Larry BlockSFHSSports: Twitter | Facebook

Through the years, there have been plenty of innovative summer football camps across the country that bring in many of the elite recruits nationally.

Schools such as Florida, Georgia, FSU and many other leading programs across the southeast, have long had events that brought in top names and received plenty of positive publicity from fan websites across the country.

After last Friday and Saturday’s first ever “Paradise Camp”, you can now add the University of Miami to that growing last that will be hosting a marquee summer event.

What happened over two days, is nearly every top recruit – young and veteran – headed to Coral Gables to take part in something that everyone talked about, and for the first time in many years, the Hurricanes made a huge recruiting splash.

The two days not only saw head coach Mark Richt entertain the prospects by leaping from the 10-meter diving board at the school’s swimming center, but it brought in a ton of former players who mingled with top-flight recruits and put this program in a favorable spotlight – as the event made its way across the country, via social media.

Because other programs across the nation often receive much of the spotlight during this time of year – with the events they host – Richt and the Hurricanes truly made an impact that will go a long way in turning this program around.

With Miami legends such as Ray Lewis, Antrel Rolle, Michael Irvin, Jeremy Shockey, Brian and Bennie Blades, Phil Buchanan, Calais Campbell, Kenny Phillips, Brett Romberg, Gino Toretta and Tolbert Bain to a name a few.

ELITE PROSPECTS ATTEND
The one thing about some of the camps and events in the past, it usually clashed with something else, holding some of the top-flight football talent back from attending. That was not the case this time around.

From recent University of Miami defensive back commitment Brian Edwards (St. Thomas Aquinas) – to quarterback commits N’Kosi Perry (Ocala Vanguard) and Cade Weldon (Tampa Jefferson), there were some amazing prospects that were entertained.

Also, Palmetto running back Jason Spicer, Jr. and Robert Burns (Gulliver Prep) were on hand with talented receivers DeeJay Dallas (Glynn Academy, Ga.), Kevaughn Dingle (Carol City), UM commit Rodney Scott (Southridge) and big-time Deerfield Beach standout Jerry Jeudy.

Pahokee 2019 defensive back Akeem Dent, who committed to Miami was on hand. So was gifted 2019 running back Lorenzo Lingard (Orange City University).

Other prospects who came to the event and loved it all included Chaminade-Madonna 2018 receiver Xavier Williams, who stood out along with current UM offensive line commit Navaughn Donaldson (Miami Central).

“In the past, you would get a few kids to attend this from out of state,” Dane Wiley of Prep Films explained. “But you never see prospects such as Zach Dykstra, Californian D.J. Johnson, Marquis Hayes from Missouri and current Alabama commit Alex Leatherwood.”

Monsignor Pace defensive back Divaad Wilson attended the event. So did St. Thomas Aquinas receiver Elijah Moore and current UM commit and legacy prospect Al Blades, Jr. Miami commitments Billy Gibson (Southridge), Champagnat Catholic OLB Marqui Passmore and D.J. Ivey (2018, South Dade).

In addition, Deerfield Beach linebacker Gemon Eaford (2019), Southridge receiver Mark Pope (2019) and Cardinal Gibbons 2018 safety Khouri Howson among others.

“I have coached football in Florida for many years, and I have to tell you that this is the best event we have had the chance to attend here at the University of Miami,” said Chris Taylor. “The kids we brought down from the central Florida area loved the entire evening session. We are already looking forward to coming back next year again.”

All the current UM players were also on hand to help and show the recruits how the culture is changing.

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