June 30, 2015

UM commit Travis Homer excited about opportunity with Hurricanes

Travis HomerI got to catch up with four-star UM running back commit Travis Homer at the Nike Football Opening Team Games hosted by his high school, West Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy.

He talked about what led him to commit to the Hurricanes.

"A big thing was that it's close to home, so I'll be able to see my family," said Homer, who also lists UM's business school as a priority in choosing the school.

Homer likes what he's seen out of Hurricanes coach Al Golden in the recruiting process.

"I really like his character," Homer says. "I can tell he's a really down to earth guy. He enjoys being around the kids. He's just a good man overall."

Homer is one of three running backs in Miami's 2016 recruiting class along with Amir Rasul of Coral Gables and Zack Moss of Hallandale. He doesn't mind a crowded backfield depth chart and adds that UM's academics are too good to turn down.

"I think the class coming in is going to be a great bunch of kids, and we're just going to be able to go out there and show what our class has to offer," Homer says. "We're going to have a competitive environment out there."

Homer committed at the 7-on-7 Adidas South Florida Shootout that UM hosted on campus.

"It was a great opportunity to have everyone go out there and show their skills in a competitive environment," he says. "That was great how they set it up."

His school also had a tremendous setup, hosting four 7-on-7 games at once on Saturday in a tournament Carol City ultimately won.

"I think it's great exposure for our school," Homer says. "Everyone's starting to get to know us because we're such a new school."

At 5-11 and 195 pounds, Homer runs a 4.48-second 40-yard dash, according to his Hudl page.

His highlights:

 Photo by David Furones//FOR THE MIAMI HERALD

June 27, 2015

Sights from The Opening Team Games

The Nike Football Opening Team Games were held at West Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy on Saturday.

They had 16 South Florida 7-on-7 teams in total and four different fields running at a time.

In the end, Carol City cruised to a 44-23 victory in the championship game against Flanagan. This picture below was taken during the celebration over one of the Chiefs' interceptions in the contest.

Carol City INT

Quarterback Stephen "Buckshot" Calvert was phenomenal in finding his receivers consistently. Here's his one-on-one interview with the Miami Herald.

 

While Carol City won the 7-on-7 team tournament, Flanagan's runner-up finish plus victories in the individual skills competition at quarterback, wide receiver and 40-yard challenges were enough to put the Falcons over the top in overall points.

Dirty Birds

One of the players on the host team is four-star running back and UM commit Travis Homer, who took a second to show his allegiance to the cameras.

Travis Homer

A UM decommit not too long ago who has since jumped on board with the Michigan Wolverines in what's appearing to develop into a little bit of a pipeline between Flanagan and Michigan, Devin Gil was held out due to an arm injury but took a second to show love to Michigan throwing up the M.

Devin Gil

You'll want to stay tuned to the blog as interviews with both Homer and Gil are coming, as well as updates on Darnell Salomon, Joseph Jackson and Clevan Thomas.

June 26, 2015

Nike Football Opening team games on Saturday

The Nike Football Opening team games in South Florida are slated for Saturday morning at West Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy.

Each school's 7-on-7 team team will play four games and then have individuals participate in a series of skill challenges that will aggregate points toward a collective team score.

Miami-Dade and Broward schools participating include:

Flanagan

Carol City

Coconut Creek

Southridge

Coral Reef

Gulliver

Columbus

Deerfield Beach

McArthur

North Miami

Norland

Boyd Anderson 

Miami Northwestern

Miami Central

Booker T. Washington

Skill challenges: quarterback challenge, place kicker, linemen, wide receiver, speed agility, 40-yard dash.

The action begins at 9 a.m. with individual challenges beginning at 1 p.m. Teddy Bridgewater (Miami Northwestern alum) and Antonio Brown (Miami Norland) are among those attending as special guests. 

 

June 22, 2015

June 08, 2015

Tyler Dunning: "I'm all Cane right now"

Dillard linebacker and 2017 UM commit Tyler Dunning did an exclusive video interview with the Miami Herald at the UM 7-on-7 last Sunday.

 

Since it's hard to hear with all the blaring music, here are some of his quotes.

Why did you decide to commit to UM when you did?

"I felt it was a good opportunity to come here and it was already close to home," Dunning says. "I like everything about the school. I like the vibe, I like everything."

Dunning says he's even trying to recruit his teammates on a talented Dillard defense -- most notably 2017 defensive end Jon Ford, who has a Miami offer and 2016 defensive tackle Aaron Thompson and linebacker Kenneth Ruff, who are waiting on UM offers.

"I tell them all the time that if they come we're going to bring the U back, there isn't any point in leaving," Dunning says.

Dunning adds Ruff is considering South Carolina and Thompson LSU, but "if Miami offers, they're going to come."

He says other schools coming on strong are FAU, FIU, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina but adds "I'm all Cane right now. My decision isn't changing right now."

June 07, 2015

One-on-one with Southridge 4-star WR Freddie Pinder

Freddie Pinder, four-star wide receiver from Miami Southridge, took some time to speak with me last Sunday at the UM 7-on-7. Here's everything he was talking about in this exclusive interview with the Miami Herald.

 

Besides Miami, the 2016 prospect lists West Virginia, Alabama, South Carolina and Louisville among his top college choices.

Regarding Miami, Pinder says, "They still hold a place in the top. They still have a chance."

The 6-5 receiver would like to visit the other schools more often but distance plays a factor. That works in favor of the hometown Hurricanes.

"My mom wants me to stay home, but she's going to support me wherever I go," he says.

Pinder adds that he is willing to travel regardless.

May 19, 2015

Lichtenstein: "I'd probably commit" if offered by Canes; Parchment names top three

There's a lot of recruiting activity brewing out of Cypress Bay as spring comes to its conclusion for the Lightning.

All you had to do was look at how many colleges were represented at Cypress Bay’s spring game on Tuesday to identify how much interest there is in the Lightning’s prospects.

Georgia Tech, Duke, USF, Illinois, Indiana, Cincinnati, Syracuse and Bowling Green all had coaches in Weston on Tuesday.

Jake Lichtenstein (6-5, 235 pounds), a Class of 2017 defensive end, is a hot prospect due to his obvious size, motor and long arms.

Lichtenstein lists a recent offer from Louisville as his first but has also drawn significant interest from the hometown Miami Hurricanes and he says he is a big fan of the U.

How would he react if UM offered him?

“I’d probably commit,” says Lichtenstein, who is also being recruited by Auburn, Virginia and UCF. “I’ve always liked UM – hometown team, family can show up to watch. That’s a dream.”

 

Cypress Bay coach Mark Guandolo has been impressed with Lichtenstein – and not just for his play on the gridiron.

“He’s put on a lot of weight in the offseason program, he’s got a 4.5 GPA, he’s an all-around great kid,” Guandolo says.

Andrew Parchment, a three-star 2016 wide receiver, has announced a top three of Cincinnati, USF and Syracuse – in that order. Immediately after the scrimmage, he had a different third team, but after being contacted by Syracuse later Tuesday, the Orange are gaining momentum in his recruiting picture.

“Cincinnati, right now, has to be my No. 1 offensive-wise and because they have a bunch of South Florida guys,” says Parchment, whose name on Twitter is OchoCinco and his cover photo is one of Chad Johnson (or Ochocinco) in a Cincinnati Bengals uniform.

For now, Parchment tentatively says he will announce a commitment on Twitter at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.

At the scrimmage, his size at 6-4 was evident and he also displayed a keen sense of route-running and sharp change of direction. He stopped on a dime in the end zone on a comeback route to catch a touchdown at the pylon.

Parchment and 2016 cornerback Darrell Malone are close friends, both have offers from Cincinnati and could see themselves playing together at the next level.

“That’s one of my best friends on the team, so me and him have been talking about it for a little bit,” Parchment says.

Malone, also a three-star at 5-11, 165, was a shutdown corner on defense and also got in offensively to show his burst and run in a touchdown on a sweep.

He had thoughts of announcing a commitment on Wednesday but interest from Georgia Tech, Syracuse and Indiana after the scrimmage has him holding off for the time being.

“They’re great players, good team guys, hard workers, very talented, very tough competitors,” Guandolo says. “They’re going to be ready to play early.”

--Middle linebacker Robert Pitter was an “animal” tackling, as Guandolo put it. Pitter, the Lightning’s leading tackler, is undersized at 5-9, but he more than makes up for it with how strong he plays and how he knifes through the line to make tackles for loss. Guandolo compared him to former Cypress Bay linebacker Nico Marley, who is now at Tulane.

--Rising junior FB/DB Danny Montoya was a workhorse back in the scrimmage and reeled off some impressive runs. He’s receiving interest from Ivy League and Patriot League schools.

--Guandolo also praised rising senior R.J. Rosario at safety and his defensive line, namely Nesta Silvera, a 2018 nose guard that’s already 6-2, 285, and starting end Nicolas Wucher.

May 18, 2015

Deerfield Beach safety James Pierre commits to UM

James Pierre, a three-star defensive back out of Deerfield Beach, orally committed to UM Monday evening after receiving an offer earlier Monday.

The 6-1, 175-pound safety becomes the 21st commitment of the Canes’ 2016 recruiting class and sixth defensive back, joining Tyler Byrd (Naples), Devin Gil (Pembroke Pines Flanagan), Deion Jackson (Hallandale), James Wiggins (Homestead South Dade) and Cedrick Wright (Miami Gulliver).

UM will have safeties Deon Bush and Dallas Crawford go into their senior seasons in the fall while juniors Jamal Carter and Rayshawn Jenkins have two years of eligibility remaining.

The Canes had four freshman defensive backs – safety Robert Knowles and cornerbacks Sheldrick Redwine, Michael Jackson and Terrance Henley – enroll on Sunday while safety Jaquan Johnson enrolled in the spring.

Pierre, the nation’s 27th-ranked safety according to Rivals, had other notable offers from Wisconsin, West Virginia, North Carolina, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Syracuse, Cincinnati and FIU.

 

March 16, 2014

2014 Miami Nike Football Training Camp Recap

Photo (4)

A who’s who list of high school football players from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties participated at the Nike Football Training Camp at Plantation’s American Heritage High School on Sunday with eight players earning the distinct honor of being invited to Nike’s The Opening event.

From left in the photo above: Palm Beach Gardens linebacker Tevon Coney, Miramar cornerback Kendrell McFadden, Miami Central wide receiver Da’Vante Phillips, Heritage quarterback Torrance Gibson, Monarch wide receiver Calvin Ridley, Heritage cornerback Tarvarus McFadden, Miami Central safety Calvin Brewton and Miramar cornerback Tyrek Cole were all invited to the nation’s premier football camp held in July at Nike’s headquarters in Beavertown, Ore.

“I’ve been watching this event since a little kid and it means a lot,” Cole said. “I feel like I accomplished something big so that feels good.”

Said Coney: “I’ve been praying for a long time that I would get invited, and I just continued to work hard, stay humble, and waited for my chance to get it.”

Added Ridley: “I’m just happy I got it, but I’m going to be more happy when I get there.”

Several players also earned most valuable players honors for their respective positions. Phillips, Coney and Cole won MVP honors for the receivers, linebackers and cornerbacks, respectively. Miami Booker T. Washington quarterback Maurice Alexander, Lake Worth Park Vista running back Zander Bernard, Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna offensive lineman Christian Strachan, and Coral Gables defensive lineman Jarred McGahee also won MVP honors.

“I’m speechless,” Strachan said. “I thought some other guys would’ve got it, but I guess I showed out.”

Honorable mentions from the event:

--Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas 2016 wide receiver Sam Bruce was one of the best performers during the event, but did not receive an invite. Westminster Christian running back Jordan Cronkrite was also a snub. But check out these videos of Bruce, in white, outdueling Killian's Jaquan Johnson (in the first video) and Wesminster defensive back Tim Irvin during 1-on-1 drills. 

 

--Miami Gulliver Prep wide receiver Dionte Mullens was also a standout. Check out this sick catch he had captured by ESPN.

 

Recruiting notes

--As much as Da’Vante Phillips tries to sidestep the topic, it’s close to inevitable he’s going to commit to Florida State to reunite with running back teammate Dalvin Cook.

HvjYw.St.56Phillips, right, visited FSU on Feb. 22 with Cook showing him around Tallahassee, and said “It feels good knowing that’s a good environment.”

Phillips left Sunday’s event to hang out with Cook, who was in town for spring break. On playing together at the next level, Phillips said “We’re going to be dominant. We do good when we’re with each other.”

Phillips also isn’t concerned with having to compete with Seminoles receivers Ermon Lane (Homestead), Travis Rudolph (West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman) and Javon Harrison (Lakeland Kathleen) if he does end up at FSU.

“I’m not going to say I’m better than those guys,” Phillips said, “but I’m just going to have to work to get that spot.”

Phillips, a former Florida commit, said he’s not been having as much communication with the Gators coaching staff as of late. UM is also in the picture for Phillips, who wants to take visits to Auburn, Louisville, Ohio State and Alabama sometime this summer.

 

Photo 2

 --Tevon Coney, right, has seen his recruitment skyrocket once the 2014 signing period came to a close.

Coney holds offers from more than 15 schools in the country and has interest from at least 10 more schools. Coney said he doesn’t have any favorites and is wide open at the moment with visits to UM this coming week, and visiting UF on Friday and Saturday.

Coney said both schools are recruiting hard, with Florida “recruiting him the hardest.” Ohio State, Tennessee and Clemson are also showing him the most love.

 

 

Photo 4--UM commit Charles Perry, a 2015 linebacker from Royal Palm Beach, said he’s “100 percent committed to Miami, but I’m also open because you never know what’s going to happen.”

Perry, who committed to UM in June 2013, said he talks to UM’s coaches about “once a week.” He’s also hearing from Tennessee, West Virginia, Auburn, Illinois, Minnesota and Central Florida.

Perry said he’s not really trying to recruit other players to UM, but is trying to get in Coney’s ear.

“I’d love to play next to him,” Perry said of Coney.

 

RVVhc.St.56--Miami Killian safety Jaquan Johnson said Florida, Miami, Alabama, Ohio State and Florida State have been keeping in touch with him, but said he doesn’t have a school that stands out on top for him at this point.

He plans to visit UM before the end of March and Alabama for its spring game on April 19.

As you see from the photo on the right, UM is the favorite to land Johnson.

 

 

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--Calvin Ridley said Alabama and Miami are still stand on top for him and close friend Shawn Burgess-Becker, but he is not in any rush to commit to a school.

“I just want to take my time, get my work done, and then I’ll focus on [recruiting],” Ridley said.

 

February 10, 2014

2014 Miami Nike SPARQ Combine Recap

Although Nike made its way to South Florida to showcase some of the top, rising high school football players in the area, two athletes far from home stole the show.

Nike continued its SPARQ Combine Tour at North Miami Stadium on Sunday with 2016 wide receivers Tyler Bryd (Naples High) and Brock Miller (Vero Beach Saint Edward’s) earning the only two unofficial ratings eclipsing 100 points.

Byrd, an early University of Florida commitment had the highest SPARQ (speed, power, agility, reaction and quickness) rating amongst the more than 1,500 prospects who participated with a score of 102.54, highlighted by his scores in the 40-yard dash (4.61 seconds), kneeling power ball thrown (38 feet) and vertical jump (38.8 inches). Miller finished with a 101.82, highlighted by his 4.25-second time in the 20-yard shuttle run and 38-feet attempt in the kneeling power ball throw.

The ratings come from tests in the above events, with players also having the options to scratch a time if they wish it not be reported. Having a score scratched, in turn, negatively affects an overall score, which would affect a player’s ability to get invited to a Nike Football Training Combine or even The Opening – Nike’s premier summer event showcasing the top high school players in the country.

Twelve players had ratings of 90 or higher, with three just barely missing the 100-point threshold. Miami Norland 2015 defensive back Carlton Davis had the third highest overall score with 99.78, followed by Miami Gulliver Prep running back Robert Burns – the highest rated 2017 prospect – with a 99.69, and Palm Beach Central 2015 linebacker Frantz Frezin (99.12).

Miami Braddock 2015 running back Lazaro Cespedes (96.54), South Plantation 2015 linebacker and Florida Atlantic commit Rodrick Archer (94.98), Hialeah Champagnat Catholic wide receiver Steven Claude (94.89), Coconut Creek 2015 wide receiver Korron Rozier (93.45), Miami Gulliver Prep 2015 safety Antonyo Sotolongo (92.70), Miami Booker T. Washington 2016 running back Mark Walton (91.47) and West Broward 2016 running back Ricardo Rosario (91.32) round out the athletes from South Florida who had ratings more than 90.

Pembroke Pines Flanagan’s Ryan Stanley was the highest-rated quarterback amongst all participants with an 86.94 rating, marked by a 4.62 40-yard dash, 4.50 20-yard shuttle run and 36-foot kneeling power ball throw.

Miami Coral Reef’s Joe Suarez was the highest-rated defensive lineman with his 88.74 rating, followed by Coconut Creek’s Kermit Silva (87.66), Miami Northwestern’s Keir Thomas (87.48) and Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas’ Wyatt Ray (85.71) and Deerfield Beach’s Jason Strowbridge (84.75).

Aquinas' Samuel Clausman was the highest-rated offensive lineman with an 81.39 score.

Top performers in each event:

--40-yard dash: Miami Christopher Columbus 2016 running back Amir Rasul with a 4.52 time.
--20-yard shuttle run: Plantation 2015 wide receiver Mitch Milfort with a 4.12 time.
--Kneeling power ball throw: Strowbridge with 42 feet.
--Vertical jump: Naples High 2016 running back Carlin Fils Aime with 40.8 inches.

Click here for the complete unofficial results from the Miami NFTC combine.