September 27, 2013

Hurricanes on the Horizon: Nigel Bethel II

NigelBethel_RickRossEditor’s Note: Welcome to the first Hurricanes on the Horizon post here on the Miami Herald’s high school sports blog. This will be the first of many blog posts bringing you updates from University of Miami oral commitments in South Florida.

First up is the soft-spoken Nigel Bethel II, a Miami Booker T. Washington cornerback who has been committed to Al Golden and the Hurricanes since July. Bethel, formerly known as Nigel Pattontalks about a unique perk of playing for the No. 1 high school football team in the nation, how things are going in his personal life, and where he stands with the University of Miami.

On Wednesday night, some of my teammates and I met Rick Ross at Dave & Busters in Hollywood. It was cool meeting him. He's from Miami so he heard about us being the No. 1 team in the country so he wanted to meet us, and we didn't find out till the night of. It was a great experience though. He just said have tunnel vision, and stay focused because it ain't nothing out here in these streets. He was happy I'm committed to Miami and said ain't nothing better than putting on for the crib.

It's great being a 4-year starter at a top program like Booker T. We play Pace [Friday] at Pace so it should be a good game. I'm not recruiting anyone [to UM at the moment]. I'm trying to focus on winning a national title. We never won one.

Outside of football, I just brought Drake’s new album and I'm playing Grand Theft Auto 5 as we speak lol. This is my first time playing GTA in about six years. I don't know how to do nothing on here. Drake Cd's amazing. He's my favorite artist -- him and Kanye West.

I’m going to take an official visit to West Virginia on Oct. 19 with [my wide receiver teammate and Mountaineers commitment] Lamar Parker. My other visits [to Utah and Texas Tech] have been fun and been great experiences. I'm just going just to have fun that's all.

The UM coaches don't think much of me taking visits at all because they know I’m a 100 percent Miami boy.

Click here to follow Nigel Bethel on Twitter. And if you’re a South Florida high school sports player interested in having your own version of this blog, feel free to get in touch with Safid Deen (@Safid_Deen) at

September 25, 2013

Western coach Derek Segaloff resigns after players' protest

Davie Western coach Derek Segaloff resigned from his post Wednesday after a tumultuous start to his first season as coach.

Segaloff, 29, stepped down after meeting with school principal Jimmy Arroyo and his players, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Segaloff’s reign came to an end Monday when as many as 30 players protested his leadership by skipping the team’s practice.

The Wildcats have only scored three points in four games this season, while surrendering 114 total points to Cardinal Gibbons, South Plantation, Monarch and Everglades.

Wide receivers coach Jermaine Hollis, who was South Broward’s boys’ basketball coach last year, will replace Segaloff as head coach.

Western athletic director Cathy McCarthy reffered any other comments regarding the situation to Arroyo. Segaloff and Hollis did not respond to any phone calls or text messages.

Western hosts Miramar (4-0) on Friday.

August 25, 2013

August 23, 2013

August 08, 2013

UPDATE: Central, Booker T. each ranked nation's best in separate polls

It's no secret Miami Central and Miami Booker T. Washington each have some of the nation’s best talent.

On Thursday, the debate began as to which was better.

Central found out early in the day that it will open the season ranked No. 1 nationally by, which released its Top 100 preseason poll. But later in the day, Booker T. found itself in the No. 1 spot in USA Today’s Super 25 presesason rankings.

The teams will play each other Sept. 6.

In the Rivals poll, Central is joined in the top 10 by Booker T. (No. 4) and Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas (No. 9).

Central is also ranked No. 2 nationally by The Rockets have won two state titles in the past three seasons and advanced to at least the state semifinals four consecutive seasons.

USA Today, however, has Central ranked No. 7 and St. Thomas ranked No. 11.

Fort Lauderdale University School is also ranked at No. 38 completing South Florida's defending state champion quartet in the Rivals rankings.

Central is entering its first season under coach Roland Smith, who guided rival Miami Northwestern to a state title in 2006 - the last season he coached high school football prior to being hired this summer.

The Rockets return 10 starters on offense including their whole offensive line and star running backs Dalvin Cook and Joe Yearby. They also have six starters back on defense.

Central opens the regular season Aug. 30 at Plantation American Heritage, which is considered a top contender in Class 5A. The Rockets then take on Booker T. in a huge showdown Sept. 6.

Central also travels to play Don Bosco Prep (NJ), ranked No. 83 by Rivals, on Sept. 21. The Rockets also have tough district matchups against Northwestern, Carol City, Norland and Homestead and finish the season with a showdown against University School the weekend of Nov. 8.

Booker T. opens the season Aug. 24 at Norcross (Ga.), a team ranked No. 5 in the poll. The Tornadoes follow that with Central and a game Oct. 4 at No. 18 Las Vegas Bishop Gorman.

St. Thomas Aquinas opens with Northwestern Aug. 31 at Sun Life Stadium and two weeks later plays consensus defending national champion John Curtis Christian (La.) Sept. 13 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

In addition to their season-finale against Central, University School's schedule begins with a nationally-televised preseason game Aug. 25 against Homestead. The Suns later face Miami Norland, defending Class 8A state runner-up Weston Cypress Bay, Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson and have an Oct. 25 road date at Rivals No. 48 Bradenton Manatee.

August 05, 2013

High school football practice gets a midnight start in South Florida



            Columbus football players lined up and counted down to midnight “New Year’s Eve” style early Monday morning.

            For seven years, this is the way the Explorers have celebrated the start of a new football season.

            Under the lights of their on-campus field-turf practice field, Columbus broke the ice on the start of official practice for Miami-Dade County high schools with a 90-minute session reminiscent of the longtime college basketball season-opening tradition.

            “We try to get an eight-hour head start on everybody and try to get the most we can out of it,” Columbus coach Chris Merritt said. “It’s something the kids and their parents have fallen in love with over the years. It starts the season off the right way.”

            The traditional practice drew around 20 people the first year according to Merritt and has steadily increased over the years.

            A crowd of approximately 150 filled a few of the bleachers surrounding the field to look at the squad they hope can keep Columbus in the hunt for another deep playoff push. Merritt said the practice culminated a full day of team activities at the school, which included several guest speakers and a spiritual retreat.

Columbus is coming off back-to-back state semifinal appearances in Class 8A, but graduated several key players from last year’s 9-5 squad.

Senior linebacker Nick McBeath, an FIU commitment, and junior quarterback Tucker Beirne, who will enter his second season as the Explorers’ starter, are among the team’s top returners.

Beirne threw for over 1,800 yards as a sophomore and is ranked No. 21 among Miami-Dade County Class of 2015 prospects.

The Columbus backfield is looking for new leaders after the graduation of Daryl Chestnut and Lorenzo Woodley, who combined for 2,294 yards and 38 touchdowns. Senior Oshton Armstrong, who had over 500 yards and seven touchdowns last season, appears to be the frontrunner.

“We graduated 40 seniors so we need every hour for this team to be together,” Merritt said. “This [practice] means a lot to us.”

            Midnight practice could be a growing trend in South Florida as a few schools have discussed holding one next season. On Monday morning, Columbus wasn’t the only team working out.

In Broward County, Douglas High in Parkland was another school that held a 90-minute practice session that began at midnight.

            The Eagles, who are coming off a 3-7 season, are entering their first season under new coach Willis “Peanut” May. After spending the past eight seasons compiling a 59-30 record at Hurricane High in West Virginia, May brought the tradition of midnight practice to Douglas. May will try to help an Eagles squad compete in a tough District 11-8A that includes Coconut Creek Taravella, South Plantation and much-improved Deerfield Beach.

            Other South Florida teams were set to begin their practices either Monday morning or afternoon.

            Under the new Florida High School Athletic Association’s policies for fall practices, teams are only allowed one practice (three hours max) and a walk-through allowed for the first week, all of which are to be non-contact. For the first two days, teams can only practice in helmets and shorts before being allowed to wear shoulder pads the next three sessions.

            Full-contact practices are permitted from the sixth practice session onward and teams will be allowed to begin two-a-day sessions starting with their eighth practice session. Teams are not allowed to hold two-a-day sessions on consecutive practices, however, and cannot exceed 24 total practice hours in a week.

            Preseason classics begin the weekend of August 22-24.

The first regular season game involving a South Florida team will take place August 24th when defending Class 4A state champion Miami Booker T. Washington takes on Georgia powerhouse Norcross High at 7 p.m. in a matchup of nationally-ranked teams. The game is slated to be televised on ESPN.

August 04, 2013

Miami Herald Preseason: Broward Class of 2015 Top 25 football prospects

List compiled by Miami Herald recruiting analyst Larry Blustein:


1. Jordan Scarlett, RB, 6-0, 200, University School

2. Tyrek Cole, DB, 5-10, 175, Miramar

3. Shawn Burgess-Becker, DB, 6-2, 175, Monarch

4. Jason Strowbridge, DE, 6-4, 250, Deerfield Beach

5. Torrance Gibson, QB, 6-3, 195, Plantation American Heritage

6. Tavarus McFadden, DB, 6-2, 185, Plantation American Heritage

7. Alex Anderson, RB, 6-0, 200, Miramar

8. Leeward Brown, OL, 6-3, 300, Miramar

9. Calvin Ridley, WR, 6-1, 185, Monarch

10. Chris Hart, LB, 6-3, 200, St. Thomas Aquinas

11. Kendrell McFadden, S, 6-3, 185, McArthur

12. Rashard Causey, DB, 5-11, 180, University School

13. Deltron Sands, RB, 5-7, 175, St. Thomas Aquinas

14. Davante Peete, WR, 6-5, 190, St. Thomas Aquinas

15. Brandon Boyce, DL, 6-0, 240, University School

16. Christian Strachan, OL, 6-5, 315, Chaminade-Madonna

17. Jeffrey Hill, DB, 5-10, 165, Miramar

18. Tyson Ciserow, S, 6-1, 175, St. Thomas Aquinas

19. Taj McGowan, RB, 6-2, 185, Hallandale

20. Anthony Bennett, DE, 6-2, 215, Cypress Bay

21. Shamar Kilby, LB, 6-2, 190, Hallandale

22. Juwann Taylor, LB, 6-3, 200, Hollywood Hills

23. Rodrick Archer, S, 6-1, 200, South Plantation

24. John Antkiewicz, LB, 6-2, 210, St. Thomas Aquinas

25. Jawanza Evans-Morris, 5-9, 175, Taravella

Miami Herald Preseason: Miami-Dade Class of 2015 Top 25 football prospects

List compiled by Miami Herald recruiting analyst Larry Blustein:

2015 DADE TOP 25

1. Jaquan Johnson, Athlete, 5-10, 170, Miami Killian

2. Da'Vante Phillips, WR, 6-1, 190, Miami Central

3. Devonaire Clarington, TE, 6-5, 235, Miami Westminster Christian

4. Jovon Durante, WR, 6-1, 180, Miami Jackson

5. Timothy Irvin, Athlete, 5-9, 175, Miami Westminster Christian

6. Dominic Sheppard, LB, 6-2, 210, Gulliver Prep

7. Calvin Brewton, S, 6-0, 175, Miami Central

8. Gerald Robinson, DB, 5-10, 180, Hialeah Champagnat Catholic

9. Emilio Gibbs, LB, 6-3, 215, Coral Gables

10. Jordan Cronkite, RB/WR, 5-11, 180, Miami Westminster Christian

11. Keivonnis Davis, DE, 6-3, 225, Miami Jackson

12. Steven Claude, WR, 6-2, 185, Hialeah Champagnat

13. James King, LB, 6-2, 215, Miami Booker T. Washington

14. Terry Jefferson, LB, 5-10, 185, Miami Booker T. Washington

15. Robert Knowles, S, 6-1, 180, Miami Edison

16. Bruce Davis, LB, 6-0, 200, Miami Killian

17. Johnnie Hankins, RB, 5-10, 190, Homestead South Dade.

18. Davante Davis, WR, 6-3, 180, Homestead

19. Maurice Alexander, QB, 5-11, 170, Homestead

20. Deundre Pickett-White, Athlete, 6-1, 180, Southwest

21. Tucker Beirne, QB, 6-2, 233, Miami Christopher Columbus.

22. Brandon Silvestry, RB, 5-11, 185, Belen Jesuit

23. Anthony Olivencia, WR, 6-2, 170, Killian

24. Cedric Wiggins, QB, 6-0, 185, North Miami Beach

25. Vaquan Small, WR, 6-2, 175, Booker T. Washington


Miami Herald Preseason: Broward Class of 2014 Top 25 football prospects

List compiled by Miami Herald recruiting analyst Larry Blustein:


1. Sony Michel, RB, 5-11, 210, Plantation American Heritage

2. Anthony Moten, DL, 6-3, 280, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas

3. Khairi Clark, DL, 6-2, 325, Chaminade-Madonna

4. Brandon Powell, RB, 5-8, 175, Deerfield Beach

5. Sean White, QB, 6-2, 200, Fort Lauderdale University School

6. Corey Holmes, WR, 6-2, 180, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas

7. Chris Lammons, CB, 5-9, 185, Plantation

8. Quincy Wilson, DB, 6-2, 200, Fort Lauderdale University School

9. Trevon Lee, WR, 6-1, 175, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons

10. Richard Yeargin, III, OLB, 6-4, 225, Fort Lauderdale University School

11. Peyton Bender, QB, 6-2, 185, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons

12. Mardre London, RB, 6-1, 200, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas

13. Al Harris, DB, 5-11, 176, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas

14. Jaboree Williams, OLB, 6-1, 215, Fort Lauderdale

15. Nick Linder, OL, 6-3, 280, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas

16. Marquise Dudley-Gordon, S/RB, 5-11, 180, Weston Cypress Bay

17. Isaiah McKenzie, Athlete, 5-8, 165, Plantation American Heritage

18. Ravian Pierce, TE, 6-4, 215, Plantation

19. John Battle IV, S, 6-1, 180, Hallandale

20. Chris Taylor, WR, 6-1, 180, Fort Lauderdale University School

21. Terry McCray, OLB, 6-2, 220, Pompano Beach Blanche Ely

22. Derrick Tindal, DB, 5-11, 170, Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson

23. Dennis Turner, WR, 5-10, 165 Fort Lauderdale Dillard

24. Randy Ramsey, S, 6-3, 210, Fort Lauderdale Dillard

25. Carter Jacobs, S, 6-1, 200, Plantation American Heritage