It happens on Saturdays every fall.
Someone from South Florida makes a big play in a college football game on TV and the reaction is: “Wow, that guy wasn’t even rated that high when he was at [fill in the blank] High.”
The depth of the talent pool in the area is obvious with 85 players on active NFL rosters this past season and hundreds more at FBS schools across the country.
So with most of Miami-Dade and Broward County’s elite already signed or committed, who among the less-regarded talent has a chance to break through at the next level?
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There’s still plenty left in this year’s class.
▪ Northwestern’s Rachad Wildgoose, a 5-11, 190-pound defensive back who can play corner or safety, starred in a talented secondary along with University of Miami commit Nigel Bethel and University of Florida signee Divaad Wilson, and played a big role in the Bulls winning the Class 6A state title.
“This is why you stay on kids all the way to the end,” said Charles Fishbein of Elite Scouting Services. “He’s one of those kids that’s sort of fallen through the cracks and that happens every year.”
Wildgoose has caught the attention of UCF, which is coming off an unbeaten 13-0 season, and has in the neighborhood of 25 offers.
▪ Boyd Anderson wide receiver Avery Thornton (6-1, 175) is another uncommitted player and a UCF target. Thornton ranks No. 125 among athletes nationally, according to 247Sports.com.
“This is why UCF went undefeated last year, they waited on kids like that,” Fishbein said. “You look at [Immokalee running back] Abraham Alce, that’s another kid like that. D’Andre Ragin hasn’t found anything. And there’s a few more kids still out there.”
▪ Booker T. Washington’s Jaquan Beaver (6-0, 195), who projects as either an outside or middle linebacker, is a two-time Miami Herald Defensive Player of the Year and recorded over 60 sacks over the past three seasons for the Tornadoes. Beaver has Louisville among his top suitors.
“The thing with Beaver is trying to find a position he can settle into,” Fishbein said. “He’s kind of played a little bit off the edge. With [American Heritage’s Andrew] Chatfield [for example], he can get up the field and put pressure, but that’s not the strength of Beaver’s game. You can play him at middle linebacker. He needs to find a position at the next level and settle in.”
▪ St. Thomas Aquinas outside linebacker D’Andre Ragin (6-3, 220) caught the attention of FIU and was among the better playmakers in a loaded Raiders’ defense this past season.
▪ Miami Central athlete Davonta Wilson (6-0, 185) decommitted from Colorado State in December and remains uncommitted.
▪ Miami High wide receiver Lamont Finnie (5-10, 175), who caught 10 touchdown passes for the Class 8A state semifinalist Stingarees, also remains uncommitted.
“That’s why I tell schools that ask, ‘Oh, who’s offered him?’ that think they can’t sign that kid,” Fishbein said. “At the end of the day, a lot of these kids, either schools drop off or fill another position of need, and you could come in and land a kid. You’ll see some kids not sign until after signing day and they may still go somewhere and make a big impact.”
MIAMI-DADE TOP 25 RECRUITS
Rank, name, pos., school, height, weight, college
1. Mark Pope; WR; Southridge; 6-1; 175; UM
2. James Cook; RB; Northwestern; 6-0; 180; Georgia
3. Cam’Ron Davis; RB; Carol City; 5-10; 190; UM
4. Gilbert Frierson; CB; Coral Gables; 6-1; 185; UM
5. Robert Hicks; MLB; Central; 6-0; 235; Louisville
6. Nadab Joseph; CB; Norland; 6-2; 180; Georgia
7. Kayode Oladele; DE; Champagnat; 6-5; 235; Auburn
8. DJ Ivey; CB; South Dade; 6-1; 170; UM
9. Delone Scaife; OG; Southridge; 6-3; 320; UM
10. Divaad Wilson; CB; Northwestern; 6-0; 180; Georgia
11. Randy Russell; S; Carol City; 5-10; 180; Florida
12. Tyquan Thornton; WR; Booker T. Washington; 6-3; 165; Baylor
13. Daquris Wiggins; WR; Southridge; 6-3; 175; UM
14. Chandler Jones; CB; Central; 5-10; 175; Louisville
15. Ivan Thomas; TE; Palmetto; 6-4; 215; FIU
16. Tutu Atwell; WR; Northwestern; 5-8; 155; Louisville
17. Patrick Joyner; OLB; South Dade; 6-3; 210; Miami
18. Arthur Brathwaite; S; Central; 6-0; 180; Western Kentucky
19. Jamal Anderson; S; South Dade; 6-2; 180; FIU
20. Greg Rousseau; DE; Champagnat; 6-7; 225; UM
21. James Head; DE; Southridge; 6-5; 215; Indiana
22. Jermaine McMillan; S; Booker T. Washington; 6-2; 185; UCF
23. Randy Charlton; DE; Southridge; 6-3; 235; UCF
24. Yasir Abdullah; LB; Carol City; 6-1; 220; Louisville
25. Rachad Wildgoose; S; Northwestern; 5-11; 190; Undeclared
Sources: espn.com, 247 Sports.