BY LARRY BLUSTEIN
When it comes to recruiting, the rules have changed over the years, and while it’s more about keeping up with the times, we are learning that schools cannot look far enough into the future to plan their programs.
As we recently closed the book on the Class of 2012, we have been swarmed by the sudden commitments and recruitment of the rising seniors. The Class of 2013. Now, colleges are buzzing about the 2014 group of athletes — statewide — and in particular in South Florida.
Almost any year, a college can come to Miami-Dade and Broward counties and come away with some impressive football talent. It has been that way since the 1960s. But now, with so many programs recruiting this area, schools are now taking a look at the athletes who will be juniors, which is not surprising.
While you can probably say that any year is a great year for talent in South Florida, it appears that the Class of 2014 will give us better quarterbacks and continue to raise the bar at other positions.
Even though he was injured last season, Sony Michel of Plantation American Heritage remains the top running back prospect nationally. There is little doubt that the gifted running back will be back to form — and he’s gotten bigger.
Michel drew praise as an eight-grader who went over 1,600 yards rushing — repeating that as a sophomore. When he comes back in the fall, he will head a list of players who could be program-changing at the next level.
I know it’s early, but just to let you know how much talent will roam the fields for the next two years is amazing. No matter what county you live in, there is a rising junior who will be regarded as one of the best nationally.
We talked about that quarterback position, and from a prospect standpoint, it has never been better with Jackson’s Quinton Flowers, Gulliver’s Hunter Boyett, Blanche Ely’s Danarious Graham, Booker T. Washington standout Treon Harris, Nicodem Pierre of Coral Reef and Sean White of Chaminade-Madonna to start with.
The Class of 2014 also boast offensive standouts such as running backs Joseph Yearby and Dalvin Cook (Central), Southridge’s Jamal Adjamah, Miami Beach speedster Timonthy Bellenger and University School standout LaJuan Hunt.
The receivers in the class are also worth keeping an eye on with Hialeah’s Kendrick Edwards, Corey Holmes (St. Thomas), Steve Ishmael (North Miami Beach), Ermon Lane (Homestead), Travon Lee (Cardinal Gibbons), Sasha Kelsey (Christopher Columbus), Emmanuel Soto (Archbishop McCarthy) and Lamar Parker (Booker T. Washington).
The line prospects are once again getting better as players such as Central Trevor Darling and Nigel Kemp (Everglades) are future BCS players.
Defensively, the class is stacked with talent. Perhaps nobody will be more sought after or higher rated than Chaminade-Madonna nose tackle Khari Clark. After starting his career out at American (Hialeah), Clark continued his dominating ways for the Lions last year. May be the best in the country.
Clark is not alone in this talented prospect pool. South Dade’s Jerrell Haprs, Otto Travesio (Archbishop Carroll), Anthony Moten (St. Thomas) and Booker T. Washington’s Chad Thomas are elite players as well.
The linebacking class will also be a place to watch with Homestead’s Terrance Desire and Frank Newman (Southridge) among others.
What is a South Florida class without a gifted secondary? In 2014, the talent will run deep with athletes such as University School’s Quincy Wilson, Marquese Dudley-Gordon (Cypress Bay), Cornelius Floyd (Gulliver Prep) and Deatrick Nichols (Central), Albert Smalls (Everglades).
Throughout the off season, we will continue to promote more Class of 2014 standouts as well as 2013 and 2015. If you have some players you want us to keep an eye on, contact Larry Blustein at Floridakids1@aol.com. Follow Larry’s recruiting updates on Twitter @larryblustein.