Ask any current NFL, collegiate or high school player who comes from South Florida why this region is head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to producing top-flight football talent and all will tell you the same thing.
Trace the history of any athlete from Miami-Dade and Broward counties and it all goes back to youth football. From Lauderdale Lakes to Florida City and just about everywhere in between, the bond between the youth programs and the high schools has never been stronger.
Visit a youth football game any Saturday during the fall and you will see the next Jamal Carter, Joey Bosa, Thomas Matthews or Sony Michel. The pipeline from places such as Gwen Cherry, Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes, Scott Lake, Doral, Overtown, Liberty City and Pembroke Pines Optimist is the lifeline for many of these programs.
If you want to see what a high school program is going to be like over the next few years, all you have to do is check out what’s happening down the street. Look at your successful public school programs and you can trace the talent down the block to the local youth team.
It’s certainly no mistake that schools such as Carol City, Northwestern and Norland have benefitted for years from what’s happening right down the block. Now, as Booker T. Washington is on the verge of becoming one of the top teams in the nation, all you had to do is check out what’s happening at nearby Overtown, where the Rattlers have put together some nationally-rated teams, stock the Tornadoes with big time players.
Schools such as Southridge, South Dade, Killian, Central and Jackson have always done well with the youth players that come in and make a difference.
In Broward, it has always been about Boyd Anderson, Deerfield Beach, Plantation, Dillard, Blanche Ely, Miramar and now Cypress Bay who have relied on what the youth programs have been able to provide to them.
As summer events are now taking place, and many of the Class of 2016 (incoming freshmen) are filling out 7-on-7 rosters, we are all getting the first look at some of these elite, young players who will make contributions at the varsity level.
While there are going to be some top 2016 players that will continue to pop up over the next few years, here is a look at some who have already started to turn heads:
Offensively, there are Kato Nelson, QB, 5-7, 145, McArthur, Teddrick Moffett, Jr., QB, 5-9, 155, Blanche Ely, Harvey Clayton, Jr., RB, 5-10, 155, Southridge, Amir Rasul, RB, 5-11, 175, Christopher Columbus, Mark Walton, RB, 5-10, 180, Booker T. Washington, Sam Bruce, WR, 5-7, 160, Davie University, Isaiah McIntyre, WR, 5-11, 155, Monarch, Dionte Mullins, WR, 5-10, 160, Gulliver Prep, Calvin Ridley, WR, 5-10, 155, Chaminade-Madonna, Dredric Snelson, WR, 5-11, 165, Booker T. Washington, Steve Newbold, WR, 5-11, 160, McArthur and Tony Taylor, WR, 5-9, 160, Monsingor Pace.
Defensively, there are linebackers Alex Anderson, 5-10, 180, Miramar, Demetrius Bellamy, 5-7 150, Dillard, Kory Johnson, 5-9, 175, McArthur, Malik Jackson, 5-9, 175, Champagnat, Malik Jones, 5-10, 165, Plantation, Cedric Wright, 5-9, 175, Homestead and Shaddrick Lowery, Jr., 5-9, 160, Hollywood Hills.
There are also secondary standouts such as Jamel Cook, 6-2, 170, Mater Academy, Ivan Smith, 5-11, 150, Christopher Columbus, Alton Jordan, 5-9, 145, American Heritage, Tobias Moss, 5-9, 150, Westminster Christian and Matthew Ray, 5-7, 145, Dillard.
As the summer and fall move along, we will continue to bring more Class of 2016 athletes along with those rising sophomores in the Class of 2015 who have already jumped onto the radar screen.
WALKER FOOTBALL ACADEMY
The 2012 Walker Football Academy at Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy High School in Southwest Ranches focuses on developing the Junior High football player through its Fundamental Football Skills Camp for boys in grades 4th through 7th or ages 10 to 13 years.
The Walker Football Academy requires a completed football camp application with parental/guardian signature along with payment to secure a position at the camp.
Campers must bring a water bottle, towel and wear cleats. The wearing of sun screen and a visor are strongly recommended. Two Monday through Friday sessions will be offered from 9 a.m. until noon. Session 1: July 16 – July 20, 2012 and Session 2 July 23 – July 27. The cost per session of $125 includes a T-Shirt.
Checks should be made payable to Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy High School. Camp is held on the grounds of Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy High, 5451 South Flamingo Road, Southwest Ranches, FL 33330. To receive an application please e-mail The Walker Football Academy at email@example.com or stop by the front office at Archbishop McCarthy High School.
The Walker Academy will be coached by McCarthy High Head Football Coach Byron Walker, a FACA Hall of Fame Coach, a 12 time Coach of the Year an FACA At-Large Board Member, who coached the Florida-Georgia All-Stars and North-South All-Stars and coached teams which have played in Ten State Football Championship games winning Three State Titles, Six Runner-up titles and advanced to the State play-off series Twenty-three times. Coach Walker will be joined by his son Brandon Walker, a three year collegiate coach (University of Delaware and Fordham University), who has coached high school for six years as Offensive Coordinator, and is concluding his first year as head coach at Somerset Academy in Pembroke Pines.
For additional information please call Coach Byron Walker at 954-583-7747 or Coach Brandon Walker 954-830-6225.
We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. All you have to do is send a DVD and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein, P.O. Box 3181, Hallandale Beach, Fl. 33009.Have a comment? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.