For the next month, no county in America is hotter than Broward when it comes to football recruiting.
The next signing day starts Feb. 7, and Broward is home to the No. 1 (Patrick Surtain) and No. 3 (Tyson Campbell) uncommitted players in the nation. Both are cornerbacks from American Heritage.
On Thursday night in Orlando at the Under Armour All-America Game, two more Broward stars took center stage as defensive end/outside linebacker Nik Bonitto and wide receiver Anthony Schwartz made their college selections.
Schwartz, a star at American Heritge, picked Auburn, where he will also run track as a sprinter. Florida was his other finalist. Besides Schwartz, Auburn’s Class of 2018 includes Champagnat defensive end Kayode Oladele and Chaminade running back Shaun Shivers.
Bonitto, who played at St. Thomas Aquinas, chose Oklahoma over Louisville and Texas. OU already has Deerfield Beach cornerback Miguel Edwards in this class.
Earlier this week, Bonitto told the Miami Herald that the Miami Hurricanes weren’t in the picture for him.
“Miami stopped recruiting me a month ago,” Bonitto said.
That’s interesting because the Hurricanes in the past week have lost five defensive linemen and two linebackers for a variety of reasons, from graduations to transfers.
Bonitto, who produced 11 sacks this season and was absolutely dominant at times, seemingly could have helped Miami.
Perhaps Bonitto’s size — he is 6-2 1/2 and 205 pounds — dissuaded the Canes. Bonitto may end up playing outside linebacker but is confident in his ability.
“I shocked a lot of people,” Bonitto said of his senior season. “I followed what the coaches told me, and I feel I had a great season.”
Aquinas coach Roger Harriott agreed.
“Nik has the ability to play any position on defense,” Harriott said. “God has blessed him with size, speed, athleticism and football acumen.”
Miami has signed one defensive end in this class, 6-6, 220-pound Greg Rousseau of Champagnat, and the Canes are favored to add 6-2, 220-pound Andrew Chatfield from American Heritage. Chatfield had been committed to Ohio State up until August.
At defensive tackle, Miami has a commitment to American Heritage’s Nesta Silvera, who is expected to sign on Feb. 7.
THIS AND THAT
▪ Chaminade wide receiver Xavier Williams, an Alabama recruit and a starter on Thursday, used the national TV forum for an interesting request: “Demi Lovato, if you see this, I want to take you to prom with me.”
On a serious note, the ESPN analysts raved about Williams as the next great Alabama wide receiver to come out of South Florida in the past eight years, following NFL star Amari Cooper (Miami Northwestern), 2018 NFL Draft first-round prospect Calvin Ridley (Monarch) and emerging Jerry Jeudy (Deerfield Beach).
Williams caught a 31-yard touchdown pass on Thursday, punctuating the score with a “surfing” celebration.
▪ Among the South Floridians who made big plays on Thursday were Deerfield Beach middle linebacker Rosendo Louis (South Carolina), who forced a fumble; Miami Central middle linebacker Robert Hicks (Louisville), who had a tackle for a loss; Aquinas wide receiver Elijah Moore (Ole Miss), who took a kickoff to his own 47-yard line; and Aquinas cornerback Al Blades Jr. (Miami), who recovered an onside kick.
▪ Also competing on Thursday: Aquinas cornerback Asante Samuel (Florida State); Miami Central cornerback Chandler Jones (Louisville); and Southridge guard Delone Scaife (Miami).
▪ Canes recruits Gurvin Hall and Brevin Jordan also competed. Hall is a safety from Palm Beach Gardens. Jordan is a tight end from Las Vegas. Hall nearly had a first-half interception, and Jordan had a 48-yard reception in which more than half of that total came after the catch.