Central Florida Recruiting Ramblings

Continued conversation from BHSN Recruiting Central hosted by Ryan Bass. Notes from Doug Pugh.

Martez Ivey – Apopka
Scratched his official visit to Auburn following injury in loss to Oak Ridge in order to get his knee checked following arthroscopic surgery to a torn meniscus; limped off field multiple times during game on Friday, yet did not wear the metal brace he normally wears; (Why?) Unsure of when the reschedule to visit will happen, but he also desires to see FSU, Alabama, LSU and Florida. Ivey simply needs to let the emotions of Friday become a distant memory, make sure his knee is in proper condition and give “the guy” who will replace him next season a chance to show Rick Darlington what is to be expected for next season. The team surely misses a healthy Ivey, but people already understand his capabilities. Make sure the knee is fine.

George Campbell – East Lake
News has been slow and that’s a good thing in my opinion; George has to develop the rhythm and feel of the final seconds before the ball meets his hands, THEN apply the YAC-dimension of his skillset, which happens to be one of the most explosive in the entire nation. Consistency is key with George and he’s the type of kid that won’t let any of the national spotlight that’s left him become a reason to sulk or feel sorry for himself. If anything, it’s EXACTLY what the doctor ordered for the final stages of his HSFB developmental process. Think of it as the recruiting equivalent of being built up to be broken down; or the way of the world these days.

Jacques Patrick – Timber Creek
LOVE what the kid had to say in his interview with the Orlando Sentinel a while back. Some absolute gems for quotes too, “They message you like they’re your girlfriend” is one of them and based on everything he’s said and done to this point, there’s no reason to believe he’s leaving the state. Most likely headed to FSU from what I can tell, but at the very least he’s going to be south of the Mason-Dixon line. He HATES the cold. Very insightful kid though.

Nick Westbrook – Lake Mary
Extremely curious that he choose Bloomington, Indiana over programs like, Kentucky, Virginia, Boston College and Georgia Tech; however his reference to their business school being an elite one, I’d say his decision is made on a thorough process that included the academics weighed more than playing time, and playing for programs with “spark” on the national scene. Westbrook’s the perfect example of a kid choosing the perspective over the premise; which is to get the all-around experience that felt the best for him that extends beyond football. (Pro Tip: Take your OV the same weekend Indiana plays Michigan or Illinois in basketball and you would commit you first born child afterwards based on the atmosphere. That’s perhaps what Mr. Westbrook did in this case; just my speculation…and a teachable moment for the players that that are caught-up with the glamour and glitz.

Tucker Israel – Lake Nona
Going to break the state’s passing record for yardage most likely in the next two weeks. He’s currently 686-yards from Bishop Kenny’s John Wolford (a former student of mine at Palmer Catholic Academy in Ponte Vedra Beach actually and starting QB at Wake Forest this season). Israel threw for 779yds and 7TD’s vs. Cypress Creek and Colonial (their next 2 opponents) last season, so hit the average and that’s broken. He would then be 14TD’s shy of Wolford’s TD-record as well at that point. Israel threw for 271yds and 4TD’s last week vs. Winter Park. If he simply matches the season he had last, he will finish somewhere in the neighborhood of 13,000yds and 145TD’s.

Key Injuries – Nate Craig and TJ Simmons specifically
It would be in Craig’s best interest to let this year’s version of Tampa Catholic get a year older and wiser; let that nasty broken fibula heal properly and trust the process of rehabilitation. Pretty much the same thing with TJ even though he’s off to college; he simply needs to stay focused, positive, and ready to rock next year at UCLA.

Blake Bortles – Oviedo Jersey retirement
Lifelong dream of getting to utter the Jacksonville Jaguars has been fulfilled. Bortles is a legend from that program and will only enhance Oviedo’s footprint in the bigger picture. He was truly one of those hidden gems that apparently had a skill-set that Jameis Winston would blush at; and UCF got him. Another future-is-so-bright moment for him is that Tebow is actually owned in fantasy football leagues more than Chad Henne; who actually starts ahead of Blake. He also proves that QB’s that can look like they’re in the spread all throughout can in-fact be the best version of a signal-caller you could ask for; there are prospects like him all over the nation that will fall through the cracks so-to-speak and look just like he did his senior year at Oviedo.

Stock rising – Denzel Houston, Mainland QB
He’s only a sophomore and will grow beyond that 5-10, 170lbs frame the next two seasons. Can already make throws that most seniors can make, and will have the opportunity vs. Lake Wales and American Heritage-Plantation this month; DeLand already saw this a little too much for the liking last week. Mainland is actually my favorite over Central to win the 6A state championship this season. Right now, he still shows tendency to run first, but that’s an even bigger problem for defenses. Wait until he sorts this out, because playing vs. Houston means you’ve got problems.

College roundup: UCF QB situation
Completely understand why UCF gave Pete the hook from the business-side, but it was too early for personal liking. Having watched the game a couple times, it’s apparent that Hollman is the “better” option, but it’s also apparent that Pete won the job with his work ethic. That’s not a knock either. If there’s anyone that can deal with this mentally and get better it is Petey. Mainland’s Leonard Williams was on the stage doing work as one of the best DT’s in the nation for USC, as well as Seabreeze’s Charles Nelson with a KO return for Oregon last Saturday in their game versus South Dakota. Evans’ Roderrick Hoskins looks to slide into the WDE spot for FSU vacated by Lake Howell’s Christian Jones and will be just as big a force as his predecessor was.

Marlon Mack – USF Running Back
He may be from down the road in Sarasota, but let’s face it; the only “Mack” you knew up till this point if you were a USF fan was the one returning in the Mark Morrison song from the 90’s. Born in Overtown section of Miami and played for the Overtown Rattlers who are LEGENDS on the Pop Warner scene in Dade County; was the Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s DEFENSIVE POY last season at Safety with 110 tackles, (12TFL’s) and 4int’s, he’s got talent for days and Coach T’s doing something with this one, and he should probably “do” the right thing and put the once UCLA commit on defense as well, because you know what? Giving up 31 points to Western Carolina should mean you should have to play Bishop Gorman, Don Bosco and St. Thomas Aquinas (a la relegation like soccer) and start over. Return this Mack to both ways like the last four seasons.

Chandler Cox, Apopka
Chandler Cox, Apopka

Biggest commitments of the summer-
My top five from the Orlando side:
WR Nyquan “Noonie” Murray from Oak Ridge to FSU
WR Deangelo Antoine from Oak Ridge to USF
WR Adrian Falconer from Leesburg to Iowa
DB AJ Westbrook from Mainland to FSU
ATH Chandler Cox from Apopka to Auburn

Q: Best Fit for Byron Cowart?
A: There’s plenty, but personally I believe the University of Florida has become the Roswell International Air Center for AHS’ PREMIER players. They simply disappear like MH370 once they get two hours up I-75. This leads me to believe Cowart lands at UF regardless of the Muschamp situation, but quite honestly I think he should go to Maryland. Get out of here; a loooooong ways away from here. It’s Big Ten football and the kind of challenge he needs. Take it from someone who knows exactly what this is, because I’m a professional at it; which is being bored…Cowart’s bored with football and I wouldn’t blame him for being so, but the reality is it’s TIIIIIIME.

Q: Are Oak Ridge’s Noonie Murray and Deangelo Antoine the best WR combo in the state?
A: Let’s pump the brakes; or put a 5yd jam at the line of scrimmage on this. Davante Davis and Antonio Calloway from Booker T. Washington are the best pair in the state and followed closely by St. Thomas Aquinas’ Davante Peete and Sam Bruce. I’d slot the Mighty-Mighty Pioneers’ combo right after that pairing. No offense, but it’s simply drinking the kool-aid to call them “the best”, but USF fans especially will know Antoine by this time next season; and love him with all their hearts.