Many high school football players choosing colleges early

 

Special to the Herald

As the summer begins, area athletes will head off to different camps and 7-on-7 events across the state and country to somehow attract the attention of those who make college scholarship decisions.

At a time when many of the class of 2014 prospects have a good idea where they are going, several have made those choices known to everyone — getting that tough decision out of the way.

Making a commitment early is no longer a surprise. Many seniors want to get the process over with, while others need for the school to know they will be starting as early as next January.

With all the resources spent by colleges locally and nationally to get that commitment from a South Florida prospect, there is more at stake than ever before, and the players who have to come up with that life-changing decision are making them sooner rather than later.

At a time when class of 2015 juniors and even class of 2016 sophomores are being courted by some of the elite colleges across the nation, the pressure really mounts on the current group of seniors to find that right fit.

“There was a time when you could sit back and make the decision at your own leisure,” said Dana Wiley of Prep Films. “Now, with colleges looking to fill their rosters years in advance, times have changed.”

With more than 100 players in Miami-Dade and Broward alone expected to be Football Bowl Subdivision athletes, the choice to play where you want is not always an option.

The Big 7 in Florida (University of Miami, Florida, Florida State, FAU, FIU, UCF, South Florida) can get the players they need from the Sunshine State, but after that the number of players still looking for scholarships is still staggering.

Having a solid out-of-state base of schools become familiar with this region is a plus for the overflow of talent.

CLASS OF 2014 COMMITMENT LIST

Bowling Green: Alex Thomas, WR, Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna. Cincinnati: Franklyn Labady, RB, Hialeah Champagnat. Duke: Chris Taylor, DB, North Broward Prep. Florida: Dalvin Cook, RB, Miami Central and Anthony Moten, DL, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas. FSU: Joseph Robinson, WR, Miami Northwestern and Chris Worton, WR, Homestead South Dade. Georgia: Gilbert Johnson, WR, Miami Southridge and Sony Michel, RB, Plantation American Heritage. Louisville: Michael Johnson, S, Hialeah Champagnat and George Rushing, WR, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons. UM: Trevor Darlin, OL, Miami Central, Alin Edouard, QB, Hialeah, Nick Linder, OL, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas and Joseph Yearby, RB, Miami Central. South Florida: Deatrick Nichols, DB, Miami Central and Michael Smith, OL, Miami Central. Wake Forest: Jaboree Williams, LB, Fort Lauderdale. Washington State: Peyton Bender, QB, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons.

ON THE RISE

First-year coach Kareem Reid’s Coconut Creek football team made it to the final four of the recent UCF 7-on-7 tournament with state power Tampa Plant, Leesburg and eventual champion Oviedo. The Cougars were the surprise of the 32-team event.

Reid, a former Coral Springs High and UCF standout, took over at Coconut Creek this spring with the idea of turning things around — or as the fans at the school say: “Restore The Roar!”

Helping the team to an 8-1 finish in Orlando were class of 2014 players Melquan Duncan (DB); Lucas Irons (LB); Tracy Thorpe (OL/DL); Worshly Lima (WR/DB); Vlademir Dalge (DB); Alan Blair (DB); Erin Alexander (WR); and Michael Robinson (LB).

In addition, Class of 2015 juniors expected to lift this program include David Wanliss (LB), Hunley Sawyers (OL) and defensive back Erskine Joseph.

Reid and assistant coaches Marlon Williams (defensive coordinator), who played college ball at UCF, and Jerronie Harrison (offensive coordinator) are also excited about Class of 2016 prospects Malek Young (athlete), defensive end Woodly Sully and gifted quarterback Jhakari Harrison, who has the chance to be one of the best in the class.

The UCF tournament field also included the likes of Seffner Armwood, Daytona Beach Seabreeze, Winter Park, Tampa Chamberlain, Orlando University, St. Cloud, Winter Park Lake Howell, Lake Minneola, Groveland South Lake, Port Orange Atlantic, Sebastian River and Orlando Olympia.

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