When we hear those stories about the 4- and 5-star football prospects who are chased down for interviews and lauded by every recruiting service, fan website and college, it is nothing new. It goes on every year.
But what about those prospects who are overlooked and for some reason have to pretty much watch less-talented prospects get all the glory, while they fight for any attention possible?
For South Broward’s 6-foot-5 receiver Dennis Robinson and Piper standout athlete Raevon Clarke, it has been a matter of not getting upset with the process, focusing the attention on not proving people wrong, but proving themselves right.
Both are as good as you get. Physical, talented and more than capable of playing at the Power 5 level – but they will not dwell on things they have no control over.
Last Saturday, both were at the Premier Athletes skills workout at South Broward High. As they mixed in with the underclassmen who were on hand, they were still treated like any other prospect – who needed everything possible to succeed.
For Robinson, football is fairly new. He has only been playing the sport for two years – after a stellar youth basketball career.
His athletic ability is simply off the charts. Size, athleticism and a thirst to get better. That is what landed him a Northern Illinois offer – and why he will go in and start the process in the summer.
“I really learned a lot about the sport the past two years by just doing,” Robinson said. “We had three or four other receivers who also had to get the ball, but by coming out here with Sly (Johnson) and Premier Athletes, it is making up for those years I didn’t play.”
As Robinson has already started to chart his course to that next level, Clarke is still in the decision mode, but it is nothing new to his family. His older brother, Nevelle, was in the same situation when he came out of Taravella. He is a redshirt freshman defensive back at UCF.
Clarke was part of a Piper program that when to the playoffs, and by staying sharp with Johnson and Premier Athletes, he has really made a case for any school to watch and see what they are getting.
“To come out here and work with and against elite athletes has kept me ready for this coming season,” Clarke said. “I always think positive and work hard.”
As Robinson and Clarke come out each weekend to stay ready for what’s next, they are not alone.
Once again, Premier Athletes continue to be the place to learn. All you have to do is to take in a session and you will see some of the top high school and college players who started with this program when they were kids. They still come back.
“We are fortunate to have been a part of many of these young men’s careers,” Johnson said. “They came here fast and strong, but we showed them how to use that speed and strength to their advantage. Everyone who has come through Premier Athletes returns – pro or college.”
Remember, it was Premier Athletes that brought us such standouts as Skai Moore (South Carolina), Jorge Solano (Fordham), Michael Deeb (Notre Dame), Orville Reynolds (Wake Forest), Edgar Cerenod, Terrell Lucas and Chris Taylor (Duke); Devin Gaulden (Wisconsin), Keon Lyn (Syracuse), Brandon Boyce (Duke), Sean White (Auburn), MacGarrett Kings (Michigan State) and Tyler Cogswell (Cincinnati) to name a few.
“The great thing about the former players is they all come back and share things they’ve learned with the younger kids, and that’s priceless,” Johnson pointed out. “Having players getting the chance to compete against standouts such as Darnell Salomon (Miami Central/USF), Khalid McGee (Miami Northwestern/USF), Mike White (University School/Western Kentucky) and Tyler Monaco (Western/Lehigh), is something you cannot get anywhere else.”
Premier Athletes doesn’t always have to be about the stars like Jahcour Pearson (Flanagan/Western Kentucky), Johnny Huntley (South Plantation/Colorado). They can also be about working with athletes such as Flanagan graduate Tristen Kendrick, who was on offensive lineman for the Falcons and got no interest.
What Kendrick did was change positions and started coming out to Premier Athletes to learn technique at fullback. After putting together a tape of him working out, and sending to a few schools, he got an offer.
In addition to the high school and college athletes, there is Daniel Braverman, who started with Johnson from the beginning. As he gets ready for his second season with the Chicago Bears, he will begin working out again real soon with Premier Athletes.
THE NEXT WAVE OF TALENT
If you want to see the next group of standouts that Premier Athletes has each weekend, you better be prepared to see some very elite football players.
The competition attracts the top prospects in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.
“Why do you think I have my phone on camera all the time,” Johnson explained. “I will get one of those catches or picks that will make its way around the Internet. That is the kind of crazy talent we are dealing with here.”
Many of those underclassmen who continue to gain that edge each week – include receivers Akeem Hayes (South Broward), Logan Giordano (Chaminade-Madonna), Elijah Moore (St. Thomas Aquinas), Kevin Austin (North Broward Prep) and Samuel Oshidi (Coral Glades) to name a few. Quarterbacks Santiago Venegas (Miami Belen Jesuit) and Quinn Dempsey (Chaminade-Madonna) are joined by South Broward 2019 standout T.J. Smith (South Broward) are also getting better.
Defensive backs Miguel Edwards (Deerfield Beach) and UM commit Randy Russell (Carol City) are just a few of the elite players who show up to test their skills.
“The one thing that happens when you come to Premier Athletes to work, you are going to work,” Johnson explained. “When you have college level athletes such as Faion Hicks (Wisconsin), Emmanuel Greene (UCF), Josh Metelus (Michigan), Stanford Samuels (FSU), Larese Nelson (Michigan State), Dontavious Butler (Pittsburgh) and Dorain Hall (FIU), they want to work.”