MIAMI BEACH, Fla. -- But for a few notable stragglers (St. Paul, Minn., offensive tackle
Rivals.com and the other recruiting sites won't release preliminary rankings for another few weeks, but college coaches already know the identities of some of the best players. They know about
Most of these skill-position studs will hit football recruiting's version of the AAU circuit this spring. Last year,
Late last month, more than 100 of the best high school players in South Florida converged on a field in Miami Beach to compete for 24 spots on the South Florida Express. The team will play in March at the Badger Sport Elite 7-on-7 Tournament in Tampa. Similar tryouts took place across the country as coaches assembled teams for Badger Sport events in Piscataway, N.J., Las Vegas, Knoxville, Tenn., and Ann Arbor, Mich. The players will have extra incentive to light up the scoreboard at this year's tournaments. Series founder
It's doubtful any of those tryouts -- with the possible exception of one an hour north in Boca Raton, Fla. -- could match the sheer talent level of the Miami Beach tryout. Only about 20 college programs can select from a talent pool as deep as the one available to South Florida Express coach
Though a football recruiting landscape that more closely mirrors basketball has its drawbacks, it does have a major plus. It allows off-the-radar players to prove themselves against elite competition.
At the Miami Beach tryout, Plantation (Fla.) High safety
Cash had singled out a receiver who wore a backward cap bearing the word "Cinco." Cash explained that in the time he had watched the drill, no defender had successfully covered the kid with the backward cap. After a while, the defensive backs had to resort to tactics that would draw a pass interference call because they couldn't keep backward cap from getting open. Backward cap's name is
No one knew Sebastiano going into the tryout. By the end, he had made the team. Next month, he'll play in Tampa against the best skill position players in the South. If he plays well, the recruiting service reporters at the event will spread his name far and wide, and interest from colleges will pour in.
"At North Broward Prep, we're only Class 2B; we don't have many big names," said Sebastiano, who might be the only Class of 2011 recruit who has
As the year goes on, we'll find out how Sebastiano stacks up against the rest of the stars in the class of 2011. Meanwhile, those stars will entertain offers from some schools and chase offers from others. In a little less than a year, Black Mamba, Bubba, Lyons and the rest will sign letters-of-intent. But that's the destination.
The fun part is the journey.