It’s now less than two weeks away from National Signing Day, and the tremendous athletes who have spent the past 10 years working for this time, are actually finding a college scholarship tougher to attain.
Like clockwork, this is the time of year when parents, athletes and coaches e-mail, text and call me, voicing their concerns about the lack of attention that is coming their way.
I am as sympathetic as anyone. I have lived the NSD routine for 42 years, and still believe that our success has been overshadowed by the reality that there are not enough colleges for quality football players.
“You can have all the postseason exposure you want, but in the end, for a state as potent as this one, we have only seven FBS football playing schools,” said Corey Long of ESPN. “If Miami, Florida, FSU, USF, UCF, FAU and FIU all signed 25 players from Florida, that would be less than half of the FBS prospects we produce.”
In addition to not having many schools to house tremendous talent, especially in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, where there will be close to 100 prospects, many of these athletes are fighting a numbers game with northern schools. Some of these schools often leave the mid-level players behind.
Over the next week, while big-time prospects continue to be courted by every major college in the country, many of the athletes who have been the backbone to programs, many who guided their teams to state championships, are left to worry about the lack of options.
Former Miramar and Miami of Ohio University standout receiver Sly Johnson runs Premier Athletes, where he trains and gets players exposure.
Johnson knows all too well about having to sell yourself. Even though he was one of the fastest players ever produced in this area, his lack of height and weight were always a question.
“It’s unfortunate, but things haven’t changed a whole lot,” Johnson said. “Here we are less than two weeks before national signing day and there are dozens of quality athletes trying to sell themselves.”
The great thing about South Florida is the network of coaches, parents and players who have used the social media to its fullest. While athletes continue to put up their game tape links, coaches are right along, pushing them to colleges. It’s one of the newest crazes, but very effective.
Killian linebacker Jordan Gibbs, one of the best in South Florida, never had a legitimate offer before last week. That’s when coaches and fans got on Facebook to push him. He then started to receive action.
“We have so many football players down here that are well coached, athletic and ready to step into any situation,” said Dana Wiley of Prep Films. “You could see that in this past bowl season with Northwestern standouts Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville) and Amari Cooper, who helped to lead Alabama to another national title.”
Bowling Green: Fred Coppet, RB, 5-9, 180, St. Thomas and Darius Holiday, DT, 6-5, 260, Plantation American Heritage. Cincinnati: Mark Barr, WR, 6-2, 190, St. Thomas, Aaron Brown, DB, 5-11, 165, Northwestern and Darius Tice, RB, 6-0, 200, Northwestern. Connecticut: Javon Hadley, CB, 5-11, 170, Palmetto and Kyle Schafenacker, OG, 6-4, 280, St. Thomas. Duke: Terrance Alls, WR, 6-0, 170, Dade Christian. FAU: Austin Bland, OL, 6-2, 270, St Thomas and Gregory Hankerson. FIU: Jeremy Derrick, LB, 6-1, 195, Hallandale, Sandley Jean-Felix, OL, 6-5, 290, Boyd Anderson, Xavier Hines, DB, 5-11, 175, Belen Jesuit, Jason Rae, OL, 6-1, 295, Cypress Bay and Trayvon Williams, LB, 6-0, 220, Norland. FSU: John Franklin, Athlete, 6-0, 190, South Plantation, Desmond Hollin, DL, 6-4 260 NY ASA/Southridge; Michael Johnson, DB, 5-10, 175, Booker T. Washington and Jesus Wilson, WR, 5-10, 175, Christopher Columbus.