On the last weekend before spring football gets started across Florida, there was one last offseason showcase to attend. Fresh off February’s THE EVENT: Miami, it was time to take things on the road – as Florida’s Space Coast had the chance to see one of the most innovative combine / 7-on-7 football experiences going on today.
THE EVENT: Cocoa Beach saw athletes come to kick the football on Friday and Saturday, test their skill in a combine on Saturday, and wrap things with a 7-on-7 team title on Sunday.
With Lazaro Suarez, Raul Sosa, Eddie Crespo, Wesley Carroll and Chamber Fitness on hand for the three days, the bar was once again raised – as athletes from as far away as Miami and Tallahassee and as close as Orlando – tested, kicked and competed for a 7-on-7 title and a return trip to Mitchell Ellington Park on Merritt Island in June for the National Championship.
“What we did over the three days is to show some of the decision makers in the Space Coast area just what we do,” said Suarez. “What we did was learn from the Miami event in February and built on it. Our goal is to listen to what our participants have to say after each event and fine tune The Event experience every time.”
At a time when there are so many different organizations offering different aspects of off-season football and training, THE EVENT has reached out to athletes from every corner of the state and pulled together a really nice one-stop solution.
Whether it was the combine or the 7-on-7 tournament, the benefits of attending are overwhelming. The exposure alone is amazing – and frankly something that you just cannot get at ANY event of its kind.
“To have the player evaluated, filmed, photographed and exposed via social media and professional profiles is something that nobody does,” Crespo pointed out. “When you attend our combines or 7-on-7s, you had better be ready to be in the spotlight – because we will put you out there.”
KICKING AT ANOTHER LEVEL
When coach Oscar Castaneda (OKC Kicking Camp) trains kickers, they are always skilled and very impressive. THE EVENT: Cocoa Beach brought a spotlight on three impressive legs from the South Florida area – as the classes were represented.
2021 prospect Joshua Lopes (Doral Academy) showed that despite his young age he can compete with the big boys any day. Great form and impressive distance.
2019 fast-rising standout Jimmy Lowery (American Heritage-Plantation) already has a reputation for accuracy and he did not disappoint. His consistency is almost robotic and not surprisingly earned him an award this weekend. Look for Lowery to have a standout 2017-18 season not to mention a college career that is all but guaranteed at this point. Definitely D1 material.
2018 Miami Northwestern’s Kendry Rosales' low-key style doesn't stand in the way of his performance. Still only a junior, Kendry has great potential to be a key player in high-stress game situations.
2020 Long Snapper Jethro Joseph (Doral Academy) shatters the image of the "special teams guy" by not only earning the Long Snapper Award, he also participated in the combine and 1-on-1 drills as he also plays LB. Jethro's size and speed makes him a coaches dream as he can get called on to fill various positions.
COMBINE SHOWS SPEED, TALENT AND SKILL
There were some outstanding performers in the combine at the Combine as well. With Sosa and his staff from Prostyle Athletics getting the athletes through conditioning then testing, there were indeed some eye-catchers.
Having worked with a number of the athletes on hand, Sosa knows high-caliber athletes when he sees them. “This is Florida,” Sosa smiled. “We are going to have these crazy talented kinds of players all over the place.”
Winning medals for their performance included:
2020 – Marcus Fleming, WR, Miami High. Another of those gifted football players who has the chance to be special. Gives the Stingarees someone who can take it the distance.
2018 - Felipe Starling, WR, Orlando Dr. Phillips. Just a junior, here was a true difference maker at the combine, and will play a big role for the Panthers in 2017. Quick and very athletic.
2019 - Tijhani “T.J.” Brown, Athlete, Coral Gables. One of those up and coming standouts who has the chance to be very special for the Cavaliers. Is very talented.
2018-Michael Cox, QB, Miami Southridge. As we have said often, there are very few people who have the credentials that Cox does, and this Class of 2018 prospect has worked very hard.
POWER BALL & LINEMAN CHALLENGE:
Lazaro Nunez, DL/OL, Homestead South Dade. Here is a Class of 2019 prospect that only adds to what this program has coming back. Lazaro's intensity and quick feet during the lineman challenge definitely got some attention.
There were some other talented football prospects as well. Check these standouts who also came and got better:
“This is one of those combines where the kids really benefit because of the extra reps they get,” said Wes Carroll of Quarterback Prep, who continues to develop quarterbacks year round. “As more people here about some of the good things that were learned, I have no doubt that THE EVENT will catch on and help to get these athletes the exposure needed.”
7-ON-7 BECOMES REGIONAL EVENT
Most of the 7-on-7 events within the state have prospects that are concentrated within South Florida. There are very few teams that venture south come from outside of the region. That was not the case for THE EVENT: Cocoa Beach.
With teams on hand from Tampa, Bradenton, Tallahassee, Ocala and Georgia, things got exciting – with talent all over the field.
“These teams can play,” Crespo said. “This will be the last time they'll be playing 7-on-7 until June, so it's important for them to showcase their skills now. It was fun to watch.”
When it was all over, Chamber Elite, which came later on Sunday - due to bad weather in South Florida - captured the title with a big win over Red Zone Elite. Red Zone Elite, a team, coached by Eddie Crespo, truly made an impression in the tournament, despite finishing 8-1 and coming in 2nd.
Defending 8A state champion Southridge and district runner-up Palmetto, had players on the team. Those two programs represent a district that has really elevated its play – with Killian, Homestead and South Dade all talented – and all capable of competing at a high level.
For Southridge quarterback Michael Cox, and receivers Jordan Dillard and Joe Hardy; Palmetto receiver Ivan Thomas and defensive back Vernon Williams; and Killian athlete Antwan Anderson, the district competition was put on the back burner in favor of coming together to play some football.
“We may go to different schools, but at the end of the day, we are all friends,” said Thomas. “All of us have competed with and against one another for a lot of years.”
Unlike many of the teams on hand for the competition, Red Zone Elite brought just enough athletes to play on both sides of the ball, and they were impressive.
B2G South Florida also had a number of quality athletes who competed. Among those players include: Class of 2018 players Matthew Mesidor (ATH McArthur), Clevarius Marshall (WR, Miramar), Bobby Nelson (RB/Slot, American), Zayvion Wallace (DB, Miramar), Jesse Smith (Athlete, Piper), Charles Grant (DB, Miami Springs), Hector Vargas (QB Miami Killian) and Jonathan Colon (Athlete, Ronald Reagan).
Among the 2019 athletes for B2G starts with St. Thomas Aquinas athlete Guy McCarthy, but also includes Hialeah receiver/defensive back Jovon Smith, Anthony Colonel (WR/FS Miami Springs) and Robert Scarlett (WR/DB Miami Springs).
FLORIDA SUPREME STANDS TALL, AGAIN
Once again the 15U team that caught everyone’s attention was Florida Supreme. The state champion punched their ticket to THE EVENT National Championship on June 24th back on the Space Coast.
This is truly an impressive squad that featured Class of 2020 Miami High standouts Marcus Flemming (WR/DB) and Roscoe Parrish (athelete).
In addition, Class of 2020 athletes Jermaine Witherspoon (DB, Coral Gables), Ian Valdes (WR, Southwest Miami), Nicholas Graham (FS, South Dade) and Ronald Colzie (LB/DB) Miami High.
The Class of 2019 athletes also made an impression with prospects such as: Willie Cunningham (DB, Coral Gables), Rashaad Sawyer (WR, Coral Gables), Quinton Ware (DB, Coral Gables), Tijhani Brown (DB, Coral Gables), Troy Davis (WR, Coral Gables), William Glover (DB/WR, Miami High) and quarterback Gerald Williams from Coral Gables.
The future also looks very bright with Class of 2021 standouts Joshua Tejeda, WR, and T.J. Higgins, WR/DB (Ponce DeLeon Middle School), and Somerset Academy athlete Keenan Toomer. There is also Class of 2022 running back prospect Maurice Jones.
B2G also brought their 15U squad that had a lot of talent. Class of 2019 prospects such as: Steven Romero (S, Doral Academy), Bryan Romero (CB, Doral Academy), Joshua Hargrett (RB/WR Miami Springs), Alexander Recalde (QB, Doral Academy), Montavious Brini (Athlete, Mater Academy), Jacoby Clark (Athlete, Miami Springs), Renato Fernandez (Athlete, Doral Academy), Ju'zion Wade (QB, Hialeah), Deandre Examar (QB/WR, Homestead Keys Gate Charter), Jalin Wilson (WR/S, Homestead Keys Gate Charter), Robert Scarlett (WR/DB, Miami Springs) and defensive end Philman Roundtree.
“Very exciting tournament with a lot of outstanding teams,” Crespo said. “I am looking forward to coming back to see them in our national event in June.”