Larry Blustein

Braddock’s Chris Linares making case as a top receiver

Receiver Chris Linares came into the offseason as just another prospect who was hidden behind an offense that didn’t feature an extensive passing game at Braddock. Things might be changing.

What Linares has done since the end of the 2013 season ended was work harder. From camps to 7-on-7 events, he wanted to show he should be considered one of the top receivers in South Florida. Last weekend, the 6-1, 180-pounder had a solid performance at the Football University three day camp at Cypress Bay High School.

What this athlete accomplished in three days was enough for coaches, players and fans to see he is one of those elite players who runs a 40 at 4.4 seconds and catches the ball against anyone.

“Just to have a chance to showcase my skills in front of such great coaches at the FBU event is all I asked for,” Linares explained. “The three days that I spent with my teammates and competed against some of South Florida’s best was the best thing for me.”

With offers from Marshall and Appalachian State, coach Frank Rojas believes that by the end of the spring, Linares will have many colleges after him.

During the FBU event, a few Braddock players got the chance to work against some of the better athletes in the region.

“Having Chris, Lazaro Cespedes and some of our young players will certainly benefit from the experience that FBU provides for them,” Rojas said. “Plus, getting the chance to work with former NFL players and coaches is huge.”

Also making a case was Cypress Bay freshman Mike Epstein. The 6-0, 190-pound running back will be a force his sophomore year. The three days at the FBU showcased his speed and overall athleticism, which he has displayed since his days in the Pembroke Pines Optimist.

“The things that you learn here will help you in your career,” Epstein said. “This really was exactly the right thing for me to take part in with spring football on the horizon.”

Among the prospects that had the chance to jump into the spotlight at FBU included:

2015 – Jason Collins, QB, Dillard: This is someone who definitely has made some major strides in the offseason, establishing himself as one of the best in Souh Florida.

2015 – Robert Foy, WR, Flanagan: This two-sport athlete really turned heads in the offseason with strong performances at combines and in 7-on-7 events.

2015 – Michael Frederick, RB, Champagnat Catholic: Here is a football talent that made a huge impact during the 2A state title run. Could emerge as one of the best around.

2015 – Xavier Love, RB, Everglades: Had a huge junior season and then used the offseason to really put himself on the radar screen. Very instinctive and elusive runner.

2016 – Dontay Mayfield, WR, Gulliver Prep: One of the emerging standouts who really left a mark for himself in 7-on-7 events. His work at the FBU camp was singled out by several coaches.

2016 – Neru N’shaka, WR, Hallandale: If you thought the Charger were already stacked at the receiver position, here is another prospect to add. Quality talent who can change games.

2016 – Kole Stealy, QB, Cypress Bay: This is a player that many believe can change the course for the Lightning. A technically sound passer who comes in with plenty of experience.

2016 - Dontye Carrier-Williams, DB, Booker T. Washington: Has been the talk of the off season — with tremendous performances in every event he has taken part in. Could emerge as one of the elite nationally.