Larry Blustein

MONDAY TAKE: Brandon Marshall Helps Youngsters Learn The Game

It was just another steamy Sunday afternoon in south Florida – but yesterday had a different feel about it.

With the weekly Premier Athletes event meeting up for a skill session – under the direction of Sly Johnson and Guerby Mertil at Chaminade-Madonna in Hollywood – this day was indeed more than that for some.

As many were away for the extended Fourth of July holiday weekend – Sunday’s roster of players may not have had the numbers that you get weekly – but those on hand benefitted in a major way.

It’s this time of year – when college and pro athletes get set to head back to camp – where conditioning and working on their craft is essential.

With college players such as one time St. Thomas Aquinas and University School standout receiver Sam Bruce, former Miramar quarterback D’Angelo Fulford (Mount Union) and former Cypress Bay and Army linebacker Christian Gomez joining in the session, the high school athletes on hand were treated to a solid workout.

But as much as the athletes took advantage of what Johnson and Mertil were teaching – and the contributions made by Bruce, Fulford and Gomez, it was only a small part of what this day was all about.

Amongst a sea of youth, high school and college talent was Brandon Marshall. The same 6-5, 230-pound receiver who has terrorized NFL defensive secondaries as a member of the Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears, New York Giants and Jets, and the Dolphins.

The product of UCF when it wasn’t fashionable to be is a local resident who wanted his son to get instruction on how to play the position(s) – and each week, at a different location, he shows up to get his son aboard on what Premier Athletes has done for decades.

What Marshall does, as a current player, is get instant respect from the athletes of today – and while keeping himself sharp by working on the little things receivers need to work on, he also gets the opportunity to show some of those high school players how to do things the right way.

“Having Brandon here is tremendous,” Johnson said. “He’s one of the guys who is a top-flight NFL receiver, but still learns new things and has the high school quarterbacks throwing routes to him. Thrill for all of us – and his son, who is young, is learning valuable things from the beginning.”

Among those on hand for the event included Chaminade-Madonna standout Rony Bourdeau, Jack Smitherman and Council Allen (American), St. Thomas Aquinas quarterback Matthew O’Dowd and Marcuss Ealy (South Broward) among others.

The Premier Athletes event also attracts some of the top football talent around – at every age. High school standouts such as University of Miami commitment Xavier Restrepo is a weekly visitor. So are University School quarterback Nick Vattiato, American Heritage receiver Vincent Davis, Western receiver Jayson Salkey, St. Thomas receiver Ethan Corbijn and defensive back Jaden McBurrows, and Chaminade-Madonna defensive back De’Mon Henry to name just a few.

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