It happens every year at this time. The scramble for those coveted college scholarships take South Florida athletes from all-star game to all-star game in search of something they have been after throughout their high school careers.
As the final two postseason all-star games took place last weekend, parents, players and coaches all left still wondering if they did enough to attain that elusive scholarship — that is a slam dunk to some — while others have to continue to fight.
For speedster Nicholas Norris of 4A state champion Booker T. Washington and teammate Karim Bryant, who was used sparingly throughout the season, the opportunity to appear in yet another postseason game was well worth putting in the extra time after the long season had ended.
Whether it was at the Dolphins Under Armour event at Sun Life Stadium — or the annual Tru Sports Public vs. Private contest at Monsignor Pace, the objective was the same. Even though many already secured a place to attend college and play football, the majority of players used those extra practice days and games to their advantage.
“This is South Florida, where you have triple the talent you have in other parts of the country,” said Bryant, who caught a touchdown pass in the state title game and also made the most of his two postseason all-star games. “You have to be very fortunate to get your college paid for.”
Indeed, Bryant hit home on the fact that the success in South Florida over the years, producing as many as 100 FBS prospects a year, is starting to hurt many of the quality local athletes.
The fact that there are only seven FBS colleges in Florida often leads many tremendous players out of the state.
After Miami, FIU, Florida, FSU, USF, UCF and FAU stock their shelves, there are hundreds of players still looking for a place to play.
There are a number of players who needed a good showing in the all-star games to get some film. Take Central quarterback Brandon Diaz and St. Thomas Aquinas defensive end Matt Brewer, for example.
Diaz, who transferred from Christopher Columbus before the season began, was hopeful that he would get more snaps for the Rockets. The positive about not getting a lot of playing time is that Diaz never stopped working hard and was a member of the 6A state champions.
“The chance to compete in the all-star game I believe showed the kind of skill level I have,” Diaz said.
Brewer also played of for a state championship team but didn’t get a lot of playing time for the Raiders. But the defensive MVP of the game came up with 12 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. Most importantly, it came in front of a number of coaches and people who could put his name out there.
“This was really something that helped me,” Brewer said.