If you ask University of Louisville-bound receiver George Rushing how important offseason work has been for him, the talented Cardinal Gibbons senior would smile and let you know.
Having been part of the weekly Premier Athletes training sessions since last year, Rushing has used the hard work and knowledge to help him land him a scholarship offer — well before his senior season ever began.
“The only way I am in a position where I am today is because of what I put in during the offseason,” Rushing said. “What coach Sly Johnson puts us through every Sunday morning for two hours is the reason I will proudly head up to Louisville next year with plenty of confidence.”
Rushing is just one of more than 65 athletes who utilize Johnson training sessions that preach everything from being prepared on the field to being ready when the placing days are over.
For Johnson, a former Miramar High and Miami of Ohio standout receiver, giving back his years of experience to some of the finest athletes is what drives him every week to teach prospects how to be the best they can be.
The athletes who have used his Sunday events are among the best you will find anywhere. Besides having most of the University School team attend, there are others who have taken advantage of elevating their games.
“This is something that all those athletes aspiring to get better comes to,” Johnson said. “You come to one of our workouts on any given Sunday and you will see players [from Broward schools] like Sean White, Sam Bruce, Quincy Wilson and Rashard Causey [University School]; Carter Jacobs and Juwan Dowles [American Heritage]; Sean Bender and Devante Peete [St. Thomas Aquinas]; John Battle IV [Hallandale]; Ken Rawles and Chazz McKenzie [Blanche Ely]; Koron Rozier [North Broward Prep]; and Rob Foy and Mark Bruno from Flanagan.”
At a recent Premier Athletes Showcase event, more than 100 prospects came from Miami-Dade, Broward and even Palm Beach to participate.
For players such as junior quarterback Eldrick Clapp (Coral Gables), the rise into Broward County was just what he needed to help kick-start his career again. The talented passer was injured last year and has been doing everything and anything to get back in the spotlight.
“After sitting out, this is truly the only way to get back at it again,” Clapp said. “The competition and talent that comes to things like this can really make the difference in your improvement.”
Monsignor Pace standout Malcolm Anderson was among several Miami-Dade players who also attended the showcase opportunity with several on-the-rise youngsters — such as Hialeah Champagnat Catholic sophomore quarterback Kato Nelson.
St. Thomas prospects Walter Jackson, Jawan Harris and Sean Bender, Plantation athlete Marquice Flowers, Boyd Anderson quarterback Eugene Sainterling and receiver David Senior also attended.
“With the start of the season in less than two weeks, this is what many of these players need,” Hallandale coach Dameon Jones said. “High-level competition — in a setting where you are put to the test every minute you are there. That’s what this is all about.”
We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. All you have to do is send a You Tube or Hudl link and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein at Floridakids1@aol.com. Check out our list of statewide prospects as well on the High School Blog.
Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein