Hialeah – When it comes to 7-on-7 football in South Florida, you had better be ready to strap it up every week and play – or get beat. It’s that simple.
While everyone across the country knows that South Florida is home to more NFL talent than anywhere, it only stands to reason that there would be several teams – loaded with quality prospects.
For much of the past decade, one of the brands that has really made an impact is the Florida Fire.
With teams in South Miami-Dade, Miami and Palm Beach, the Fire has been able to attract some of the elite talent over the years.
Last Sunday evening – with over 200 prospects on hand at Milander Stadium – Founder Dennis Marroquin and Battle held another tryout (Fire8) that would not only add to their already nationally rated program – but also to help showcase other talent.
“It has come to the point where you better be real good at judging talent,” Marroquin said. “The athletes are so good down here that you may cut someone and they will catch on with another program and beat you. That is the culture we live in.”
Marroquin, who also brought a 2A state title to Champagnat Catholic this past December, has assembled tremendous coaches and support over the years in the post season.
Having elite coaches who have played at a high level – along with those who are outstanding Xs and Os guys have contributed to the success of the Fire – at every level.
Also having people such as Dennis Abate running the Palm Beach Fire – while promoting the entire Fire brand has been very important in getting the prospects out there.
“We have had some big time kids over the years to play with us,” Marroquin said. “They have given us a chance to win national titles and compete against the best of the best all off season.”
THE STARS WERE OUT
With one time Miami Northwestern and University of Miami receiver Tommy Streeter working along with several other instructors, there were indeed some big time head turners at the tryout.
Donte Banton, WR, Deerfield Beach. Has a chance to be very special – working yard in the offseason to pout his name out there. This is indeed a very talented young man.
Zachary Bohannon, QB, Boca Raton Saint John Paul II. Was really a surprise last year as a freshman and impressed enough for this quality talent to be one of the go-to guys.
Marc Britt, WR, Champagnat Catholic. Major star in the first two years of high school – and that does not figure to change at all over the next two seasons. Has the talent to become a national recruit this coming season.
Jordan Cash, WR/CB, Oxbridge. One of the true game-changers for the 2020 class – someone who can get it done at 5 different positions. Super athletic talent who is still maturing as a player.
Vincent Davis, RB, Cardinal Gibbons. Solid runner who certainly made a huge impact for a Chiefs’ squad that has now gotten everyone’s attention. Big time potential.
Akeem Dent, DB, Palm Beach Central. If you have watched this young man play, there is simply nothing more than you can add to what everyone has talked about. Since his 9th grade season, he has dominated – and that will continue.
Miles Dickens, TE, Parkland Douglas. Here is one of the prospects we watched last summer – and while he was playing defensive end – this is an impressive talent who continues to raise the bar. Many haven’t even watched him yet.
Drew Gunther, QB, Malvern (Pa.) Prep. Make no mistake – from the beginning of the tryout right until the end – here is the player who had the most eyes watching. The Pennsylvania standout wanted the challenge from South Florida.
Diamonte Howard, LB, Southridge. Another standout who had committed early on to Miami – and now as he heads to his final off season, this is certainly someone who has the chance to turn heads and show why he has been doing this since youth football.
Derohn King, QB, Deerfield Beach. After two solid seasons at Piper, the “big boy pants” will now have to stay on – as he comes into a program that doesn’t just talk about being a state title contender – they actually live it with a challenging schedule a talented players.
Marcus LaFrance, DB, St. Thomas. No matter where this talented young man has been, he has certainly turned heads along the way. A very gifted football prospect who has a huge future ahead of him.
Keyon Martin, DB, Deerfield Beach. Here is a very talented football player who has been getting it done for two years – and will be considered one of the top players this coming season. Quick and very skilled, he continues to showcase his skills – and everyone is watching.
Chris McDonald, DB, Southridge. One of the best you will find – has been doing at this level for the Spartans for two solid season, and as his final offseason is now under way, you can guarantee that this will be one of Florida’s best. He has state championship experience!
Tiawan Mullen, DB, Coconut Creek. Another football talent that there is no need to explain how talented he is – especially if you have watched him perform. This is a solid defensive back who earned from older brother as well as competing against the best of the best.
Mark-Antony Richards, Athlete, Wellington. The brother of University of Miami standout, Ahmmon, here is someone everyone has been watching the past two years. Solid talent who continues to get better – as he competes against some of the elite athletes.
Gio Richardson, QB, WPB Oxbridge Academy. If you watched enough football this past season, and saw this talented young man perform, you already know that there are very few who are better – and that is why he will continue to get plenty of attention.
Xavier Restrepo, WR, St. Thomas. There has been much said about this quality Monarch transfer – who can impact a team from both sides of the ball. But when speaking about Xavier, don’t forget that he also gets it done in a big way in the classroom, too!
Jacquez Stuart, RB/WR, Northwestern. This speedy difference maker had a solid season for the 6A state champions – and showed that he will be among the most versatile football players for the 2018 season. Will also be a special member of the Fire.
There were also some prospects who turned heads all night:
Ernest Balkman, WR, Northwestern
Steve Barrett, RB, Glades Central
Can’ron Bell, CB/WR, Coral Springs
Rony Bourdeau, DB, Champagnat Catholic
Jahmar Brown, LB, St. Thomas
Marlin Brunson, WR/DB, West Boca Raton
Elijah Canion, WR, Chaminade-Madonna
Corey Collier, Jr., DB, Miami Palmetto
Jamal Cooney, WR, St. Thomas
Jack Coulson, QB/WR, Boca Raton Olympic Heights
Janito Cyriac, Athlete, Coconut Creek
James Daley, QB, Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer
Dashaun Davis, WR/DB, Blanche Ely
Marc’ Allen Derac, FS/WR, Delray Atlantic
Hugh Dinnall, LB, Miramar
Rayne Tanega-Doster, DB, St. Thomas
Roshaune Downie, DB, N. Palm Beach Benjamin
Eldridge Franklin, DB, Palm Beach Lakes
Tanner Franklin, RB/WR, Palm Beach Lakes
Frank Gore, Jr., RB/WR, Coral Gables
Bryce Gowdy, WR, Deerfield Beach
Jymeter Hester, WR, Glades Central
Courtney Holmes, SS/RB, Christopher Columbus
Lilton Horne, DB, Boyd Anderson
Amari Johnson, WR, Hallandale
Cedric Johnson, DB, Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer
Antonio Laidler, Belle Glade Glades Central
Xzayvier Marseille, LB/S, Palm Beach Central
Ricky McKnight, WR, Northwestern
Jean-Stevens Mendes, QB, Lake Worth
Sean Martin, WR, Sunrise Piper
Jalen Moss, DB, St. Thomas
Gen’Taris Oliver, Slot, Palm Beach Central
Roscoe Parrish III, Athlete, Miami High
Bryan Robinson, WR, Palm Beach Central
Karaun St. Louis, WR, Deerfield Beach
Xander Stokes, QB, Cooper City
Christopher Townsel, DB, Deerfield Beach
Maurice Underwood, QB, Miami Central
James Wallace, Athlete, Blanche Ely
Jalind Williams, WR, Sunrise Piper
Jevon Williams, WR, Blanche Ely
Raphael Williams, WR, Boyd Anderson
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PHOTO COURTESY OF FOOTBALLVILLE