NCF On The Trail: Da'Vante Phillips

Orlando/Miami NFTC awards 

March, 17, 2014
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Florida prospects had a big opportunity to shine this past weekend with a pair of NFTC events taking place in the state. The packed weekend kicked off on Saturday in the Orlando area with a talented group that included two top-10 ESPN Junior 300 prospects. The action moved south Sunday for the Miami NFTC, which featured a strong group of skilled prospects. There were many good performances throughout the weekend, and here are the Recruiting Nation NFTC Awards highlighting some the top and most notable performers.


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Orlando/Miami NFTC notebook 

March, 16, 2014
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The Florida leg of the Nike Football Training Camp series didn’t disappoint. Top prospects from all over the Sunshine State made their way to Orlando (Fla.) and Miami to take part in the ultra-competiive camp. An incredible 11 prospects from the Orlando NFTC were invited to The Opening, an elite camp and 7-on-7 tournament held in early July at the Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. Here’s a closer look at the top news from over the weekend.

Orlando NFTC/Elite 11


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One of the top high school programs in the country, Miami Booker T. Washington, lost its head coach on Monday as Tim “Ice” Harris resigned to take a position with the Miami Hurricanes. Miami announced the move on its official website.

Harris will join Al Golden’s staff as assistant director of football operations, and with his extensive experience in South Florida he will be the primary liaison with high school coaches.

Miami signed just four prospects from South Florida in 2013, but after an apparent change in recruiting philosophy the Hurricanes signed 14 players from the talent-rich area in 2014. By adding Harris, who has 24 years of coaching experience in the Miami area and compiled a 99-10 record in his two stints at Booker T. Washington, the Hurricanes are looking to increase their stronghold on the fertile recruiting area.

Booker T. Washington had seven players sign with FBS schools this year, but only two, Chad Thomas and Demetrius Jackson, signed with Miami. Harris’ own son, quarterback Treon Harris, signed with Florida, but by adding Tim Harris to their staff, the Hurricanes are hoping to start a pipeline from the nationally recognized high school.

The 2015 Booker T. Washington class is not quite as strong as its 2014 class, but the area surrounding the school is loaded with talent so Golden picked a great time to add Harris to his staff. Ten of the top 100 players in the 2015 ESPN Junior 300 are from South Florida. The No. 11-ranked junior in the country, athlete Torrance Gibson (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage), is the top South Florida prospect and has visited the Hurricanes multiple times.

Landing a prospect like Gibson, who wants to play quarterback in college, will only help with other elite prospects in the area such as defensive back Tarvarus McFadden (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage), wide receiver Da'Vante Phillips (Miami/Central) and wide receiver Calvin Ridley (Coconut Creek, Fla./Monarch).

Harris is easily one of the most recognizable names in South Florida high school football, and his experience and connections in the area should only help the Hurricanes continue to recruit at a very high level.

Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

December, 9, 2013
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With signing day less than two months away, the SEC regular season is now complete and recruiting will now become a primary focus for each of the conference’s 14 teams. As Feb. 5 quickly approaches there will be official visits, All-American games and different recruiting scenarios unfold. Here’s a closer look at the latest happenings in the SEC:

Biggest weekend performance: The high school season is just about over, but there are still a few SEC recruits in the playoffs. Here’s a look at who had some of the best performances.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

November, 11, 2013
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Lots of news around the Southeastern Conference over the weekend. There were a few commitments, and Alabama hosted several visitors for its big win over LSU. Here’s a closer look at some of the top storylines in the SEC this weekend.


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Pittsburgh would like to get to where Miami is. Two programs down on their luck for much of the last decade, Miami has climbed out of ACC mediocrity as a conference contender. Pittsburgh is the newest middling program to leave the Big East for the ACC.

Miami has made its way to the top third of the ACC behind the success of a new coach and his recruiting, and Pitt hopes to do the same under second-year coach Paul Chryst. The Panthers are looking to finish strong in 2014, and this weekend could go a long way toward doing that.

The Hurricanes are still not where they want to be following a second-half shellacking at the hands of rival Florida State last weekend. A win Saturday night, however, and the Hurricanes essentially lock up a rematch with the Seminoles in the ACC title game, which would help regain some power in the three-way recruiting tug-of-war in Florida.

Here are five recruits who will be keeping a close eye on the Notre Dame-Pitt game and five more who will be watching Virginia Tech-Miami.

Notre Dame at Pitt

ATH Dravon Henry (Aliquippa, Pa./Aliquippa): It is not often the Panthers miss out on prospects from nearby Aliquippa, and Henry is related to former Pitt standouts Darrelle Revis and Sean Gilbert. The two-way star is a West Virginia lean, however. The Mountaineers have been out front for Henry for quite some time and the lead is expanding. This could be the type of game that finally brings Pitt a little bit closer to the top spot. Henry, No. 136 in the ESPN 300, will take official visits after the season, and he acknowledges the pressure to go to Pitt will increase as signing day nears. A positive showing by the Panthers on Saturday could go a long way in easing some of that pressure on the state’s top player. One problem: Henry will be at West Virginia.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: ACC 

September, 9, 2013
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videoBy a large margin, the most important game with recruiting implications was in Miami over the weekend as the Hurricanes hosted the Florida Gators.

Miami was able to edge out a close, 21-16 victory, but how much will it help?

Best prospect performances


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings.

Zack Darlington
Tom Hauck for Student SportsNebraska coach Bo Pelini has to make a tough decision after 2014 QB commit Zack Darlington got injured.
Today's offerings: With questions about Zack Darlington’s future lingering, Nebraska coach Bo Pelini has to make a tough decision about recruiting another quarterback in the 2014 class. There’s still plenty of meat left on the bone for the 2014 class; and the Miami Central-Miami Booker T. Washington game will showcase seven Cane and Gator recruits.


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SEC recruiting storylines: Sept. 5 

September, 5, 2013
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After a sensational weekend to open the college football season, this weekend features a number of marquee games that are sure to have an impact on recruiting. Two games in the Southeast Region, in particular, are expected to bring out a number of big time prospects in the class of 2014 and 2015. Here is a closer look at some of the hot topics throughout the SEC:

The beat goes on for No. 1
Not only is Alabama going for a three-peat on the field this season, but also in recruiting. Already opening up a nice lead in the 2014 class rankings with the commitment of Cameron Sims (Monroe, La./Ouachita High) two weeks ago, the Crimson Tide placed a stranglehold on the competition Wednesday securing a commitment from five-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson (West Monroe, La./West Monroe). With the pledge from Robinson, Nick Saban and Co. now have 20 commitments, including 14 in the ESPN 300.

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SEC recruiting mailbag

August, 16, 2013
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It’s time to dip into the SEC recruiting mailbag and answer your questions. Because of the amount of questions we’ve received, we won’t be able to get to all of them today -- but we encourage you to ask again next week by tweeting your questions to @DerekTysonESPN.

@csull31: Can I get a comment on the direction Arkansas is headed with their new coaching staff?

Derek Tyson: Up -- that is the direction the Razorbacks are headed. New head coach Brett Bielema will have his work cut out for him to compete with the big boys from the SEC West, but it appears he is up to the challenge. Last recruiting cycle, in just a few short months on the job, Bielema was able to pull ESPN 300 prospects Denver Kirkland and Alex Collins out of Florida. This year, the Razorbacks already have a top 40 class, including 11 commits who are ranked as three-star prospects or higher. The SEC is a line-of-scrimmage league, and the Razorbacks were able to get one of the top junior college offensive lineman in the country, Jermaine Eluemunor, to switch his pledge from UCLA to Arkansas. It may take a few years for Arkansas to get to where Bielema wants his team to be, but it certainly appears as if the Razorbacks are headed in the right direction.

@QueBarbaro34: Who do you think will have the top 3 recruiting classes in the SEC after NSD?

DT: There are six teams in the top 11 of the team recruiting rankings, so a case could be made for several teams, but if I had to select three teams that would have the top three classes in the SEC, it would be LSU, Alabama and Georgia. Alabama already has the No. 1-ranked class in the country and still has several big targets such as Leonard Fournette, Cameron Robinson, Lorenzo Carter, Marlon Humphrey and Elisha Shaw remaining on its recruiting board. LSU, meanwhile, is in a similar situation. With prospects like Fournette, Robinson, Speedy Noil, Trey Quinn, Malachi Dupre, Gerald Willis III, Clifton Garrett and Laurence Jones left on their board, the Tigers could make a huge run as the recruiting season plays out. Tennessee has a very strong class and is currently ranked as the No. 3 class in the country, but that's including 24 commits. Georgia, on the other hand, has only 16 commits and it is ranked only two spots lower at No. 5. If the Bulldogs can land a few more prospects such as Carter, Raekwon McMillan or Josh Malone, Georgia could certainly find itself in the top three. Florida is another school that could make a big run toward the end. The Gators are limited in scholarships, but with prospects such as David Sharpe, Adoree' Jackson, Jamal Adams and Travis Rudolph left on their board, they could make a big run, too.

@SEC_Logo: How do recruits view all these new football facilities, how big of an impact do you think they play?

DT: In my opinion, facilities do play a role in a recruit's decision. Most of these top high school prospects want to attend a place that will prepare them for the next level. So if a school has top-notch training facilities, it only makes sense that a prospect would be more interested in that school. However, I think facilities are just one of many factors, such as on-the-field performance, proximity to home, chances of early playing time, academics and relationships with coaches, that ultimately determine which school a prospect will attend. If I had to rank the importance of each factor, I would say facilities would be near the bottom of that list.

Just for fun, I asked SEC blogger Edward Aschoff to tell me which schools have the top facilities in the conference. In no particular order and based on what he has seen, Aschoff said Alabama, Tennesee, Florida, Texas A&M, Georgia and LSU have arguably the top facilities among the SEC schools. It's interesting to note that all of those schools he mentioned are in the top 11 of the team recruiting rankings.

@THE_BOOMSTEIN: How do the 3 recruits from this past week set up the #Gators for other South Florida guys? #SEC

DT: By landing ESPN 300 defensive backs Chris Lammons and Quincy Wilson and wide receiver Ermon Lane, the Gators hit the jackpot in South Florida on Monday. Add in top 25 running back Dalvin Cook and ESPN 300 defensive tackle Khairi Clark, and the Gators have done exceptionally well in the area. It certainly can't hurt Florida's chances of landing other South Florida prospects such as wide receivers Travis Rudolph or Johnnie Dixon, but I think more importantly, it will help Florida in the future. The Gators already have a commitment from the No. 1-ranked wide receiver Da'Vante Phillips out of Miami Central and are in the mix for several other top 2015 recruits such as running back Jordan Scarlett, wide receiver Torrance Gibson, tight end Devonaire Clarington, cornerback Tyrek Cole, safety Kendrell McFadden and cornerback Tarvarus McFadden. By developing a pipeline in the talent-rich area, it will certainly help the Gators recruit younger prospects who see their friends leave South Florida and go on and have success in Gainesville.

@rbarguia: Where do Jamal Adams and Tony Brown land?

DT: With Brown, Alabama, Texas, LSU, Florida State and a few other schools are in the mix, but it's hard to ignore the fact that his older sister is headed to LSU to run track. There is still a ways to go in his recruitment, but as of now it looks like the Tigers could be the team to beat. If that is in fact the case, LSU could wind up with a top two or three class when all the pieces fall in to place. As for Adams, Florida, Texas A&M and Texas are all near the top of his list. The Gators might have the slight advantage because his godfather, Joker Phillips, is the receivers coach at Florida.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Running back commit Dalvin Cook (Miami/Central) has a message for any Gators fans who might be worried about his visit to Texas today -- follow the lead of Florida head coach Will Muschamp.


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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida received its fourth commitment in the last three days, as ESPN Junior 300 wide receiver Da'Vante Phillips (Miami/Central) gave his pledge to Florida head coach Will Muschamp after Florida's Friday Night Lights camp.

The 6-foot-1, 189-pound athlete chose the Gators over offers from Miami, Florida State, Alabama and Clemson.

Phillips, the No. 11-ranked player in the country and top-rated receiver for 2015, said he chose Florida because of the atmosphere and also because of his Central teammate and 2014 Florida running back commit Dalvin Cook.

"It just feels like home," Phillips said. "I just liked everything about it and the atmosphere with the lights on. Dalvin was a big influence. Every day, he sends me messages. Any way he can get to me, he always is doing stuff."

Phillips said Muschamp was excited to learn of his commitment.

"He was happy. He was very excited," Phillips said. "I already knew he wanted me to be a Gator when I got here, so he was excited."

The hometown Hurricanes have always been near the top of his list, but Phillips said right now Florida is where he wants to be.

"I don't know," he said when asked about Miami. "Right now the Gators are on my mind."

In his ESPN scouting report, Phillips is compared to a wide receiver who enjoyed tremendous success on the college level:

"[Phillips] is a strong, physical player -- a Dez Bryant type. A versatile, big-play receiver with good size, competitiveness and athleticism. Possesses a good frame and playing strength for the wide receiver position and should continue to fill out and develop functional strength. Flashes good playing speed and foot quickness needed to separate as a route runner. Catches the ball extremely well and does a good job of turning upfield after the catch.Being physical and exploding off the ball, and also blocking with power."


Phillips is Florida's first 2015 commitment.

Summer recruit wrap: Florida 

July, 23, 2013
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GatorNation looks at five themes of Florida's 2014 recruiting class to date:

Friday Night Lights will be loaded


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The IMG 7v7 Southeast Regional Championship in Bradenton, Fla., on Saturday and Sunday will feature several ESPN 150 players. This star-studded event will feature the South Florida Express, one of the top 7-on-7 teams in the country, and Team Tampa, which won the IMG 7v7 National Championships last year. Here's a look at five things to watch at this weekends events.

1. Wide receiver position is loaded
Ermon Lane
Derek Tyson/ESPNHomestead, Fla., wide receiver Ermon Lane will be one of several top prospects participating in the IMG 7v7 Southeast Regional Championship.
There will be a plethora of top wide receivers in Bradenton this weekend. Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead), the No. 1-ranked wide receiver in the country, will have a chance to showcase his abilities against some elite talent. Additionally, Travis Rudolph (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman), Artavis Scott (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake), Moral Stephens (Perry, Fla./Taylor County), Kenric Young (Gainesville, Fla./Gainesville), Isaiah Ford (Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian), Garrett Johnson (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange) and 2015 wideout Da'Vante Phillips (Miami/Central) are scheduled to participate.


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Finding the Future: Miami NFTC 

March, 18, 2013
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Editor's note: Finding the Future is a RecruitingNation feature that will appear throughout camps and combine season, ranking prospects strictly on their on-field performance at the particular event. It does not reflect where each will land when the class is ranked by ESPN.

MIAMI -- The NFTC was loaded with top upperclassmen prospects on Sunday, but a handful of 2015 prospects showed they could compete with some of the top, older, competition in the state.

1. 2015 CB Tyrek Cole

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