Title talk was in the air.
There was plenty of excitement among 110 South Florida schools that attended the Miami Dolphins’ annual High School Football Media Day at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday.
And a lot of it centered on the numerous major matchups this upcoming season as teams make an effort to make the postseason under the state’s new playoff format.
Under the new format, a tiered points system based on the final records of opponents — along with overall record — will decide whether a team earns one of the four at-large playoff berths per region.
In Classes 8A-5A, district champions will automatically advance. But even for those champions, overall records will determine their seeding in the postseason.
Under the new setup, regular season games up to the final weekend of the season would have playoff implications.
Booker T., which along with Central each had state-record four-year state title runs halted last season, face each other in the second week of the season. And each has multiple nationally-ranked contenders on its schedule.
“Now your point system has to add up so you have to be ready to play every week,” Booker T. coach Tim “Ice” Harris said. “We use it as a teaching point for kids going to college. If you’re going to be in a national championship game or a major bowl game you have to win all your games and have to be ready to play every week.”
Numerous top national recruits were in attendance at the event, and some reiterated their plans to announce their college commitments in the near future.
North Broward Prep receiver Kevin Austin, rated the No. 23 wide receiver in the country by 247Sports, is planning to announce his choice Friday. Austin has Notre Dame, Miami, Tennessee and Duke among his lead candidates.
Deerfield Beach linebacker Rosendo Louis, who has been offered by both UM and FSU, plans to declare his intentions on Aug. 18.
Mater Academy recently changed head coaches when Rocco Casullo stepped down and former Carol City assistant Cordarion Clark stepped in as co-coach with former Lions assistant Gabriel Estrada.
The Lions, who made the regional finals each of the past two seasons, have some famous names on their coaching staff with the addition of former UM standouts Eric Moncur and Aldarius Johnson.
Moncur, a star at Carol City, is the defensive coordinator. Johnson, who still holds the all-time single-season receiving records in Dade for receptions, yards and touchdowns he set at Northwestern, will be the receivers coach.
▪ Columbus cornerback Josh Jobe, the No. 2-rated prospect in Miami-Dade County, will not be suiting up for his senior season with the Explorers. Jobe (6-1, 180), who is 19 years and four months old, has exceeded the Florida High School Athletic Association’s age limit to play football in the state.
Columbus coach Chris Merritt told the Miami Herald on Saturday that Jobe will play his senior season at Cheshire Academy in Connecticut.
Jobe remains a strong commitment to the Hurricanes.
“[Jobe] was already one of the best and maybe the best athlete on our team last year,” Merritt said. “It made it tough for the kids so for his future, he’ll graduate and play his fourth year of high school up there.”
Jobe, a U.S. Army All-American, said on Twitter in April he was shutting down his recruitment. He has been offered by numerous schools, including Alabama, Florida and Auburn.
Despite the loss, Merritt believes Columbus is still in good shape to compete for the Class 8A state championship this season and has players ready to step up on the defensive side.
“You don’t build them like Josh anymore,” Merritt said. “He’s a big loss, but we’ve dealt with it since January. The other guys just have to step up and play ball.”
▪ Clark said Saturday that highly-rated junior outside linebacker Mikel Jones has transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton.
▪ Former Miami Edison safety Nadab Joseph originally intended to transfer to Champagnat Catholic, but instead is enrolled at Miami Norland. Joseph is rated a four-star recruit by 247Sports and has been an LSU commitment since last year.