Part IV: RU in FL

With 28 of 85 scholarship players hailing from the talent-rich state of Florida it is no secret that the Greg Schiano regime has ushered in an unprecedented era of Rutgers recruiting success in the sunshine state. Today we conclude our trip as Rutgers visits Plantation HS in Broward County ...

Part IV - RU at Plantation HS: Present

8:00 A.M.

We slept in today ... what can I say ... badly burnt, annoyed at the lack of sunshine, and partly sleep deprived and we sure were grateful for the extra 30 minutes of shuteye.

8:30 A.M.

We can finally take our time, as we're told Plantation HS is even closer than yesterday's short trip to Miami Edison Senior HS.  So we head downstairs in the main lobby and enjoy our first and only sit-down breakfast of the trip.  Don't get me wrong, I love eating on the run as much as the next guy ... but the women, they have a different outlook on things. 

9:30 A.M.

After stuffing our bellies (well, I'll speak for myself lest I get in trouble - after stuffing my belly) full of omelets and other various carb-free goodies we check out and are on our way to pick up our buddy.  This time we know the roads like we're south Florida veterans. Hop on 826-E , head northward/eastward toward I-95 ...

10:00 A.M.

The drive over to Plantation felt more like a swim.  Perhaps we should have rented a boat instead.

Seeming more like two days prior, the skies decided to open up and with the saturated ground refusing to take much more water, this meant flooding ... and lots of it.  Forward speed reduced to 15mph, traffic forced us to go at the speed of a horse carriage.  But, as we had experienced at Suncoast HS, a few miles north and west may be the difference between torrential rains and a light shower.

Indeed, having arrived at Plantation, the sun - finally, after three sweltering days - managed to peek out.  The field turf, though wet and lacking ideal footing, was in very good shape.  It was by far, in the best condition of all three fields we had been to.

Registration had ended and just as we arrived individual testing was to begin.  I had been told earlier that this was the place where some of the top talent in the state would be.

And I was not to be disappointed.


As we made our way to the east side of the field we encounter the defensive line prospects.  It was there that I met Charles Deas, a 6-foot-5 and 325-pound prospect out of Boyd H. Anderson HS, and the top Defensive Line prospect in Florida.  And likely the top overall prospect in Florida. 

Physically, Deas reminds one of Warren Sapp, though Deas is bigger.  But the first thought that jumped into my mind when I saw Deas was Nate Robinson - this is the kind of imposing size this man possesses. 

When you look at Deas, you almost feel sorry for whoever it may be that has to line up against him.  Already in top physical condition, Deas is well ahead of most in his age group conditioning wise.

While the first attribute to jump in your mind when seeing Deas is his brute strength, one should not overlook his speed and athleticism.  Deas is simply an athletic specimen by every account - strength, speed, explosiveness.  He has the total package.

Wanting to get a sense of how fast Deas really was, and how well he moves, I stationed myself on the opposite side of the field to get a good look at his 40-yard dash. 

Coming out of the blocks surprisingly quickly Deas kept his head low and body properly inclined, much as one expects out of a 6-foot RB or skill player, not a 325-pound defensive lineman.  But Deas moved so well, it is simply beyond words.  Deas did not let up, as he approached the finish line.  At 325-pounds Deas ran his 40 in 5-seconds flat.  A truly incredible sight.

Below we bring Charles Deas, one of the top overall prospects in the nation, to you.

Charles Deas [Boyd H. Anderson HS] Highlight Film
Scouting Video 1
Scouting Video 2


Boyd H. Anderson HS can boast about having some very impressive talent this year.  While most college coaches that visit Boyd Anderson have inquired about the school's signal caller, we ran into a 6-foot-3 and 180-pound WR prospect by the name of Travius Thompson that will combine with Herb Bynes (QB) for quite the lethal offensive combination this year. 

Thompson first came onto the scene earlier this spring in his squad's spring game versus Delray Beach Atlantic.  After his three-catch performance there, Thomspon reeled off another solid performance at the Rutgers camp, displaying good hands and extension and very good adjustment to the ball, while in the air.

Due to his size, at 6-foot-3 inches, Thompson creates an advantage every time he takes the field and has all the physical requirements to be a stud at the next level.  Due to his limited action last year, however, many schools are currently taking a wait and see approach. 



One of the top QB prospects in the entire state of Florida this year is Herb Bynes.  Bynes has ideal size for a QB at the next level at stands at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds.  Possessing a strong arm, one could easily see why over a half dozen schools have tendered scholarship offers, and why many more are on the verge of doing the same. 

Last year Bynes threw for 932 yards and ran for 405 more.  His athleticism, strong arm and ideal size make him one of the most coveted QBs in Florida.

Below, we bring Herb Bynes to you with a trio of highlight films.

Herb Bynes [Boyd H. Anderson HS] Highlight Film
Scouting Video 1
Scouting Video 2
Scouting Video 3



11:00 A.M.

One of the more physically imposing athletes we ran into the entire trip was an athlete by the name of Michael Johnson out of Cypress Bay. 

At first glance, one may think wrestling may be a better fit for Johnson.  However, at 5-feet-11 and 215 pounds, seeing Johnson pursue the ball makes one a believer of the football skill this young man possesses. 

With sub-4.5 speed, Johnson's strength and speed are his two primary attributes.  And these characteristics were on full display at the Rutgers camp as Johnson repeatedly held his ground against opposing offenses while playing LB.

Perhaps the primary question now is where a school sees Johnson as having the greatest impact.  A potential LB, Johnson could also play at S, but would need to improve upon his pass coverage.  Another possibility, due to his size and quickness, is at FB.

As was the case with so many of the athletes we saw over the 3-day camp, it was the athleticism that stood out with Johnson - colleges, due to potential alone, are intrigued by this stellar athlete.





One of the top prospects in attendance that did not participate in individual drills was Maurice Sapp, a S/LB prospect out of Piper HS in Sunrise Florida.  At 6-feet and now about 205 pounds Sapp is one of those debilitating hitters every team loves to have on their defense.  That one guy that you know is somewhere around the football and that as a WR you're always aware of. 






11:30 P.M.

Deciding to stay on the east side of the field where most of the skill players were busy with individual drills we ran into another cat-quick prospect by way of MaCarthur HS, in Hollywood, FL.  Holloway is an athlete but is probably best suited for CB at the next level.  At 5-feet-9 and 170-pounds, Holloway has exquisite speed and acceleration.  A legitimate sub-4.4 guy, Holloway earned his first scholarship offer from Rutgers several weeks before the RU camp.





12:00 P.M.


With the first session just about to conclude, our group of onlookers decided to take a walk around the track and see who else we could spot.  And shortly thereafter we just happen to run into another of Rutgers' loyal sons, Chris Dirksz

Dirksz seemed ecstatic about his imminent trip to New Jersey and the beginning of his college football career.  For many athletes, with signing day long over and in many instances high school already over by the start of June (as was the case in Florida), it is merely a matter of counting the days until summer conditioning begins with their new squad.

Having the opportunity to talk for a few minutes with the future Rutgers star, I found it quite easy to explain and understand why Dirksz came so highly regarded by some of Florida's most respected analysts.  Very well spoken and indeed quite eloquent, one could feel Dirksz' passion for the game with every spoken word.




2:00 P.M.


One of the speediest cornerbacks in all of Florida this year is a prospect by the name of Demarcus Roberson.  Roberson, also from Piper HS in Sunrise, FL, stands at 5-feet-11 inches and 185-pounds. 

One of the fastest players on the field this day, Roberson, time and again, showed solid hip movement and would not be turned around by any opposing WR. 

Starting as a Jr. last year Roberson recorded 31 tackles to go along with 1 interception.  Roberson also returned 1 kick-off 85 yards for a score.





3:00 P.M.


Coaches Rizzi [left] with Demarcus Roberson [center] and Coach Demarest [right]


Chris McClover [left] with Coach Rizzi [center] and Charles Deas [right]


Coaches Rizzi [left] with Kevin Holloway [center] and Coach Demarest [right]


In terms of absolute numbers, the Rutgers camp at Plantation HS produced the most. Probably somewhere between 200 and 250 prospects turned out, including Seniors, Juniors, Sophomores, and in some cases some of the rising 8-th and 9-th graders in the state.  But it wasn't sheer numbers that made this camp stand out - it was the depth.  Quality at the very top without a drop-off for quite a while - in the end it was clear as day to see why so many schools spend so much time recruiting the Sunshine State.

Next: We have concluded our 3-day trip of south Florida.  In the next and final part (next week) we'll detail some of those prospects that are strongly considering Rutgers and that the State University of New Jersey is in hot pursuit of.


Mike and the Big Dog LLC

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