High School Recruiting

These South Florida defensive stars will be the focus of recruiters next Signing Day

Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna’s Keontra Smith.
Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna’s Keontra Smith. pportal@miamiherald.com

Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna has become an important stop for college coaches on the recruiting trail.

Last year, the Lions’ biggest stars were wide receiver Xavier Williams, who signed with Alabama; and running back Shaun Shivers, who picked the Tide’s biggest rival, Auburn.

This season, most of the focus on National Signing Day at Chaminade will be on the defense, including a loaded secondary that features cornerbacks Te’Cory Couch and James Williams and safety Keontra Smith.

Couch, a 6-0, 160-pounder, needs to get stronger, but he makes plays. He is “committed” to Tennessee, but …

“I don’t know if that is going to stick,” Chaminade coach Dameon Jones said. “It’s a long way to signing day [in December].

“[But] he has great feet, fast. He’s a lock-down cover corner who makes plays on the ball. He’s got to put on some weight, but he’s explosive.”

Williams, a 6-0, 175-pounder, has been flying under the radar even though he’s the brother of last year’s star, Xavier.

“James has been starting since his freshman year,” Jones said. “Wisconsin and Michigan are his top schools right now.”

James Williams Chaminade-Madonna SPT PPP
Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna’s James Williams. Pedro Portal pportal@miamiherald.com

Smith, a 5-11, 205-pounder, runs a 10.8 in the 100 meters and is just as fast as Couch despite outweighing him by 45 pounds. Smith is a Kentucky recruit at the moment, and Jones said he is athletic enough to play the deep middle as well as linebacker.

Another Lions player to watch is 6-5, 235-pound defensive end Cameron Williams, who has already flipped his commitment from Florida to Miami.

Williams is trying to convince some of his top teammates to join him at Miami.

“Cameron is a dynamic player in high school, and I think he’ll be the same way in college as he gets even bigger and stronger,” Jones said. “He’s long and athletic.”

Besides those four rising seniors, the Lions also have a top player from the Class of 2020 — defensive tackle Willie Moise, a 6-4, 270-pounder. Moise also plays offensive tackle and is known for his exceptional agility for a kid his size.

As for Lions offensive stars this season, look for 6-2, 190-pound wide receiver John Dunmore to fill the void left by Xavier Williams. Dunmore has huge hands, catches nearly everything thrown in his radius and recently de-committed from Florida.


▪ Florida State is down to just three scholarship wide receivers this spring now that Nyqwan Murray is out until the fall because of a meniscus tear. The Seminoles will get reinforcements this fall with four-star receiver recruits Warren Thompson and Tre’Shaun Harrison as well as three-star guys Keyshawn Helton, D’Marcus Adams and Jordan Young.

Looking forward, new FSU coach Willie Taggart has no 2019 commitments yet from offensive players, but the Seminoles are targeting receivers such as Dunmore as well as Frank Ladson of South Dade.

▪ South Florida has two commitments for 2019, Tallahassee tight end Kamari Morales and Riverview safety TJ Robinson, both three-star recruits. But three-star cornerback La’Darius Henry de-committed from USF, posting a Twitter photo of himself with a Gators jersey.

The Recruiting Column is a year-round feature of the Miami Herald. If you have a tip or story idea regarding recruiting or an impending college commitment, please contact Walter Villa at: wvilla07@yahoo.com