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As we officially kicked off the first week of the New Year, area high school football fans can plainly see that nothing has changed. The athletes are still working harder than ever – year round.

What South Florida has turned into over the past decade is a hotbed for football that just doesn’t exist in the summer and fall months. This thing is 365 days a year with no breaks and no time off.

From Ken Mastrole’s ELITE 7 passing event, to a number of kicking, linemen and other specialty camps and showcase events – the weekends will no longer be empty. Far too much going on throughout January, February, March and April to get ready for the spring evaluations, not to take this serious.

In other parts of the country, where the weather is not as it is down here, athletes are creative, but to find 200 top-flight football players this time of year – anywhere in the country – would be impossible. That is why the edge always will go to this region of the country. If you doubt it, you are simply fooling yourself.

Football prospects down in Miami-Dade and Broward never have the time to get out of shape. There are too many 7-on-7 events and combines for that ever to happen. Buying into the philosophy of competing against the best only makes you a better player, the football talent is only getting more impressive every year.

The month of January will be filled with tryouts for 7-on-7 teams along with a few seniors getting that last opportunity to show what they have.

With events going on around the clock, we will continue to bring you the rising athletes who will be that next wave of talent that college coaches covet so much.

As we do throughout the entire year, each week we bring you six more prospects to keep an eye on. That is over 300 football players each year from just this On The Radar blog. Here is a look at this week’s athletes to keep an eye on:

2018 – Nigel Bethel, Jr., WR/DB, 6-0, 165, Miami Northwestern: If the name sounds familiar, it should. With a rich family tradition to uphold, here is a quality football prospect who offers his athletic ability on both sides of the ball. Bethel has tremendous instincts, is very physical and has a passion for playing this game at a high level – which will only enhance the Bulls’ chances of repeating as district champions in 2017. Here is a talent who has the speed and athleticism to fight for balls – and more times than not – wins the battle. Bethel is a superb athlete who will turn heads this coming year.

2019 – Montavious Brini, RB/WR, 6-0, 180, Hialeah Gardens Mater Academy: Following in the rather large footsteps of his older brother, here is a talented football player who many had talked about before he arrived in high school. Brini is a versatile talent who can run the ball from the line of scrimmage – as well as catch the ball out of the backfield and create mismatches in opposing defenses with his speed and over skill level. This is a true talent.

2018 – Brett Elpert, LB/RB, 5-11, 205, Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest: In a region that has so many gifted football prospects, here is another one out of the smaller schools in Broward. Elpret is a two-way performer who has the opportunity to be special this coming season. He is a strong, quick and agile prospect who will turn heads at every event he attends. Loves the game and has the talent to play it at the next level. He will only get better this offseason with the number of events that he will have the opportunity to take part in. Keep an eye on his progress.

2018 – Beau Fillichio, QB, 6-4, 195, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas: Having been part of this program since he was a youngster watching the great Raider programs of the past, here is someone who was certainly made to run the offense – and he will get his chance this coming season. Fillichio has turned into a very good prospect with size and the knowledge of reading defenses. His mechanics are always improving and his passion for the game continues to increase. The only thing missing from his game is experience – and as heads toward his senior season, he will indeed pick that up as well. Keep your eye on his progress. The Raiders are fully confident that they have something very special here.

2018 – Frederick King, DB, 5-10, 165, Miami Palmetto: This outstanding prospect is someone we had the chance to watch this past season, and came away very impressed. Here is a quality football talent that has the opportunity to be very special – and continue raising the talent bar. If you watch the Panthers play this past season – during their playoff run – King is the kind of football player that helped to elevate the program. He can cover, tackle and make a serious impact in the secondary. If this program is going to keep the talent train rolling, it will be players like this leading the way.

2018 – Marquis Williams, CB, 5-9, 165, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons: A few years back, while watching Coconut Creek and then-football rival Monarch compete in a 7-on-7 event, there were so many elite football players roaming the field. But when someone pointed out a freshman who had come up with two interceptions and numerous pass break-ups, the attention quickly shifted in his direction and hasn’t stopped since. As he heads toward his senior season, a new home awaits one of the top defensive backs in the state of Florida – as he could be another piece of the puzzle that can propel the Chiefs to Orlando in December. Williams is a tremendous football player who makes the move and will no doubt give this team another elite player to make a difference.