ORLANDO - South Florida produced players such as Antonio Brown, Chad Johnson, Sean Taylor, and Willis McGahee among others. The greater Miami to Fort Lauderdale area has been widely considered to be the best high school football talent-producing area in the country.
Where the area really highlighted itself during the past 30 years would be the quantity of recruits. Schools like Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna, Miami (Fla.) Killian, Miami (Fla.) Northwestern and Miami (Fla.) Central consistently sending multiple recruits to elite college football programs such as Clemson or Ohio State or Alabama.
One such player in the class of 2022 that started to gain traction within the recruiting world would be Jeremiah Noel, a safety that’s earned offers from Illinois, Maryland, Penn State, Pittsburgh, and UCF among others. The safety stands 6’0” tall and 215 pounds, with ability to play in the box and cover well in space.
After playing at Miami (Fla.) Christian for his first three seasons of high school, he transferred to Hallandale (Fla.) High School, just north of Miami, to be part of their “super team.” However, after the coach who he went to Hallandale to play for left, Noel decided it was time to find a new home, which he did with Killian.
Noel recently narrowed in his decision to six schools, with Coastal Carolina, Marshall, Maryland, Pittsburgh, South Dakota, and UCF making the cut. During a one-on-one conversation with Noel, he answered a few questions about his recruitment.
When did you find out about your first offer?
“I found out about my first offer, back in February, when I was transferring from my other school. As I was walking out, I was on the phone with the Marshall Head Coach, (Charles Huff), where he proceeded to tell me how he enjoyed my film, and would love for me to play for Marshall.”
You released a top six, which one of those schools has been showing you the most love?
“Honestly, all have been showing the same amount of love, Coastal Carolina and UCF may stand out a bit more though.”
Which UCF coach have you been in contact with the most?
“(Defensive Tackles) Coach Kenny Martin and (Linebackers/Co-Defensive Coordinator) Coach (Travis Williams) T-Will.”
During the interview, Noel said that Coach Williams is recruiting him to play a similar role to current UCF linebacker Bryson Armstrong. For UCF, Armstrong played a position labeled the “Knight” during the first three games of the 2021 season. It’s a combination of a linebacker and safety because he might play over a slot receiver or he might move into the area with the traditional linebackers, depending on the formation as well as down and distance.
This role allows the defense to add a defensive back or linebacker, depending on the situation. Noel clearly has the talent for it, as he can hit, but also has the finesse to cover receivers downfield.
With the high school season well underway, Killian stayed undefeated after four games, beating their opposition by a combined score of 130 to 61. Noel’s play hasn’t gone unnoticed either. He recently received an invite to the Dade vs Broward All-Star Showcase, pitting the best talent in Dade County against the best talent in Broward County for an exciting matchup.
The hard hitting safety didn’t say where he was leaning at the moment, but he did inform me of his plans to commit on Early Signing Day, December 15th. This will allow Noel to enroll early in the program he chooses.
The arrival of UCF Head Coach Gus Malzahn brought a renewed focus on recruiting Florida, with UCF’s current recruiting class sporting nine players from the Sunshine State.
Only defensive end commitment Jamaal Johnson is from South Florida, however, so if Malzahn’s staff could land Noel it would be a nice statement. Noel is the ideal hybrid safety for Coach Williams’ defensive scheme, and could be the piece that sews together the defensive front and the secondary.