In a region of the country that is known for turning out professional talent each year, it should come as no surprise that Miami-Dade County is home to the most prospect rich football teams you will see anywhere.
If you take that one step further, there is a district – of teams that play each other throughout the season – that has become affectionately known as the “SEC of high school football”.
Welcome to District 16-6A: Home of the defending state champion Miami Carol City Chiefs – and Miami Central, which had won the title four of the past five seasons before last year.
The district also includes Hialeah Miami-Lakes, Miami Norland and the team that will head into the season as the program to beat – longtime power Miami Northwestern.
There is not a district anywhere with the caliber of teams this group of schools has. It will be home to nearly 75 D1A-level prospects. Some states do not have that many – and that shows you how powerful this area truly is when stocking the local schools.
Many of those athletes that play for these quality programs have come through Liberty City or Miami Gardens. Easily the two most impressive areas nationally, when it comes to producing all athletes.
Track standouts, football players and basketball standouts have found their way out of these fertile communities – and there is no end in sight.
As many programs across the country continue to sit on their lofty national rankings, playing one or two elite teams each season, the football players in this district not only play each other, but will play at Las Vegas Gorman, Hoover (Alabama), Don Bosco Prep (New Jersey) – as well as Florida powers Lakeland, Jacksonville Raines and Dwyer to name a few.
“It’s something that you cannot explain, “Central head coach Roland Smith said. “The talent level down here – especially in this district – is like no other. I often try and explain to people around the country that the nationally-rated teams they read about are in our district – not just our region.”
Through the years, this has been the place you will find at least one school playing for a state title. With Overtown and powerhouse Booker T. Washington right down the block, these programs all get a chance to add them to a schedule that is already competitive and loaded with talent.
Carol City Chiefs
Head Coach: Benedict Hyppolite (1st Year)
2016 Record: 11-3
CRYSTAL BALL: Repeating last year will be very tough – with the loss of head coach Aubrey Hill and Defensive Coordinator Damon Cogdell – but there is a lot of talent, and anything can happen.
Top Prospects: On offense, one of the best backfields in the state – with University of Miami commit Camron Davis (RB, 2018), Nayquan Wright (RB, 2019) and quarterback Marlon Smith (2018), who led the Chiefs to their 2017 title.
Defensively, University of Miami commit Randy Russell (2018, S), big time outside linebacker Yasir Abdullah (2018) and playmaker Kewan Parker (2018, S).
Head Coach: Roland Smith
2016 Record: 6-2
CRYSTAL BALL: For the first time in four years, the Rockets season did not end with a win and a state title. The program has started to put the pieces back together after losing several prospects to graduation. Strong defense with an offense with potential should keep this team right in the middle of the race all season.
Top Prospects: On offense, FSU commit James Cook (2018, RB), Terrell Perriman (2018, WR), Seth McGill (2018, Athlete) and linemen Taurean Stafford (2018) and Maurice Smith (2018, OL) are the headliners, but there are more to watch as well.
Defensively, linebacker Robert Hicks (2018), defensive backs Davonta Wilson (2018), Hunter Goetz (2018), Arthur Brathwaite (2018) and Chandler Jones (2018) are outstanding. So are ends Dwayne Broyles (2018) and lineman Malik Edwards.
Hialeah-Miami Lakes Trojans
Head Coach: Tyronn Johnson
2016 Record: 4-6
CRYSTAL BALL: When you happen to have four other teams in your district that are receiving national attention, there is nothing else to do but get better and compete like every game is the state championship, that is what the Trojans will need to do this season – as there are several tremendous athletes to go into battle with.
Top Prospects: Among the top prospects on offense include: receiver Keshawn Brownlee (2018), running back Chrisden Francois (2018), running back Trentin Gray (2018) and quarterback Antonio Caraballo (2018) – although several newcomers have started to make some noise as well.
On defense, there are prospects such as Nicholas Rivera (2018, DE), Henderson Lorfils (2018, S), linebacker Joseph St. Louis (2019) and 2019 receiver Norman Pickens to name a few.
Head Coach: Daryle Heidelburg
2016 Record: 4-6
CRYSTAL BALL: If you are looking for a team to make a major move this season, this could be the surprise. They are loaded with talent – and like four other programs in the district – they return their starting quarterback and plenty of pieces from a solid defense.
Offensively, things are much improved with the addition of running back Craig Cooper from McArthur. The Class of 2018 prospect is one of the several who will enhance this program. Others include: receiver Blake Veargis (2018), Alec Carr (2018, QB), Jaquan Denson (2018, WR), Kevon O’Connor (2018, WR) and lineman Artic Harris (2018).
The defense will be strong with prospects such as: Eric Smith (2018, DB), linebacker Darius Williams (2019), Khalil Jordan (2018), linebacker Wayne Barr (2018) and several more athletes who continue to jump into the spotlight.
Head Coach: Max Edwards
2016 Record: 10-2
CRYSTAL BALL: One of the best teams in the nation this season, the Bulls are back on top – and the world is a much better place for football fans in South Florida. Loaded on defense and plenty of key playmakers on the offensive side of the ball – including one of the elite quarterbacks in the country in Class of 2018 standout Tutu Atwell, this is going to be quite a ride.
Top Prospects: It all begins on defense with tremendous talent such as: defensive ends/linemen Samuel Brooks, Jr. (2019), Demetrius Mayes (2018), Derrick Nicholson (2018), Calijah Kancey (2019), Zechariah Easdaille (2018), Walter Fowles (2018) and Devontae McCray (2018) to mention a few. There is also gifted linebacker Marlon Pelot (2018).
There are also defensive backs Divaad Wilson (2018), who is headed to the University of Florida, Rachad Wildgoose (2018), who committed to Rutgers, Thomas Burns (2018), a Miami commit, Sharod Oliver (2018) and Darius Cook, Jr., (2018)
On offense, it all begins with Atwell, but there are other weapons that are going to be impressive as well with linemen Mark Fox (2019), Terron Carey (2018) and Avery Hall (2018).
Running backs Kiaryn Davis (2018), Corey Hammett (2018), Jacquez Stuart (2019), Aaron Louis (2018), Davonne Kendrick (2018) and versatile Justin Hill, Jr. (2018).