When it comes to recruiting in South Florida, two programs know the drill better than anyone in the nation.
Two programs that are so stacked with talent — for the present and future — that many have already talked about 7A state champion St. Thomas Aquinas and 6A title holder Miami Central as teams who might not just have the talent to dominate locally and regionally, but both will be considered as teams to watch for on a national level in 2013.
As both teams emerged from Orlando, proudly holding those state championship trophies, there is reason to head toward the offseason with confidence. Two teams with as many prospects as any high school program in America, so it is fitting that these two titans might have to see each other — very early next year.
With the current classification change, the Rockets will be blasting toward 7A, leaving that competitive 6A district behind. That move up puts these two big-time programs seeing each other as early as the second round off the state playoffs next year.
These two programs have been recognized for playing a challenging schedule. One that, while it left each with two losses this year, was enough to provide enough experience and confidence to finish strong — and on top.
ROCKETS WILL BE BACK
Coach Telly Lockette will not hide from the fact that his program is now in that re-load mode. When you have the best tandem of running backs in the history of South Florida in Joseph Yearby (FSU commit) and Clemson-bound Dalvin Cook, there is a reason to feel that way.
Central returns 10 starters on offense, including junior linemen Reginald Bain, Michael Smith, Raul Diaz, Joshua Addison and University of Miami commit Trevor Darling. Add in junior quarterback Keith Reed, junior receiver Tavius Brown and one of the best sophomores in the nation in Da’vante Phiilips, and you are talking a team that will score a lot of points.
Defensively, the Rockets always find athletes. Tackles Twan Adams and Keon Burgess come back along with linebacker Rasheed Blatch, and defensive backs Trevon Nottage and one of the best cornerbacks in the state, Deatrick Nichols, are already being looked at by colleges throughout the country.
The Rockets do also have some young depth waiting to step up as well. Those are the players who will use this off season and spring to turn some heads.
RAIDERS STOCK THE SHELVES
There is no secret that some productive athletes will leave second year coach Rocco Casullo and move on to the next level. But this has always been a program that had the athletes in place to step in and do.
Looking for a quarterback to replace John Okorn will be a major priority. But after that big hole is filled, the Raiders are healthy, especially up front where they have created plenty of depth. The return of juniors Nicholas Linder and Ryan Crozier will be a huge addition. The offensive line is annually the place you start when looking at the Raider offense.
Running backs Mardre London and Deltron Sands come back. So does big play receiver Corey Holmes, who had a huge championship game.
On defense, the Raiders lose up front, but with the return of freshman Nicholas Bosa and junior Anthony Moton, things will fall into place.
Even though there were many seniors at the linebacker position this past year, the talent level is there with a number of youngsters in the mix.
Alshinard Harris returns in a secondary that has young players who will get valuable experience.
While the book has been barely closed on the 2012 season, all eyes are starting to look toward 2013 – as camps and showcases have already started in one of the premier football regions in the country.
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.
Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.