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Recruiting Radar: Commit recap from HSFB Playoffs Week 1

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Several Canes commits began their path towards State Championships on Fridays. Others had theirs ended. Get the details here.

4-star ATH DeeJay Dallas is one of several Canes commits pushing for a State Championship this year.
247Sports

It’s HSFB playoff times, guys! This is when great teams, usually led by great players, make their mark in the history books.

Several of Miami’s 20 commits in the 2017 class had playoff games this past week. Let’s get caught up on what happened:

QB N’Kosi Perry and Ocala (FL) Vanguard rebounded from their only loss of the year in last week’s regular season finale by destroying Spring Hill (FL) Springstead 45-0 in their playoff opener.

Perry led a diverse Vanguard offense to score after score. He finished 10-13 passing, with 175 yards and 3 TDs. Vanguard RB Justin Watkins — a 2018 FSU commit — ran wild for 135 yards and 3 scores to balance the Vanguard offensive attack.

Vanguard travels to New Port Richey (FL) Mitchell on Friday Night for their Regional Semifinal game. Mitchell, the champions of District 6-6A, enter the game 8-2, and are undefeated at home on the year. Vanguard (9-1) is ranked higher in 6A than Mitchell, and should handle business this week, setting up an epic rematch against Lake Gibson in the Regional Final next week.

But, 1 game at a time. Get by Mitchell first. Then, focus on revenge.

QB Cade Weldon and Tampa (FL) Jefferson started their playoff year with a thrilling 34-33 win on the road over St. Petersburg (FL) Lakewood — the District 9-5A champions — on Friday night.

A 3-star recruit, Weldon finished the night with 236 yards passing, 2 TDs, 1 INT, and a TD run on a 1 yard sneak. He also directed a last minute drive that got his team the win.

Weldon and the Dragons didn’t have a lead all night long. That is, until Weldon took the offense down the field to the 13 yard line with just seconds left. Then, Jefferson’s kicker Aaron Quiambao kicked a 26 yard FG with 5.6 seconds left, giving Jefferson their only lead of the night and the big playoff win.

With the win, Jefferson advances to the Regional Semifinals, where they face District Champion Tampa (FL) Jesuit. Jefferson lost to Jesuit 44-23 back in September.

Jesuit is led by UF commit RB Malik Davis, who has over 5,000 career rushing yards. Jesuit rolled in their playoff opener 64-12, so Jefferson has a tall task to keep their season going after this week.

RB Robert Burns and the Miami (FL) Gulliver Prep Raiders are independent, and have no further games.

Their season is over.

WR Kevaughn Dingle and the Carol City (FL) Chiefs beat Ft. Lauderdale (FL) Dillard HS — a team featuring DT commit Jon Ford — 47-8 on Friday night.

Carol City, runners up in District 15-6A, now have their biggest game of the year: a rematch against District 15-6A champion Miami (FL) Northwestern on Friday Night. This is a classic rivalry game and will be played at a classic venue: Traz Powell Stadium in Miami. I’m going to be there and I CAN’T WAIT to see this game. It’s gonna be epic.

WR Evidence Njoku and Wayne Hills (NJ) Wayne Hills have had a tumultuous week. First, Wayne Hills was found to have used 3 ineligible players — players who did not make a true, bona fide move of home or sit out the mandatory 30 days of competition upon their transfer to Wayne Hills — and thereby forced to forfeit all their games. This, obviously, caused a shake up in the playoff rankings, as Wayne Hills was the #1 team in their area.

But then, on Friday, the New Jersey DOE reversed that decision, and restored Wayne Hills’ season. The attorney representing the Hayek family — brothers Hunter, Tyler, and Jaaron being the players in question — is still looking for clarification on the brothers’ eligibility. That will matter for Wayne Hills greatly, as all 3 of the Hayeks are starting players for the team, including QB, RB, and WR.

The semifinals in New Jersey’s North 1 Group IV bracket — having been restored to their previous rankings — were moved from last weekend to next weekend. The winner of the play-in game between North Highlands and Roxbury will play #1 seed Wayne Hills on Friday Night.

Long story short: this is a mess but, for now, it seems that Njoku and Wayne Hills will be playing playoff football after all. But, things could change at any moment, so stay tuned.

TE Brian Polendey and Denton (TX) Guyer rolled over Trophy Club (TX) Byron Nelson 52-21 on Friday night. Polendey has been used exclusively as a blocker in recent weeks. He’s even said that he’s playing offensive tackle now because of injuries Guyer has sustained this year. Needless to say, he’s not catching any passes right now.

Guyer’s power run game rolled up 230 yards and 5 TDs on the ground in this game. They will continue to lean on the run as the playoffs progress.

Guyer advances to play Cedar Hill (TX) in the next round of the playoffs. Cedar Hill won their playoff opener 52-17 over Waco (TX) Midway.

The Guyer-Cedar Hill game is scheduled for Saturday night at Mansfield (TX) Newsom Stadium. So, a neutral site for a big game. It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out.

OL Navaughn Donaldson and Miami (FL) Central Rockets missed the playoffs. Their season is over.

The Rockets’ season ended at 6-2, and their streak of 4 consecutive State Championships is over. Florida’s 6A classification will have a new champion in 2017.

OL Zach Dykstra and the Spirit Lake (IA) Indians missed the playoffs and have concluded their season.

The Indians’ season ends at 6-4.

OL Zalontae Hillery, ATH DeeJay Dallas and their Brunswick (GA) Glynn Academy Terrors got their 10th straight win with a 45-3 blowout of Jonesboro (GA) in the playoff opener for both teams on Friday night.

Hillery and the OL opened holes all day long, and Dallas, who plays QB at the HS level, led the offense to 421 yards of offense in the first half. Dallas opened the scoring with a 15 yard TD run, and had another 36 yard TD run to extend the score to 28-0. Glynn Academy scored on every possession in the first half on their way to a 45-0 lead. Light work this week for GA.

Next week, however, will be a different story. Glynn Academy advances to face Acworth (GA) Allatoona on Friday night. Allatoona beat Lanier (GA) 28-6 in their playoff opener, and are 6-5 on the year. Allatoona defeated Glynn Academy 10-6 in the State Championship game last year, so this is a team that can pull the upset again.

Dallas, Hillery, and the Terrors will be looking for revenge on Friday night against the team that ended their 2015 season. Seems like enough motivation for me.

DT Jon Ford and the Ft. Lauderdale (FL) Dillard Panthers’s season ended with a 47-8 loss at the hands Carol City (FL) in the first round of the playoffs on Friday night. Ford had several good plays on the night, but Dillard was no match for Carol City.

Dillard’s season ends at 6-4.

DE Jonathan Garvin and the Lake Worth (FL) Trojans missed the playoffs.

The Trojans’ season ended at 4-5.

DE D.J. Johnson and his Sacramento (CA) Luther Burbank Titans beat Benicia (CA) 35-28 on Thursday night. The game, however, had a controversial call that went in Burbank’s favor, much to the chagrin of Benicia.

Down by a touchdown late in the 4th quarter, Benicia was faced with 4th and 10 on the Burbank 30. Their QB Devin Holden heaved a long pass down the sideline toward WR Mario Ferreira. A senior with 4 catches for 83 yards and a TD on the game, Ferreia looked to make a spectacular catch inside the 5 to save Benicia’s season and give them hopes of tying the game with under 30 seconds left to play.

That was, however, until the referee called the pass incomplete. The ref said Ferreira was out of bounds when he caught the ball, and Benicia turned the ball over on downs to Burbank. The Titans then ran the clock out and secured the victory.

The 6’5” 240lb Johnson was a disruptive force all game long, as were twin DTs Feki and Viliami Finau, who go 6’3” 400lbs and 6’1” 360lbs, respectively. That’s a HUGE defensive line for Burbank. My goodness. Wow.

Now 7-4 on the year, Luther Burbank advances to play Sacramento (CA) Christian Brothers. The #11 seed in the CIF Division III bracket — the only lower seed to win their opening playoff game — Burbank will face a tall task against #3 ranked Christian Brothers.

LB De’Andre Wilder attends Carol City, but he has aged out of FHSAA eligibility after turning 19 years and 9 months the day after Carol City’s last playoff game. The Chiefs continue their playoff run with a huge matchup against Miami (FL) Northwestern on Friday night.

But, for the age reasons previously listed, Wilder’s HSFB career has already ended.

LB Waynmon Steed and the Miami (FL) Central Rockets missed the playoffs. Their season is over.

News recently broke that Steed played his senior year with a knee injury that will require surgery. Miami will honor his scholarship, and Steed is on track to enroll at Miami in January.

LB Bradley Jennings Jr. and Jacksonville (FL) Sandalwood lost their playoff opener to Sanford (FL) Seminole 30-20 on Friday night.

Sandalwood played tough, but it wasn’t enough. Their season ends at 7-2.

DB Trajan Bandy and the Miami (FL) Columbus Explorers had an easy time dispatching Hialeah (FL) American on Friday night. The Explorers won their playoff opener 33-16.

Columbus now moves on to the Regional Semifinals where they will have a rematch against District foe Coral Gables (FL). Columbus won the first game 14-7, so this should be a great game on Thursday night.

DB Billy Gibson and Miami (FL) Southridge opened their playoff run with a 28-0 win against Southwest Miami (FL), the runner up of District 15-8A, on Friday night.

Southridge has pitched 6 consecutive shutouts on defense, and the offense is doing enough to win. The last team to even score a point against Southridge was Miami (FL) Carol City, who defeated The Ridge 18-0 back on September 23rd. Since then, Southridge has defeated South Dade, Killian, Homestead, Palmetto, Miami High, and Southwest Miami by a combined score of 179-0. That’ll work.

Southridge continues their playoff run with a rematch against District 16-8A foe Miami (FL) Palmetto on Friday Night. Southridge won their first matchup 20-0 a mere 3 weeks ago.

DB Amari Carter and the Palm Beach Gardens (FL) Gators scored a major upset to start their playoff run, beating Lake Worth (FL) Park Vista, the champions of District 10-8A, 38-28 on Friday night.

Now playing with house money, Gardens advances to the Regional Semifinal to face Delray Beach (FL) Atlantic. Atlantic, the runners-up in District 9-8A, upset District 10-8A champion Wellington — the alma mater of Canes’ superstar freshman WR Ahmmon Richards — on Friday night.

P Zach Feagles and the Ridgewood (NJ) Maroons kept their undefeated season going, as they opened their playoff run with a 57-14 win over West Orange (NJ) on Friday night.

Feagles did his normal thing with 22 carries for 140 yards and 3 TDs in the blowout win. Ridgewood ran for 450 yards on 48 carries in the game. Feagles also added a 47 yard punt in the game, for good measure.

Ridgewood looks to keep rolling with a game against Montclair (NJ) on Friday night. Montclair enters at 6-3 on the year. They lost 29-26 to West Orange earlier this season. That’s the same West Orange that Ridgewood just destroyed. So, Ridgewood SHOULD be able to extend their winning streak to 11, but they can’t overlook Montclair, yet.


That’s it for this week’s Commit Recap. Here’s hoping that all the guys whose teams are still playing now are still playing this time a week from now.

See you next week.

Go Canes