Well, this week ended what had been a very productive spring – and while plenty of athletes received exposure – others could have used more.
Even though the spring lasted nearly five weeks, you can only practice 20 times – and most of those events are not usually well attended by college coaches.
What happened this year, is the most prospect rich area in the country – Miami-Dade and Broward Counties – were shorted the exposure they received the past five years – since the referee scrimmages began.
While many areas of the state had the chance to participate in a scrimmage, where young officials were learning under game conditions, it didn’t happen here – and that needs to be changed. Our athletes had gotten used to the exposure that those 100 play scrimmages provide against other competition.
Just to blow off some steam: It has gotten to the point with the NCAA and agencies like the FHSAA, here in Florida – where they start making rules that hamper – and not help student/athletes. It’s plain and simple.
With so many athletes searching for that financial help to get to the next level, you would think that governing bodies would understand that. Not blaming any agency for not having that scrimmage at Tamiami Park in southwest Miami (next to FIU) this time around. That was more a mis-communication thing. By the time many found out that it wasn’t going to be held, it was too late to start scrambling around, but many were not pleased.
What high school coaches in South Florida need to do after the 2017 season is over is get together with the officials in both counties and get these second week of spring scrimmages set. While college coaches cannot attend, many media and scouts are there – and in the past – have made a difference in more athletes being exposed to those who can help.
As we now start to turn our attention to the summer, it will indeed be a very busy time. Athletes will take off for college camps and tours – and team 7-on-7 events will capture the attention of football fans throughout the warmer months.
Still, we will keep you updated on the athletes who are making this region of the country so special. As we do each week, we add six more prospects to keep an eye on. Here is this week’s:
2018 – Donnell Bennett III, LB, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons. For the past two years, this is one of those young men that you knew that he would be very special – if given the opportunity. That chance came last season, and he responded – and ever since then, this is a talent who is now getting the attention – and not because his father spent nearly a decade in the NFL. He is truly a talent, and colleges found that you this spring.
2019 – Tatum Bethune, DE, Miami Central. This is your first warning. This is someone who everyone will be talking bout by the end of this season. One of the fast-rising standouts on a team loaded with athletes. A quick, talented and energetic football player who is always around the ball. Cannot talk enough about what brings to a team, loaded with talent, but in search of playmakers.
2018 – Craig Cooper, RB, Miami Norland. I guess we banged enough colleges over the head the past two seasons about this tremendous talent who has now gone full circle. Starting out at Norland as a freshman, American as a sophomore, and McArthur last season, Cooper returns back to Miami Gardens right in time to be a huge part of the Vikings offense that has sputtered over the past few years. Offered by some fine schools in the spring, here is a gifted football player who does not go down on the first hit. Strong runner with tremendous vision.
2018 – Alvin Johnson III, Slot, North Miami. We watched a lot of people during he spring – nearly 50 different schools – and this was a player that was one of those who doesn’t look the part – until you watch him play. A potential game breaker who is a SLOT kid all th way. Tough to cover and catches everything. Quick but not blazing – and not big. But when you need that 7 yards on fourth down – he is the guy. Fits perfectly into what the Pioneers are doing.
2018 – Nick Reed, LB, Miramar. There were plenty of athletes in South Florida who moved from school-to-school in the offseason, and they received plenty of attention. But there were also football prospects that left and very few people paid attention. Here is the one player, who many still do not know – and guess what? Reed may be one of the best in all of the 305/954/561. Big time playmaker who is athletic, strong and skilled. He makes plays and causes the flow of the play to go the other way. He will start to emerge in the summer.
2018 – Josh Riles, DB, Sunrise Piper. There are many defensive backs who receive plenty of accolades – because they run and test well. They also get looked at for their size and the way they perform in 7-on-7 and spring – where they get to show their skill. But sometimes you have to go beyond great measurements, 40 times and how many interceptions you make in a shorts and t-shirt and judge how someone does when everything is on the line. This is a football player who makes plays. He gets to balls, anticipates well and is always around the ball. He is the kind of player every team needs.