Battleground: South Florida
November, 26, 2013
By Gerry Hamilton | ESPN.com
When looking for the nation's top hot spot for football prospects, there is not a better area than South Florida. The counties of Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach annually produce some of the top talent in the country.
Last year, those three counties accounted for nine Pro Bowlers and 14 players who participated in the Super Bowl. The talent-rich area is home to some most fierce recruiting rivalries in the country, including several between Miami, Florida State and Florida in the 2014 class.
Lay of the land
The state of Florida is responsible for 10 of the last 30 NCAA national championships, with the Miami Hurricanes leading the way with five.
Players in South Florida have grown up watching their home state dominate college football. Watching the dominance has kept the vast majority of top prospects at home. Michael Irvin, Andre Johnson, Fred Taylor, Lomas Brown and Marvin Jones are just a few of the big South Florida recruits-turned-NFL draft picks.
While the Gators have pulled some difference-makers out of South Florida, it has been the hometown Hurricanes and the Seminoles that have battled for the majority of the top prospects.
"It has always been the same," said American Heritage coach Mike Rumph, a former Miami star and NFL first-round pick. "The Florida Gators were in there when I came out, but they didn't recruit real hard down south. On the contrary, Florida State and UM did. Florida State stayed true to me and recruited me until the day I signed with UM. That's still the way it is down here."
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