Just as student around Broward County were ready to head back to school after a
week-long vacation, those who have their eyes on a college football scholarship
over the next few years, used the time wisely.
On St. Patrick's Day Saturday, as many were enjoying the holiday fare in South
Florida, over 300 athletes flocked to Cardinal Gibbons for the annual Elite
Scouting Service Combine.
Athletes from as far away as Kansas and Florida's southwest region, and as close
as Broward County, where dozens of BCAA football players, looking to get on the
radar with recruiting services, fan websites, and most importantly, colleges across
the country, did what they do best.
"An event like this is so important to all the athletes," said Damon Cogdell of
Miramar, who just happened to have a number of his talented athletes at the
testing/football event. "They offer the young men so much exposure, and that's
what is really valuable."
Indeed, while offering the athletes no promises of scholarships, ESS has been
known for placing athletes – year round – which is why 11 head coaches from
South Florida high school attended last Saturday's combine.
Events such as this, where there is unlimited access by parents and the media, great
stories are uncovered, and athletes are on the map.
"We have been to tons of things where there are actually restrictions where parents
and the media can watch from," said Ken James, who brought his nephew to
the combine. "I can understand having people back from a safety point, but I've
watched some events where the media are kept away, too. Makes no sense if the
objective is to really promote and not just rake the players for money."
With athletes such as Everglades' standout defensive end Alvonte Bell (6-6, 228)
you could see why such a talented group of football players came to test in the
morning and then learn a little on the football field in the afternoon.
There were other senior athletes on hand as well – including Lance Virgile (LB, 6-
3, 213, St. Thomas Aquinas), Sandley Jean Felix (OL, 6-5, 300, Boyd Anderson),
Brandon Powell (RB, 5-10, 175, Deerfield Beach), Rashard Robinson (DB, 6-
3, 165, Blanche Ely), Miramar linebacker Jermaine Grace (6-1, 191) and Boyd
Anderson quarterback Gregory Hankerson (6-0, 170).
Among the rising juniors in the Class of 2014 were defensive end Marquis
Fairchild (6-4, 218, Northeast), lineman Joshua Deuyor (6-9, 318, Hollywood
Hills), Western quarterback Wade Freebeck (6-4, 172), Blanche Ely quarterback
Danarious Graham (6-1, 170) and standout Dillard defensive back Randy Ramsey
A number of other BCAA athletes took part in the event – as we will continue to
spotlight them throughout the spring and summer.
We will be all around the state this summer, following all the BCAA athletes and
we will bring them to you.
You can reach Larry Blustein via e-mail at FloridaKids1@hotmail.com. He can also be heard every Thursday night (9-10) on the Miami Dolphins High School Gridiron Report on WQAM (560 AM).