Larry Blustein

Larry Blustein: Improved Stranahan football players draw notice from universities

 

Special to the Miami Herald

With the National Signing Day coming Wednesday, high school coaches are working the phones, sending plenty of texts and reaching out to the many contacts across the country.

As many scramble to find that elusive college scholarship and find their Class of 2014 seniors a place to attend school, there is always the future to worry about as well, and nobody realizes that more than Fort Lauderdale Stranahan second-year head coach Willie Hill.

What Hill has done since taking over the Dragons is set a goal to each of his players the value of an education and how to succeed by working hard and doing things when others are not.

Even while trying to get a number of 2014 players into schools, Hill has also taken an active interest in making sure his underclassmen are on the radar.

“When you take a head job it means that you are in charge of the entire program,” Hill said. “That means you need to keep your reputation good when it comes to helping your players find a college as well as look out for those younger players.”

The Dragons, who started to show signs of improvement a year ago, head into the off season as one of the 6A programs that deserve to be watched. They are simply loaded with talent that can really make a difference.

Leading the way in the junior class is safety/corner Richie Kittles. At 5-11, 175 pounds, this hard-hitting athlete is fast (4.4) and agile enough to get looks from schools such as Syracuse, Purdue, North Carolina, Indiana, FSU, Louisville and Cincinnati. He recorded 147 total tackles, 87 solo, six forced fumbles and two interceptions.

In addition, lineman Kirk Livingstone (6-4, 230) is also a prospect with his 4.3 grade-point average and interest from schools such as Syracuse, Purdue, Arizona, Western Michigan and Missouri.

Along with Kittles, Livingstone was selected to attend the 2013 U.S. Army Combine.

“The way you build your program is to start with high-level athletes and then build around them,” Hill said. “That has been important with the way Richie and Kirk have been exposed so far.”

Other major Class of 2015 prospects include quarterback transfer Brevet Killet (6-2 1/2, 215), who has the grades and the athletic ability to become a true leader and a major force this coming season.

Other prospects include Javonne Heastie (athlete, 5-7, 140), receiver Marvin Robinson (6-4, 190), Akeem Hutchinson (DE/TE, 4.1 GPA and early graduate), running back Anthony Hunt (5-8, 200), speedy (4.39) Valantino Jean, a 5-10, 185-pounder, who can play on both sides of the ball.

There are also prospects such as lineman Steven Scott (6-1, 270), safety Leroy Anderson (5-10, 210), Hallandale receiver transfer Jihad Muhammad (6-3, 180) and Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson transfer running back Travonte Franklin (5-9, 190).

Hill is worried about placing the athletes who really made his transit to the school much easier, the senior class. There are three prospects who the Dragons would love to see colleges spend more attention watching.

Lineman Devon Vidal (6-0, 265), quarterback/receiver Darrius McFadden (6-3, 180) and receiver James Lewis (5-11, 170) all have the grades and the talent to play.

“The most frustrating part of this entire recruiting process is the fact that so many players deserve those scholarships,” Hill said. “We as coaches can continue to promote and support all of them.”

Read more Recruiting stories from the Miami Herald

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