DAVIE NOVA: A Program On The Rise!

For years, Nova High, near Fort Lauderdale, would go through the motions on the football field, and would end up with a losing record. Things are about to change! Thanks to six former players who have moved in to coach the team, things are looking up for the Titans and a talented group of players.

DAVIE – This spring, Floridakids.us has once again set standards with our coverage of high school football. While concentrating on individuals is fine, but spotlighting entire teams makes it more interesting to those who follow the sport.

While programs such as Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, Boyd Anderson, Pompano Beach Ely, Deerfield Beach and Plantation are usually the teams that are at the top of the rankings for Broward County, there is one team that may be on the rise in that direction.


Autry Denson
Throughout the years, the Nova Titans have never sent fear into the hearts of opponents. But things may be changing for this Davie-based school which housed the 2005 Perfect Competion/FloridaKids.us Camp Combine back in March.

When David Martin Jr. accepted the job to return to his alma mater, it took a lot of thinking for him to leave Fort Lauderdale High, where he had started to help the Flying Ls turn the corner. But when your alma mater calls, it's tough not to listen.

"That was a very hard decision to make," said Martin, who guided Fort Lauderdale to three post season appearances. "Believe me, if it hadn't been for the fact that we went to school there, and thought about one day coming back to elevate the program, we would never have left."

The we that Martin is talking about are the six coaches who follow him back to Nova High. Six coaches who played together and remained close throughout the years.

As former Notre Dame running back Autry Denson helped greet Martin and his team on the first day of spring, there was a sense that the same Nova team that Denson, Martin, Bob Mullen, Chris Orazi, Melvin Jones, Leroy Lawson, Tom Joyce and Khalid Abdullah helped to turn into a winner, was on its way back.


Joshua Jones
"This is a great opportunity for all of us," said Martin. "To come back here, a place where we all grew up and matured into young men, is something that dreams are made of. We returned here to help guide this team the way we were guided when we went here."

With Denson, who vowed to be around the team as much as possible, and Abdullah, a former FSU recruit who will coach the running backs, this Nova team began spring with plenty of enthusiasm.

One of the players who will benefit this coming year is quarterback Joshua Jones. The senior who has completely gone without notice from recruiters may be a player that will emerge as the summer camps begin to open. I have had the pleasure of watching him play the past two seasons.

For Jones, who has managed to attend three camps in the spring despite playing for the nationally-rated baseball program, he has been impressive, and despite being rusty, he has shown some things that many had hoped would come out in this 6-1, 175-pounder.


Jabari Taylor
"Having a coaching staff with so much experience come in, even if it's for the one season for me, is going to big," said Jones. "This is such a blessing for me to go through."

Because there is a waiting list to get into Nova, which is a public school that has always set standards in education, Martin and his staff will play on the idea of getting tremendous student athletes who have the desire to play football and receive a quality education.

Another of the athletes who the Titans will showcase is wide receiver/defensive back Jabari Taylor. Taylor is another potential high to mid D1A prospect with speed, athletic ability and the desire to help the program get better.

Taylor has been a hit at several spring camps, which has further enhanced his ever-growing stock as a football player.


Oscar Petty
When asked about Taylor, Martin had some other comparisons to make from his past two years at Fort Lauderdale, where he happened to coach the best receiver in Broward County, Xavier Harris.

"From what I can see about Jabari, he is a good athlete," Martin said. "I want to see where we will play him this year. This spring will give us a chance to look at him and see what position is best for not only our team but his college career. He and Xavier have the same qualities in that both can take over a game."

Even though he hasn't had the chance to see Jones play too much, Martin likens this rising senior to someone he coached the past three years at Fort Lauderdale. Matt Johnson is regarded as one of the top passers coming back this season in Broward County, and Martin sees a mirror image in the two.

"Josh and Matt are so much alike," Martin said. "They are nboth very smart young men with great arms. Josh needs to learn, like Matt did the past two years, how to make wise decisions. When that comes, he will start turning some heads. I will guarantee that!"

Nova also has a few other prospects to watch this fall. Players such as Darryl Jones, Roger Wells and Oscar Petty. While these three won't get as much fanfare as their two talented teammates, I am certain that both should get some attention from college recruiters this fall.

Other prospects to keep an eye on include linebacker Julie Noel (6-1, 190), and rising junior linebackers Cory Davis (6-1, 215) and A.J. Nieves (6-1, 180). The best underclassman on the roster could be rising sophomore linemen Melvin Wilcox, a 6-1, 285-pounder.

There are also rising sophomore running backs Dorian Graham (5-10, 175) and Tahj Williams (5-10, 165).

"This is a young team that has plenty of talent to choose from," said Martin. "While our district may be as tough as there is with Miami Edison, Miami Booker T. Washington, Miami Jackson, Hallandale and Fort Lauderdale, we will be ready to compete when it the fall rolls around.

The new era of Nova Titan football will begin at 4 p.m. on May 20 against Miami Belen Jesuit at Tropical Park in Miami.

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

MORE FISHBEIN ARCHIVED STORIES:
MIAMI CENTRAL: A True 6A Powerhouse
NEW SMYRNA‘S ONE, TWO PUNCH
THE TWIN TOWERS: Pasco's Brown & Davis
STEPPING OUT THE SHADOW: Gene Atkins Jr.
HIDDEN GEM: HECTOR HERNANDEZ
IMMOKALEE: NICE GUYS DO FINISH FIRST
POMPANO BEACH ELY RUNNING BACKS
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
PALM BEACH LAKES
PAHOKEE
KICKIN' UP A STORM

Sun State Football Top Stories