When it comes to producing Football Bowl Subdivision talent, South Florida simply has no rival anyplace in the country. In a 100-mile radius, there are enough prospects to compete for, and win, national championships.
With that said, having so much talent offers no guarantees that all these gifted football players will have a place to play next year. That’s why making good use out of the local All-Star games that are held — four in all — is a way where many of the athletes can enhance their standing with colleges.
In early December, the BCAA held its annual Broward County All-Star game, which has given all prospects another chance to showcase their many skills.
Perhaps one of the best of all the athletic showcases took place Saturday night at Traz Powell Stadium. The 18th Annual Nike Miami-Dade vs. South Florida event gave 90 football players a chance to compete against top-flight competition. It is by far the most talent-filled local all-star game that you will see anywhere in the country.
The Miami-Dade team was stocked with some of the big names from this past season, including many who have not made a college decision yet. Akeem Jones (Carol City), Troy Cook (Southridge) and Keon Roman (Dr. Krop) all played a key role at quarterback against Team Florida. The extra film against top-flight competition is huge.
“You get a chance to play in a game like this, with so many D-I football players, and you can only help yourself,” said Roman, who led his Dr. Krop team into the playoffs. “What you do in a game like this will certainly enhance your chances of being looked at even further.”
In a game that already boasted FSU defensive back commit Michael Johnson (Booker T. Washington), USF-bound kicker Emilio Nadelman (Central), linebacker Anthony Walker (Northwestern University) and University of Miami commit Jamal Carter (Southridge), there were others such as Northwestern running back Darius Tice and linebacker Darius Redmond, who are still trying to attract that elusive scholarship offer.
“All you can do is work hard during the season, and hope that it’s good enough,” Tice said. “A game like this all-star event only helps you. College coaches know very well how much talent is in a game like this.”
Team Florida talent
At a time when many of the offensive linemen from Broward, Palm Beach, the Treasure Coast and the Naples/Fort Myers didn’t make this important showcase, the Team Florida squad did have several locals who had the chance to compete against the vaunted Miami-Dade team and fared quite well.
Among those who turned heads were FSU-bound quarterback John Franklin (South Plantation), Kentucky commits Jalen Battle (University School) and Everglades defensive end Alvonte Bell.
Other standouts included Plantation defensive tackle Monty Nelson, Monarch running back Darius Hoggins, Chaminade-Madonna defensive end Joe Jones, Hollywood Hills linebacker Griffin Goins and Cardinal Gibbons kicker/punter Ryan Giaratano.
Out-of-area standouts such as one-time UM commit Keith Bryant, Seminole Ridge defensive end Kyle Shortridge, Glades Central athlete Will Likely (Maryland commit) and Vero Beach defensive back Sean Paul all turned heads as well.
The Dolphins, who have jumped into the postseason All-Star showcase, will hold the second annual Miami-Dade vs. Broward game on Jan. 11 at Sun Life Stadium at 7 p.m.
The next night, the fourth Private vs. Public All-Star game will expose more players at Monsignor Pace High School at 7.
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