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Covering High School Sports in America

Tag: Park Vista High School

  • Tuesday was quite a whirlwind day for Jacoby Brissett, the highly touted Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens) senior quarterback who remains undecided on his college choice with National Signing Day only a week away.

    The 6-foot-5, 225-pound Brissett, who is the MaxPreps No. 9-rated combo quarterback and the highest-rated quarterback on that list who has yet to make a verbal commitment, returned Tuesday from a two-day recruiting visit to the University of Washington. Shortly after returning home, new Miami Hurricanes head coach Al Golden was waiting to meet with Brissett and his family.

    Then Brissett hurried a short distance down I-95 to Lake Worth for Dwyer's district basketball game, where North Carolina men's basketball coach Roy Williams was on hand to see Brissett perform on the hardwood. Brissett also is a very talented basketball player and has indicated that he would like to play both sports in college, at least for one year. Brissett scored 15 points in a 101-60 Dwyer romp, had a couple of nifty assists and overall showed why some believe he could be a major Division I standout in hoops, too.

    It basically looked like a recruiting tug-of-war scene at Lake Worth's gym Tuesday night. At one end of the gym, near the Dwyer bench, was UM's Golden sitting with Brissett's parents. At the other end sitting on the top row of the stands was UNC's Williams, who was seen posing for pictures and talking with various fans after the game.

    I caught up with Brissett in the school's parking lot after the game and he said that it's doubtful he will sign next Wednesday unless something dramatic happens to help him make up his mind in the next few days. Brissett said that Florida, Florida State, Miami, Washington and Wisconsin are his finalists, but it remains to be seen how much Williams' presence at Tuesday night's game will further muddy Brissett's decision-making process. North Carolina plays at Miami on Wednesday night, so it afforded Williams an opportunity to watch Brissett and 6-foot-10 junior teammate Joel James, whom Williams is interested in recruiting for next year's Tar Heels class.

    Dwyer boys basketball coach Fred Ross said that UNC is the only school recruiting Brissett strictly for basketball, but the general consensus is that Brissett's future is brighter on the football field, even though he has long contended that basketball is his first love.

    Further adding to Brissett's dilemma on where he will sign is the fact that Florida and new head coach Will Muschamp also have been making a strong late push for Brissett to sign with the Gators. Florida and Miami both want the affable quarterback to make a recruiting visit this weekend, the last before signing day Feb. 2. Since he can only make one of those trips, that could be the reason Brissett is hinting that he might wait until after signing day to decide.

    Also, the Palm Beach Post reported in Wednesday's editions that Miami men's basketball coach Frank Haith said that he would "absolutely" support Brissett joining the Hurricanes' basketball team following football season. If Brissett visits the Coral Gables campus this weekend and hears what he wants to hear from both Golden and Haith, that could be the deciding factor that lures Brissett to UM. There's also the fact that Miami has lost a handful of verbal football commitments, including highly touted Northwestern (Miami) quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, since the firing of former coach Randy Shannon.

    However, Brissett also said he very much enjoyed his recruiting trip to Wisconsin in mid-October when the Badgers upset then-No. 1-ranked Ohio State. Then there is his most recent recruiting visit to Washington, which has sent 15 of its past 16 quarterbacks to the NFL, giving Brissett something else to factor into his decision.

    It's no wonder that Brissett had a somewhat perplexed expression on his face Tuesday night as he was heading home. He has a big, important decision to make soon, and it's obvious that it is not going to be an easy one.

    Dwyer's Nick O'Leary, the MaxPreps No. 6-rated tight end in the nation, finally made public what has been speculated for the past month and on Saturday made a verbal commitment to sign with Florida State, which won out over Alabama, LSU and Miami.

    O'Leary, who is a grandson of golfing legend Jack Nicklaus, basically let his parents deal with the flood of reporters seeking comment from the 6-foot-4, 230-pound tight end who also played defense and special teams for Dwyer his senior season. Both of his parents graduated from Georgia, where his father, Bill, played football and his mother, Nan, played volleyball.

    "Georgia was in there at the beginning, but there was just a pull at Florida State and it won him over," Nan O'Leary told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel of her son's decision. "He just really loved the coaches up there and built a relationship with them. He also has a cousin up there and he's kind of grown up with Florida State friends around him. So it's all good."

    O'Leary already has a college-ready frame and his athleticism and excellent pass-catching skills could translate into plenty of playing time his freshman year at FSU. His commitment also gives the Seminoles what is looking like one of the top-three recruiting classes in the nation.

    Park Vista (Boynton Beach) running back Tre Mason, a South Florida Sun-Sentinel first-team All-Palm Beach County selection, announced Wednesday that he will sign with Auburn. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound speedy Mason chose the national champion Tigers over Ole Miss and West Virginia. He visited Auburn in mid-November and had been rumored to be leaning toward the Tigers, but waited until after taking a visit to Ole Miss last weekend to make his decision.

    Mason rushed for 1,601 yards and scored 24 touchdowns last season and was a finalist for the Palm Beach County Player of the Year at the Lou Groza Award Banquet in December.

    "When I made my visit there, I felt like I was at home," Mason said of Auburn. "I want to help this team win another national championship."

    Keith Bowers, a versatile two-way lineman from Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens), announced Tuesday that he has made a verbal commitment to Maryland, choosing the Terps over Illinois and Kansas.

    Bowers' size (6-1, 260) apparently made recruiters from in-state schools shun him in the recruiting process, but Dwyer coach Jack Daniels recently said that he believes they are making a mistake by not taking a closer look at Bowers' skills despite his height.

    Bowers registered 74 tackles and 15 sacks for a very stingy Dwyer defensive unit last season, earning him South Florida Sun-Sentinel first-team All-Palm Beach County honors at defensive tackle, and he also excelled on the offensive line.

    The good news for the Miami Hurricanes is that they received a verbal commitment last weekend from South Broward (Hollywood) running back Kevin Grooms, a first-team All-Broward County selection. The 5-9, 175-pound Grooms rushed for 1,350 yards last season and also played cornerback and returned kicks.

    However, a former Miami commitment, linebacker Nicholas Menocal of Belen Jesuit (Miami), said last weekend that he instead plans to sign with Georgia Tech. The 6-3, 235-pound Menocal said he was told by UM's new coaching staff that they prefer him to play on the offensive side of the ball, which soured him on the Hurricanes.

    Dillard (Fort Lauderdale) teammates Dwayne Montgemory and Daerius Washington have made verbal commitments to Western Kentucky. Montgomery (6-5, 263) earned South Florida Sun-Sentinel All-Broward County first-team honors at offensive tackle. Washington plays linebacker and strong safety and, like Montgomery, was leaning toward signing with Western Michigan before recently making a recruiting visit to WKU.

    Atlantic (Delray Beach) defensive end Wedley Estime has made a verbal commitment to Minnesota. The 6-4, 215-pound Estime was a South Florida Sun-Sentinel All-Palm Beach County first-team selection after recording 70 tackles, including 15 for a loss, 12.5 sacks and four forced fumbles his senior season.

    Steve Dorsey, who covers the South Florida region for, is a freelance writer based in West Palm Beach. He has covered the South Florida high school sports scene for the past 29 years. He also is a contributing writer for American Football Monthly and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.