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As we approach the start of spring football (April 24th), it is indeed hard to believe that time moves so quickly.
Wasn’t it just yesterday when Plantation American Heritage, Carol City, St. Thomas Aquinas and Southridge were winning state championships?
Time flies in South Florida for a number of reasons.
One, and perhaps the most important, is that football never stops. Seven days after the state championships were finished; combines and exposure events had started.
The weather obviously makes a difference, but football has taken over the landscape like never before. There are so many opportunities to get noticed that the football prospects in Miami-Dade and Broward are on the radar before spring starts – and that’s where the huge difference comes in.
There is no other area in the country that has the 12-month a year passion for football with amazing results. While we always acknowledge that there are great football prospects everywhere in the country, there is no disputing the end result and that’s where our athletes separate themselves from the rest – in a hurry.
Professional football talent – all from South Florida – coming home and giving back. You see it every week and at every tournament, high school and youth football game. Most areas of the country, athletes run from their communities in fear that they will be smothered and asked to do a million things. The athletes that grew up down here never played that game. They feel they owe something to the youth leagues, high schools and communities who have helped them along the way.
As we will continue to do this spring is keep you updated on what’s ahead with the teams and prospects. This week, we have six more football players to keep an eye on:
2018 – Wilson Martinez, LB, 5-9, 180, Hollywood McArthur: One of the strengths of the program during last year’s 11-1 season, Martinez was a force at the linebacker position. Here is one of those quality playmakers who had the chance to get better and mature under head coach Laron Culpepper. Quick, strong and very athletic, Martinez is certainly a football talent to keep an eye on in 2017.
2018 – Yanez Rogers, Jr., CB/QB, 6-2, 180, Pompano Beach Blanche Ely: One of those athletes, overlooked so far in his career, who will have a huge season. With a new coaching staff and some excellent teachers, expect Rogers to continue making a huge impact in the spring and beyond. He has everything it takes to be a quality football talent. Just lacks the experience and exposure. Both are expected to change in 2017.
2018 – Al’vonta Shelton, WR/S, 6-1, 185, Miami Edison: After spending the past year at the International School of Broward, here is a football player that many believe will make a huge impact this coming season for one of the most improved teams in South Florida. Shelton is quick, athletic and can fight for jump balls. He has made a splash in the offseason as the Red Raiders continue to build the program under the new coaching staff.
2019 – Derek Burns, OLB, 6-3, 205, SW Ranches Archbishop McCarthy: One of the big-time players in South Florida who remains under the radar. But if you’ve watched him play, he will no longer be a secret. Burns has the size, athletic ability and passion for the game. The coaching staff have been talking about him since he started playing. Now, as he heads toward his junior season, Burns will be among the most coveted prospects around. He has the opportunity, with a solid spring and summer, to start getting national attention.
2019 – Lamarcus King, S, 5-10, 165, Hialeah Champagnat Catholic: After watching the Lions play a number of times in 2016, here was a football player who was always around the ball, making plays. Coaches have talked about his talent over the past season – and as he continue to turn heads at various events, more and more college coaches will start to take notice. King is a passionate football player with the chance to watch his game elevate in the next few months.
2019 – JuZion Wade, QB, 5-10, 165, Hialeah: As so many quarterbacks in South Florida continue to receive accolades and get plenty of attention, here is one who has not been in the mainstream of media attention. That is about to change. Wade is one of the most accurate and intelligent quarterbacks around will start to grab the attention of college coaches and fellow players in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. Wade has one of the strongest throwing arms around – as he proved in a number of showcase events already. His head coach Steve Smith believes that over the next two years, has stock will rise through the roof.