The spring season is just the right time to be a high school football player in Palm Beach County.
With spring jamborees beginning the 2022-23 cycle and graduation ceremonies saying goodbye to last season’s standout seniors, colleges are exploring and realizing South Florida’s hidden gems while their programs have the chance.
More Spring:Jupiter officially begins rebuilding against Jensen Beach
More soccer:Rising Juniors in Palm Beach County
Further preparations:Luna Curran bows out on sick day 19 as Oxbridge advances to Regional Finals
Here are some highlights from the local recruiting scene.
Larson made for climbers
On Thursday night, Wellington wide receiver Reece Larson announced his official commitment to Appalachian State University.
“I can’t wait to get to the facilities and start my journey,” said the senior.
Though Larson had gotten looks from schools like Louisiana State during the fall, it wouldn’t be until January before Larson received his first Division I offer.
“At the beginning of my freshman year, I came to Wellington very small and undersized, and because of that, I wasn’t considered a top recruit for the Class of 2022,” Larson said.
Like other prospects across the country wasted by COVID-19, Larson’s recruitment was slowed even further into his junior year — the most urgent.
But the rising prospect made sure he got the weight room and field to post a breakout season despite the breakout and continued his momentum in the final round of his prep career.
Larson might still not be the longest receiver billed at 6 feet and 180 pounds, but his 4.47-second, 40-yard dash and leaps produced a stat line of 25 catches for 450 yards and returns for 550 Yards for 11 touchdowns back in 2021.
“My senior year was my first chance to have a real season and show what I’ve worked for,” Larson said.
In a busy spring for seniors, Larson has toured schools including Florida State, Florida Atlantic and Charleston Southern and made one last stop this past weekend — Boone, North Carolina.
It was a trip that was “different” from other visits, and for all the right reasons.
“This one felt like home,” Larson said.
“When I got there, from the welcoming coaching staff to the beautiful mountains, I knew it was a place for me. Every single trainer I visited made me feel welcome and valued,” Larson said, looking forward to joining App State’s Earth” coaching staff on March 29.
Lee giving Wake the advantage brings in more offers
Joining Wake Forest as a junior seems to have only made recruiters want three-star Dwyer Kerrington Lee even more.
After picking the Demon Deacons over the other top three Duke and Vanderbilt on April 27, the Yellow Jackets soon generated excitement for the 6-foot-4, 231-pound rand, and Georgia Tech bid Lee the following week at.
That makes 16 Power 5 offers for Lee, including Arkansas, Boston College, Iowa State, Kentucky, Pitt and Virginia Tech, out of 23 overall.
Not bad for someone who just booked his first full season at the defensive end.
Lee made a seamless transition from the offensive trenches and recorded 47 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 12 sacks in 2021 to become one of this cycle’s leading rushers and rank 80th on the USA Today Florida Network’s early spring top 100.
Mizell shows strengtha bulldog
Another local player piling up bids can be found in the roster of former Dwyer coach and state championship winner Jack Daniels at Cardinal Newman.
Sophomore Tovani Mizell is known to many as the “boogeyman” for his speed, he ran a 4.3-second 40, and some may know him better as the “world’s strongest kid” after going viral for his aging did 35 straight push-ups by the age of 3.
Since then, the grind hasn’t stopped for Mizell, who currently holds 20 offers, 12 from Power 5 programs.
“My previous success in track and field helped me with recruiting, and my success in weightlifting by winning district and regional championships also drew attention,” Mizell said, struggling to find something his Version of the sketchy stand this spring with a hamstring tweak.
As a freshman, Mizell had Texas A&M, Indiana, Cincinnati, the University of Alabama-Birmingham and Arkansas before joining Newman from Stranahan.
Earlier this month, the four-star star received one of the biggest offers to get around after catching the eye of Georgia, recruiting the multi-position athlete in hopes of creating a new winning culture and another 41-year drought to avoid at national championships.
Recruiters “love” the “versatility” exhibited in Mizell’s film, namely last year when he, as expected, turned heads on the run but shocked midseason with flashy catches for the highly acclaimed Davi Belfort before the quarterback switched to Dillard during the winter break.
On the run, Mizell had 616 yards and received 14 total touchdowns for 481 yards — the longest of 76 — on Newman’s trek to the Class 3A regional finals in 2021.
Mizell claims that his recruitment is “starting early” and that he is “open to all options” and has no “top school or favorite school,” though he has factors that put him at the forefront of his college search holds.
“Being able to compete for a starting position as a freshman,” how the coaching staff plans to use his skills, and a “strong” strength and conditioning program are all on Mizell’s recruiting wish list.
“It’s a blessing to be in this position. I’m not surprised because that’s what I prayed for,” Mizell said.
Emilee Smarr can be reached at [email protected]