NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – The sixth annual South Florida Express 7-on-7 team tryout Saturday evening brought out some of the best talent in Dade and Broward Counties as it always does.
Five-star running back Sony Michel says he could have a decision soon. He did not give any hints where he was leaning, but there is plenty of buzz about Georgia with regards to his recruitment.
As always there is loads of recruiting buzz from the event. Here is the latest.
Michel talks about five
The top-ranked prospect in the class of 2014 at the tryout was five-star running back Sony Michel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./American Heritage). Michel current is ranked as the No. 3 running back prospect in the Class of 2014 and the No. 18 overall prospect in the 2014 Top247.
The 5-foot-10.5, 203-pound back talked about Georgia and Notre Dame when asked specifically the pair, and offered up his thoughts on three other schools of his choice.
Georgia – “Georgia, you know, they have a great atmosphere and coaching staff. They run the ball, which is a positive, positive.”
Notre Dame – “Notre Dame uses their running backs in all different ways. Their backs catch the ball, run it and are used in all aspects of the game.”
Miami – “Miami, the same thing as Notre Dame. Their running backs get every chance to use their talent running and catching the ball.”
North Carolina – “They are having great success running the ball. They have a running back going in the NFL draft coming off an ACL like me, so that is something I have paid attention to.”
Class of 2013 cornerback Rashard Robinson signed with LSU, but his teammate, Class of 2014 linebacker Terry McCray, says he was "close to flipping" to Miami.
Alabama – “Alabama always have great running backs, and have great coaches. It’s a great, great program.”
The 2014 U.S. Army All-American says a decision could come soon.
“I don’t really have a timeline, but I may make a decision soon.” He said.
McCray: Robinson was close to flipping
One of the many 2014 prospects on hand that has not received the fan fair of others is linebacker Terry McCray (Pompano Beach, Fla./Blanche Ely). The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder with 4.69 speed reported Saturday he has a verbal offer from Miami.
“That’s was around two months ago when Miami offered me,” McCray said. “It was when Miami played UCF that they offered me. I was a little shocked, but I was also happy because my cousin Rashard Robinson was being recruited by Miami too. I thought he might be going there, so it was surprising they offered me.”
McCray, who was offered by former Miami assistant Terry Richardson, said 2013 Top247 prospect Robinson was close to signing with the Hurricanes.
“He was really close (to flipping to Miami). He wanted to go, but I’m not sure what happened. I really thought he was going to go there,” he said.
Florida State, South Carolina and Rutgers are among the early offers for 2014 defensive back John Battle of Hallandale (Fla.).
Along with Miami, McCray is taking a close look at LSU with hopes of being offered, due in large part to Robinson and working out with Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, a former Ely and LSU star.
“Patrick says it os a good program and he really liked the area. Rashard says the same things too, and also Tyraan Mathieu has been working out down here with Patrick and he says really good things about LSU,” he said.
McCray recorded 13 sacks at defensive end and linebacker in 2012. He also lists West Virginia, Florida and Florida State as programs he hopes to be offered by.
Battle nearing double digits
Class of 2014 defensive back John Battle (Hallandale, Fla.) was one of many prospects that watched the tryout from the sideline Saturday. The 6-foot-0, 165-pound Battle was nursing a minor injury that kept him from competing, but his recruitment is anything but slowed headed into March junior days.
“Florida State is the latest offer,” Battle said. “They offered Thursday. I talked to (Noles assistant) Sal Sunseri. He’s a great guy. I love him already, and they want me to come up for a visit. I’m going to call him Monday and we are going to talk more about it.”
The offer for the defensive back with a 3.0-plus GPA is now up to six verbal offers.
“I also have offers from LSU, North Carolina, South Carolina, Rutgers, Northwestern and I think that’s about it. Northwestern was the first to offer me,” he said.
Ermon Lane, the current top receiver prospect in the Class of 2014 according to 247Sports, says he would like to get an offer from Texas A&M. "Their quarterback is just good," he said.
He commented on some of the early suitors.
South Carolina – I like them a lot. I talked to (Gamecocks secondary coach) Grady Brown, and he sent me an article on how they are the “DB University”. That’s was a great article, and Coach Brown is telling me I would have the chance to play right now.”
LSU – Coach (Corey) Raymond is a great guy too. He’s telling me I could come in and play right now. He said it’s on how hard I work.”
Battle mentioned Alabama as the schools he hopes to receive an offer from.
Lane taking it slow
Wide receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla.), who currently is ranked as the No. 1 receiver prospect in the Class of 2014 nationally by 247Sports, walked in right before the tryout began Saturday, and immediately left an impression.
Not only is Lane one of the top overall prospects (No. 27 overall) in the class of 2014, but he is now starting to fill out his frame physically.
The now 6-foot-3 and 193-pounder Lane is added more than 10 pounds of muscle to his frame since July Florida State camp. On the recruiting front, it’s business as usual with the offers rolling in weekly.
Ermon Lane, the top receiver prospect in the country for the 2014 currently, called Miami his "dream team".
“Clemson and Georgia are the latest to offer,” Lane said. “They offered me about two weeks ago,”
When pressed for programs that are standing out, Lane said all are even, but did comment on a trio of programs from the Southeast Region.
Alabama – "There is nothing to really say about Alabama. They won three national championships in four years. They seem to be doing everything right."
Florida State – "They are doing everything right with me. They have been recruiting me the best."
Miami – "Miami was my first offer. It meant a lot because they were my dream team. They are right there."
With offers from nearly every regional and national power, there isn’t much left for Lane to pick up this spring – with the exception of one program in the SEC.
“Maybe like Texas A&M is the one program I would like to be offered by,” he said. “They have got an awesome quarterback, man.”
Yeargin III has SEC, Big 12
West Virginia and Tennessee are the two latest offers for 2014 linebacker Richard Yeargin III.
The most impressive linebacker in coverage on hand Saturday night was class of 2014 prospect Richard Yeargin III (Davie, Fla./University School). The 6-foot-3, and now 215-pound outside linebacker had a busy past couple of weeks picking up a trio of new offers.
“My latest offers are Tennessee the other day, West Virginia and UCLA,” he said. “The Tennessee offer was on Wednesday.”
The rangy and athletic linebacker picked up the Tennessee offer after calling Vols linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen.
“It was (Thigpen) that I talked to,” Yeargin said. “He said he loved me on film and the sky’s the limit for a guy like me. He told me to just stay doing what I’m doing and keep adding weight and stuff like that.”
With the latest trio of offers, Thigpen is up to ten.
“Clemson, UCLA, Tennessee, Purdue, Wake Forest, Rutgers, Wisconsin; and man I can’t even remember the rest,” he said.
Clemson is one staff Yeargin III singled out as staying in contact with.
“I talk to (Tigers defensive coordinator) Brent Venables,” he said. “He’s a great guy. Again, one of those coaches that I feel like has my best interest at heart. I can see myself playing there.”
Chris Lammons is a high school quarterback, but the dynamic athlete is being recruited to play cornerback at the collegiate level. Ole Miss and Indiana both have offered and he has interest from a host of other programs.
Yeargin III is now at University School in Davie after transferring from Chaminade-Madonna in Hollywood.
Lammons on the rise
One of the more impressive prospects that worked at cornerback last night was high school quarterback Chris Lammons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Plantation). The 5-foot-9, 170-pond quick and explosive athlete that proved to be one of the most physical on the field Saturday has a pair of offers.
“I have an offers from Indiana and Ole Miss,” Lammons said. “I talk to (Ole Miss assistant) Wesley McGriff almost every day. I’m also getting mail from all over the nation. I’m going to UCF junior day March 23 and I’m tight with their DB coach.”
Lammons reports a fastest forty-yard dash time of 4.39. He is being recruited as a cornerback by Ole Miss and Indiana. He will likely see his offer list jump to double digits this spring and he has four programs he hopes are among those that offer.
“Miami is one I hope offers, and also Oregon, Alabama and Florida too,” he said. “I just love Oregon. It’s their jerseys, and everything about them that stands out to me.”
-Class of 2014 corner Derrick Tindal (Lauderdale Lakes, Fla./Boyd Anderson) is receiving mail from Miami, Alabama, Florida State and others. He was invited to Miami junior day Saturday, but couldn’t attend due to taking the ACT. He lists Tennessee as a program he hopes to hear from. Tindal also had high praise for 2012 teammate and member of the Alabama class of 2013, Eddie Jackson.
“He’s a great player,” Tindal said. “He works real hard, and he performs great on the field. He’s real fast. The fastest player on our team.”
-Class of 2014 defensive back Johnathan Jackson (Hallandale, Fla.) reports Louisville, North Carolina, Rutgers, Miami and UCF as programs he’s hearing from. The 5-foot-11, 190-pound safety prospect has spoken with North Carolina assistant Randy Jordan about a possible offer. He was one of many from 2014 that attended Miami junior day Saturday.
-Trumaine Washington (Miami, Fla./Killian) reports an offer from Purdue and interest from Louisville, Clemson and Florida. The 5-foot-9, 170-pound corner with 4.5-speed attended Clemson junior day last weekend.
“I liked it over there. I talked to (Tigers assistant and 247Sports National Top 50 recruiter) Jeff Scott. He said they want me to come to camp and see what I got.”
-Class of 2014 prospect George Rushing (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Cardinal Gibbons) makes up one of the top wide receiver duos in South Florida teaming up with fellow class fo 2014 prospect Trevon Lee. The 6-foot-1, 183-pounder, who attended Miami junior day on Saturday, is up to five offers following his first from the SEC.
“I have offers from Ole Miss, Cincinnati, Marshall, Miami (Ohio) and Ohio U. The latest was Ole Miss about a week or two ago. I talked to (McGriff). I can tell they are trying to do big things over there. They flipped a bunch of recruits this year.”
Faces in the Crowd
The marquee event in South Florida also brought out a number of former players, former NFL players and celebrities. Former South Florida Express players on hand were Tracy Howard, Deon Bush, Jesus Wilson and a number of others. Former NFL players Fred Taylor, Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain were among those on hand with Madison and Surtain being coaches with the team. And of course, former 2 Live Crew front man and Miami Northwestern assistant coach Luther Campbell was on hand from start to finish.
Gerry Hamilton is the lead national recruiting analyst for 247Sports. Follow him on Twitter @GerryHam247