Travis Homer has his senior prom Saturday night.
But be assured that Homer, a future University of Miami running back who will arrive in Coral Gables this summer, will not be thinking of his date at 2 p.m, when the Hurricanes have their first open scrimmage of the Mark Richt era on his West Palm Beach campus at Oxbridge Academy.
“It’s going to be great to see them scrimmage on my home field,’’ Homer, 17, told the Miami Herald by phone Friday. “I remember my mom telling me, ‘Oh yeah, by the way, Miami is going to scrimmage at your field.’
“I was like, ‘Whaaaat?’’’
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New UM coach Richt, 56, who graduated from Boca Raton High School, said this week that “a big part’’ of opening the free scrimmage, which he said he usually doesn’t do, “is recruiting.’’
“We know the tri-county area is just chock-full of great players, and everybody is within striking distance of our campus,’’ Richt said. “We thought, ‘You know what? Let’s get a scrimmage here in Dade [County], which was this past week [at Greentree Field], let’s do one in Broward, which will be the spring game [April 16 at Lockhart Stadium], and we’ll do one in Palm Beach. I thought we’d go ahead and scrimmage in each of the three counties.’’
The scrimmage, expected to last two hours, will be in a controlled format – “Basically stretch, warm-up, get a few kicks and extra points in, then get on the sidelines and start scrimmaging from different field positions…,’’ Richt said. “We’ll have some third-and-medium and third-and-long situations, then we’ll probably go red zone again to finish up.’’
Oxbridge Academy was founded in 2011 and is owned by Bill Koch, a billionaire and sailor whose boat, America3, won the 1992 America’s Cup. The school’s first year of varsity football was in 2013. The ThunderWolves finished 9-3 last season, losing to Delray Beach American Heritage in the Class 3A regional final.
Homer, a four-star recruit listed as 5-11 and 195 pounds, rushed for 1,315 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior, including a 215-yard and one-score performance in a regional semifinal win over Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna. His football offers included Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Florida State.
“I thought there would be a lot of opportunities for me at Miami’s great business school,’’ said Homer, who said he has a “3.4 or 3.5’’ grade point average. “It’s close to home, I like the area and I think I’ll be able to compete and push the team to get better.’’
Homer said he committed to Al Golden but likes Richt “a lot.’’
“He reminds me a lot of my coach right now – the morals and what he expects out of his players. It’ll be an easy transition for me.’’
Oxbridge coach Doug Socha called Homer “a great player and leader on and off the field. He has a combination of speed -- 4.48 in the 40 -- and shiftiness, but he has enough power to run through tackles. Hard worker. Great kid.
“He’s super excited to show off Oxbridge Academy.’’
Homer’s team will be dressed in their red, white and navy school colors in the stands, though this is a dead period in recruiting and players will not be allowed in the school during the scrimmage.
“People want to see Mark Richt,’’ Socha said. “They’re fired up about him. A lot of kids aspire to play at that level, and now they’ll see how big and fast the players really are.’’
Hurricanes offensive guard Kc McDermott, who graduated from Palm Beach Central, said “it means a lot’’ for him to return to West Palm Beach and play in front of fans.
“I definitely have a lot of people coming out to that game,’’ McDermott said. “It’s right down the street from where I went to high school. I can’t wait to get up there and see the fan base that comes out.’’
If you go
What: UM football scrimmage.
When/where: 2-4 p.m. at Oxbridge Academy, 3151 N. Military Trail, West Palm Beach, 33409.
Admission: Free. Gates open 12:30 p.m.
About: Oxbridge seats only about 1,500, but there’s standing room around the field for at least another 1,000 to 1,500, according to school officials. Refreshments will be sold. There will be no autograph signings. The game will not be televised.