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Class of 2014 - Top 75 Pre-Spring List
By LARRY BLUSTEIN | Senior Analyst
As we have done every year – since 1974 – by watching football year round, the selection of the rising seniors usually takes places right after National Signing Day. It gives the next wave of talent in this region a chance to grab that spotlight that had been used up on the Class of 2013.
Having the opportunity to watch and evaluate more Miami-Dade and Broward football players than anyone throughout the course of a year, we are proud to give many of these athletes their first exposure to the world of recruiting - while others continue to follow a path that we have been paving for them since their youth football days.
This Class of 2014 is easily one of the most talented we have had in this region, and while there are some athletes we still need to evaluate during the camps, combine, 7-on-7 and spring season, the many different updates and lists that we make during the course of a year will certainly help provide a forum for exposure.
There is no recruiting website, fan website or any other informational source that will ever give you as many prospects as we will. For that reason, being left off of this initial offering of names, is not what it would be if it were another site that concentrates on BCS talent only.
Last year, with our weekly columns, IN THE HUDDLE and ON THE RADAR, we released over 600 players - at every level - giving all the respect they deserve.
Here is our Pre-Spring Top 75 with some others mentioned - as we’ll always do - to keep on your watch list. If there are names to be added or corrections to be made, please provide a video link with the player information and forward to Floridakids1@aol.com. Our main objective is to promote and get the talent out there.
1. Sony Michel, RB, 6-0, 210, Plantation American Heritage: No brainer here. This is one of those elite prospects that you don't find very often. Michel has been getting it done since the eighth grade. He’s put up huge numbers against state-rated powers Jacksonville Bolles and Glades Central among others. Michel has “play on Sundays” type of potential.
2. Ermon Lane, WR, 6-1, 180, Homestead: From his youth football days, this speedster and difference maker has been worth the price of any admission. Lane is easily one of the best nationally. Not only is he a gifted receiver, but is also a special teams weapon and defensive safety who makes plays.
3. Dalvin Cook, RB, 6-0, 190, Miami Central: This former Miami-Dade County Youth Football Player of the Year has never let anyone down at the high school level. Some call him the best receiver/kick returner/safety in the nation. Right now, Cook is committed to Clemson.
4. Joseph Yearby, RB, 5-10, 195, Miami Central: Another former Youth Football Player of the Year who has been the main cog in the Rockets' success. An early commitment to FSU shows how impressive everyone thinks he is. Yearby can do it all for a team - as a runner, defender and on special teams.
5. Khairi Clark, DT, 6-3, 300, Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna: From his days at the youth football level, to American High, to Hollywood -- where he has been one of the best in the country. Clark is another talented, big time talent that is a national prize.
6. Treon Harris, QB, 6-0, 185, Miami Booker T. Washington: There is no all-around quarterback who has made more technical strides than this impressive talent. One of the nation's best, and with a 24-3 record and two state title appearances, nobody can argue which direction he is headed.
7. Quinton "Winky" Flowers, QB, 6-1, 200, Jr., Miami Jackson: Those who have played against this impressive football prospect will tell you that once he puts it all together, this may be one of the nation's most dangerous run/pass athletes. Flowers can throw the ball 70 yards!
8. Steve Ishmael, WR, 6-2, 180, North Miami Beach: Talk to any coach who played against this gifted athlete and all will tell you that he could emerge as the best prospect in the state. Ishmael has size, football savvy and the sport in his blood. Ishmael is a big time prospect who will blow up in 2013!
9. Chad Thomas, DE, 6-4, 230, Miami Booker T. Washington: Since the ninth grade, this is one of those talented players who watched, learned and played a key role for the Tornadoes. He is a big, strong and physical performer. Thomas has the chance to be very special.
10. Mike Smith, DE, 6-3, 230, Miami Northwestern: Watch the Bulls play last season and there were a number of tremendous football players to keep an eye on, but none had anywhere the next level and beyond potential as the quick and aggressive playmaker.
11. Anthony Moten, DT, 6-4, 270, Ft Lauderdale St Thomas Aquinas: Having watched this quality football talent since his freshman season, you can see why everyone was waiting on his final year. His growth as a player took over down the stretch last season. One of the state's best.
12. Brandon Powell, RB, 5-9, 180, Deerfield Beach: This who follow this game will tell you that she the 2012 season ended, this may have been the best and most productive back in South Florida in any class and at any level. Powell has major football talent.
13. Quincy Wilson, DB, 6-2, 190, Davie University School: Remains one of the most physical cornerbacks around as he showed in the state championship game. This is indeed one of those physical football players who will break you down with his and strength.
14. Nigel Patton, DB, 5-9, 175, Miami Booker T. Washington: There were a lot of defensive backs getting plenty of high praise this past season, but were any as good week in and week out as this quality talent? Patten’s speed, knowledge of the position and athletic ability make him one to watch.
15. Deatrick Nichols, DB, 5-8, 175, Miami Central: Having watched dozens and dozens of quality defensive backs, no prospect will take over a game faster than this impressive football player. Nichols plays angry and will make you pay. Ask Booker T. Washington and Gainesville.
16. Tyre Brady, WR, 6-4, 185, South Dade: Watching him since his youth football days, this is yet another football talent who has everything it takes to be a great one that the next level. His play as a safety has also caught the attention of college coaches. Fast-rising star!
17. Joseph “Jo-Jo” Robinson, Athlete, 5-11, 185, Miami Northwestern: Yet another football talent who parlayed a tremendous youth football career into a productive two seasons at the high school level. Robinson can play receiver, running back and get the job done in the secondary. Robinson committed early to FSU.
18. John Battle IV, DB, 6-2, 190, Hallandale: Another of the tremendous talent the Chargers churn out in the secondary, but this is one that could end up being one of the best the school has produced. Battle is a very quick and athletic prospect who gets it done in the classroom as well. He’s the total package.
19. Sean White, QB, 6-2, 200, Davie University School: If you have watched football for any length of time, you have had the chance to see this classic drop back passer who has thrown for over 5,000 yards and 61 touchdowns. White is another student/athlete who brings more to life than football.
20. Mardre London, RB, 6-1, 196, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas: After coming in from Arkansas before the start of the 2012 season, this is a prospect that has attended everything and has come out looking like one of the quality big backs in the state. Colleges love his durability.
21. Marquese Dudley-Gordon, S, 6-0, 180, Weston Cypress Bay: Yet another of those fast rising prospects that was instrumental in giving the Lightning a shot to win a first ever state football title. Dudley-Gordon is equally as impressive as a running back as well – a very gifted athlete.
22. Jacob McCrary, WR, 6-1, 175, Miami Coral Reef: Originally committed to attend FSU, this is one of those two-way prospects – doubling a defensive back -- who turns heads no matter where he plays. McCrary is one of the impressive athletes we have had the pleasure of watching for the past two years.
23. Richard Yeargin III, LB, 6-4, 218, Davie University School: After starting out at Cardinal Gibbons, then to Chaminade for a year, this is now one of the players - statewide - who will blow up in a major way. Yeargin is a big, strong, agile and fast football player with plenty of big time talent.
24. Corey Holmes, WR, 6-1, 190, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas: Since his sophomore year, this is the player that everyone was ready to promote as one of the next great ones at the school. With a tremendous playoff season, Holmes is now indeed the one to watch.
25. Emmanuel Soto, WR, 6-2, 171, Davie University School: From his days at Cooper City Optimist to Archbishop McCarthy, nobody has flashed more potential. His state title game performance thrust this pass-catching machine into the spotlight.
26. Nicodem Pierre, QB, 6-2, 205, Miami Coral Reef: There are some very good quarterback prospects in the region this year, but none has worked harder to put himself in the spotlight like this quality performer who broke onto the scene as a freshman. Kansas State offered early along with many others!
27. Alshinard Harris, DB, 5-11, 160, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas: When your father happens to be one of the best at his position, you learn, and this is one of those impressive football talents who has matured, gotten bigger and stronger and put himself in a position to be one of the best in Florida.
28. Alin Eduoard, QB, 6-2, 180, Hialeah: If you ask any team that competed against the T-Breds, this is the one player they worked harder to stop than any other. Eduoard has proven to several big time schools that he has everything it takes to do it all on the football field. Tremendous arm strength and has the ability to run.
29. Chris Lammons, Athlete, 5-11, 175, Plantation: Even though he was rushed into playing quarterback for the Colonels, this is one football talent that has the athletic ability to lineup at three different positions, and that is exactly why every college coach we talked to wants to get him on their campus.
30. Trevor Darling, OL, 6-5, 310, Miami Central: This early University of Miami commitment truly emerged as a state-rated prospect this past season. Darling is one of those big, strong and agile football players who have the opportunity to be very special in the years to come.
31. Lamar Parker, 5-10, 175, Miami Booker T. Washington: Having perhaps more big game exposure than any receiver in the state this season, this quick elusive play-maker showed that he can be that "go-to" player that every college is looking for. Schools love his ability to catch the ball and separate - in a hurry!
32. Henderson "Prince" Gray, WR, 5-10, 175, Miami Monsignor Pace: From his days as a dominating youth football player to his first season at the varsity level, this is one of those prospects who made an impression. Gray is yet another talented football player who has the chance to make a huge impact in 2013.
33. Ravian Pierce, TE, 6-4, 210, Plantation: Even though the offense wasn't designed for a passing game, this is one prospect that we uncovered last year during the spring, and while he still is ones of the best in the state, he will be asked to be more of a receiver than a blocker at the next level.
34. Cornelius Floyd, WR/DB, 6-1, 160, Miami Gulliver Prep: This is a perfect example of how deep south Florida talent is. While many haven't had the chance to watch him perform, this is a two-way player who could end up being as productive as any prospect in this region. Floyd has all the tools to be special.
35. Ryan Crozier, OL, 6-4, 280, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas: If you have never watched this line perform, the suggestion may be made to get last year's playoff win against No. 1 Manatee. In that game, this is one of the three players up front who dominated nationally rated defensive linemen. Crozier is a big timer.
36. Kendrick Edwards, WR, 6-6, 220, Miami Norland: After his first full year at the varsity level - being a go-to player -- huge things will be expected from this big time player this season. While he creates a size mismatch with just about any corner he goes against, he is also very physical.
37. Wade Freebeck, QB, 6-4, 185, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas: After a very productive year at Western, this gifted prospect makes his way to compete for the Raiders. Has everything you are looking for in a quarterback and could be the right fit for a very good football team.
38. Carter Jacobs, S, 6-2, 200, Plantation American Heritage: If you watched the Patriots play the past two seasons, there were a number of players to keep an eye on. But when it came to making plays - lots of them - this was easily one of the athletes who could change the game in a hurry. Jacobs has the chance to be very special.
39. Anthony Wint, LB, 6-0, 210, Homestead: There are many reasons why the Broncos started to turn things around, but you can start with this superior athlete who makes plays all over the field. His speed, balance and strength make him one of the elite players to watch. Wint is also a state-rated wrestler.
40. Stanley Clerveaux, WR, 6-3, 185, North Miami: Ended the season as one of the prospects the Pioneers believe can help them as they race for an elusive playoff spot. Clerveaux is a very physical pass catcher who has exceptional speed - offers colleges the right combination.
41. Franklyn Labady, Athlete 5-8, 160, Miami Edison: From the first time we watched him play at the youth football level, his speed, athleticism and ability to play this game reminded many of a young Roscoe Parrish. Flash forward a few years and this is indeed the next Parrish - with the ability to take over a game - like that.
42. Trayon Gray, QB, 6-0, 195, Miami Carol City: Easily one of the most athletic football players on a quality team, this is a tremendous prospect who played some receiver and kick returner and may have been end up being one of the most productive quarterbacks around.
43. Isaiah McKenzie, Athlete, 5-9, 170, Plantation American Heritage: Said it last year and will repeat again: this is the best kick returner in South Florida, Florida and maybe the nation. His speed and ability to pick out holes has every college looking in his direction. McKenzie is also a very impressive receiver.
44. Trumaine Washington, DB, 5-11, 170, Miami Killian: On a team loaded with talent, this is one who really impressed a year ago, and with everything you need to play at a high level, colleges have already been watching his every move. Washington is expected to have a huge off season as well.
45. A'lique Terry, OL, 6-2, 290, Hialeah: Having watched all there great line prospects for the class, there are some who may be bigger and stronger, but this is the total package. Terry is the son of a coach who knows everything about the game as well as making a commitment in the classroom. Terry is a big time prospect.
46. C.J. Worton, WR, 6-1, 185, South Dade: This early FSU commitment showed just why the Seminoles were so high on him from the start. His speed, ability to go up and fight for balls and being around the game and learning from his brother, who starts at UCF, gives him a huge advantage.
47. George Rushing, WR/DB, 6-1, 185, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons: There is not one football player who has gone from a player to watch to one that everyone is keeping an eye on. Rushing is one of the hardest workers around who knows what it will take to make it big at the next level.
48. Nicholas Linder, OL, 6-3, 275, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas: While his brother Brandon is getting it done at the University of Miami, "little" brother has carved out quite a niche' for himself as one of the emerging line prospects. Like his teammates, showed why he has a chance to be in an elite class by the end of the year.
49. Michael Johnson, S, 6-2, 185, Hialeah Champagnat Catholic: Yet another of the Mike Tunsil coached athletes who have the skill level and athletic ability to make a huge impact. Johnson is a quick, athletic football talent who continues to learn more and more every day. He will continue to receive national attention.
50. Peyton Bender, QB, 6-3, 200, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons: Here is one of those talented quarterbacks who comes out of the Mastrole Passing Academy, and with size, arm strength and decision-making abilities, this is yet another football talent to keep an eye on.
51. Siffo Pierre, OL, 6-4, 330, Coral Springs Taravella: After watching him play a number of times the past year, there is no doubt that this is going to be one of those athletes who will continue to get better and better as he gets stronger. Has tremendous feet and athletic ability for a big man.
52. Antwan Cordy, Athlete, 5-9, 175, South Dade: One of the most dynamic playmakers in South Florida who has the speed and athleticism to turn a game around on offense, defense and special teams. Cordy is one of the fastest football players in the region.
53. Andre Godfrey Jr., DB, 6-1, 180, Miramar: Looking for a prospect who could make a major statement? Here is a physical, athletic football talent who is part of a group that could be one of the best in Florida – when the season begins. Godfrey will be a force in the off season.
54. Erik Lenzen, OL, 6-6, 270, Ft Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons: When the season ended, this was one of many players on a team loaded with quality football athletes that everyone was talking about. Great size and durability, he graded out as one of the best on the team each week.
55. Taron James, QB, 5-11, 185, Miami Norland: Injured early in the season, the Vikings have a very good football talent, here. James is one that can easily keep them in the mix in a very tough district. In addition to being able to move the ball on the ground, he also has a very good throwing arm.
56. Gregory Howell, RB, 6-1, 205, Coral Gables: Watching the Cavaliers throughout the course of a year, here is one of those rugged, athletic prospects who has helped to elevate this team, helping it win a state playoff game for the first time in several years.
57. Marcus Leslie, DB, 5-9, 170, Miami Coral Reef: Watching him during his sophomore year and then again this past year, there is little doubt that this is going to be one of those athletes who can climb the list quickly. Was one of the area invitees to the Under Armour National Combine.
58. Ryan Mayes, DB, 6-0, 185, Miami Dr. Krop: Every year it seems that the Lightning has a player like this who combines plenty of football savvy with athletic ability. This is indeed a true player who will continue to get plenty of looks this off season.
59. Nigel Kemp, OL, 6-1, 303, Miramar Everglades: First popped up on the radar screen as a sophomore, and after a productive junior season, this is indeed one of those football players who has the chance to be very special. Kemp is big, strong and quick.
60. Juwan Dowels, DB, 5-10, 160, Davie Western: With all the talent to choose from in this region of the state, is little wonder why a superior football talent like this is overlooked. One of the interception leaders a year ago continues to make major strides.
61. David France, WR/S, 6-3, 185, Hialeah: For those who have watched him play, all believe that this may be one of the most overlooked players heading into the spring. France is a pass-catcher who has speed and runs impressive routes. He should have a huge off season.
62. Andrew Soroh, S, 6-2, 190, Hialeah American: Here is one of those physical safety prospects who can hit and cover you as well as anyone at his position. His ability to read offenses and stand toe-to-toe with the best receivers make him a must watch.
63. Kendon Davis, WR, 6-3, 190, Oakland Park Northeast: When Stacy Coley played defense last summer at many of the 7-on-7 events, this is the player who really made a huge impact. Slowed by an injury this past season, here is another quality difference maker on the offensive side of the ball.
64. LaKeith Stafford, RB, 6-0, 215, Miami Norland: For those waiting for this gifted runner to be the next Duke Johnson, you have to understand that those kinds of backs do not come around often at all. But this is a solid, powerful runner who will carve out his own career.
65. Jonathan Jackson, DB, 5-11, 190, Hallandale: If you happen to be looking for athletic, quick, play-making secondary performers, the Chargers have been the place to look, and here is yet another big timer who changes the complexion of a game – just like that. Keep an eye on his progress.
66. Chris Taylor, WR, 6-1, 170, Coconut Creek N. Broward Prep: Another of the many well kept secrets in South Florida. Taylor is a talented and athletic pass catcher with a chance to be very special. He has worked extremely hard to get better, and from his early off season experiences, this is going to be a player.
67. LaJuan Hunt, RB, 5-8, 190, Davie University School: Having been around this outstanding talent since his youth football days, his maturity and hard work have elevated him to a position where colleges continue to love his running style and overall work ethic.
68. Deion Hallmon, DB, 5-11, 185, Weston Cypress Bay: A three year varsity performer for the defending 8A state runner-ups, this is one of those quality players we had the pleasure of watching in the off season as well as during a very productive playoff run this past season.
69. Henry Bussey, RB, 5-8, 160, Hialeah: Here we have another former youth standout who really made a lasting impression the past two years at Plantation American Heritage. Bussey’s move back to Miami-Dade County will provide him a huge opportunity to showcase his skills against elite competition.
70. Albert Smalls, DB, 5-10, 175, Miramar Everglades: Yet another football talent who used the tremendous South Florida youth programs to his advantage. Smalls has elevated his game the past two years for the Gators. He’s a tremendous run stopper who has become a physical pass defender.
71. Justin Rae, DT, 5-11, 245, Weston Cypress Bay: With bloodlines at UCF and soon at FIU, there is little mystery why this is going to be one of those elite players who continues to get the job done. Watching him for three years, this is one of those tough, hard-nose football players who elevate a football program.
72. Randy Ramsey, DB, 6-3, 210, Fort Lauderdale Dillard: How many times are we going to say under the radar talent before those who evaluate and recruit will be all over a major prospect like this. Eventually, Ramsey is going to be a safety or a linebacker, but for now, he will continue to make life tough for receivers.
73. Trevon Lee, WR, 6-1, 175, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons: Already committing to attend Duke University, this is one of those quality football players who continues to work harder to get better, and after a huge junior season, his final year should be very special.
74. Odis Grimes, WR, 6-4, 195, Miami Edison: When the dust settles on this class, this is going to be one of those players they are talking about. First evaluated him early last year and continued to keep an eye on his progress. This is one of those players who have the chance to be very, very special.
75. Raul Diaz, OL, 6-2, 270, Miami Central: If you watched the 6A state champion Rockets play this year, this rugged, strong and athletic center helped clear the way for the nation’s best 1-2 running back punches. This is a player that every opponent talked about when looking at the success of this football program.
Moten, Holmes, McCray and Freebeck look a little low. I like what I see of Battle and Dudley-Gordon on film.
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