PLANTATION, Fla. - American Heritage will once again be a formidable opponent for any team that they square off with, and that’s in large part due to how much skill position talent resides on the roster. That talent will have a new leader. New Head Coach Mike Smith, a former assistant for the same program, is now at the helm.
Watching practice, the new lead man is definitely involved with everything that happens on the gridiron, and yet he also delegates to his assistant coaches. It’s a great mix.
As for what Smith will be overseeing, there are several players to discuss. Let’s get started.
Daemon Fagan, Safety
The combination of length and athleticism of Fagan, it’s just rare. He’s nimble, sudden, and instinctive, too. He even has the ability to play man coverage near the line of scrimmage. This play below shows just how long Fagan is, as he leaped up to deflect a pass few other defensive backs would reach. Note that the photo represents Fagan on the way down, too.
His recruitment has been high profile for quite some time. Seeing him over and over in practice helps to explain why. All the natural size college coaches covet, plus the effort they also need to help maximize that size and length. American Heritage has a weapon at safety.
Shamar McNeil, CB/S
A player that’s gaining more recruiting attention because of his play is McNeil. Like Fagan, he’s extremely long. From the naked eye, he’s at least 6’2”. McNeil’s capable of playing cornerback or safety at the college level, and it’s just a matter of what he wants to concentrate on to help determine his future position. It’s incredible to have two members of a high school secondary with this type of length, and that’s not all.
Seeing McNeil’s naturally fluid movements, unlike many 6’2” defensive backs, is an eye opener. Look for his recruitment to continue to rise.
Much like his older brother Davonte who’s now starting for UCF, the younger Brown is a player that has really quick feet and turns his hips well. He’s also very comfortable with seemingly everything he does in space. That’s a good sign for his long-term football future, as well as for American Heritage this fall.
Brown shows the physical skills to play tight man coverage or play off his assignment and break on the football at the right moment. It’s obvious that Brown has been taught well.
The Running Back Room
Yes, when the powerful Fletcher comes downhill he’s definitely a load. He’s also more agile and flexible than one might know without seeing him in person. His film does not do him justice. A physical specimen, Fletcher is the first and ten running back that can set the tone for any drive by barreling over a defender and/or making a defender miss. When he is not toting the football, the Buckeye commitment has two guys right behind him that can also make plays.
Normally, when a school has a running back committed to a program like Ohio State, that’s probably about the only running back worth mentioning. At American Heritage, there are two more in addition to big-time 2023 recruit Mark Fletcher. There’s fellow senior Reggie Foster and rising sophomore Byron Louis.
Foster is a player more folks should talk about. He’s powerful, has a good forward lean, and hits the hole hard. He’s also capable of playing multiple positions moving forward. Louis, meanwhile, is a player that has the ability to be the next star for American Heritage.
His natural speed to the perimeter is quite noticeable. He also keeps his speed while turning the corner and heads up the football field. Unlike many young runners, Louis also finishes runs. He’s a natural pass catcher, too. Being as well rounded as he is at this juncture of his career is a sign of not only natural athleticism either. He looked comfortable doing anything the American Heritage coaching staff assigned him to do. He’s one to watch as the recruiting battle for Louis will be fierce.
Brandon Inniss, Wide Receiver
There’s not much to say about Inniss that has yet to be written. Athletic, hard nosed, determined, and clutch, the soon to be senior is a player that can be counted on in a multitude of ways. Bottom line, he is the player that needs to be accounted for first by an opposing defense. If not, he will burn that same defense.
Now up to 197-pounds, Inniss looked really good physically. He’s continued to put in the work and it’s paying off. Inniss deserves the attention he’s received.
Blake Murphy, QB
What’s ironic is that Murphy is working with so many talented players that he’s sometimes overlooked. He had some really nice passes and did an excellent job of keeping the football in a position that his intended targets had a chance to catch the football, but rarely a defensive player. Curious to see Murphy in the fall when it’s live action and he gets his chance to show what he can do when it matters most.
There are other players like Santana Fleming at wide receiver, a top recruit, that will undoubtedly make big plays this fall. Bottom line, the roster is deep at the skill spots. That’s the area that was watched this past Saturday and it was indeed fun to see the talent compete.