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Many across the country wonder why the athletes in South Florida hold a huge edge over the rest of the country.

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That was answered this past Saturday.

One week after the end of the 2016 high school football season, and the underclassmen were back at it for an all-star combine at Ives Park in northeast Miami-Dade.

They came from Naples, Boynton Beach, Fort Myers, Wellington and the Florida Keys to get a jump on the competition.

Athletes who had many stars by their names attended – so did those who have not yet been discovered to get better, compete and get that early jump on the competition.

For Monsignor Pace rising senior (Class of 2018) standout Divaad Wilson, it was an opportunity to make an early impact for the 2017 season – by learning some new things and getting the opportunity to apply them right away.

“I am always about competing against the best,” Wilson said. “It is the only way to get better.”

Wilson was not alone. Nearly 200 prospects attended the event to see what is needed to work on – as the next few months will be filled with camps, combines and 7-on-7 tryouts.

For Western High standout quarterback Harrison Story, the combine was also the chance to kick off his final season at the high school level – which will be important for one of South Florida’s top passers.

“The next few months will be very important for me,” Story said. “I know that I will need to take part in a lot of things that will help to expose me as a player.”

Story was not the only football prospect who spent three hours getting better and attempting to catch the eye of a scout, coach or anyone who was on hand for this third annual combine. Prospects such as Miami Killian linebacker Gregory Franklin, Jr., Parkland Douglas offensive lineman Jack Fris and his teammate Riley Allison (Broward rushing champ) came out. So did McArthur standout defensive end/linebacker Dontae Banton and Miami Edison defensive lineman Kayode Oladele.

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“We were really all very impressed at the level of talent that came to this first event of the year,” said Miami Edison assistant coach Jon Drummond, who headed up the football combine. “Events this early shows how important getting this exposure truly is to everyone.”

Dr. Krop promising 2018 standout linebacker/ safety Dovran Ellington walked right next door to compete. Nova’s outside linebacker Shaun Peterson also came out once again this year. Miami Carol City, fresh off a Class 6A state championship, had standout receiver Phenol Williams on hand.

Miramar head coach Pierre Senatus brought plenty of his Patriots, who were among the most talented once again this year.

Some of the 2019 and 2020 prospects who turned heads included speedy running back/receiver Alejandro Andino, Cypress Bay, Jordan Battle (DB, St. Thomas Aquinas), David Dolcine (QB, South Plantation), Lexington Joseph (RB, Central), Frank Melgarejo (OC/LS, Mater Academy), Mark Richards (RB, Wellington) and standout running back Jacquez Stuart (Northwestern).

“We see so many gifted young men here in South Florida year round,” said Raul Sosa from Pro Style Athletics. “It’s so rewarding to have a chance to work with them year round. We have some things in the talking stages that will really elevate and expose these young men more than we do now.”

The Class of 2020 also had some head-turners as well. Piper quarterback Derohn King and Monarch versatile standout Xavier Restrepo showed why the future is going to be very fun.

Here are some additional prospects that headed to Ives Park last Saturday:

Bailey Aleman, QB, Miami Ferguson
Nathaniel Altman, WR/QB, Nova
Dominique Barahona, LB, Coral Glades
Adoni Black, WR/CB, Douglas
Chad Black, Jr., CB/WR, Miramar
Jonathen Borges, WR, Somerset Silver Palms
Keonne Bradley, S, Boynton Beach
Jamareeye Brown, DB/WR, Coral Glades
Keshawn Brownlee, WR, Hialeah-Miami Lakes
Dennis Butler, III, DB, Miramar
Alonzo Clark, WR, Fort Lauderdale
Reis Clark, RB, Boca Raton Olympic Heights
Micah Conway, Slot/CB, Wellington
Terrence Craig, Jr., QB, Edison
Daniel Crenshaw, DB, Miramar
Nicholas Days, DB, Dr. Krop
Jacquez Dillard, FB, Fort Lauderdale
Keythan Drayton, WR, Mater Academy
Wesley Elidor, WR, Fort Lauderdale
Krisden Francois, WR, Hialeah-Miami Lakes
Thomas Gadbois, TE, Cape Coral Oasis
Rolando Garcia, WR, Cypress Bay
Tyler Goodman, QB, Douglas
Stephen Gordon, OL, Miramar
Jahan Morgan-Green, DE, Miramar
Donnie Harrison, DB, Carol City
Malcolm Hyppolite, S, Miami Palmetto
Abdul Ibrahim, WR, Miramar
Michael Ippolito, WR, Boca Raton Olympic Heights
Davonne Kendrick, RB, Miramar
Tavares Ladler, LB, Miramar
Dyllon Lester, DB, Flanagan
Roger Lewis, Jr., WR, Nova
Isaac Malcolm, DB, Cypress Bay
Ricky Malcolm, CB/WR, Cypress Bay
Dervon Marius, WR/S, Miami Killian
Jordy Mejia, OC, Marathon
Dwayne Menders, WR, Miramar
Hakeem Moise, DL, Miramar
Nicolas Mourrar, RB/PK, Miami Dade Christian
Meshawn Neely, DB, Fort Lauderdale
Fernando Padron, WR/DB, Cypress Bay
Keyshawn Paul, DB/WR, Monsignor Pace
Julio Perez, LB, Coral Glades
Kinglsey Pierre, DE, Miramar
Andre Pinkston, LB, Miramar
Trisin Ramos, WR, Cape Coral Oasis
Malik Similien, DB. Coconut Creek
Deving Singer, RB, Cypress Bay
Marlon Serbin, QB, Cypress Bay
Andrew Siren, WR, Coral Springs
Jesse Smith, LB, McArthur
Harrison Story, QB, Western
Jaeden Suarez, LB, Killian
Eddie Teague, RB/CB, South Fort Myers
Jamal Walton, WR, Miramar
Phenol Williams, WR/DB, Carol City
Quentin Williams, DB, Taravella
Steve Williams, QB, Miramar
Torence Williams, LB, Monsignor Pace
Kevin Woods, Jr., Miramar
Desmond Young, DE, Hialeah-Miami Lakes

Joseph Adams, DE, Miramar
Moises Bautista, WR, Miramar
Jahmar Brown, LB, Monsignor Pace
Anthony Caldwell, S, Santaluces
Balitan Celestine, WR/QB, Wellington
John De La Cruz, OL, Miramar
Tyrone Douglas, RB, Monsignor Pace
Dedrick Flint, CB, Coral Glades
Anthony Frederick, WR, Hallandale
Emmanuel St. Germain, LB, Dr. Krop
Kamryn Giles, LB, Monsignor Pace
Amir Harvey, WR, Miramar
Lance Hollis, DL, Nova
Michael Hurt, Slot/RB, University School
Ahmaud Jordan, DB, Nova
Samuel Kemp, OL, Miramar
Keyon Martin, S, Deerfield Beach
Jackson McDonald, QB, Marathon
Ricky Perry, DL, Keys Gate Charter
Kenneth Peyton, WR, Boyd Anderson
Norman Pickens, WR/CB, Hialeah Miami-Lakes
Christian Previlma, CB, Wellington
Jose Ribalta, QB, Coral Glades
Charlie Rothkopf, DL, Douglas
Devin Sanders, OL, Nova
Michael Torrence, TE/LB, Monarch
Nicholas Torres, WR, South Plantation
Kyle Walters, RB, Plantation
Brandon Walton, WR/TE, Cypress Bay
Willie Webb, LB/RB, Pines Charter

Elijah Abreu, DB, Doral Academy
Wesley Auguste, DB, Pines Charter
Cooper Brockway, LB, Douglas
Jordan Cumberbatch, CB/WR, Miramar
Zach D’Amico, QB, Monarch
Jonathan Denis, OL, Keys Gate Charter
Jake Fajardo, FB, Christopher Columbus
Juan Henry, RB/LB, Doral Academy
Karleon Gray-Johnson, LB, Edison
Isaac Joseph, OL, Dr. Krop
Peyton Monaco, WR, Western
Benjamin Onwuzo, DB, Flanagan
Stephen Passegglata, DE, Wellington
Jaxon Ramsey, WR, Pines Charter
Geovonni Ribalta, WR, Hallandale
David Thompson, Somerset Academy Silver Palms
Samari Wilson, RB, Miramar
Will Wynn, QB, Cardinal Gibbons

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Santino Marucci, QB, Jupiter
Christian Opalsky, RB/WR, Pompano Highlands Christian