By now, everyone knows about the tragedy that hit the Dillard family a year ago.
The passing of head coach Eddie Frazier last spring was something that not only hit the Dillard community hard, but to high school football coaches, fans and players all over the country, his passing was something that was close to home for so many.
What Frazier had done is start to put down a solid foundation at his alma mater – and while compiling a 12-1 record was exciting – he warned that it was only the beginning for the Panthers. The community embraced him – in so many ways.
While the task was very tough to look for another head coach, it had to be one that everyone felt comfortable with – even a strong alumni base that has always been vocal with the school and the community.
When Tyler Tate was hired to come in and keep that tradition going, it was a no brainer. A three-time state champion offensive coordinator at Chaminade-Madonna, who just happened to be a proud Dillard graduate and respects the tradition as much as anyone who has ever played or coached at the school.
In winning the 6A South Florida Tri-County Gold Bracket championship, 32-6, over North Miami Beach, this program capped off a perfect (6-0) season and left everyone believing that 2021 could be special.
Wins over Fort Lauderdale (42-20), McArthur (58-6), Blanche Ely (38-0), Pahokee (49-6) and Glades Central (31-6) showed just how solid this program is.
Perhaps the biggest thing to happen at this school is they are now a 6-12 one campus facility, which the athletic department has taken advantage of – with some impressive 2025 (8th graders) prospects already making an impression
2022 IS LOADED WITH TALENT
There is no getting around that the Panthers, who moved up to 7A recently, are very talented in this rising senior class.
Among the game-changers include FSU commitments Nyjalik Kelly (DE, 6-5, 240) and Devaughn Mortimer (WR, 5-11, 180), who are among the best in the state and have been promoted nationally.
Also, top-flight prospects such as Method Bradley (RB, 5-11, 185), D’Mon Brinson (CB, 5-11, 180), Christian Murphy (LB, 6-2, 215), Stephen Landers (SS, 6-1, 190) and receiver Jaccari Shakes (6-3, 185) are also heavily recruited in a class that is indeed stacked with talent.
Other players to watch in the 2022 class include Jalen Coleman (CB, 5-10, 170), Vondarius Faulkner (G, 6-1, 285), Cornelius Fuller (SS/LB, 6-1, 175), Darryl Garrett (WR, 6-1, 180) and Zantwon James (SS/OLB, 6-0, 190). There is also receiver Travis Jean (5-10, 170), Delvin Jones (OLB, 6-0, 205), versatile Navar Maine (QB/WR, 6-0, 190), Avontae Smith (CB/S, 6-1, 190) and Daniel Smith-Wilson (LB, 6-0, 215)
DON’T LET YOUR GUARD DOWN WITH THE 2023 PROSPECTS
The future of this program begins with this class – a group that has two years left together.
Standouts such as Christopher Alexadre (OL, 6-6, 320), Joshua Bowen (OLB, 6-3, 210), Jaferris Finley (RB, 5-9, 185), Rico Jackson (OT, 6-5, 285), Chris Johnson (Athlete, 5-11, 180), Trevaughn Martinez (DB, 5-11, 175) and Chauncey McArthur (WR, 6-3, 180) are going to be needed for this team to continue making strides.
Depth will also be crucial, and with Walter Jackson (RB, 5-10, 180), Aiden Norcius (WR, 5-11, 180), Armani Norcius, QB, 5-10, 180) and corner back David Law-Mortimer, a 5-9, 170- pounder.
THE FUTURE WILL BE FUN
When looking at the Class of 2024 prospects that the Panthers will roll out this spring, you see future standouts. Some that have already made an impression.
Among those who are expected to step up in 2021 include Antoine Jackson (CB, 6-1, 175), Zyon Pressley (CB, 5-9, 170), Aykenon Rodgers (S, 5-10, 185) and gifted Marcus Striggles (WR, 5-8, 170)
That much talked 2025 class also has some very promising talent – with Armoundo Blount (DL, 6-3, 235), Brandon Joseph (DL, 6-3, 290) and Andreus Madison (WR, 5-11, 185).