MIAMI CENTRAL: A True 6A Powerhouse

There are some solid football program in Miami-Dade County for the 2005 season, but as FloridaKids.us Columnist Charles Fishbein found out, the Miami Central Rockets could be playing for the 6A state title less than 5 miles from their campus in December!

MIAMI - If you grew up around the City of Miami, there is one football program that has demanded respect throughout the years.

Whether it was back in the late 1960s with record setting running back Jessie Causey, in the 70s with Elvis Peacock, in the 90s with Najeh Davenport or at the turn of the century with Willis McGahee, the Miami Central Rockets have been the center of attention.

Great coaching, superior athletes and an aura of respect has followed this program - in all sports.

FloridaKids.us Publisher Larry Blustein, a North Miami graduate, has followed this program and has been impressed at the way athletes have poured out of 95th Street in Miami-Dade County.

"Ronnie Beliard in baseball, Gary Holmes in basketball and Kurt Thomas in gymnastics," said Blustein. "The mention of Miami Central seems to bring out a certain feeling you get when you had to compete against them."

When the Rockets take the football field this fall, things will not change for coach Anthony Saunders' outstanding program. They will be one of the top contenders for the 6A crown, which will be played right down the street from their campus at Dolphins‘ Stadium.


Tavoris Hill
While coach Saunders has had some very good teams while at the school, this could very well be his best. The Rockets are loaded on both sides of the football this year.

Obviously, there are a few questions to be answered. One lies with finding a replacement for Dennis Brown, who turned out to be one of the top quarterbacks in the state last year. The other is to find a capable pass-catcher, which they lost with the departure of one-year standout Demetrius Byrd.


Bryant Miller
It's said that championships are won with great defenses, and that's exactly what the Rockets will have this year. With defensive lineman Sheldon Jacques (6-3, 260) and Bryant Miller (6-3, 255), the Rockets will have one of the best lines in Florida.

Having watched them play on several occasions, at camps and on film, I had the opportunity to watch these two young men come of age. Jacques is an emerging star who has been looking at Auburn, Iowa, North Carolina State, West Virginia and the University of Miami.


Sabbath Joseph
Behind that impressive line is one of the most underrated linebackers in Miami-Dade County this coming season in Sabbath Joseph.

Joseph (6-0, 200) listed the University of Miami as his top school with FSU, Tennessee, Iowa and Georgia right behind.

"After I wrote a story earlier this spring on Joseph, there were those who questioned Joseph's ability to play at a school like Miami," said Blustein. "He saw that and shook his head as to say, these people have no clue what I can do on the football field."


Marcus Hammett
Also expected to make an impact on the defensive side of the ball for the Rockets in the Class of 2006 are linebacker/safety Marcus Hammett (6-2, 200), who lists FSU, Georgia, Alabama, Texas and Miami as schools he is looking at.


Jamal Sheffield
Also, lineman Jamal Sheffield (5-11, 246), and defensive backs Tavoris Hill (5-10, 152) and Jimmy Ambroise (5-7, 156).


Terry Williams
Offensively, the Rockets will rely on speedy running back Terry Williams (5-9, 176) to get the job done. Williams was injured in the second game of the year and never returned. He appears to be ready to duplicate his sophomore season numbers.

Williams lists Miami, Pittsburgh, University of South Florida and the University of Florida.


George Robinson
Another player to watch out for is wide receiver George Robinson (6-0, 175). Robinson, who lists Miami and Florida as his top two schools, could be a real surprise. He has plenty of talent, and when all is said and done, could be the go-to guy in the fall.


Carlton Brown
A few other offensive players to keep an eye on include tight end Carlton Brown (5-10, 185), lineman Yves Laotian (5-10, 253) and receiver Kevin Jean Louis (6-0, 170).

BREAKING DOWN THE PROSPECTS: The first two prospects we will talk about are defensive lineman Jacques and Miller.

While Miller is the higher rated of the two prospects, Jacques should not be over looked. He has good speed (4.8). While he plays defensive end in high school, look for Sheldon to move inside to tackle in college.


Kevin Jean Louis
Miller is the other of the talented defensive ends. Like with Jacques, Miller will most likely play defensive tackle in college. With Miller, most believe he is the Rockets' top defensive lineman since Bryan Pata. Like with Pata, Miller has the ability to play at a very high level. Miller has to also show at that level over an entire season. He was injured last year.

To me, Joseph is one of those sideline-to-sideline linebackers who just makes plays. He was the Rockets' leading tackler in 2004 and you can expect the same this year. What is also impressive is Joseph is a very good linebacker at going back into coverage. His play is a lot like former Central standout Ali Highsmith.


Jimmy Ambroise
On offense, Williams was well on his way to a monster season before breaking a bone in his leg. He was Dade's leading rusher at the time. While Williams is not the biggest running back there are not many faster in Florida. His ability to change the game on one play is why this year Rockets offense will be one of the toughest to defend for opposing defenses.

Robinson is not the big play threat his former teammate was, but he is still a threat on the offensive side of the football.

THE ROCKETS OVERALL: Coach Saunders has his most talented team ever. They are probably one of the odds on favorites to reach the state championship game. But keep in mind, when you play in Miami-Dade County, there are no guarantees!

Here are some stars of 2007:
* Edwin Alvarez, DE, 6-7, 260.
* Jamal Cook, WR, 5-8, 150.
* Cory Cox, SS, 5-8, 165.
* Deleon Gause, FS, 5-10, 175.
* Warner Gordon, RB, 5-9, 175.
* Avione Rolle, RB, 5-10, 175.

Charles Fishbein is a recruiting analyst for www.floridakids.us. You can contact him with story ideas at CFishbein@aol.com.

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HIDDEN GEM: HECTOR HERNANDEZ
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IN THE TRENCHES
SOUTH FLORIDA LINEMEN – PART I
SOUTH FLORIDA LINEMEN – PART II
SOUTH FLORIDA LINEMEN – PART III
IN THE HUDDLE – TYLER RICE
IN THE HUDDLE – KENRICK ELLIS
IN THE HUDDLE – EMMANUEL COOK
IN THE HUDDLE – KEVIN HOLLOWAY
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