When University School defensive back Quincy Wilson and Homestead receiver Ermon Lane went on local radio recently to announce their decision to head to the University of Florida next year, it was something that took a lot of thought.
Wilson and Lane continued a trend of a long line of top-flight talent who have left South Florida for some big-time program.
It isn’t new. It has been going on for decades, and with the abundant talent that is on display in Miami-Dade and Broward counties during the course of a year, don’t look for it to come to an end.
Go back to the 1960s, where Coral Gables stars such as Larry Rentz, Glenn Cameron and Ralph Ortega landed at Florida — and the great Neil Colzie found his way to Ohio State. Nat Moore came out of Edison, and after a brief basketball stop at Dade South, was a Gator.
The list goes on and on. Miami Northwestern’s Buster Rhymes was a star at Oklahoma, Danny McManus of South Broward — along with Danny Kanell — ended up in Tallahassee at Florida State.
The opportunity to get out of the area and compete in a different region of the state or country is appealing.
“I had the opportunity to play a lot of places, but fell in love with what Gainesville provided all the way around,” Lane said. “It just was a great fit for me and what I needed from a school.”
Louisville commitment George Rushing of Cardinal Gibbons felt the same way. He believed the program that showed him the most attention would win out. The Cardinals certainly have done well in this state — currently have 23 players from South Florida on the roster.
Wilson and Lane are just two of the five local players the Gators snatched. Highly rated Miami Central running back Dalvin Cook, Chaminade-Madonna defensive tackle Khairi Clark and Plantation defensive back Chris Lammons have helped this top-rated class plenty.
When Carter Jacobs of American Heritage Plantation and Chaminade’s Alex Thomas decided to join Tommy Tuberville in Cincinnati, it helped to tap a pipeline that had been started years ago to this region.
The opportunity to play at a high level for a coach who has been around some of the top players and in a city that is one of the most progressive was a decision that Jacobs was sold on.
“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for me,” Jacobs said. “I am given a chance to play this game, get a great education and live in a tremendous city like Cincinnati.”
The talent pool is so deep in South Florida, many quality athletes are leaving, but University of Miami coach Al Golden and the Hurricanes are doing very well, using local talent to boost up a top-four recruiting class.
“You look at any game on any Thursday, Friday and Saturday in South Florida, and there are major college players all over the field,” Dana Wiley of Prep Films pointed out. “It’s amazing how much talent stocks colleges from here to Hawaii.”
Here is a look at the current senior class that has committed to attend schools outside of South Florida:
• Auburn: Sean White, QB, University School.
• Cincinnati: Joel Thompson, DL, McArthur.
• Duke: Nicoderm Pierre, QB, Coral Reef.
• East Carolina: Eric Lenzen, OL, Cardinal Gibbons.
• FSU: Treon Harris, QB, Booker T. Washington, Frederick Jones, DT, Miami Central, Joseph Robinson, WR/DB, Miami Northwestern and C.J. Worton.
• Georgia: Gilbert Johnson, WR, Homestead and Sony Michael, RB, Plantation American Heritage.
• Kentucky: Tyre Brady, WR, South Dade.
• Louisville: Michael Johnson, S, Champagnat.
• LSU: John Battle IV, S, Hallandale.
• Marshall: Jaree Tolbert, DL, Miami Springs.
• Notre Dame: Corey Holmes, WR, St. Thomas Aquinas and Richard Yeargin, OLB, University School.
• Northern Illinois: Christian Blake, WR, Cardinal Gibbons, David Senior, WR, Boyd Anderson.
• Pittsburgh: Wade Freebeck, QB, St. Thomas
• Rutgers: Brandon Russell, LB, University School.
• South Carolina: Al Harris, Jr., DB, St. Thomas Aquinas
• Tulane: Braynon Edwards, OL, Gulliver Prep.
• USF: Stanley Clerveaux, WR, North Miami, Deatrick Nichols, DB, Miami Central and Michael Smith, OL, Miami Central.
• Wake Forest: Jaboree Williams, LB, Fort Lauderdale.
• Washington State: Peyton Bender, QB, Cardinal Gibbons.
We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Classes 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.