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>>>Article has quotes from Bain on why he feels comfortable leaving. Also mentions PP7's success as a reason for kids to leave.
Florida's 'Big Three' football powers struggling to keep top prospects home
Only three Broward and Palm Beach players so far have committed to UM, UF and FSU
By Christy Cabrera Chirinos, Sun Sentinel
It used to be the ultimate home-field advantage.
For years, when Florida, Florida State and Miami needed to fill their rosters, they looked to the southern end of the state to stockpile players.
By tapping into the deep talent pool in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Florida's three major college football programs put together runs of unprecedented success, winning a combined 10 national championships since 1980.
In that span, Florida, Florida State and Miami had their pick of many of South Florida's elite prospects.
But in recent years, things started to shift.
A growing number of out-of-state schools began successfully recruiting in South Florida.
Schools such as Auburn, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Louisiana State, Michigan and Louisville are pulling in some of the area's top prospects.
Now, with National Signing Day less than two weeks away, the state's "Big Three" have managed to secure verbal commitments from just three players who hail from Broward and Palm Beach counties.
Florida picked up Glades Day running back Kelvin Taylor and American Heritage-Delray offensive lineman Rod Johnson, while South Plantation quarterback John Franklin has committed to Florida State.
Last season, the schools managed to sign a combined 11 players, with eight going to Miami and Florida getting two. Florida State was shut out completely.
Despite the shrinking numbers, top recruiting analysts say they expect all three schools — especially Florida State and Miami — to close well and pick up more players from the area, likely on National Signing Day, Feb. 6.
But they, like college football fans, know the schools' longstanding advantage has been compromised.
"I guess it is a little surprising, considering what a good year this is for Palm Beach and Broward [prospects,] said Corey Long, ESPN's Southeast Recruiting Coordinator.
"But it's a credit to the schools around the nation that now have coaches on their staffs that have South Florida ties. Those schools have gone out and gotten coaches that can speak the kids' language. They know the South Florida lifestyle and they know what it takes to take a kid from Miami and get him to Morgantown. That used to not be the case."
But increased attention from out-of-state schools isn't the only reason South Florida players are choosing to look outside the state's borders.
Ultimately, blue chip prospects want stability and they want to win. Florida, Florida State and Miami have struggled with both recently.
While three have made progress on the field, there have been more losses than the programs are used to.
And all three have undergone coaching changes within the past four years with Miami firing Randy Shannon in 2010 after a 7-5 season. That same year, Urban Meyer resigned after leading Florida to a pair of national titles. Meyer has since taken over at Ohio State while Bobby Bowden, the coach who built Florida State into a national power, left in 2009.
Making things tougher for Miami has been a 22-month NCAA investigation into the program's compliance and recruiting practices.
Hurricanes coach Al Golden managed to land several of the nation's top prospects last year, including former Miramar star Tracy Howard, but recruiting analysts like Long say the uncertainty involving the investigation and its potential consequences has taken a toll.
Also hurting the state's major programs is the overall growth of college football.
Social media, conference realignment and lucrative television contracts have made it easier for prospects to stay connected with their families when leaving the state.
"When it comes to UM, Florida and Florida State, a lot of guys stay home for their families, but now you have a chance to go out of state and have your family travel," said University School's defensive tackle Maquedius Bain, a former Florida State commit who has now pledged to LSU.
"My mom felt comfortable with me going out of state and now she's looking forward to seeing my games on TV. Plus, look at programs like LSU and Alabama. They're great. Louisville just beat a ranked team from Florida. Guys want to build programs."
And if players still have doubts about the risks of leaving Florida, they need only look at some of the locals that have gone before them.
Deerfield Beach's Denard Robinson made national headlines at Michigan. Miramar's Geno Smith and Stedman Bailey put up eye-popping offensive numbers at West Virginia. And Blanche Ely's Patrick Peterson de-committed from Miami, went on to sign and have an impressive career at LSU before becoming a first-round NFL draft pick with the Arizona Cardinals.
That kind of success outside Florida has helped pave the way for players such as Bain or St. Thomas Aquinas' Joey Bosa, who has verbally committed to Ohio State.
"The information age has helped kids realize they don't have to stay home to stay connected," said Kynon Codrington, the Southeast Recruiting Analyst for Rivals.com.
"Geno, Denard and [Louisville quarterback] Teddy Bridgewater have been phenomenal at showing you can go away and do well. Maybe 10 years ago, you wouldn't say that."
Despite the challenges they now face to keep South Florida's top talent in-state, Florida, Florida State and Miami still have name recognition and tradition on their side.
The Seminoles, Gators and Hurricanes have deep ties to our area and they're not about to let other schools take South Florida's talent without a fight.
Just this week, Miami lured Florida State offensive coordinator James Coley, a Miami native, to Coral Gables. The hope is that not only will his offensive schemes help the Hurricanes win games, but that his South Florida recruiting connections will help keep some of the area's talent home.
And for some prospects, the chance to play for their home state's powers will always be special.
"I took a visit to Tennessee and it gave me the chance to see what the opportunity was there, but ultimately, Florida State is where I felt comfortable," Franklin said.
"Coach [Jimbo] Fisher has kept up the tradition and the family atmosphere. It felt like home."
Copyright © 2013, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
>>>>Hope all of the people crying about Miles losing a couple of guys each season will understand it is going to continue. I'd go as far as to say it will probably happen more often. It's not just LSU that it it happening to. Be thankful that LSU still gets more of its own state's kids than any other SEC School.
Florida, Florida State and Miami have always done well recruiting South Florida's deep talent pool. But with National Signing Day less than two weeks away, the have secured verbal commitments from just three Broward and Palm Beach County players.
This post was edited by chinese58 15 months ago
Damn Strong Football Team
Yeah it's changing though, those programs won't be down forever, the Tide is changing back to Florida schools.
Where is your proof? The article just stated that the big 3 in Fla. have like 3 commits from Palm Beach and Broward for this year. Lsu has 2! Cant randomly say the tide has turned until the numbers indicate. I do agree those schools wont be down forever. They could benefit from a "boys from the beach" event.
UF needs to come up with something more descriptive & original than ther current "Friday Night Lights". They should have a "Chompers From the Swamp" event.
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