The one thing that South Miami head football coach Arties Knight talked about when taking over the head job last year is that this turnaround for the Cobras would be gradual, but very steady.
While Year 1 is in the books, this off-season, like the 2020 regular season, would certainly be challenging – with the pandemic still very much a part of every day preparation.
As this program gets ready for spring, the coaching staff and the players are working hard to get stronger and in better shape than they were last season.
Knight has been around this game long enough to know what it takes to get to each level – and he is willing to put in the work and time needed for this to unfold over the next few years.
With the 2021 season on the horizon, the Cobras are indeed ready to make some noise, using Class of 2022 & 23 to keep the process going.
Class of 2022 has some experience and talent. There will be athletes – like in the underclasses – who will help to impact this team.
Matthew Cabrera, OL, 5-11, 290. When you see talented young men like this, you have someone who does a lot well – and continues to work to get better. Whether it’s run-blocking or helping the passing game go, the Cobras are happy to have someone who gives all he has on every play. That is the only way this team will build is through dedication and playing above and beyond.
Angel Graces, LB/S, 6-0, 205. Another versatile football talent that this program has started to once again produce. He gives this team an athlete who can certainly lineup at a few different positions and play them well. One of the football players who plays this game with passion.
Mosies Paredes, OL, 6-3, 315. If you have been around this game for a long time, you already know the importance of build that fortress on both sides of the ball – and that is what this coaching staff is doing. Here is another lineman with size that can move and is learning more and more about schemes and being able to make a difference for the Cobras. The off-season will be huge for this program.
Bryan Pozo, OL, 6-1, 270. Yet another of the big men up front who are making it possible for this offensive to start taking shape. This is one of those leaders who will be so very important to a team that continues to search for athletes to step up and help make a difference. He not only leads by example on the field, but his 3.0 GPA in the classroom is also setting standards.
Justin Rodriguez, DB, 5-10, 175. Here is someone who truly gets what it’s going to take to get to that next level. A very hard worker on the football field, his dedication in the classroom has also been very important – with an eye-catching 4.4 GPA.
Keshaun Tomlin, DL/FB, 6-1, 260. This Miami Southridge transfer figures to be one of those players who can really help this team. He is big, strong and versatile enough to play tackle or end. He is going to one of those athletes who teaches by example. Also, around the 3.0 GPA mark in the classroom.
In posting a 4-3 record this past season, wins over Coral Reef (35-2), Southwest Miami (32-13), Miami Beach (48-6) and Braddock (20-0) gave this program confidence heading into the off-season.
Getting better in the second year is certainly something that this program is expecting.
CLASS OF 2023 HAS THE IMPACT PERFORMERS
While there is so much expected from the Class of 2022 seniors in 2021, it will also come down to the very talented Class of 2023 – where there are indeed some major impact performers for the Cobras.
Here is a look at a few who can turn things around – in a hurry:
Oviel Diaz, DT/OT, 6-1, 240. What South Miami is looking for in an athlete is someone who will sacrifice, work hard and plug in where he is needed. This is a young man who can do that – and much more. Will be a catalyst moving forward because he wants to succeed.
Rodolfo Hernandez, LB, 5-10, 180. When he was a freshman, here is someone we talked a lot about – after a huge first varsity season. Watch him play and you will be impressed by his athleticism and skill – and his passion for this game is something you do not teach. In addition to taking care of his duties on the football field, where he is a tackling machine, his 3.2 GPA in the classroom will always keep him the conversation for a college scholarship.
Levy Miller, RB, 5-9, 170. Easily one of the top, young backs in south Florida. Has been getting it done at the varsity level for three seasons – between the Cobras and Florida Christian. Watch him run and he is someone fun to watch. He glides, darts and hits the hole quickly. You never really get a clean shot at him because he is always moving in different directions. This will be a monster season for him – especially as college coaches can get a real good look at how he has grown and matured. Lethal as a kick returner as well. Did we mention his 3.0 GPA?
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Kaiden Thompson, DB, 5-11, 160. When college coaches watch football talent, they look at so many things that add up about an athlete. This is truly one of the rising prospects who continues to get better every time you watch him. He is a worker, who loves the game and will do anything it takes for him to help this team improve, and in the process, make a lasting impression with college coaches and recruiting analysts.
PHOTO COURTESY OF SOUTH MIAMI FOOTBALL