Varsity Preps

Miami Carol City (FL) On the Rise

It was a quite a week for Carol City’s (FL) football program. The Chiefs saw two prospects verbally commit to local programs–ATH Trayone Gray June 23rd to Miami and CB Tyree Johnson, the day before to FIU. In addition, Carol City found a way to win a hotly contested 7-on-7 match with Miami Jackson in the Dolphins Passing Academy tournament final, earning the right to represent the Miami Dolphins in Cleveland, Ohio in the HSPD 7-on-7 National Championship.

Leading the charge for Carol City, Gray already has his sights set on Cleveland. “It’s an honor to represent South Florida,” he said. “I plan on doing the same thing in Ohio: win a championship.”

The standout athlete camped at Miami last Sunday, and after dominating the field during one-on-one drills, Al Golden and company offered Gray and he accepted on the spot. “I like Miami’s staff and I feel comfortable there, it just felt right and the coaches told me I have a great chance of playing as a freshman.”

However, Gray’s recruitment might not be 100% over. He told Varsity Preps he’s planning a trip to Tuscaloosa. “My commitment is pretty solid, I’d say 90% chance I’ll be a Cane.”

Gray isn’t the Chief’s only weapon. Defensively, they start two talented corners in Matthew Whyte and Tyree Johnson. FIU secured a pledge from Johnson on the 22nd. “It felt like I was at home with family, but the staff will push me to get better.”

The 5-foot-9, 176 pound corner, who clocks in with a 4.43/40-yard dash, also holds offers from Ohio and Cincinnati. He plans to camp at Alabama and Ole Miss in July.

Johnson spoke about the opportunity of representing the Dolphins in the 7-on-7 national championship tournament. “We came out strong and went undefeated, beating some really good teams: MiramarBoyd AndersonImmokaleeUniversity School, and Miami Jackson. I knew our team was up to the challenge and I’m excited about traveling to Cleveland.”

Carol City’s senior corner said that the team’s goal is to see to it that 90% of the 2014 class goes on to college. “It doesn’t matter if it’s DI, DII, or DIII, we want to help each other take that next step. That’s our main team goal at Carol City,” Johnson said. “Our second goal is to compete for a state championship. I feel that we’ll advance deep into the playoffs and we’ll earn that opportunity.”

First year head coach Aubrey Hill steps in for Harold Barnwell, who was promoted to athletic director. Hill graduated from Carol City and went on to play wide receiver at Florida from 1991-1994, then later served as an assistant coach at Miami and Florida. He spoke about the positive momentum his program has created since he was hired May 18th. “The players have been focused and ready to go since my first day. We competed in the Santana Moss 7-on-7 and we came up short. But our guys are very committed and they worked hard, and everything clicked at the Dolphins Passing Academy. The offense made plays, the defense made plays, and we just found a way to win games.”

Carol City had two prospects commit last week to local FBS programs. “We’re excited about both players. One verbally committed to FIU and the other to the University of Miami. They’re both outstanding programs,” Hill said. “We’ll do everything we can to ensure they have great senior years, do well academically, and we’ll coach them up to be consistently good players for Carol City and make sure that carries over into their freshman year in college.”

Hill shared his short-term goals for the Carol City program under his leadership. “It’s a storied program, going back to Red Anderson and Walt Frazier, so there’s a lot of tradition and pride. What we’ll do is make sure every Friday night that we’re fundamentally sound, play with great effort, play physical, and be the most well conditioned team on the field. Then we’ll need players to make plays,” he said. “Our short-term goal is to take each week, each game, one at a time and if we play as a team, I expect we’ll do well.”

With Hill owning a collegiate background, he understands the importance of helping his young athletes get into college, and he’s already instilled that philosophy in the team. “We’ve always had good players at Carol City, but it’s my job to make sure we help our athletes have that opportunity to go to college. I think overall we’re doing a good job here, but my long-term goal is to do better.”

— Michael Bradley

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