Alarm goes off ... the distance we have to travel today is significantly less than yesterday's. And thank goodness for that because despite the thick overcast and intermittent downpours the sun's rays seem to have a whole heck of a lot more strength down here - red as a crab I was after a quick morning glance at the mirror ...
Still manage to leave the hotel later than we had hoped - but at least we stayed at a Holiday Inn. "It won't make you smarter. But you'll feel smarter."...
We head on over to pick up our buddy (same guy from yesterday), whose house is still no more than about 20 minutes from where we were. This time we know the roads and despite my presence behind the wheel we manage to make it on time.
We take the I-95 southbound this time ... once again I couldn't tell you exactly how we got there. But, we did get there ... Miami Edison Senior High School, home of the Red Raiders.
As the previous day, registration had started at around 8 A.M. But unlike the previous day, there seems to be significantly more in attendance. Without a doubt there were well over 100 young men in attendance, probably near 125. There would have been more but many of the seniors-to-be were busy taking their SATs that morning.
Unlike the previous day I managed to be a touch more wary of the sky - one look up quickly revealed that sunny Florida wasn't so sunny ... again. Though the downpours would never arrive like they had the day before, rain showers did wet us from time to time. The field, like the previous day at Suncoast HS was not in ideal condition. Forty times would once again be slower, but would not be a reflection of the true track speed of the athletes on hand.
With registration over, the camp had begun on schedule. The first session included individual testing. Many of the older prospects that we had wanted to see were not present due to the SATs. Would they show up eventually? No doubt - despite having to wake up early for their SATs, most local HS coaches insisted that their student-athletes show up to this 1-day Rutgers camp. And they did, right around lunch.
On hand early that day was a local QB from Miami-Edison Senior High by the name of Chris Paul-Etienne (#2 left). Paul-Etienne dazzled onlookers with his arm strength and athletic ability. With good size Paul-Etienne stands at 6-foot-1 and 175-pounds and is one of the rising seniors in the south FL QB class. Paul-Etienne, despite having excellent arm strength and impressive athletic ability has a tendency to be somewhat erratic at times. Nevertheless, one cannot overlook the raw tools this young man has.
Chris Paul-Etienne - QB/ATH
As the morning session continued and testing wound down we began to make our way towards some of the local HS coaches, parents, and family members of those prospects that were on hand. As had been the case the previous day, all folks in attendance, from coaches to parents, to brothers and sisters, were left impressed by the Rutgers staff.
"This is a fantastic display. It shows you that they really care," said one parent.
"You don't get to see this kind of thing down here - an entire college staff, not even from around here, working with these guys. Rutgers is really showing me something," said another parent.
Walking around the sidelines I could not find one parent, not a single coach, that wasn't appreciative of the individual attention their student-athletes were receiving.
The importance of proper war-ups was stressed.
Coach Rizzi teaching the basics to his LBer crew.
As lunch-time drew closer some of the prospects that were busy taking the SATs earlier during the day had begun to arrive. One of these prospects was a towering offensive lineman, a 6-foot-5 and 315-pound offensive tackle by the name of Evan Bellamy. Sporting a GPA of 3.0 Bellamy is from the same school that produced Sean Taylor and Buck Ortega, Gulliver Prep. Many colleges are currently taking a wait and see approach and are awaiting on Bellamy's senior season production before making a move. With Bellamy's size and quickness there will be several high-level D-I schools that will be in hard pursuit of this rising big man.
Evan Bellamy - OT
Shortly after running into Bellamy, as if divine intervention insisted we stay in the trenches, we ran into one of the top center prospects in the state, Ricky Gomez. At 6-foor-3 and 290-pounds Gomez hails from Miami Beach Senior HS and although he is currently beginning to receive some serious attention from a number of local colleges, including the Big 3, he may be a prospect that looks to head out of state.
Ricky Gomez - OL
Just before lunchtime arrived we made our way to the conclusion of some of the testing that had begun late due to the morning SATs. There we met a CB/S prospect out of American High School by the name of Rafael Gray. Standing in at 5'11" and 180-pounds, Gray is more of a tweener, and is not yet a household name. American Senior High, to Gray's disadvantage, is not particularly known for producing top-flight D-1 talent and being discovered there hasn't been too easy.
Rafael Gray - DB
Managing to dance between the raindrops, though it wasn't the violent downpour that we could not elude the previous day, we had finally reached lunchtime. Without much of a problem finding a variety of fast food selections, I was more worried about how to get out of the mind-numbing heat than feeding my belly.
As far as I was concerned the prospect I was about to see during the afternoon session made the entire trip a success (well, there's actually one more prospect, coming up in Part III that left a lasting impression). This particular player exemplified what south Florida is all about. Standing at 5'8" and 165-pounds, looking at Tim Brown (Miami Northwestern HS) one does not get the feeling he's about to witness a living highlight film.
But that's truly the best way to describe him - a living highlight film.
During each and every 1-on-1 Brown showed why he should be one of the top WR prospects out of the sunshine state. Against those D-backs choosing to get physical at the line, Brown quickly sidestepped and within 5 steps had gained his separation. After having gained his respect opposing DBs started to give some cushion and attempted to go stride for stride with the speedy WR. Bad idea. Brown caught every single pass thrown his way except one - in the entire session. One could see Brown gain separation as he turned the jets on and then off again as he secured the incoming pass.
Excellent body control, excellent hands, and speed, speed, speed.
Too often one sees a prospect that doesn't fit the "size" requirements and looks the other way. And without a doubt, if a prospect lacks the adequate size, he had better be special in other ways. Tim Brown is special in other ways. He is a very crisp route runner with incredible speed that manhandled opposing DBs. Having gone against virtually every DB at the camp, there was not a single individual that could stop the fleet-footed Brown.
Brown earned a Rutgers offer at the end of the day.
Another impressive looking athlete, by way of Miami Northwestern HS, was a Safety/CB prospect by the name of Tyjuan McFadden. At 6'2" and 185-pounds, McFadden has very good size and the frame to add additional weight. Playing at a renowned school, McFadden's talents have already drawn significant interest from a number of BCS schools.
Tyjuan McFadden - S/DB
Next: Day 3 - Back north we go as Rutgers visits Plantation HS in Broward County ...
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