FRIDAY FOCUS: Paradise Camp Has ‘Canes In The Spotlight

Larry Blustein
July 27, 2018 - 11:28 am

Larry Blustein

There was a time when everyone talked about the University of Florida’s much-publicized “Friday Night Lights” recruiting event. 

Now, it’s just another crowded exposure gathering on a weekend that will bring to an end an off-season that worked its way over nearly nine months.

This coming Monday, the start of the 2018 high school football season will begin on high school fields across the state – with much of the focus in south Florida. But before that happens, Coral Gables will be the place to be for Paradise Camp III – which has turned into quite a showcase, bringing to an end a great summer that produced plenty of talent.

From the time that Mark Richt took a plunge from the 10 meter platform at the pool adjacent to the football center two years ago, this event has had exposure. Memories were starting to be made and fulfilled. It no longer mattered if Florida, FSU or any other schools was having something, Paradise Camp was starting to win over football recruits and their families.

Last year – once again - with many alumni and former players on hand to watch this two day event, it was indeed a success. This evening (Friday) will be reserved for the recruits, and for Coach Richt, who will once again do his best Greg Louganis (UM graduate). In addition, the prospects will enjoy some food and meet alumni.

SATURDAY NIGHT WILL BE IMPRESSIVE

What unfolds on campus on Saturday night will attract fans and coaches who have not had the opportunity to watch these young men live. They will have that chance to see these athletes do their thing in a combine/camp setting.

What Paradise Camp III does is kick the year off. Brilliant idea by people who are progressive and always thinking out of the box. In this day of colleges trying to blind you with bigger weight facilities and 100,000 fans in seats, events like this helps programs like Miami showcase their coaching and improving facilities that have really caught up with so many.

HEADING TO CORAL GABLES

While everyone looked forward to Paradise Camp III, there was also an understanding that not every top prospect can be everywhere in one day.

Because the NCAA blocked out three weeks as a “dead period” in July, this weekend will be the only window – and that means every school across the country is having something.

With strong commitments and locals who are interested in Miami, there are several prospects heading to the event.

Commits such as running back Marcus Crowley and receiver Jeremiah Payton leads a list of out of the area players who will be in attendance as well. Lakeland tight end Keon Zipperer, Lehigh defensive end Quashon Fuller and Cedar Grove, Ga. receiver Jadon Haselwood are also expected in. 

In addition, expected to attend this weekend include Miami Southridge junior Marcus Fleming, senior Marc Britt, Fort Lauderdale University School senior running back Kenny McIntosh, and St. Thomas Aquinas standout junior receiver Marcus Rosemy, senior linebacker commit Anthony Solomon, and senior defensive linemen Braylen Ingraham and recent commit Jason Munoz.

“When Saturday night arrives, there will be some really talented football players who will be in attendance,” said Dana Wiley of Prep Films South Florida. “I have been the first two years and have been impressed. Coach Richt and his staff know what it takes to make events like these memorable.”

Wiley also talked about how important it was to have former players come back and take part - which is huge for this program moving forward.

Catch the South Florida High School Sports Radio Show each Saturday morning (10-11) on WQAM (560AM - https://wqam.radio.com/media/podcast/south-florida-high-school-sports-radio). For the past 11 years, the players and coaches who are making the headlines, join the program. You will learn a lot about football recruiting!