The Opening: Florida Notebook

Here is a recruiting notebook from day one of The Opening from prospects from the Sunshine State.

Beaverton, Oregon - It was a huge recruiting day for the Miami Hurricanes, as Al Golden and his staff picked up two monster commitments for this class and the next. First, it was four-star running back Jordan Scarlett from Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas while at The Opening.

What school did the nation’s No. 4 running back commit to?

”Miami,” Scarlett said. “It’s the best thing for me. It’s a strong academic school and it’s home. It’s a running back school that runs the ball 60% of the time. And I love the coaching staff.”

Scarlett, 5-foot-11, 220-pounds, first committed to FAU in December but last month he backed off his pledge to the Owls. He committed to the ‘Canes over Florida State, Ohio State and South Carolina.

Scarlett’s teammate and close friend, Sam Bruce, also committed to Miami last night. Bruce is a four-star wide receiver and one of the top recruits in the 2016 class.

”Sam and I are very close,” Scarlett said. “We have talked about it a lot over the last few days. We felt like we wanted to do this together. We want to build that dynasty. “I love Sam like a brother. For us this is the best place for us to shine.”

Ivey favors two
The No. 1 player in the country has two favorite schools. So says Apopka (Fla.) offensive tackle Martez Ivey from The Opening in Beaverton, Oregon.

”Right now it’s Auburn and Florida,” Ivey said. “They are my top two schools. I am still looking at a bunch of others but those two really standout and it will likely be the Gators or Tigers. I will make official visits to those schools and probably Alabama, Florida State and LSU.”

Ivey, 6-foot-6, 275-pounds, has had a relatively quiet summer. He most recent visit was to see Auburn. Of course his teammate and very good friend, Chandler Cox (fullback, tight end) is committed to the Tigers as well.

“That’s big and that helps me out a lot because Chandler has always made very smart choices,” Ivey said. “I love that coaching staff. How did coach [Gus] Malzahn get that many great coaches on his staff? It’s amazing. I love the atmosphere there. That’s the school I visited last and I will certainly make an official visit there this fall.”

Most in the Sunshine State believe the Gators will be tough to beat. After all Ivey dreamed of playing in Gainesville.

”I love coach [Will] Muschamp,” Ivey said. “I really do. He’s a great guy and a great coach. There, they make you a man. It’s not just football. That’s the team I grew up cheering for and I have built a relationship with those coaches for some time now. I know that’s a school where I will get better as a player. I love the new offensive line coach and the experience he brings to the program.”

Ivey said he plans on visiting the Gators later this month and participate in Friday Night Lights. As far as any other unofficial visits this summer that’s still up in the air.

RB favors FSU and Alabama
Orlando (Fla.) Timber Creek standout Jacques Patrick is a monster of a back. Patrick, 6-foot-2, 230-pounds, is a between the tackles guy who can run with a tremendous amount of power. He can also catch the football, which he showed during the first session. Afterwards, he had some big recruiting news.

”I am going to narrow things down to five schools by the end of the month,” Patrick said. “Right now my top two schools are Florida State and Alabama. And I will visit both of those schools next week. I will also go to Friday Night Lights football camp at the end of this month. I have already been to Michigan and Notre Dame this summer.”

It’s interesting because FSU was the first team that offered Patrick over two years ago while Alabama loves to have that big, power running back.

”Yeah, the Seminoles were my first offer and Jimbo Fisher has been personally recruiting me,” Patrick said. “That’s big to me. I love the guy. He can flat out coach and he has proven that. What he did last year speaks to that. I also love coach [Rick] Trickett and coach [Jay] Graham. It’s a place where I feel very comfortable.

”You can’t go wrong with Alabama and they have the track record at running back to prove it,” Patrick said. “For me, it’s a great fit because they like backs like me. If I can get on the field early I can be a three and out guy there. They have proved that with the other guys. It’s a super coaching staff and they have a great offensive line.”

A change for Dexter
Winter Garden (Fla.) West Orange four-star running back Dexter Williams injured his ankle during his spring game in May. He’s still bothered by the injury and can’t participate at The Opening. But he still made it out to Oregon for the event.

The nation’s No. 16 ranked running back committed to the University of Miami after visiting the ‘Canes this spring. Still, he unofficially visiting schools like Ohio State, Clemson, Tennessee, Louisville and Cincinnati last month. So where does he currently stand with his pledge to Miami?

”I am still with Miami but I am open to other schools,” Williams said. “You can probably list me as a soft commitment. I am about 80% to Miami if I had to put a percentage on it. Now I just want to see how the season goes.”

Miami has had great success with running backs in their 2015 class. They now have three other running backs on board with Scarlett, Mark Walton (Miami Booker T. Washington) and Jordan Cronkrite (Miami Westminster). All are here at The Opening.

Round two to Cowart
Two of the best linemen in the country reside in the Sunshine State and they are both at The Opening in offensive tackle Martez Ivey and defensive end Byron Cowart (Seffner Armwood). They had a heated battle during the final one on one sessions in March’s Orlando Nike Football Training Camp when best took on best. It was deemed a draw between the today.

Yesterday, the two matched up again in another bout of one on ones. Round two went to Cowart.

“I will give it to him, he got me,” Ivey said. “He got me today. I am looking forward to putting on the pads and going at it again tomorrow. Hopefully I will shine.”

Cowart is excited at the outcome but he knows it was only one day and tomorrow can bring something completely different.

”I can’t dwell on it,” Cowart said. “It was good but now I really have to come ready tomorrow because I know he will come with his ‘A’ game. The pads will be on and I have to be on it. I have to be better. Even though I won I know he will bounce back.

Something impressive about Cowart is his want to get better. Before the Orlando NFTC he spent time watching film of Ivey and others that were attendance. He’s doing the same here in Oregon so he can continue to improve and tweak his game.

”I can’t wait to get back and watch film,” Cowart said. “I love film study. I want to know how I beat him and what I can do to be even better. What did I do wrong? Was I high? How was my footwork? I look at everything. I know he will be watching.”

Ivey is Scout’s top ranked recruit. Cowart is not too far behind. Both are five-stars.

Stay tuned for round three later today.

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