If you check back through the decades in South Florida, there are many positions where colleges will head south and know exactly what they are getting.READ MORE: Santa Pays Special Visit To Patients At Holtz Children's Hospital
As receivers and defensive backs dominate the landscape – nationally – on what Miami-Dade and Broward Counties annually produces, it’s never been that way on the defensive line.
Yes, there have been some great ones throughout the years that began as defensive ends and eventually worked their way into the interior with natural progression.
But as soon as you start sleeping on this area of the country, a Joey Bosa will remind you that this is indeed South Florida, and one or two growth spurts will unveil the next great player who will leave a mark in high school, college and then show what they can do professionally.
As we continue our look at the prospects that make up the next three (2017, 2018 and 2019) classes, we zero in on the defensive tackles, nose tackles and defensive ends who are expected to make a huge impact this spring and into the summer, preparing for the 2016 season.
As we do throughout the course of a year, watching thousands of players live, getting as many prospects exposure has long been the objective, and we do that this week.
Remember, even though an athlete is not listed, it’s not the end of the world. We promote and add up to 50 new players locally each week – 2,500 a year – so everyone gets included.
PROSPECTS TO KEEP AN EYE ON
As you know by now, it never gets easy when choosing some of the elite players in this region, but here are 16 who have stood so far – with a long way to go before the start of the season:
(DE) – Deslin Alexandre, 6-5, 225, Deerfield Beach: One of the football players who came out of the 2015 season as a true prospect to watch. Alexandre is a big-time talent who is quick, instinctive and very strong. Watching him last year, several opposing coaches remarked that what he was doing for the Bucks was as impressive as anyone in South Florida. He is really picking momentum from colleges all over the country.
Kivon Bennett, 6-2, 250, St. Thomas Aquinas: The son of one-time Alabama and NFL star Cornelius Bennett, this is a football talent who finished the end of the 2015 season as one of the most promising in the class. With an offseason to get bigger and stronger, the younger Bennett could really blow up in a major way this coming season. This is a strong and talented young man who is still learning.
(DE) – Nik Bonitto, 6-4, 200, St. Thomas Aquinas: This could be one of the best two-sport (basketball) athletes in South Florida although it may be disputed by one Jordan Wright. But there is nobody in the 2018 class who has been in the spotlight longer than this young man, who played at University School as an eighth grader. Bonitto is a huge difference maker with his size, quickness and reach. That reach is also helpful as one of the best basketball prospects as well.
(DE) – Owen Carney, 6-3, 235, Central: After watching him the past two years at Miramar, this big, strong and quick talent comes over to play for the nationally-rated Rockets. And you can almost guarantee that this program is counting on his experience to help this team get back to state.
Rashad Colson, 6-5, 295, Norland: One of the standouts we have watched the past three years as he grew and developed into a solid prospect who is strong, athletic and has a knack of getting to the quarterback – or disrupting in the offensive backfield. Colson started at Hialeah-Miami Lakes, stopped by Carol City briefly, and now has found a home at Norland. He’s a big-timer who will get a lot of looks during the spring.
George Ellis, III, 6-3, 290, Plantation American Heritage: Big, strong, athletic and versatile best describes this impressive lineman, who is a huge force on the defensive side of the ball but also moonlights as an offensive lineman for the Patriots. In addition, his athleticism really showed last year as he advanced to the state championships as a heavyweight wrestler.
(DE) – Jon Ford, 6-3, 280, Dillard: Here’s a major prospect who Miami loves a lot, but so does every other college in the nation. As he grows, he will be used inside and outside, and should be a huge factor early no matter where he ends up. Ford is a cat-quick, strong and very athletic football player who has been turning heads and sacking quarterbacks for the past two years.
(DE) – Davoan Hawkins, 6-4, 230, Chaminade-Madonna: There may not be a more impressive young man coming up at his position in South Florida. Just a class of 2018 prospect, Hawkins is a dominating player who catches your eye – long before the game starts. Because the coaching staff has elevated the competition on the team, he gets pushed and tested by some of the strongest and technically sound offensive linemen the Lions have put together. Hawkins is a big-time player who continues to impress.
(DE) – Robert Hicks, 6-2, 210, Booker T. Washington: From the first time he played as a sophomore starter last year – everyone was sold on Hicks. Just a rising junior, opposing high school coaches cannot be thrilled with the fact this Auburn commit has two full seasons left. He has a chance, before he is finished, to be one of the best in the country – and it’s hard to argue with. Hicks is fast, strong and knows how to play this game at a high level. His own offensive line, one of the best around, has prepared him well.
(DE) – Deandre Johnson, 6-5, 250, Miami Southridge: The success story continues for a young man who was tragically wounded a year ago in an incident at his former school, but now he is fully recovered and ready to go – as the many offers will back up. Johnson is one of the emerging standouts and has been for the past two years. He will be one of the many big-time players the Spartans have this coming season.
(DE) – Billy Joseph, 6-1, 220, Northwestern: Two years ago, as a state champion at Booker T. Washington, this is the player that everyone predicted huge things for. As he heads toward his junior year in another two months, no longer is he under the radar. Teams game plan around Joseph because he is one of the fastest and most athletic prospects coming off the edge. As he gets bigger and stronger, he will only turn up the heat – and the opposing teams will feel it.
(DE) – Jacob Lichtenstein, 6-5, 240, Cypress Bay: Another talent that pretty much flew beneath the radar screen last season. But as the offseason began, this is a prospect that has been getting plenty of attention. Colleges are very impressed with his ability to not only get to the passer, but also stop the run. Lichtenstein is another impressive football player who continues to get better.
(DE) – D’Andre Ragin, 6-2, 200, Monsignor Pace: Another of the talented Class of 2018 prospects with a real chance to blow up – after two years as a starter for a program that is beginning to gain some momentum under coaching legendary Joe Zaccheo. There is nothing not to like about this talented young man. He is fast, has great reach and is getting bigger and stronger all the time. If you haven’t watched him play, you need to. He is on the verge of becoming one of the next great talents to come out of South Florida.
(DE) – Guy Thomas, 6-3, 195, Booker T. Washington: He began at Hialeah as a promising sophomore, moved to Christopher Columbus last year, and now like some of his family members before him, this gifted football player comes to Overtown and joins a four-time defending Class 4A state championship team. Thomas is a very good football talent who has size, quickness and understands the game well. Many are excited to see him get together with some big time returnees the Tornadoes have.
(DE) – Christopher Whittaker, 6-4, 255, Chaminade-Madonna: When you have a star-quality junior like Davoan Hawkins, then you trot this young man on the field, you gain a major advantage. Whittaker is quick, strong, very aggressive and reads the flow of the play as well as anyone we’ve watched. Unless you plan on holding him or double teaming him, he will beat you and get to your quarterback. He is determined to blow up every play, and while he is getting less double-teams, it will never be enough to stop this train from reach the station – or quarterback.
(DE) – Jordan Wright, 6-6, 210, Dillard: This is one of the best two-sport athletes we have in South Florida. Not only is Wright being recruited by every college for football, where his potential and athletic ability make him almost a “can’t miss” prospect; he is one of the best basketball players in Florida, helping Dillard win a Class 6A state title recently. This is an off-the-charts type of player that reminds many of Plantation American Heritage and FSU signee Brian Burns, who by the way, started at Dillard.
MORE FOR 2017
Here are some addition defensive ends and linemen in the Class of 2017 that are definitely emerging:
Mandy Alonso, 6-2, 265, Miami Gulliver Prep
Terry Alterma, 6-1, 270, Hialeah
(DE) – Rendell Andre, 6-2, 195, Pompano Beach
(DE) – Hunter Astle, 6-2, 230, Cardinal Gibbons
(DE) – Lashawn Paulino-Bell, 6-4, 225, St. Thomas Aquinas
(DE) – Marquis Benjamin, 6-2, 190, Everglades
Christopher Brown, 6-0, 225, Dr. Krop
Jordany Bruny, 6-2, 270, Dr. Krop
Alex Cadelus, 6-0, 210, Douglas
Ronald Christalin, 5-9, 210, Miami High
(DE) – Jerrod Clersaint, 6-1, 240, Carol City
Korey Creary, 5-10, 190, Plantation
(DE) – Jacolby Davis, 6-0, 218, Piper
(DE) – Emlyn Desir, 5-11, 208, Plantation
Jason Dooling, 6-3, 265, St. Thomas Aquinas
(DE) – Quincy Dorneval, 6-0, 190, Norland
Zario Dorismond, 6-3, 265, Hialeah
Jamare Edwards, 6-3, 240, Miramar
(DE) – Stephen Everett, 6-2, 201, South Dade
Nicholas Fennimore, 6-4, 310, International School of Broward
(DE) – Trayvon Ferguson, 6-2, 218, Plantation
(DE) – Abule Abadi-Fitzgerald, 6-6, 240, Dade Christian (2015)
Renaldo Flowers, Jr., 5-9, 225, Central
Travis Flowers, 5-11, 234, Palmetto
(DE) – John Grimaldi, 6-0, 205, Douglas
Matthew Hanson, 6-3, 250, South Plantation
Kedonis Haslem, 6-2, 285, St. Thomas Aquinas
(DE) – Sean Heffernan, 6-5, 210, Gulliver Prep
(DE) – Ethan Henry, 6-2, 220, Coconut Creek
Donovan Hinds, 5-10, 240, Coral Springs
(DE) – Zion Malik Joseph, 6-2, 205, International School of Broward
Ezekiel Leclerc, 6-2, 220, University School
Ron Lee, 6-1, 250, Carol City
Joshua Pierre-Louis, 6-0, 229, Piper
(DE) – Louis Pierre-Louis, 6-0, 215, Ferguson
Mitch Louis, 5-11, 275, Norland.
Anthony Marques, 5-9, 250, Hollywood Hills
Emil Martinez, Hollywood McArthur
(DE) – Kameron McCoy, 6-0, 220, Deerfield Beach
(DE) – Zach Messer, 6-3, 210, Archbishop McCarthy
Marcus Mijares, 6-2, 210, Archbishop McCarthy
Eddie Montalvo, 6-1, 240, Ransom Everglades
Kevin Nuno, 6-0, 265, Coral Gables
Kevin Oliver, 6-4, 255, Western
Brandon Penerton, 6-1, 275, South Dade
(DE) – Dimitry Prophette, 6-0, 200, Southridge
(DE) – Deandre Richard, 6-2, 220, North Miami
Brayan Rojas, 6-0, 230, Coral Park
Jamari Rouse, 6-1, 246, Deerfield Beach
Stephen Schneider, 6-1, 240, Ferguson
(DE) – Nick Simpson, 6-2, 220, McArthur
(DE) – Elrian Singletary, Jr., 6-0, 210, Fort Lauderdale
Demetrius Taylor, 6-2, 225, Northwestern
(DE) – Jairo Thomas, 6-4, 211, Miramar
Pedro Vazquez, 5-9, 220, Hollywood Hills
William Wallace, 6-2, 275, Deerfield Beach
Kevin Washington, 6-0, 235, Miami Northwestern
(DE) – Mateo Watson, 6-2, 180, Hollywood Hills
Rashawd Williams, 5-11, 274, Boyd Anderson
(DE) – Stephon Zayas, 6-6, 210, Dillard
Can’t say enough about the future, but we find ourselves saying that every year. But if you look at how much talent there is in this class, you can understand why every coach is optimistic this time of year. Check out these talented young men:
Kahric Bell, 6-6, 310, North Miami Beach
Quinton Brooks, 6-0, 245, Booker T. Washington
Malik Edwards, 6-0, 205, Central
(DE) – Chris Carter, 6-1, 190, Keys Gate Charter
(DE) – Randy Charlton, 6-4, 215, Southridge
(DE) – Coleman Crozier, 6-0, 220, St. Thomas Aquinas
(DE) – Zakary Etienne, 5-11, 225, Coral Reef
(DE) – Amari Ferdinand, 6-2, 200, Coral Springs
(DE) – Tom Govan, 6-1, 230, Nova
Stephen Greaves, 6-0, 220, South Plantation
(DE) – Patrick Joyner, 6-2, 194, Keys Gate Charter
Yatil Kitchen, 5-10, 255, Homestead16-Year-Old Girl Charged With Making Threats Against Miami Northwestern Senior High
(DE) – Francky Jean-Louis, 6-1, 175, Dr. Krop
Demetreius Mayes, Jr., 6-2, 215, Northwestern
(DE) – Tavaris Phillips, 5-10, 165, Miami High
Corey Prince, 5-11, 240, Chaminade-Madonna
(DE) – Steven Shine, 6-3, 205, Douglas
Nesta “Jade” Silvera, 6-2, 275, Plantation American Heritage
(DE) – Jacorey Washington, 6-0, 200, Everglades
Kevin Washington, Jr., 6-0, 235, Northwestern
Jawuan Wilson, 6-3, 250, Champagnat Catholic
Te’Kauri Woodcock, 5-8, 210, Taravella
CLASS OF 2019
There are a few really big time rising sophomores – the Class of 2019:
(DE) – Samuel Brooks, Jr., 6-2, 180, Northwestern
(DE) – Cameron Daniel, 6-1, 150, Miami Christopher Columbus
Fabio Desir, 6-0, 235, Miami Monsignor Pace
(DE) – Diamonte Howard, 6-2, 195, Miami Southridge
Braylen Ingraham, 6-3, 225, Fort Lauderdale Dillard
(DE) – Juwan James, 5-11, 215, Miami Carol City
(DE) – Yahweh Jeudy, 6-0, 190, Cardinal Gibbons
(DE) – Matthew Moreno, Miami Belen Jesuit
Jason Munoz, DE/DT, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas
Nathaniel Parker, DE/DT, Hollywood Hills
(DE) – Jeramy Passmore, 6-0, 200, Miami Westminster Christian
Dylan Perez, 6-1, 230, Miami Christopher Columbus
(DE) – D’Sean Perry, 6-3, 182, Miami Gulliver Prep
(DE) – Bryan Reinstrom, 5-11, 210, Barbara Goleman
Jamari Williams, 6-3, 230, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal GibbonsMORE NEWS: FPL Bills To Go Up Due To Fuel Costs