The great thing about living in South Florida, especially this time of year, is everyone is watching what happens on high school football fields from Deerfield Beach to Homestead.
With several college coaches in the 305 and 954 to check out some of the amazing talent this region of the country produces, it is often easy to overlook some of the under-the-radar prospects.
With promotion and competition being the name of the game these days, any event that is held has the attention of so many – even if it happens to be smack in the middle of spring practice.
Last Saturday, while many athletes were taking part in spring scrimmages and the state track meet, a group of prospects, selected from the local talent pool, had the chance to take part in a competitive and instructional testing combine.
The first ever Savage Combine, sponsored by Sleefs (https://sleefs.com/), took place at University School in Davie – as running, jumping and catching the ball became the order of the day.
A number of local prospects took part in this quality event that attracted such stars as Miami Dolphins’ linebackers Kiko Alonso and Neville Hewitt among others who shared their experiences with the youngsters who attended.
From Miami to Fort Lauderdale and everywhere in between, athletes came with the idea of getting themselves exposure by showing that they have what it takes for college coaches to pay full attention.
This was one of those events that attracted local head coaches as well as their assistants to a testing combine that was yet another way of gaining exposure.
“This was designed to give some of the local prospects additional exposure at the time where they are in shape and ready to showcase their skills,” explained event organizer Mike Garcon. “When you are looking at a place like South Florida, you can never have enough events that will spotlight those quality under-the-radar athletes.”
Indeed, when you have rising seniors such as Miami Central’s Seth McGill (https://www.hudl.com/profile/7573760/seth-mcgill) and Northwestern’s versatile athlete Justin Hill, Jr. (http://www.hudl.com/profile/4715549/justin-hill-jr), getting more exposure in important. These two prospects are clones. They both came into high school as standout quarterbacks – and at 95 percent of the schools in the region – would be starting.
McGill has played receiver, quarterback, slot, and anywhere that head coach Max Edwards needs him to perform.
He also is there to step in when highly-regarded Tutu Atwell needs relief at quarterback.
“I hope that college coaches are watching how many ways I can make a difference at the next level,” Hill explained. “Being able to do play a number of positions can only benefit me.”
McGill is the same way, and from the moment he arrived on campus, head coach Roland Smith has used him everywhere.
“If we are going to get back to state, we need everyone to do as much as they can,” McGill explained. “I told the coaches that it doesn’t matter where I play, as long as I can help this team win.”
Neither Hill or McGill ever complain about their roles with their respective teams, and that should be something that college coaches need to listen to!
PUTTING THEIR BEST FEET FORWARD
While Hill and McGill were certainly fun to watch at the combine, they were not alone. There were some eye-catchers who went through testing and drills and did their thing.
2018 – Quavon Beckford, 5-10, 163, Miami Northwestern: Here is someone we have been able to watch the past few years. While he started to show promise at Booker T. Washington, Beckford didn’t get the chance to showcase his skills. This year, with several new faces, he could be a real surprise for the Bulls.
2020 – Thaiu Jones-Bell, 5-11, 180, Carol City: This youngster who started his career at Hallandale, makes the move to play for the defending Class 6A state champs, and has plenty to offer. Jones-Bell catches the ball very well and is extremely athletic – which will only get him on the field faster.
2020 – Khalil Brantley, 6-1, 165, Doral Academy: One of the elite 2020 players nationally. He has the size, speed and overall athleticism to make an impact for the next three years, playing against elite competition. Brantley is certainly a football talent who is only going to get better.
2021 – Jamal Browder, American Heritage Plantation: One of the promising football players who has four years left to mature and get better. He has what it takes to play the game, but has so much to learn, which will come in time.
2018 – Derrick Davis, 5-11, 180, Northwestern: Here is yet another talent that the Bulls have on the roster for 2017 that can make a difference. Davis has outstanding hands and is very athletic. The spring and summer will be vital to his role with this team.
2018 – Eddie Gabriel, 6-0, 175, Dr. Krop: The Lightning will truly be a team to watch in the district because if prospects like this. Gabriel is a pass catcher that have speed, size and knowledge of how to play the position. He is a quality football talent.
2021 – Bitoven Lorquette, WR (Middle School): This is another of the young men who ran well, showed his skill level of the football field – and was among the best rising prospects that attended. He is expected to enroll at Mourning High School in North Miami in the fall.
2018 – Jason Lubin, 5-8, 150, Hialeah: Lubin is one of the talented athletes that head coach Steve Smith has been talking about. He has plenty of skill and the ability help the T-Breds in 2017.
2021 – Jaden McBurrows, WR (Middle School): Yet another youngster who will be one of the best youngsters in the class, this is a future standout who does a lot of things right – at such a young age. He ran and tested extremely well. Four years of high school football await.
2018 – Cedrick Mesidor, 6-1, 175, Dr. Krop: Thinking about how productive this program can be in 2017, here is the talent that continues to be overlooked. Mesidor ran and tested well. He is a talent that could emerge in 2017 – in a big way.
2018 – Terry Michel, 5-11, 155, Coconut Creek: Despite losing a number of talented football prospects, the Cougars and head coach Gerald Cox have athletes like Michel, who has the chance to really make an impression this season. He runs well and catches the ball against just about everyone.
2018 – Edwin Reed, 6-1, 180, Miami Dr. Krop: Here is a talent that we have watched for the past two years, and there is no doubt that this is easily the most underrated and under-exposed receiver in South Florida. Not only is Reed a tremendous tester, but his football skills are off the charts. He makes the move to Miami-Dade County from Hollywood Hills, where he has played the past two seasons.
2021 – Jayson Salkey (Middle School): One of the big-time rising prospects for his class, this is a football talent that turns heads anywhere he goes. He has tremendous hands, excellent speed and is leather tough. He will not go down on the first hit and has a lot of potential.
2018 – Timothy Scippio, 6-2, 195, Coconut Creek: Another of the true standouts that people are missing. Scippio is a big and physical football player who runs well and catches the ball in traffic. When you watch this standout, you will be sold. He is the real deal and way under the radar.
2018 – Kidron Moore-Shuler, Miami Central: With three starting receivers gone from last year, the Rockets are going to need athletes like this to come in and step up. Moore-Shuler has the talent to make some noise.
2019 – Jovon Smith, 6-1, 160, Hialeah: This Miami Beach transfer will only enhance this program this season – in a year where the district is up for grabs. Smith is an all-around athlete who has the opportunity to make a name for himself. He had a very good showing at the combine.
Peter Zamora (13U Plantation Wildcats). Not often you have a young prospect like this. One who has such a strong arm. Still two years away, and he will mature and grow – which is very exciting
2019 – Danny Pierre-Louis, 5-10, 175, North Miami Mourning: In an area that struggles to produce top-shelf quarterbacks, here is one who has flown way beneath the radar screen. Pierre-Louis is easily one of the best in the class. Throwing to all the quality receivers on hand for the combine, Pierre-Louis made many people believers.