High-SchoolFlorida: Tracy Howard

#SigningDay is here for Florida football stars

February, 1, 2012
Signing Day has arrived and Florida's top football talent is grabbing a lot of the headlines. You can follow the action with Recruiting Nation and ESPNHS here. Some of the highlights so far:
  • As usual, Miami is loading up on local and statewide talent, including Miramar's Tracy Howard, the nation's No. 1 cornerback in the ESPNU 150, and teammate Malcolm Lewis, a wide receiver. The 'Canes also landed wide receiver Angelo Jean-Louis of Palm Beach Central; defensive end Tyriq McCord of Jefferson; safety Deon Bush of Miami Columbus; and Norland running back Duke Johnson, who was named Mr. Football by the Florida Dairy Farmers after an incredible season that culminated in a state title.
  • Florida State isn't far behind in terms of securing in-state talent. Running back Mario Pender of Island Coast and safety P.J. Williams of Ocala Vanguard signed with the Seminoles, who are considered to have one of nation's top recruiting classes. Marvin Bracy, who on Sunday shattered the U.S. prep record in the 55 meters, also inked with FSU. He sent a text at 8:39 this morning saying "Just signed!"
  • Florida has inked cornerback Brian Poole of Bradenton Southeast, offensive tackle Dante Phillips of Venice, tight end Kent Taylor of Land O' Lakes and safety Marcus Maye of Melbourne Holy Trinity. The Gators have a number of other highly regarded in-state prospects that have committed to UF but have yet to sign.
  • Safety Travis Blanks of North Florida Christian signed with Clemson.
  • Alabama got a pair of phenomenal wide receivers in First Coast's Chris Black and Miami Northwestern's Amari Cooper.
  • USC landed Mainland defensive tackle Leonard Williams and Berkeley Prep wide receiver Nelson Agholor.
  • The state's top offensive lineman, John Theus of Bolles, signed with Georgia.
  • Wide receiver Alton Howard of Edgewater inked with Tennessee.
  • Apopka OL Ty Darlington is headed to Oklahoma.

We'll have updates as the day rolls on. We also want to know where you or your favorite players are headed, so include your Signing Day news in the comments.

In the meantime, want to know why the same schools seem to produce the most DI and pro talent year in and year out? Read this story. The answer is not as simple as you might think. (Spoiler alert: St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale had the most alums in the NFL this year.)

Lucas O'Neill is a senior writer for ESPNHS. Follow him on Twitter @LucasESPN.

Five Days of List-Mas: FL's A-Listers

December, 12, 2011

Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday

Whether you’re putting together a grouping of best quarterbacks or worst albums, or you’re making that special list for Santa, there’s nothing quite like a good list. So in honor of the holiday season we’re bringing you lists all week long — Merry List-Mas!

Today: A-Listers.

In the NFL, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are A-Listers. In the NBA, it’s LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. But who are the A-Listers in Florida? That’s where today’s list comes in. Regardless of sport, here’s our list of the top five A-List athletes in the state. Can you think of an A-Lister we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments.

5. Lance McCullers (SR), Tampa Jesuit, Baseball
As close as you can get to a sure-fire first round MLB Draft pick, McCullers hits 98mph on the radar gun. Also a shortstop with a plus bat, he's only been pitching seriously for a few years, despite the fact that his dad, Lance Sr., was an MLB reliever.

4. Chris Walker (JR), Holmes County, Basketball
The state top-rated junior and nation's No. 5 recruit in the ESPNU 60, Walker had 30 points and 16 rebounds in the season opener and following that up with a 26-point, 12-rebound, eight-block performance. He even gets love from King James himself.

3. Arman Hall (SR), St. Thomas Aquinas, Track
Last summer, Hall became the first American to win gold in the 400 at the World Youth Championships. He had the nation's best time in both the 200 and 400 last outdoor season, and he and Marvin Bracy (below) should battle it out for 200 supremacy for the second consecutive season this spring.

2. Marvin Bracy (SR), Boone, Track/Football
Likely the best short-distance sprinter in the nation, Bracy will head to Florida State on a football scholarship, where the 'Noles can use his world-class speed. Bracy appeared on the cover of ESPNHS last spring.

1. Tracy Howard (SR), Miramar, Football
Rated the nation's No. 1 cornerback in the ESPNU 150, Howard has had an unbelievable senior season, anchoring the defense of the state's top team. Miramar plays Plant in the Class 8A state championship this weekend.

Click here to check out some of the other states in our Five Days of List-Mas.

Tomorrow: The top underclassman football players from Florida.

Florida Football Rankings: Week 12

November, 14, 2011
All but one of the state's top 25 teams (Godby) rested or emerged victorious in Week 12, but the real action begins this weekend. It's playoff time.

Here's how the top five fared:

1 (1) Armwood, 10-0
The Hawks enjoyed the bye week and open the first round of the Class 6A playoffs against Lakewood Ranch (Bradenton). Armwood was Class 4A state runner-up in 2010.

2 (2) Miramar, 9-0
Junior LB Jermaine Grace and the rest of the "Dark Side" defense were idle last week. Grace and senior DB Tracy Howard were in Tallahassee on visits for the Miami-FSU game. This week all the attention will be focused on Broward County foe South Plantation (Plantation).

3 (3) Miami Norland, 9-0
The Vikings toppled playoff-bound Dr. Krop, 58-21. Norland looks to return to Orlando, site of the state championships, after coming up short last year against Tampa Jefferson in the Class 3A final. The road to the Citrus Bowl starts this Friday against Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale).

4 (4) Manatee, 8-2
The Hurricanes discarded Lakewood Ranch (Bradenton), 38-7, after leading 31-0 at the break. Manatee begins its playoff run against Pinellas Park (Largo) on Friday.

5 (5) Miami Central, 9-0
Central thrashed North Miami Beach, (North Miami Beach), 42-0 in the season finale. Head coach Telly Lockette rested sophomore RB Joseph Yearby and others. The Rockets start defense of their Class 6A state crown against Pembroke Pines Charter (Pembroke Pines).

For the full POWERADE Florida Weekly Rankings, click here.

Florida Football Rankings: Week 6

October, 3, 2011
Finally, a little movement.

With some big games this past weekend, we have some big changes in the poll. Miami Central took down Miami Columbus, and the Rockets climb to No. 5 as a result. Dwyer, Miami Jackson and Pasco all enter the top 25 this week, while Southeast, DeLand (which fell to Dr. Phillips) and Monsignor Pace (which was hammered by Gulliver Prep) fall out.

Some things remain the same, however: Aquinas and Armwood continue to be a solid 1-2 punch, and both are in the top four in the nation in the POWERADE FAB 50 ESPNHS Team Rankings. Here's how the top five shakes out:

1 (1) St. Thomas Aquinas School (Fort Lauderdale) 4-0
Junior RB Fred Coppet ran for a season-high 134 yards and three touchdowns in the first half of the Raiders 56-13 romp over McArthur (Hollywood). St. Thomas Aquinas plays host to unbeaten Miramar on Thursday night at Brian Piccolo Stadium.

2 (2) Armwood (Seffner) 5-0
The Hawks blanked Jefferson (Tampa), 20-0, in a hard fought, closer than anticipated contest. Armwood's defense has pitched back-to-back shutouts. Next up is a road clash with Sickles (Tampa).

3 (3) Miami Norland 5-0
Last Saturday, the Vikings rolled past Hialeah (Hialeah), 42-6. Norland has outscored its last two opponents by a combined score of 110-6. This week, the Vikes draw Coral Reef led by DB Vernon Davis, a Miami pledge.

4 (4) Manatee (Bradenton) 2-2
Manatee throttled Southeast, 48-6, in the 30th game of the cross-town rivalry. The win came at the right time for head coach Joe Kinnan's club that posted close September losses to POWERADE FAB 50 No. 1 Don Bosco Prep and No. 8 Good Counsel.

5 (8) Miami Central 4-0
Sophomore RB Joseph Yearby ran for 292 yards and four touchdowns while adding a receiving score in Central's, 37-34 win over Columbus (Miami). Yearby scored the game-winning touchdown on a 3-yard plunge with less than thirty seconds left.

For the full POWERADE Florida Football Rankings, click here.