When Nathaniel Hudson took over the head coaching job at South Dade last spring, he gave no timetable for when the Bucs would compete for a playoff spot. He only guaranteed that his alma mater would play hard and give everything it had.
Like many quality athletes who had played for this program in the past, Hudson knew that the talent this school had available to it was the same as when he attended and played for the Bucs. He also knew that if everything fell into place, this season would be special.
Loaded with quality prospects, South Dade is indeed one of the surprises to everyone who follows high school football in South Florida. A surprise to everyone but Hudson and his team.
“We knew during the spring and summer that if the young players stepped up for us, this could be a very special year,” Hudson said. “To be at the top of the district was our objective as soon as we started.”
With a sound mix of veterans and younger players, South Dade has found the combination that works. On offense, senior quarterbacks Bryant Stewart and Darryl Tillman are surrounded by playmakers, which has worked out just fine.
Among the athletes who have made this offense go are seniors Leroy Wilson (running back), Marcus Beaufort (receiver), Willie Cortes (fullback), and linemen Wyatt Murray, Christopher Harris and Bryce Rivera.
On defense, the returning seniors have come up huge as well, led by secondary standout Terry Edwards, linebackers Charles Wright and Tremaine Brock, and linemen Donald Mesier, Tony Williams and Ahmad Albert.
“The senior class has been the glue for this team,” Hudson said. “They continue to lead by example. But it’s our underclassmen who have really made the difference for us.”
The junior class is led by receiver and FSU commit C.J. Worton, Devontay Keaton and Nathaniel Terry, running back Keenan Schneider and linemen Mario Matute, Garrett Underwood and Richard Penel to name a few.
Defensively, the Bucs are in great hands with class of 2014 standouts Antwan Cordy, and linemen Tyree Horton and Stephen Moises. Cordy is one of those elite players who can simply do it all.
He is a tremendous cornerback who also makes a huge impact on special teams as a return specialist. His big-play ability continues to keep the Bucs in every game.
“I am the kind of player who will do anything needed to help this team win,” Cordy said. “The success we are having is because these coaches have gotten us ready to compete.”
In addition, sophomore defensive backs Tadarius Wilson and Hilbert Gomez, linebackers William Hernandez and Doyle Grimes, and freshman kicker Julian Garcia have also made a contribution.
• Without community college programs in the state, a large number of South Florida athletes have to go out of state each year to play football. One of the destinations that has always been popular is Arizona. This year, like every season, there is some local talent competing out there.
In Mesa, Ariz., are Hallandale teammates Michael Thomas and Justin Ewards. Phoenix College has Marcus Fairley (Hialeah), Steve Davis (Miami), Kamari Blake (Coral Springs) and Jake Gambino (St. Thomas Aquinas). Arizona Western includes Jonas Clark (Booker T. Washington), Mike Dallas (Palmetto), Demar Dorsey (Boyd Anderson), Ted Meline (North Miami), Mike Williamson (Deerfield Beach), Curtis Williams (Champagnat Catholic) and Andre O’Neil (Miami High).
Other Floridians competing include Eastern Arizona’s Joseph Orinstein (South Dade) and Wade Isaac (Norland).
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? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.