Make no mistake; the talent in South Florida is on the upswing again.
After a couple of good, but not great, recruiting cycles, Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties have a bevy of talented football prospects in the Class of 2008. South Florida has 39 prospects rated in the first release of the Rivals.com Florida Top 100 for this year's class.
The strength of the area shows up on the national level, too. Of the 12 Florida prospects in the in the first Rivals100, seven were from South Florida, including five-star cornerback Patrick Johnson of Pompano Beach Ely, who is committed to Miami.
One of the most talent-laden programs in South Florida, Miami Northwestern High School, has seven prospects in the Florida top 100, including Rivals100 defensive tackle Marcus Forston, Rivals100 wide receiver Aldarius Johnson, Rivals250 offensive guard Brandon Washington, wide receiver Tommy Streeter and quarterback Jacory Harris. Washington and Harris already are committed to Miami.
The Jacksonville area (Jacksonville proper down to Daytona Beach) also is an area of strength in the Sunshine State. There are 18 prospects from that region of Florida in the top 100. First Coast High School has five top 100 prospects by itself, including Rivals100 linebacker Nigel Carr, all-purpose running back Jermaine Thomas, wide receiver Avis Commack, linebacker Shaq Wilson and linebacker Gary Tinsley. Carr, Thomas and Commack are committed to Florida State while Wilson is committed to South Carolina.
Bartram Trail High School in Jacksonville also has multiple prospects in the top 100. Quarterback Kyle Parker and cornerback Xavier Brewer, both Clemson commits, and tight end Andrew Parker, a Wake Forest commit, all made the first release of the list.
The combined area of Lakeland, Tampa and Sarasota has 16 prospects this year led by offensive tackle/defensive end Matt Patchan of Seffner Armwood.
The Tallahassee area has nine prospects in the state top 100. Florida's state capitol has quality at the top, however, as the No. 1 overall prospect in the Sunshine State, linebacker Nigel Bradham of Crawfordville Wakulla and the state's top defensive back, five-star corner T.J. Bryant of Tallahassee Lincoln, lead the way.