Larry Blustein

MONDAY TAKE: National Combine Takes Center Stage In South Florida

Larry Blustein
February 04, 2019 - 11:58 am

Being just one of very few stops on the Under Armour Camp/Combine Tour, south Florida has embraced it every year.

By sending some of the top prospects in the country to the annual event that gets all the vitals and physical information along with a little football mixed in, this is an area that receives a tremendous amount of national exposure.

As we often mention, there is no substitute for positive exposure that will enhance the overall recruitment of a student/athlete. The Under Armour event is one that mainly concentrates on the star-quality athletes and not so much the overlooked or underrated football player.

For those who intend on being recruited by Power 5 schools, getting an invite to something like this is not only an honor, but needs to happen in the progression to continue to shine in the elite spotlight.

As recruiting services and many media members converged on North Broward Prep in Coconut Creek on Sunday, the student/athletes were greeted by coaches, photographers and an experience that they have indeed earned.

As the Class of 2020 (current juniors) are now fully on the clock, this was mainly about them – with a little emphasis on a few of the younger rising standouts to keep an eye on for the future.

While IMG Academy brought a number of prospects in for the event – and a few other areas in Florida also sent prospects – this was a focus on south Florida.

Palm Beach County is always a major force at these camp events – with Delray American Heritage, Atlantic, Dwyer, Palm Beach Central and several other schools making their contribution to the talent fest.

IT WAS ALL ABOUT ELITE ATHLETES

With Miami-Dade and Broward a focal point, it was truly one of those quality events that spotlight prospects who have already received plenty of attention – as well as those looking to get on that coveted recruiting radar for the first time.

On offense, the quarterbacks were watched closely – which is not the norm in south Florida.

In addition to University School Class of 2021 standout Nick Vattiato, there were others who many came to see.

Class of 2021 quarterback Brady Dean, who recently transferred to St. Thomas Aquinas from Naples, was someone who had a number of eyes on his every move. Class of 2020 Deerfield Beach standout Derohn King is looking for a solid senior season.

In a region of the state that produces more than its share of gifted running backs, this Under Armour event showcased a number of local standouts.

We know that Deerfield standout Jaylan Knighton is extra special - but there were some quality backs who did it all as well.

Athletes such as Knighton’s Deerfield teammate Jaziun Patterson – a Class of 2022 game changer – Shemar Paul (2020 – Booker T. Washington), versatile Gulliver Prep performer Anton Hall, Jr. and Cardinal Gibbons (2020) big time prospect Tajae Davis.

When it comes to producing big time talent, especially at the receiver position, check NFL rosters. This is where it all begins – and is usually a pipeline like no other area in the country.

Deerfield 2020 standouts Aydin Henningham, Jamarion McDougle, Karan St. Louis and Raphael Williams are special.

Way under the radar American prospect Council Allen impressed. So did fast-rising South Miami Gerand Turner, Xzavier Henderson of Christopher Columbus, St. Thomas Aquinas top flight talent Marcus Rosemy

Class of 2023 rising star Brandon Innis, a University School product who was amazing this past season for the Sharks.

There was a time when colleges and universities didn’t head to Florida for offensive linemen. That is also changing a big way.

There is Chaminade-Madonna prospects Joe Habinowski, Tellek Lockette (2022 – Miami Northwestern), Norland’s Isaiah Walker, a South Carolina commit, and St. Thomas Aquinas big time prospect Julian Armella.

The line prospects have brought big time college programs south to see a Marcus Dumervil (2020 – St. Thomas Aquinas, Miami Central 2020 Alann Louis, Calvary Christian transfer Jahmari Sylvester (2020 – St. Thomas Aquinas) and Plantation American Heritage Class of 2020 standout Hunter Zambrano.

The south Florida linemen that have also gotten plenty of attention include Jovens Janvier (Miami Christian, 2020), Gerald Mincey (Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons), Marcus Tate (University School, 2021) and Davie Western’s Jack Thibodeau.

DEFENSE WAS IMPRESSIVE

Defensively, there were indeed some quality football players who turned heads all day.

In the secondary, recent Dwyer transfer Colby Dempsey (2020) showed why he will be special with St. Thomas Aquinas this coming year. His new teammate Jaden McBurrows, a recent Plantation American Heritage transfer, will be a force in the Class of 2021.

Linebackers were impressive as well – with University School’s 2021 standout Emile Aime leading a quality group that also included St. Thomas 2020 teammates Derek Wingo, Devon Betty, Dontae Lunan and Plantation American Heritage transfer Andy Garcia

Recent Plantation American Heritage linebacker Ruben Hyppolite II is now at Hollywood McArthur and will immediately make the Mustangs better on that side of the ball.

Defensive linemen were also the center of attention at this event – as Samuel Anaele (2020 – McDougal Technical Institute), Savion Collins (2021 - Southwest Miami), Miami Booker T. Washington Class of 2021 phenom Donnell Harris, St. Thomas Aquinas impressive 2021 prospect Tyreak Sapp, University School 2020 “sack-master” Jalen Reeves and rising Miami Southridge standout Leonard Taylor. 

ADDITIONAL ATHLETES TURN HEADS

While this was an invited only camp, there were indeed several other prospects who turned heads and grabbed that much needed spotlight:

2020 – Mykel Alvin, DL, Deerfield Beach

2020 – Dante Anderson, DL, Miami Southridge

2020 – Kenly-Mary Asse, OL, Miami Monsignor Pace

2020 – Brian Brewton, RB, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas

2021 – Isaiah Bunn, OL, Deerfield Beach

2020 – Kervins Choute, DL, Deerfield Beach

2020 – Richard Dunbar IV, WR, Fort Lauderdale

2020 – Naquan Fagan, S, Miami Southridge

2020 – Massimo Foerch, QB, Fort Lauderdale

2020 – The’Andris Freeman, WR, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas

2020 – Favian Harden, DB, Deerfield Beach

2021 – Allen Haye, DL, Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna

2022 – Aaron Hicks, OL, Deerfield Beach

2020 – Courtney Holmes, DB, Miami Christopher Columbus

2020 – D.J. Humes, LB, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas

2020 – Eddie Jackson, DB, Miami Booker T. Washington

2020 – Anthony Johnson, DB, Miami Norland

2020 – Griffin Lampton, DE, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas

2020 – Jarvis Lewis, DB, Fort Lauderdale Dillard

2021 – Kelly Loiseau, RB, Miramar Everglades

2020 – Khristopher Love, OL, Plantation American Heritage

2020 – Marlon Martinez, OL, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas

2020 – Jeremiah Mawadi, OL, Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna

2020 – Bryce McNair, OL, Deerfield Beach

2020 – Gerard Nesbitt, QB, Plantation

2020 – Jahvonte Royal, DB, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas

2021 – Tyson Russell, DB, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas

2020 – Keion Smith, DB, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas

2020 – Jaylen Taylor, RB, Hollywood McArthur

2022 – Richard Thomas, DL, Plantation American Heritage

2020 – Christopher Townsel, DB, Deerfield Beach

2020 – Bobby Washington, DL, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas

2020 – Jaylin Willis, QB, Miami Southridge

Catch the South Florida High School Sports Radio Show each Tuesday night (8-9) on WQAM (560AM - https://wqam.radio.com/media/podcast/south-florida-high-school-sports-radio). For the past 12 years, the players and coaches who are making the headlines, join the program. You will learn a lot about football recruiting!