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There was a time when the state football championships had ended and the attention quickly moved on to the next sport – with a little offseason football conditioning sprinkled in.
But this is 2017 and not 1970.
There is no true end or beginning to the football season. There are no breaks. There are no months away to heal the mind and body.
What the offseason has evolved into is a year-round program that tests agility and speed, measures skill, keeps the athletes competitive with 7-on-7 events, combines and camps, and during the spring – allows you to get into full pads.
This is now a total football commitment – and why not?
Every college athletic department in America runs everything on the revenue made from football. It has become such a huge business, very few loyalties remain.
When these schools are bringing hundreds of thousands of dollars to the table to ensure every athlete gets an education, eats, has a bed to sleep in, is healthy and plays football, it becomes all about the finances.
Getting a college scholarship is easier than most think. However, holding on to that scholarship, by performing on and off the playing field, has doomed thousands.
This is a time of year where the student-athletes think about football, but also need to ponder a life after the sport has ended.
This past weekend illustrated just how much is going on for these athletes to choose from. Aside from track and field, there was also a 7-on-7 football tournament at IMG Academy in Bradenton. There were a few national camps going in – including the two-day Rivals Camp Series and the USA Football program tryout for their summer football tournaments.
Many of the area athletes continue to take part in high-profile events, putting themselves in the spotlight.
Speaking of spotlight, we have six more football players for fans and coaches across the country to check out:
2018 – Ron Hardge, Jr., DB, 6-1, 180, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons: Athletes like Hardge are the ones you look at – having past reference to use as a barometer. Like many youngsters in high school these days, we had the pleasure of covering their fathers – and as his dad did back in the day at Hollywood Hills, this talented football player continues to turn heads. Having watched Hardge’s progress since his youth days, he is indeed special.
2018 – Andre Pinkston, FB/LB, 5-11, 200, Miami Northwestern: When you have prospects who can help right away, like this young prospect who made the move into Miami-Dade County, you can get excited. Pinkston is a two-way athlete who is strong and will wear you down. Playing for a team that is already regarded as one of the elite programs, Pinkston is certainly an athlete who has the chance to make this team better. He’s a hard worker who has a passion for the game.
2018 – Corey Prince, DL, 6-0, 275, Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna: If you have ever watched this impressive football talent perform, you already know that he is among the best-kept secrets in South Florida. Prince is a rock on the defensive line. And with the addition of a few other difference makers, this will be the year that everything falls into place. He is big, quick and a very strong presence in the middle.
2019 – Maurice Smith, OL, 6-2, 280, Miami Central: Here’s a surprise: the Rockets have another top flight young lineman, and this is someone that everyone has been talking about. Smith is quick, agile and technically sound, this emerging big man has the chance to join that long list of former line prospects now playing in the NFL and at the collegiate level. Smith is a very gifted player; keep your eye on him through the spring and summer.
2018 – Teshaun Smith, WR/CB, 6-3, 170, Davie Western: Yet another under the radar football prospect, this Westminster Academy transfer will have the opportunity to maximize his talents this coming season. Smith is already having a productive offseason; he brings so much to the table as a football player. He has the size, speed and athletic ability. He will be used often and will have the chance to face top-flight competition throughout the coming season for the Wildcats.
2020 – Gerand Turner, WR, 6-1, 180, South Miami: Every year in South Florida, there are more and more elite young prospects who have the chance to get offseason exposure. Talk to anyone who has watched him play and they will all tell you how athletic, fast and impressive this quality football talent is. As more and more people watch Turner play, there are all very impressed.