While some believe that camps and combines are a waste of time for athletes, thinking that they can do better working on their own, there are others who feel that any exposure is positive.
In South Florida, there are enough events throughout the course of the offseason for any athlete to jump on the radar. Plenty of eyes watching, taking photos, shooting video and evaluating; often gives many of these prospects that extra exposure that could end up being the difference in attaining a college scholarship.
During February and March, combines are held all over the state of Florida – and plenty find their way down to this region, providing an opportunity to be watched a discovered.
Last weekend, “The Opening” held its Miami stop and hundreds of high school football prospects made their way to be seen and to make a statement.
While receiving an invite to attend The Opening in Oregon this summer is the objective for some; others are realistic and will use that forum to enhance their exposure – not for the free trip.
With 13 invites handed out, it turned out to be the prospects who did not receive that coveted trip out west that truly made a lasting impression. That is the motivation, especially here in South Florida, which gets our talented football players to that next level.
As hundreds tested and played football, plenty of eyes were on these young men – and while not all the reviews and accolades are handed out by those associated with the combine, having recruiting services and fan websites have become increasingly important to these talented athletes who are just trying to be noticed and have their names out there.
During the course of a year, we have the chance to put football prospects out for all to see. Nearly 300 from our On The Radar segment alone – not to mention over 1,000 more in other blogs and stories.
Today, we bring you six football players who may not have turned heads to get an invite to The Opening, but did things that had many impressed:
2018 – Kahric Belle, OL, 6-6-, 280, North Miami Beach: Since his freshman season, all eyes have been on this impressive big man. While he was injured during the playoffs, Belle is certainly a talented lineman who really turned heads. His size is the first thing you notice. But if you watch him perform during the course of a game, you will definitely see how gifted he is. The best thing about evaluating prospects for three and four years is you get to see maturity and talent come through.
2018 – Herman Jackson III, DB, 5-11, 170, Southridge: Yet another gifted football player who we have been fortunate to have watched from the time he began at Killian. Jackson is an extremely talented football player who brings everything to the table. In his final offseason as a high school football player, Jackson is certainly a talent that continues to turn heads and draw praise wherever he goes. Keep your eye on his progress during his final season.
2018 – Demetrius Mayes, Jr., DT, 6-2, 235, Miami Northwestern: Yet another prospect who is starting to turn heads in the offseason as the Bulls continue to rebuild that defense. Mayes is a strong and quick athlete who has the opportunity to jump on the radar screen during the offseason as well as in the spring. He will be a very important part of a team that figures to make a run at a state title in 2017. Still learning, but will end up making a solid contribution.
2018 – Teriq Phillips, WR, 6-1, 170, St. Thomas Aquinas: If you are a football fan, you should be used to the Raiders getting quality athletes like this to step up and make an impact. Watching him at camps and offseason events, Phillips is a very talented football player who runs well and is physical enough to compete with the best. Everyone is interested in watching him during the spring as the defending Class 7A state champions make a push to get back to Orlando.
2018 – Robert Ruebel, DB, 5-10, 170, Davie Western: After watching him last spring and summer and then having the pleasure of checking out a number of Western games, this is the player that stood out and made a major impact each week. Ruebel is a very talented football player who will continue to give head coach Adam Ratkevich and the Wildcats a major force in the secondary. College coaches need to keep an eye on his productivity, which is what he is all about.
2019 – Keontra Smith, S, 6-0, 195, Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna: We have put this young man out a number of times over the past six months. Every single event, game or practice he is part of, Smith is definitely someone who stands out and makes a major difference. He has the chance to be among the best in Florida over the next two years – combining speed, strength and plenty of athletic ability. He hits like a truck and covers as well as anyone; watch his progress and you will be blown away.