Better off in the end
Corey King's perseverance allowed him to end up at Miami, his dream school
It was a dream scenario for defensive tackle Corey King (Boca Raton, Fla./West Boca).
The Class of 2011 prospect had committed to FIU a week before national signing day, but the Panthers had to back off because the 6-foot-1, 270-pounder needed to receive a qualifying score on his ACT.
Rather than go the juco route, King pushed for a passing score and scored an 18. Even though Eastern Michigan, Pitt and FIU were still keeping tabs on him, another school had emerged from the cracks -- the Miami Hurricanes.
"They were intrigued by his size and how active he is on the defensive line," West Boca coach Willie Dodaro said. "Once they found out that he was good to go academically, they jumped right on him."
And with that King became a very late addition to the Hurricanes' 2011 recruiting class and a player who can step in right away and provide some additional depth on their defensive line.
"The coaches met with me and they really liked my film," King said. "They saw that I was a very physical, athletic player, and once they offered I committed. Miami was my No. 1 choice from the very beginning."
King said he had been a Miami fan since moving to Florida when he was in the sixth grade. He said the opportunity is a special bonus after passing his test.
"Getting the score on the ACT had nothing to do with Miami really," King said. "It was about me just trying to get it done for my own satisfaction."
King said he's going to take a visit to the Miami campus next week and meet with the coaches and academic advisors. He'll be the first player under Dodaro to head to Miami.
"I'm real proud of Corey because he just kept grinding and working," Dodaro said. "And it's cool to have one of my players going to the 'U.' I'll be able to watch him a lot."
Robinson takes in visitorsWhile Village Academy (Delray Beach, Fla.) might not be the most well-known school in talent-rich Palm Beach County, it's been proven that coaches will flock to wherever they see talent.
And wide receiver Devonte Robinson is a guy worth seeing.
"This week we had Nebraska, UCF, Western Kentucky, SMU, Kansas and a few more come out," Robinson said.
The 6-1, 185-pound receiver has offers from Vanderbilt, Bowling Green, FIU, Western Kentucky, West Virginia, Memphis and Western Michigan already. He's continuing to field interest, but his decision date will be coming sooner than later.
"At some point over the summer or at the end of spring, I would like to be close to a decision or have already made one," Robinson said.
Robinson, who said he models his game after Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, was at junior day events in Miami and Florida Atlantic during the offseason. He was also a familiar face on the combine circuit, taking part in the Under Armour combine in February and an Elite Scouting Services event in March.
"I like to consider myself a speed guy and a possession guy," Robinson said. "I need to work on my strength a little. Bryant is the total package as a receiver, and that's where I want to be."
He was a regular at practices at FAU, where he has a cousin playing, and also caught Miami practices when the Hurricanes were at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale preparing for their spring game.
Robinson participated in the New Level Athletics (formerly known at Badger Sports) 7-on-7 event in Tampa with the South Florida Blur.
"Right now, I'm just trying to weigh all the options and see who else is going to offer me this spring," Robinson said. "If I have to take additional time, I will because I want to be confident in my decision, but I'm also ready to focus on my senior year."
On the road: South Lake and NorlandThere is heavy interest in rising junior defensive back Marcell Harris (Groveland, Fla./South Lake), and it's safe to say the 6-1, 185-pounder is going to be one of the most coveted prospects in the state next year. Even a coach from Texas came through the school on the first day of spring practice.
Texas doesn't need to recruit out of state, so when it does it's for a special prospect. As a matter of fact the last time the Longhorns thought they had a Florida prospect, John Brantley burned them and switched to the Florida Gators.
Texas hasn't offered Harris, but the Gators have. Earlier in the spring, Harris said Florida is one of his favorite schools. His father played there and was part of the Gators' recruiting class in 1993. The Gators might be the first to offer, but they won't be the last. Alabama is scheduled to come in on Monday, and Florida State will be in next week as well.
Meanwhile, Larry Blustein from the Miami Herald has been hitting schools in the southern part of the state and really likes what he sees at Norland.
"Norland has one of the best group of senior prospects in the state, if not the best," Blustein said. "First you have a big addition in Ereck Flowers, a 6-5, 300-pound lineman that transferred from Dr. Krop [Miami]."
Flowers already has offers from Memphis, Western Michigan, Purdue and Vanderbilt. He should provide much-needed extra protection for an athletic backfield that includes Under Armour All-American Randy "Duke" Johnson.
But the story at Norland, according to Blustein, is on the other side of the ball.
"I love their group of linebackers; everyone already knows about Keith Brown but keep an eye on Freddie Davey," Blustein said. "And Teko Powell has gone from about 245 pounds last year to over 265 pounds this spring."
Brown has committed to Miami, while Powell has offers from Florida State, Florida, Wisconsin, LSU and South Florida.
The sunshine boysThree former Florida prep standouts were selected in the first round of last week's NFL draft. Patrick Peterson (Pompano Beach, Fla./Blanche Ely) went fifth overall to Arizona, Mike Pouncey (Lakeland, Fla./Lakeland) went 15th overall to Miami and Corey Liuget (Hialeah, Fla./Hialeah) was selected 18th overall to the San Diego Chargers.
All in all, 31 former Florida high school football players were selected out of the 254 total players picked. Only California had more former high school players selected this year.
The rest of the Florida draft class is:
Jabaal Sheard (Hollywood Hills/Cleveland), Orlando Franklin (Delray Beach Atlantic/Denver), Brandon Harris (Miami Booker T. Washington/Houston), Daniel Thomas (Hilliard/Kansas State), Marcus Gilbert (St. Thomas Aquinas/Pittsburgh)
Terrell McClain (Pensacola/Carolina), Leonard Hankerson (St. Thomas Aquinas/Washington), Demarcus Van Dyke (Miami Monsignor Pace/Oakland), Jah Reid (Haines City/Baltimore), Johnny Patrick (Deland/New Orleans), Kendrick Ellis (John I. Leonard/New York Jets)
Colin McCarthy (Clearwater Central Catholic/Tennessee), Chimdi Chewkwa (Clermont East Ridge/Oakland), Bilal Powell (Lakeland Lake Gibson/New York Jets), Jamie Harper (Jacksonville Trinity Christian/Tennessee)
Robert Sands (Miami Carol City/Cincinnati), Ahmad Black (Lakeland/Tampa Bay), Pernell McPhee (Pahokee/Baltimore)
Mistral Raymond (Palmetto/Minnesota), Matt Bosher (Jupiter/Atlanta), Brian Rolle (Immokalee/Philadelphia), Jacquian Williams (Tampa Riverview/New York Giants), Richard Gordon (Miami Norland/Oakland).
Anthony Gaitor (Miami Northwestern/Tampa Bay), Markus White (John I. Leonard/Washington), Greg Romeus (Coral Glades/Pittsburgh), Greg Lloyd (Clermont East Ridge/Tampa Bay), Anthony Allen (Tampa Jesuit/Baltimore).
A nod to the futureSeveral players who should be finishing their senior years in high school have already established themselves as future stars at their college program.
Former ESPNU 150 defensive end Aaron Lynch (Cape Coral, Fla./Island Coast) might be the best defensive lineman on the current Notre Dame roster. He was nearly unblockable in the spring game and could start for the Irish from day one.
And how good was the Miami Central team in 2010? They have three early enrollees who ended spring at the top of the depth chart for their respective programs. Defensive back Thomas Finnie started the spring game for Miami, linebacker Dwight Jackson started on the outside for Cincinnati and defensive back Charles Gaines Jr. started for Louisville.
Who has offers?Several players around the state saw their college opportunities increase after the first week of spring.
• Athlete Faton Bauta (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer), who moved to the school this spring from Brooklyn, N.Y., received an offer from Vanderbilt this week. Bauta has over a dozen offers from some of the top programs in the nation, such as Alabama, Kentucky, Syracuse, Rutgers, Miami and Louisville.
• Talented athlete Demeitre Brim (Lakeland/Victory Christian) committed to Virginia about two weeks ago, when the Cavaliers were his only offer. Now the 6-2, 210-pounder has offers from Florida Atlantic, Western Kentucky, Tulane and Georgia Southern.
• Western Michigan stopped by Pensacola High School and offered running back Jimmy Threat and defensive back Jalen Spencer. The 6-2, 180-pound Spencer committed to South Florida earlier this year and says he's solid.
• Defensive back Chris Bivins (Gainesville, Fla./Gainesville) sent a text earlier in the week that Marshall offered him -- his seventh offer of the year.
• Keep an eye on defensive back Lucas Thompson (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange). One scout said he might be the top sleeper in Florida this year. He was offered by Memphis and Bethune-Cookman this week. Washington State and Purdue had already jumped on board.
• Wide receiver P.J. Harris (Groveland, Fla./South Lake) was offered by Memphis and Washington State, while his teammate, James Brooks, received an offer from Florida A&M -- his second offer of the season.
MailbagHey Corey, with the Tampa area looking strong again in the Class of 2012, how is USF recruiting in its home city? Can the Bulls switch one of the elite prospects in the area like Dante Fowler Jr. (St. Petersburg, Fla./Lakewood) or Matt Jones (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) or maybe get in play for Nelson Agholor (Tampa/Berkeley Prep)?
Hello, Dane. The Bulls have already received a commitment from one player in the Tampa Bay area -- Rayshawn Jenkins (St. Petersburg/Admiral Farragut). I'd be very surprised to see Jones or Fowler switch to South Florida. Jones really wants to play in the SEC and for a long time considered Georgia his favorite. Fowler really loves the Seminoles and has been recruiting his future teammates since he committed. If Fowler switched, I wouldn't be shocked if he went out of state. He has always spoken highly of USC.
As for the Bulls' targets in Tampa Bay, there is wide receiver Lamarlin Wiggins (Plant City, Fla./Plant City), who lists the Bulls as co-favorites with Texas Tech. I believe defensive back Jarvis McCall (Seffner/Armwood) is a super sleeper, and USF was his first offer. Defensive tackle Earl Moore (Tampa/Hillsborough) hasn't listed USF in his top schools, but the Bulls have had plenty of success recruiting players from his high school and could be a factor as time goes on.
Hey Corey, I don't have a favorite team but I follow recruiting everywhere. Which out-of-state programs are raiding Florida for talent this year?
Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Outside of the usual suspects (West Virginia, Purdue, and Marshall), I have seen Cincinnati, Texas Tech and Nebraska really ramp up their efforts in the state so far. Clemson remains a major player, with the prospects in the northeast part of the state, but Georgia is eyeing the area's top prospect, John Theus (Jacksonville, Fla./Bolles). The well-established programs -- such as Alabama, Auburn, LSU, USC, Notre Dame and Ohio State -- tend to come in to target the major prospects who give them the best feedback. Alabama remains particularly popular with the top prospects in the Panhandle such as Eddie Williams (Panama City, Fla./Arnold).
Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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