that he feels Rich was a great hire for the Canes and that he will meet him soon at a bowl practice.

 

*Herald sportswriters David Furones, Manny Navarro and Bill Daley contributed to this report.

Malek Young decommits from Georgia

Coconut Creek four-star cornerback and U.S. Army All-American Malek Young announced a decommitment from Georgia on Friday.

Young, previously not considering Miami, is now thought be a possibility to hop on board with the UM depending on the defensive assistant coaches hired by former Bulldogs coach -- now at the helm with the Canes -- Mark Richt.

Young currently has a UM visit scheduled for Jan. 15 and an Auburn visit set for the ensuing weekend.

December 06, 2015

Richt prioritizing linebacker recruiting, more UM recruiting nuggets

It really seems as if new Miami Hurricanes coach Mark Richt has taken a liking to the linebackers former coach Al Golden had committed.

He's made them a priority, already having some form of contact with commit Shaquille Quarterman and former commit Zach McCloud, who decommitted after the Al Golden firing but is close to jumping back into the class. Richt also watched Jacksonville Raines linebacker and UM commit Michael Pinckney play in his final high school game, a 43-23 defeat at the hands of now four-time Class 4A state champion Booker T. Washington.

Pinckney was a monster and all over the field. He finished the night with seven tackles (four solo), three for loss, an interception, a forced fumble, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry. Again, he was extremely impressive on the biggest stage at state in Orlando.

Richt, who was at the Citrus Bowl with running backs coach and former Booker T. coach Tim "Ice" Harris, as well as linebackers coach Hurlie Brown, had to have come away impressed.

 

"It's a great honor," said Pinckney of having Richt come out to watch him so early in his tenure. "That means they really care about me. That's why I committed -- because I know they care about me -- and I have a chance to do some great things in that program."

Richt is scheduled for an in-home visit with Pinckney on Monday.

What are Pinckney's thoughts on the Richt hiring?

"It's a great hire. He's a great coach," says Pinckney, who is set to be an early enrollee. "I feel like he can come in and do some great things for the University of Miami. I'm ready to play for him. I'm ready to get down there in January."

Pinckney played with a UM headband under his helmet -- one he says he wears for every game.

"It's pride. It's U pride," said Pinckney. "I've been a Cane since who knows when."

[[Check out this awesome picture of him coming out of the tunnel before the game.]]

Richt spent a portion of the game sitting in the stands and he just so happened to have a seat next to another linebacker commit in Quarterman.

Thanks to coordinator of on-campus recruiting Jorge Baez for capturing this moment with Richt and Quarterman combining to throw up the U.

With Pinckney's visit on deck in Jacksonville, McCloud got a visit from Richt, Brown and interim coach Larry Scott in his abode in Palm Beach County.

By the looks of the tweet, the smiles and the U's, it was a very successful trip.

As I've previously reported, McCloud has been planning a recommitment to the Canes for a while. It is likely to occur on his upcoming Dec. 13 visit -- a weekend that is also scheduled to host Pinckney, Quarterman, committed four-star quarterback Jack Allison and a slew of other top targets, according to 247 Sports.

Speaking of Allison, there's been a lot of talk about him lately because Richt had one of the top-rated quarterbacks in the nation committed to him while at Georgia in Washington-based five-star Jacob Eason. There's the thought floating around that Eason may follow Richt to the Canes.

Allison made an interesting public statement Sunday night.

One of the other recruits expected to be on UM's campus this upcoming weekend is Patrick Bethel, a four-star defensive end out of Vero Beach, who many believe is a Cane lean. Peter Ariz of CanesInSight.com reported that Bethel also had Richt and Brown visit him Sunday.

A couple of current three-star commits in Fort Lauderdale defensive end Jaquwan Nelson and Deltona tight end Evan Hinson remain firmly committed to UM and await to see how things play out regarding whether Richt will continue to recruit them as he begins combining recruiting boards at Georgia and Miami.

Hinson, who had 32 receptions, 541 yards and six touchdowns this season, was quoted in the Daytona Beach News-Journal as saying, "If they don't want me [anymore], that's probably not the school for me, but if they do want to still recruit me, I'll be right with them and stay committed."

Kentucky is a potential Plan-B destination for Nelson, who finished an incredible senior season with 75 tackles, 24 for loss, 18 sacks, three forced fumbles a fumble recovery and an interception. 

November 30, 2015

Elite Central WR Darnell Salomon commits to USF

Miami Central wide receiver Darnell Salomon, a 6-2, 200-pound four-star prospect and preseason No. 1 senior in Miami-Dade County according to the Miami Herald, committed to USF Monday morning.

Salomon took to Twitter to make his announcement.

"I talked it over with my family and I am now committed to USF#Go Bulls," Salomon tweeted.

Salomon is the first four-star player in the 247 Sports Composite Rankings that USF has been able to reel in since coach Willie Taggart took over in December of 2012.

"They are getting a big-time wide receiver. This is a prospect South Florida is missing on their team," says Central coach Roland Smith. "Darnell has good body control, hands and speed. He will make an impact when he gets to South Florida."

Reports in late September linked Salomon to UM as his favorite school. In the summer, Salomon named a top five to the Herald with neither UM nor USF in it, so the commitment came as a surprise to many recruiting followers.

Salomon was once rated a five-star recruit by Rivals. He had incredible sophomore and junior campaigns with Champagnat Catholic where he totaled more than 1,500 receiving yards and tallied 16 touchdowns, winning a state championship with the Lions in 2013.

"Salomon has talent to be a No. 1 wide receiver at the next level for USF," says Mike Tunsil, Salomon's coach at Champagnat. "USF is getting a great kid who is very coachable and a great team player. Coach Taggart and [wide receivers coach Ron] Dugans are getting a hard-working kid whose best football is ahead of him."

After transferring to Miami Central for his senior season, Salomon has posted 23 receptions for 398 yards and six touchdowns for the Rockets as they prepare to face Naples in a Class 6A state semifinal on Friday.

 

November 25, 2015

Sam Bruce out for regional final due to 'internal matter'

St. Thomas Aquinas star wide receiver Sam Bruce will not play in the Raiders' Region 4-7A final against Mater Academy on Friday.

Coach Roger Harriott said Bruce, a 2016 UM commit, will be held out due to an "internal matter."

Harriott added that the matter is "nothing serious." 

Bruce's status beyond Friday's playoff game against Mater is uncertain, and Harriott said the team will reassess the situation next week.

Bruce declined to comment when reached.

Bruce, the 5-8, 178-pound four-star slot receiver, provides the Raiders offense with unparalleled agility, acceleration and ability to make defenders miss in the open field.

On the year, Bruce has 40 receptions for 364 yards and three touchdowns with three more touchdowns on the ground.

Friday's matchup against Mater Academy pins the Raiders against former coach Rocco Casullo on Aquinas' home field.