If you really want to know what kind of passion the South Florida football prospects has, all you had to do is show up at Cardinal Gibbons High School this past Sunday.
If you showed up around 12:30, you would have watched some of the elite football players in the region, “Grinding”, as they do each and every Sunday – same time, same place.
Taking part in the Premier Athletes event, under the direction of Sly Johnson and his staff, these football players, ranging in age from 8-18, spend their day, learning and competing.
“The athletes have been coming out here for years – and when you produce players who are now in the NFL, it’s a combination that works,” said Johnson. “We get the athletes out here, teach them how to play their position, and they get better.”
The proof is indeed in the results, and one day before the offi9cial start of training camp, these football players were out there – with the idea of getting better on their mind.
One of those talented athletes who has taken full advantage of Premier Athletes is versatile Monarch standout Xavier Restrepo. Considered one of the up-and-coming stars of South Florida, the safety/receiver has used the Sunday workouts to his advantage, starting every game a year ago as a freshman.
One of the many who attend each and every week, Restrepo can see the difference in his play.
“I come here and go against the college players usually,” Restrepo said. “This week the college players have already left, so I went against the best who showed.”
With nearly 100 on hand for competition, Restrepo had some other athletes who came out – on their final Sunday before the start of the season.
For Hialeah Gardens Mater Academy junior defensive back standout Rayne Tanega-Doster. He has been one of the athletes who has stood out throughout the offseason.
“Coming here to get competition and work against some talented football players is what has helped to elevate my game,” Doster said. “Competition can only make you better.”
Among the quarterback on hand were three who have not gotten the spotlight they deserve. With a chance to jump into the spotlight, by attending this Sunday competition, Michael Baiter (Miami Westminster Christian), T.J. Smith (Hollywood South Broward) and Santiago Venegas (Miami Belen Jesuit) all impressed at turned heads.
“You look at the quarterbacks who come here and take part and you can see who they turn it up when they are competing against elite kids,” Johnson explained. “You look at the young men who came out this week. I am anxious to see how they do this year. All have made major progress.”
In addition, there were a few others who looked to get themselves on the radar screen – right before the start of the 2017 season. Among those include:
2018 – T.J. Bailey, CB, Pompano Beach Blanche Ely
2018 – Jamari Brown, CB, Pompano Beach Blanche Ely
2020 – Ethan Corbin, WR, SW Ranches Archbishop McCarthy
2019 – Allen Crawford, RB, Hollywood South Broward
2019 – Jarrett Hampton, S, Pompano Beach Blanche Ely
2019 – Jahday Jackson, WR, Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson
2018 – Johnny King, WR, Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson
2019 – Marcus LaFrance, CB, Pompano Beach Blanche Ely
2018 – Marlon Miller, S, Pompano Beach Blanche Ely
2018 – Axel Rizo, LB, Miami Gulliver Prep
2020 – Rafael Williams, Slot, Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson
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