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Over the past few months, while colleges across the country have been in the middle of their season, they have been maintaining the communication needed to let that certain high profile prospect know they are very much interested.

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Having been on the recruiting landscape for almost a half of a century, there is very little we haven’t seen. From college coaches to boosters, family members and friends, we have pretty much watched it all. But aside from what goes on below deck – where things are “promised” – college recruiting is perhaps the most watched and scrutinized part of sports.

If you happen to be a senior, it is the next three to four months that could define your family’s future forever. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in books and tuition, housing, medical care, transportation and food is sunk into every recruit that signs on the dotted line.

Each year, that contract is renewed, so the importance of making sure that the athlete can not only play and is healthy, but has character, comes into play quite a bit.

If you understand recruiting, you know that every college coach has dozens of people they count on for information that will help keep the value of that scholarship strong for all four years and in some cases – beyond.

No matter what community you go into, especially here in South Florida, college coaches have formed relationships with former players, coaches and fans, who fill them in with important facts on recruits. Information such as character and things away from the football field.

If a college coach is recruiting a player, they fully understand the kind of athlete they are after. They see it from the countless of cameras who are recording every tackle, interception, run, block, pass and reception. But what they cannot see – and do not have the manpower to track – is character.

Character that can tear a team apart or bring it close together and it’s what every program is after. They need to know that they have the athlete who is as near to being perfect as possible. That’s where the information that these coaches who bring kids to camps and work the events, come in. This is where the fan who knows these young men, can help out in a major way with important character information.

Because South Florida has so many prospects and college coaches from everywhere in the nation are in the mix – those teams that have the chance to make it to the playoffs have an advantage. No matter if it’s a week or five extra weeks, the talent that is being recruited has that extra film that may grab the attention of a college coach.

“From as long as I can remember, those players who get that extra week or weeks of practice and game exposure benefit in a major way,” said Dana Wiley of Prep Films. “That’s the great part of playing down here. College coaches are always around and they know how our athletes are.”

BELEN TUNES UP FOR PLAYOFFS WITH WIN
When veteran South Florida football coaches Joe Zaccheo and Rich Stuart got together last Friday to bring the regular season to an end, you had two icons who have been there and done that.

As Stuart’s district champion Wolverines roll into the playoffs this Friday at home against Palmetto, Zaccheo and his Spartans will put the gear away and work toward next season.

Even though Zaccheo was away from the game for a number of years, he was still serving as athletic director at the school and had his ear to everything that was going on at his school. He and Stuart get it. They have for over four decades, teaching and helping shape our future leaders.

Missing from the 13-7 Belen win was the fact that these two programs have gone way beyond the football field. They have sent students on to the next level and beyond. Nothing backed that up more than when former Pace Spartan Rod Mack came back on this senior night to be inducted to the Spartans Sports Hall of Fame.

Mack is one of those students who went on to make other’s lives’ productive as a “hometown kid” who also left a mark at the University of Miami.

As he finished his second season back as head football coach, Zaccheo and his program have made major strides, and with a few new faces coming in, along with those coming back, 2017 could be that defining season.

BELEN JESUIT PROSPECT WATCH
2018 – Gabriel Aparicio, S/RB
2019 – Aramis Castano, LB/TE
2020 – Don Chaney, Jr., RB
2018 – Gabriel Estrada, FS/RB
2018 – Ryan Fernandez, DT
2017 – Pedro Garcia, FB/SS
2017 – Javier Hernandez, RB/DB
2018 – Matthew Martin, OL
2017 – Peter Martin, OL
2018 – Ricky Mayo, DB/WR
2017 – Francisco Melendez, RB/DB
2017 – Michael Moreno, DE/OLB
2017 – Diego Ortega, WR
2019 – Nathaniel Payne, WR
2019 – Stefano Pinto, OL
2018 – Joey Plasencia, TE/DE
2017 – Lucas Pola, QB
2017 – Michael Prado, LB/OG
2018 – Javan Rice, PK
2017 – Alfonso Rodriguez, CB
2019 – Rafael Ruiz, OL/DL
2017 – Stefano Santamaria, DT
2017 – Gabriel Seda, LB/OG
2019 – Antonio Serrano, OL
2017 – Jorge Valdes, OL/DL

MONSIGNOR PACE PROSPECT WATCH
2019 – Larry Azema, OL/DL
2017 – Andre Bradley, TE/LB
2019 – Jahmar Brown, LB
2017 – Lleweelyn Coleman, OL/DL
2018 – Terrence Crittenden, Jr., RB/LB
2019 – Antone Daniels, WR/DB
2018 – Elvins Desarmes, DB/WR
2019 – Fabio Desir, OL/DL
2017 – Rey Dorta, OL
2017 – Stefon Francis, RB
2018 – Machi Garland, RB/DB
2019 – Kamryn Giles, RB/LB
2019 – Bryner Joseph, OL/DL
2020 – Jaheem Joseph, Athlete
2018 – Cesar Medina, DE/TE
2018 – Keyshawn Paul, WR/DB
2017 – J’son Pierre, RB/DB
2018 – D’Andre Ragin, DE/LB
2018 – Francisco Salomon, RB/S
2017 – Sharka Smith, LB
2018 – Blake Veargis, WR/DB
2018 – Torence Williams, DB
2018 – Divaad Wilson, Athlete

DOUGLAS ENDS THE SEASON WITH A WIN
Willis May will never hide his feelings or skirt around the way he feels that his Douglas football team didn’t make the playoffs again this season. In fact, coming into last Thursday night’s 2016 season-ending game at Hollywood Hills, he was not happy at all.

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With preseason expectations of finally grabbing one of the two playoff spots in the district, the Eagles fell short – and that’s where May, his coaches and players are doing some soul searching as we approach the first round of the playoffs this week.

“This is not what everyone associated with this program expected,” May explained, prior to his 48-34 win over the Spartans. “The talent we had and the hard work we put in, does not add up to not making the playoffs.”

May, who has rapidly thrust himself into an elite group of football coaches in South Florida, expected that his team – which has one of the best offensive lines in South Florida, and a defense that swarms and makes plays – to go further.

What happened with this Douglas team, is while they did have a tremendous group of seniors and athletic prospects, there were many holes to fill, and they were filled with young players, who were asked to do many things they haven’t done in the past.

While the Eagles do have many young prospects returning for 2017, head coach Al Lang’s Spartans are loaded with underclassmen who may elevate this program into the future.

DOUGLAS PROSPECT WATCH
2018 – Riley Allison, RB
2018 – Trent Baldeo, S
2017 – Daquan Bailey-Brown, WR/DB
2019 – Clarence Burley, RB
2017 – Matt Cabey, WR/FS
2017 – Alex Cadelus, DL
2017 – Daniel Crestitelli, LB
2017 – Tyeshawn Cruz, RB
2018 – Nick DeFroscia, RB/LB
2019 – Miles Dickens, TE/DB
2017 – Courtney Douglas, OL/DL
2017 – Michael Dudley, OL/DL
2018 – Jack Fris, OL
2017 – Corey Gaynor, OL
2018 – Tyler Goodman, QB
2017 – Daniel Grusky, QB
2018 – Tai Lehito, WR
2017 – Deon Lawrence, DE/TE
2017 – Ezekiel LeClerc, TE/DE
2017 – Nick Longley, WR
2017 – Melvens Mitil, RB
2017 – John Orozco, K/P
2017 – Jamal Polycarpe, DE/WR
2018 – Christian Rodriguez, DB
2017 – Nick Webber, OL/DE

HOLLYWOOD HILLS PROSPECT WATCH
2020 – Dwayne Bender, RB
2017 – Marvin Estrada-Campbell, S
2018 – Zeryus Coleman, WR
2017 – Edwin Colon, WR
2017 – Trevor Cooper, DB
2020 – Demetrius Dorcely, LB
2018 – Stephen Dwyer, OL
2017 – Jeremy Garcia, LB
2018 – Tony Henry, DB
2018 – Abel Jordan, OL
2017 – Brian Liss, WR
2019 – Denjamin Masunu, DL
2017 – Anthony Marques, DL
2018 – Rashad Matthews, FS
2017 – Darius McClain, LB
2018 – Oleksandr Melchanor, OL
2017 – Chris Mendoza, LB
2020 – Carvin Moise, DB
2017 – Kyle Oliva, OL
2017 – Chris Page, OL
2019 – Nathaniel Parker, DL/OL
2018 – Edwin Reed, WR
2018 – Sterlin Ridley, LB
2017 – Vidley Sajousse, DL/LB
2018 – Tony Scriven, QB
2017 – Alexander Seppe, RB
2017 – Pedro Vazquez, DT

CHAMINADE-MADONNA GETS READY FOR THE PLAYOFFS
Moments after last Saturday’s 43-0 loss to national powerhouse IMG at home, Chaminade-Madonna head coach Dameon Jones quickly shifted the attention to this coming Friday afternoon – when the Lions will play host to West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman in the first round of the state playoffs.

In a game that Jones did not schedule, it was a chance to see some of the premier athletes in the country who compete for the Bradenton-based academy that attracts some of the elite athletes from across the country – such as local product Emmanuel Greene from Coconut Creek, who joined prospects who have been recruited by every college power nationally.

Other Floridians playing for head coach Kevin Wright’s Ascenders include Tampa’s standout tight end Tre McKitty and Okeechobee sophomore lineman Evan Neal.

“We came out and did our best against a powerhouse of prospects from all over the country,” Jones said. “But our focus cannot be on that game. We have a 3A state playoff game to worry about. That is our objective.”

CHAMINADE-MADONNA PROSPECT WATCH
2017 – Joshua Ali, WR
2017 – Stephen Jean-Baptiste, OL
2017 – Hunter Bucknam, LB
2019 – Tecory Couch, WR
2018 – Brian Ellis, DB
2018 – Davoan Hawkins, OL
2017 – Julius Ianella, OL
2017 – A.J. Jancosko, OL
2017 – Anthony Johnson, DB
2018 – Brandon Lee, WR
2019 – Daelen Menard, QB
2017 – Jason Merry, P
2018 – Marlon Pelote, LB
2018 – Corey Prince, DL
2017 – Ruben Ramirez, OL
2018 – Justin Richardson, DB
2017 – Bradley Royas, DB
2018 – Shaun Shivers, RB
2019 – Keontra Smith, S
2017 – Anthony Valcarcel, DL
2017 – Cody Watson, LB
2018 – Keyondre White, RB
2018 – Carlton Williams, LB
2018 – Xavier Williams, DB/WR

IMG FOOTBALL PROSPECT WATCH
2017 – Jordan Anthony, Athlete
2017 – Jhamon Ausbon, WR
2017 – Broc Bando, OL
2017 – John Marcus Carruthers, RB
2018 – T.K. Chimedza, DL
2018 – Andre Cisco, DB
2017 – Robert Congel, OL
2017 – Grant Delpit, DB
2017 – Elias Lugo-Fagundo, WR
2017 – Cooper Graham, PK
2017 – Emmnauel Greene, WR
2018 – Houston Griffith, DB
2017 – Robert Hainsey, OL
2018 – Kingston Harris, DL
2017 – Elvis Hines, Jr., DB
2018 – Mike Jones, Jr., DB
2017 – Santino Marchiol, LB
2017 – Tre McKitty, TE
2017 – Kellen Mond, QB
2019 – Evan Neal, OL
2017 – Christian Pluchino, LB
2017 – Isaiah Pryor, DB
2017 – Cesar Ruiz, OL
2019 – Trey Sanders, RB
2018 – Dante Sparaco, TE/DE
2018 – Taron Vincent, DL
2018 – Rueben Unije, DL
2017 – Marcus Williamson, DB

ELY UPSETS PLAYOFF-BOUND DILLARD IN ‘SOUL BOWL’
Carl Wilburn has been around high school football in South Florida long enough to know that you are only as good as your last victory.

With that in mind, the veteran head coach brought his 3-6 Blanche Ely team into last Saturday night’s annual Broward Soul Bowl at the legendary Lockhart Stadium against district champion and playoff-bound Dillard.

With a spirited crowd on hand for this season-ending event, the Tigers came up with 12 quarterback sacks and made life tough on head coach Lorenzo Davis and his Panthers all evening, coming up with a 13-7 overtime win – and with it – bragging rights for the year.

“To me, the season is never over until you put your gear away, and I told our players that all week, prior to the game,” Wilburn said. “I have been a part of this game on both sides, and came to find out that no matter what happens the rest of your season, if you can win this game, it kind of makes things okay.”

DILLARD PROSPECT WATCH
2018 – Roshard Branch, LB
2017 – Allen Brown, OL
2017 – Jacari Clayton, OLB
2018 – John Clayton, CB
2017 – Denea Donaldson, Jr., OL
2017 – Jon Ford, DL
2018 – Moises Francois, QB
2018 – Reggie Grant, DT
2018 – D’Andre Jones, WR
2017 – Abdul Leiba, WR
2018 – Bryce Oliver, WR
2017 – George Golden, Jr., RB
2019 – Malik McNeil, DT
2017 – Tyree McNeil, DB
2018 – Timothy Scippio, WR
2019 – Shanoyd Whyte, OL
2017 – Derek Williams, S
2018 – Lee Williams, III, LB
2017 – Tajue Williams, RB
2017 – Tiquan Williams, CB
2017 – Jordan Wright, DE
2017 – Stephen Zayas, DE

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ELY PROSPECTS WATCH
2018 – Jamal Bartee, DB
2017 – Stanley Bolden, WR
2019 – Roger Brown, DB
2018 – Carlton Cleophat, LB
2018 – Deion Crowder, DB
2018 – Isaac Doctor, DB
2019 – James Harris, WR/DB
2017 – Kentony Haynes, DE
2017 – Corinthian Hudson, DE/LB
2017 – Willie Johnson, RB/LB
2017 – Monnrey Larose, OL/LB
2018 – Ja’Mari Laster, DB
2017 – Christian Lewis, DB
2018 – Theostene Lewis, LB
2017 – Willie Mallory, OL
2018 – Derrick McClary, DB
2019 – Darius Melton, WR
2018 – Desmond Pete, OL/DL
2017 – Jacoby Roberts, DL
2019 – James Wallace, QB/RB
2017 – Karinzo Ward, QB
2017 – Deion Moore, WR/RB

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