State football teams tap into Palm Beach County talent


Where do Florida, Florida State and Miami’s recruiting territory converge?

Right over Palm Beach County.

County schools have sent star players to all three of the state’s traditional powerhouse programs, and with the rise of the state’s newer teams — Florida Atlantic, Central Florida and South Florida — the options for local players to continue their careers are only getting better.

“That’s amazing to me,” Pahokee junior defensive end Latarie Kinsler said Saturday at Miami Dolphins High School Media Day at Hard Rock Stadium. “I could stay home and still pursue my dream while I’m close to my family.”

Kinsler is not planning to stay home — he’s committed to Louisville. But he holds offers from Florida Atlantic, Central Florida and Miami, and said Florida is his dream school.

“Miami, I like their history, they have a history with defensive linemen … so Miami will always be right there in my head,” Kinsler said. “I have an offer from UCF, too, but I haven’t really been in contact with them much. But that’s a good school.

“Florida will always be my dream school. Me and Ja’tarie (Washington, Pahokee running back), since we were babies, we always talked about playing together at the University of Florida. And FSU is a great program. I visited it and I liked it.”

In Palm Beach County’s 2019 class, two players are committed to Florida State: Palm Beach Central defensive back Akeem Dent and American Heritage offensive lineman Michael Morris. No players are committed to Florida, Miami, Central Florida or South Florida — yet.

Lane Kiffin’s FAU Owls lead the way with four Palm Beach County commits: Palm Beach Lakes’ Eldridge Franklin and Dwyer’s Antavious Lane, James Meeks and Gio Richardson.

“It’s good to see (those players) getting offers and doing well,” Morris said. “I feel like they’re overlooked and no one really looks at them as much as they should. So it’s just a blessing that someone sees their talent.”

Morris, who is No. 4 on the Post’s Big Board and a four-star prospect according to 247Sports’ composite ranking, has been committed to Florida State since he was a freshman. He stuck with his commitment after coach Jimbo Fisher left for Texas A&M.

Dent, who is No. 1 on the Post’s Big Board and a five-star prospect, has been committed to FSU since July 2017, also riding out Fisher’s departure. But both have checked out the other programs in the state.

“You can’t go wrong,” Morris said.

In between Dent and Morris on the Big Board are the county’s top two undecided prospects: Wellington’s Mark-Antony Richards and Benjamin’s Kaiir Elam. Richards holds offers from Florida, Miami and many out-of-state programs. He has an obvious tie to Miami — his brother, Ahmmon, is a star wide receiver there.

Richards said being from South Florida, where major programs get top players, inspires him to be a better player.

“I’m from Wellington, so you see all these guys in Belle Glade going big, going to Florida State, going to Miami, you see them going to the NFL. It kind of gives you hope that I can possibly get there one day,” he said. “Being from this area, it just makes me want to grind harder to get to where I want to be in life.”

Elam also has a family tie to a major in-state program. His uncle, Matt Elam, played for the Gators from 2010 to 2012.

The Benjamin star said he doesn’t take schools’ reputations into account much.

“I don’t pay attention too much to logos,” he said, “but what can the school do for me? If I go there, when can I play? How can I get developed? How will it set me up after football?”

Elam would be a centerpiece for a first full class for either Florida’s Dan Mullen or Florida State’s Willie Taggart.

“I want to see what they do,” Elam said. “I’m a big fan of both of them, coach Taggart and coach Mullen. I just to want to see them do well.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Florida football program cautioning players against selling ‘Jumpman’ gear
Florida football program cautioning players against selling ‘Jumpman’ gear

Florida coach Dan Mullen said the program has repeatedly cautioned players about selling Jordan-branded gear, but that the situation is difficult to oversee. “It’s really hard to monitor, in some ways. It’s a lot of education of our players. It is something we’ve discussed over and over, even before they got a pair of sneakers...
Dwyer-Palm Beach Central headlines intriguing Kickoff Classic lineup
Dwyer-Palm Beach Central headlines intriguing Kickoff Classic lineup

The high school football season is finally here, and Palm Beach County’s slate of games for the Kickoff Classic features a pair of high-profile matchups between state championship contenders. The biggest game of the week pits arguably the two best team in Palm Beach County against each other as the Dwyer Panthers visit the Palm Beach Central...
Son of Dan Marino arrested, charged with DUI in Broward County
Son of Dan Marino arrested, charged with DUI in Broward County

Michael Marino, the son of Dolphins Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino, was arrested at 1:30 a.m. Friday in Fort Lauderdale and charged with DUI.  Marino, 30, was stopped less than a half mile from his home while driving a 2016 Ford SUV. He had a blood alcohol level of .208 and .210, well past the legal limit of .08, according to the arrest report...
After series of insensitive tweets from major leaguers, MLB taking steps to improve social media responsibility
After series of insensitive tweets from major leaguers, MLB taking steps to improve social media responsibility

When offensive tweets posted from the Twitter account of Milwaukee Brewers reliever Josh Hader, a former Orioles draft pick, resurfaced while he was pitching in his first All-Star Game at Nationals Park last month, it sparked a wave of major leaguers’ social media ghosts being brought to the forefront as insensitive posts from their teenage days...
Wizards' Howard wants to play until he's 40: 'It's either evolve, adapt or get left behind'
Wizards' Howard wants to play until he's 40: 'It's either evolve, adapt or get left behind'

At the end of last summer, Dwight Howard was staring into a mirror, admiring the view. He had entered that offseason as heavy as a football lineman, hiding 285 pounds beneath his Atlanta Hawks uniform. Now, he was 23 pounds lighter, dunking like it was 2008 again and expecting a rebirth with a new team, the Charlotte Hornets.  Howard made a bold...
More Stories