Monday, January 31, 2011

Giovani Francois commits to FIU

Former Southeast High standout Giovani Francois is coming back home (almost).

The heralded defensive end has verbally committed to FIU picking the Miami school over Temple after narrowing his choices down to those two schools.

After playing three years for Southeast, Francois moved to Maryland and played for Henry Wise High School this past season where he impressed colleges with his outstanding play in a limited season.

The 6-3, 230 pound senior also had offers from Louisville and Western Kentucky and was getting serious interest from Big East schools USF, Cincinnati and Rutgers along with Maryland, Michigan State and Tennessee. He also visited Cincinnati.

Francois said he was impressed with FIU head coach Mario Cristobal (who played four years at the University of Miami from 1988 through ’92) and the entire coaching staff there that recruited him.

Francois will join one of his old home town friends in Manatee High defensive lineman Prince Matt, who has announced he will also be signing with FIU.

The Panthers completed their fifth season of football in 2010 winning the Little Caesar’s Bowl and their first Sun Belt Conference football championship

Sunday, January 30, 2011

D.J. Magley sparks Tulsa to huge victory

D.J. Magley turned in his best game at Tulsa sparking the Golden Hurricanes to a 69-68 victory over Conference USA leader UTEP (Texas El-Paso) on Saturday.

The former Bradenton Christian standout scored 10 points, led Tulsa with seven rebounds and three blocked shots while converting all five of his field goal attempts in 27 minutes on the floor.

Magley’s effort couldn’t have come at a better time, giving Tulsa a huge win over a top opponent and taking the sting out of a one point loss the Hurricanes suffered at the hands of SMU earlier in the week.

“It was a good experience for me and my team so we can just go out there and win. We have all the properties and all the talent to win games like this,” Magley told the media after the game.

A 6-9 junior, Magley is averaging 6.6 points and 4.1 rebounds per game while leading Tulsa in field goal percentage with a 56 percent accuracy mark. He transferred from Western Kentucky and had to sit out last season.

UTEP came into the game with a 5-1 conference record and 17-4 overall. With the win Tulsa moved over the .500 mark at 11-10 and is 4-3 in conference play.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Palmetto boys soccer team never stopped believing

LAKEWOOD RANCH- One good thing about being young is that you are often too naive to understand the magnitude of the goal you are trying to reach.

Throw in a coach such as Dustin Dahlquist, who is a master motivator and strategist and what you have is a third straight district title for a Palmetto High team that began the Class 4A-10 tournament as the sixth seed.

The Tigers were supposed to be long gone by the time last Friday night's championship game was played. But they were there and totally dominated top seed Lakewood Ranch, which had beaten Palmetto three times this season.

The loss was devastating to Ranch because now it has to go on the road for Thursday's region quarterfinal and play Tampa Jesuit.

click here to read full story

Update: Gordon leaves Palmetto, Mann remains

On the latest update on the Palmetto High boys basketball team!

School officials have confirmed that Austin Gordon has left and enrolled at Manatee High while Terrance Mann has decided to stay and is still with the Tigers basketball team as it heads into the last week of the regular season.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Palmetto/USF's Raymond selected to All-Star football game

Mistral Raymond has been selected to play in the inaugural Dixie Gridiron Classic, scheduled for Saturday, February 5th at Dixie State College in St. George, Utah.

The USF defensive back and Palmetto High graduate hopes to be selected in the next NFL draft and has been working with a trainer in Atlanta to get ready for the various post season combines.

"I'm real excited to be able to play in this all-star game," Raymond said. "I look at it as an opportunity to showcase my skills. It's another chance to play football and that's what I love to do so I am going to go out there, work hard and do the best I can."

Raymond was initially walk-on after transferring to USF from junior college. He earned a scholarship prior to this season and was named to the All Big East Conference second team.

The 6-2, 185 pound cornerback/safety played in 25 games for USF, starting 15. He had 96 tackles with 6.5 tackles for losses, two interceptions and seven pass break-ups.

Raymond was lauded for his leadership skills last season by head coach Skip Holtz and was chosen team captain. He had 56 tackles, 4.5 tackles for losses and one interception.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Going to New Mexico puts Romine in rare company

When he signs his letter of intent next week as expected with New Mexico, Dillon Romine will become only the second player at Braden River to sign a scholarship with an NCCAA FBS school (formerly I-A)click here for full story.

The only other player to sign at an FBS school is receiver Willie McNeal now at Western Kentucky. Braden River career rushing leader Tevin Bryant is at WKU, but he is currently a walk-on and has not received a scholarship.

At 6-6, 260 pounds, Romine has the size to put on a lot of weight and get over the 300 pound mark, which is the norm for offensive linemen at the Division I level.

Romine officially committed to New Mexico last weekend. He made what he called a “soft” commitment last summer, but kept his options open. Now, he says he is a solid commitment to New Mexico.

Donald Campbell withdraws from Western Kentucky

Donald Campbell has left Western Kentucky because of personal reasons.

The wide receiver/kick returner from Palmetto High was used mostly on special teams for the Hilltoppers and appeared in 10 games.

He led WKU in punt return yardage with 54 yards on seven carries (7.7 avg), was third in kickoff returns with 89 yards (29.7 avg) and caught four passes for 44 yards.

Campbell played for Ray Woodie during his last season as the Palmetto High head football coach before taking an assistant’s job at WKU. He was one of Woodie’s first recruits for the Hilltoppers.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Quarterback situation at Florida still very unclear

Florida is apparently still up there in the running for quarterback Jacoby Brissett, which means the Gators situation at the most important position in football is far from settled.

The Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer High signal caller has narrowed his list down to four and Florida is reportedly among the finalists with Miami, Wisconsin and Washington.

With the Gators appearing to be happy with early enrollee Jeff Driskel it would seem the last place Brissett would want to come would be Gainesville. But he has met with Gators new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis more than a few times sparking speculation that the quarterback situation is wide open.

Of course as an early enrollee,Driskel would have a significant advantage over Brissett, particularly if returning senior John Brantley can’t hold onto the job, assuming it’s his to lose in the first place.

This is the last weekend before signing day and it has been reported new Miami head coach Al Golden is going full blast to corral Brissett, though the 6-5, 225 pounder is not revealing anything.

Miami has senior Jacory Harris returning along with sophomore Stephen Morris, who started the last four games. Florida has the beleaguered Brantley and even if he was able to gain the starting job next season it would be his last.

While Brantley and Driskel put up great numbers in high school none had a better interception-ratio than Brissett, who threw 32 touchdowns passes with only one interception.

A standout basketball player, Brissett could be wooed to Miami because he has been told he could play both sports for the Hurricanes.

Another name you hear about in conversation about the Florida quarterback situation is Rutgers’ Tom Savage.

Remember Savage? He earned All-American honors in 2009 as a freshman and lost his starting job last season. He asked for his release, but Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano only granted it conditionally.

It has been reported that Savage wants to talk with Florida and Miami and Schiano won’t allow that. He has filed an appeal with Rutgers that would allow him to talk with those two schools.

Mann and Gordon leave Palmetto basketball team

The Palmetto High boys basketball team has taken a big blow with starters Terrance Mann and Austin Gordon no longer on the squad.

Mann was the Tigers starting point guard and second leading scorer while Gordon was the Tigers main presence inside and led Palmetto in rebounding.

Palmetto is 8-10 and 3-3 overall in Class 4A-District 10.

Despite playing it first game short-handed Palmetto took host and district leader Braden River down to the wire before losing 51-49 to the Pirates on Tuesday night.

Tulane, Richmond, William & Mary considering Braden River's Wilson

Dakota Wilson, a two way player for Braden River (center/linebacker) has been talking with Tulane and FCS (formerly I-AA) Richmond and William & Mary, but has not received any offers. William & Mary (8-4 last season) and Richmond (6-5) both play in the Colonial Conference.

Braden River running backs Oladipo Kolawole and Javar Baity have also had talks with Ave Marie University in Naples and Webber University, but other things could develop. Ave Marie, an NAIA school, will begin its inaugural football season this fall.

“Ball State said they were coming in (Wednesday) and want to talk with Baity,” Braden River head coach Don Purvis said. “They are intrigued by his size. He is a 6-1, 210 pounder who has great quickness and deceptive speed and can be part of an offensive package. This was the first time he played since his freshmen year.

“Both him and Oladipo didn’t see a tremendous amount of playing time last year and they were new on the radar. There are smaller schools looking at them and a lot could happen as signing day gets closer.”

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Temple targeting Manatee County prospects

With national signing day less than two weeks away (Feb 2nd)things are starting to get hectic. Recruits are committing and de-committing and coaches are moving into territories that might have seemed like a wasteland in the not too distant past.

Temple under new coach Steve Addazio seems to be targeting Manatee County college football prospects as heavily as Western Kentucky, which has carved a niche for itself here under head coach Willie Taggart and his assistant Ray Woodie, both Manatee County products.

Addazio, the former Florida offensive coordinator, has targeted Southeast linebacker Desmond Blue and has his eyes on running back Jared Williams.

One of Addazio’s assistants is supposed to be at Southeast High today to talk with Blue, the Bradenton Herald’s Defensive Player of The Year, and set up an official visit.

Addazio would like to get Manatee High’s dynamic defensive duo of Quinton and Chris Pompey. WKU is also after those two, but it appears the leaders there are USF and Miami.

A standout linebacker, Blue has been ignored by colleges because he is projected as a safety in college and a lot of coaches see him as risk because of a position change. Addazio doesn’t it see things that way and it could land him a prospect who could turn out to be one of the biggest sleepers in the class of 2011.

Quarterback situation at Florida could get even more crowded

Everyone in Gainesville seems to be talking about whether John Brantley or freshman Jeff Driskel will be the quarterback next season, that that hasn’t stopped new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis

from searching for more signal callers.

Weis met recently with Palm Beach Dwyer quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who at 6-5, 225 pounds has the size to match Driskel and Brantley.

Brissett has been offered by many of the top notch programs in the country, including Florida’s SEC rivals Alabaman, LSU and South Carolina. It was reported in some circles that he was leaning towards FSU but after meeting with Weis that could be change

ESPN ranks Brissett the best uncommitted quarterback available and compares him to former LSU standout JaMarcus Russell.

ESPN says Wisconsin could be the favorite if Brissett decides to leave the state of Florida where Miami is making a strong pitch under new coach Al Golden.

If Brissett goes to Florida it appears Weis sold him on the idea that nothing is etched in stone for the heralded Driskel.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Will Brantley or Driskel be better for Gators next season

A lot of Florida fans are calling recently enrolled freshman Jeff Driskel as the savior; but it appears the true freshman could benefit from a season of backing up John Brantley.

Fans disgruntled with Brantley might disagree. But he is so much better fitted for the pro style offense that Charlie Weis is going to install and unlike Driskel he has been through the SEC wars. click here for full story

Driskel was selected as the best high school football player in the country this past season by the Maxwell Football Club. However other rating organizations did not give him such high credentials.

In its final rankings for the class of 2011, Rivals.Com ranked Driskel the 32nd best player in the nation and did not bestow the coveted 5 star ranking on him, instead giving him 4 stars.

Driskel and Ohio State commit Braxton Miller (Huber Heights, Ohio) are the only two
quarterbacks in Rivals.Com top fifty.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Former Southeast star Giovani Francois will visit Temple after trips to FIU and Cincinnati

Former Southeast High standout Giovani Francois is headed to Temple this weekend on an official visit.

It will be the third official visit for the defensive lineman, who moved to Maryland to finish out the high school football season and won multiple honors for his play.

The 6-3, 230 pound Francois has visited FIU and most recently Cincinnati. He has said FIU is at the top of his list, but has not committed and is leaving himself open to other schools.

Temple’s new coach Steve Addazio knows about Francois from his years as an assistant at Florida where he was the Gators offensive coordinator last season.

Francois has offers from FIU, Louisville, Temple and Western Kentucky. Florida, USF, Maryland, Michigan State, Mississippi State and Northwestern have also shown interest in Francois, who is projected to play defensive end or linebacker in college.

"Coach Addazio, the old offensive coordinator at Florida offered me,” Francois told “He told me he believes Florida should have offered me and he gladly wants me to play for him at Temple. He had seen me at camps over the summer and sees that I can rush the passer and stop the run. He thinks I can be an impact player at Temple and play on Sundays.”

Francois played five games for Wise High in Maryland. He finished with 32 tackles seven sacks and three forced fumbles, which got him selected to two post season All-Star games; the Crab Bowl and the inaugural Chesapeake Bowl where he was dubbed a “sack artist.”

Lakewood Ranch's Reiter named USF Scout Team Standout for 2010

Former Lakewood Ranch standout Austin Reiter was voted the best offensive player on USF’s scout team from this past season.

The offensive lineman, who hopes to move into the backup spot at center this season, was selected by the defensive’s coach’s who had to work against Reiter during the season.

Reiter enrolled at USF last winter, but sat out the season as a redshirt so will have four years eligibility. Sampson Genus, the Bulls center last season, is a senior and will be gone leaving junior Kevin McCaskill as the apparent starter in 2011.

Lakewood Ranch head football coach Shawn Trent said that USF coaches told him they expect Reiter to be the backup next season and barring the unforeseen move into the starting role as a sophomore.

Also receiving honors was defensive back Mistral Raymond. The Palmetto High graduate was named to the Bulls Victors Club, which is for players who graded out as “winners” in at least games last season.

Raymond was a Big East Conference second team selection this season and is expected to be an NFL Draft selection this spring.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Miami, USF, Temple fighting it out for Pompey Brothers

The battle to secure the services of Manatee High’s standout brother duo is turning into a three team race that appears to have Miami and USF at the forefront with Temple trying to make its presence felt.

Their target is defensive lineman Quinton Pompey and his brother Chris Pompey, who played defensive end for Manatee, but could switch to linebacker in college.

New Miami head coach Al Golden made a verbal offer to the brothers last week and USF’s Skip Holtz has also extended one. Steve Addazio, the new head at Temple, is familiar with the Pompeys from his days as an assistant at Florida and has also thrown his hat in the ring

Manatee High defensive line coach Steve Gulash is good friend with USF defensive line coach Kevin Patrick, which might give the Bulls the lead. Patrick was an All-American defensive end at Miami in 1993 and played a role in helping to mold former USF defensive linemen George Selvie and Jason Pierre-Paul, who are currently in the NFL.

Despite missing nearly four games due to a knee injury, the 6-6, 260 pound Quinton Pompey was a force on the defensive line finishing with 14 sacks. Chris Pompey had 12 sacks for Manatee and had 59 solo tackles.

A few months ago the 6-3, 200 pound Chris wasn’t being recruited by the bigger schools, but that changed recently and he enhanced his chances by winning the MVP Award at last week’s PAL Bowl.

Chris’ biggest offers were from Colorado State and FIU before USF, Miami and Temple jumped into the fight. At first some of the bigger schools were willing to offer him if that would improve their chances of getting Quinton, but now he is being sought on his own merits.

Quinton also has offers from Penn State, Missouri and Louisville and expects a lot more if he clears some academic requirements before signing day, which he hopes to do before the end of the month.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Southeast rolls over Lakewood in King Showcase

The Southeast boys basketball team rolled over St. Petersburg Lakewood 62-42 in the Martin Luther King Showcase Friday night at Booker.

Unfortunately, because of a multitude of schedule changes in this event, many Seminole fans didn’t get to see the victory.

They missed a good one, coming over a program that has been a perennial power, though it is going through some growing pains right now.

It was the largest margin of victory Southeast ever had against St. Pete Lakewood under Elliot Washington, who is in his 10th year as the Seminoles head coach.

Antonio Ray led Southeast with 17 points and Markcene Jean pulled in a team high nine rebounds while contributing nine points sparking the Noles (10-5).

Southeast took a 21 point halftime lead thanks a great deal to Kenneth Cooper, who scored 11 of his 14 points in the first half.

The revised schedule for tonight:
Southeast vs Palmetto 6 p.m.
Manatee vs St. Petersburg Lakewood 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Manatee County teams fight it out in Martin Luther King Showcase

Southeast, Manatee, Palmetto and Braden River will participate in the two day Martin Luther King Showcase, which gets underway tonight at Booker High.

Festivities kickoff at 6 pm when Braden River takes on perennial power St. Petersburg Lakewood followed by Southeast meeting Orlando Agape Christian.

Manatee County schools will be part of a triple header on Saturday:

Palmetto vs Booker 4:30 pm

Southeast vs. St. Petersburg Lakewood 6 pm

Manatee vs Agape Christian 7:30 pm

St. Petersburg Lakewood is having what can only be considered an off year compiling an 8-6 record, but in the last six years the Spartans have been to three state championship games winning it all in 2005.

In 2004 Southeast recorded one of the biggest upsets in the history of its boys’ basketball program when it defeated Lakewood 66-54 to qualify for the Class 4A State Final Four.

Blakely could surge up Florida's depth chart with Weis

Mike Blakely worked hard to graduate early and enroll at Florida so he would be available for spring practice and hopefully get on the field next season.

It appears to be the best move the Manatee High running back could make. He will be there when Charlie Weis installs his new pro-style offense and get an opportunity to showcase his talent.

There is already speculation it won’t take Blakely long to move past Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps on the depth chart because he fits the offense Weis want to run while Demps and Rainey were more suited to spread offense used by former coach Urban Meyer.

Manatee High Hall of Fame coach Joe Kinnan says Blakely is better suited for a pro style offense because he is a strong downhill runner and a very good receiver out of the backfield.

He is strong running between the tackles, which Weis likes to see in his running backs and is said to be more elusive than Mike Gillislee.

The 5-9, 190 pound Blakely is believed to be built better for the pro-style offense because of his compact build and ability to reach top speed quickly with excellent lateral moves.

He fits Weis’ desire to recruit bigger backs because they fit better into his downhill running attack that usually make smaller backs like Rainey and Demps less effective.