North Miami Beach’s Steven Ishmael follows in footsteps of brothers

A father of six, Blessed Ishmael was told by doctors his fourth child, Steven, was too hyper for a little boy and needed to take medication to settle himself down.

“I told them no,” Blessed said. “I told them he would just do what his older brothers did — burn all that energy with sports.”

Following in the footsteps of his brothers, Steven, now a senior at North Miami Beach High School, has sprouted into one of the nation’s top recruits, a 6-2, 170-pound receiver and defensive back with dozens of scholarships offers and a football future BCS programs are lining up to be a part of.

One of his older brothers, Kemal, was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in April, and Trevor, another older brother, is entering his junior season at Western Michigan as a strong safety.

“I’ve had both of his brothers who have done phenomenal for me, but I think he may be the best,” said NMB coach Jeff Bertani, entering his 18th season with the Chargers. “I joke with him all the time, I don’t care how good you are in Dade County, you just have to be better than the people in your house. And if you’re better than the people in your house, then you’ll be pretty good.”

Ranked the 10th-best recruit in Miami-Dade by the Miami Herald, Ishmael earned All-Dade first-team honors in 2012, finishing with 46 catches for 804 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also made four interceptions as a defensive back.

His top three college choices at the moment: Syracuse, Illinois and Pittsburgh. Ishmael said he wants to make an impact immediately as a freshman.

“Everybody thinks I’m going to play defense because of my brother, but I want to start my own path. I’m a receiver,” Ishmael said. “That’s what I was raised to be.’’

Bertani, who has always fielded a small roster because he plays most of his players both ways, is dreading the day Ishmael leaves. He’s the last of the four boys in the family.

“I’ve been trying [to get the Ishmaels to give me some more boys],” Bertani joked. “Unfortunately, the Ishmael’s just have [two] girls coming up.”

Told what Bertani said, Blessed joked: “I’ve told him in America they only allow you to marry one wife. Otherwise, I might have given him a few more boys.”

The Chargers, coming off a 4-6 season and a first round playoff loss to Coral Gables, have high expectations this season. The schedule isn’t easy. In addition to facing District 13-8 favorite Hialeah, Bertani said his team is taking road trips to face Bradenton IMG Academy and Lakeland and taking on Class 5A state semifinalist Miami Jackson.


Miami Booker T. Washington’s football game against Nevada’s Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas on Oct. 4 will be televised on ESPNU at 10 p.m. The Tornadoes, the No. 1-ranked team in the nation by USA Today, also play a nationally televised game Aug. 24 at Norcross (Ga.).


Coconut Creek North Broward Prep hired Casey Powell as its new Director of Lacrosse. Powell will supervise all levels of the boys’ and girls’ lacrosse programs at the school.

Powell has over 20 years of coaching and playing experience around the world having played at Syracuse University and on the 1998 U.S. World Championship team.


North Miami Beach Mourning High baseball player Christopher Luis Contreras signed with Baltimore Community College.

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