Posted: 1:29 pm Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Pair of Pahokee prospects to commit soon (maybe) 

By Jason Lieser

Updated May 30, 2:52 p.m.

For a few months now, Pahokee football coach Blaze Thompson has been advising his players against committing before they take official visits. Nonetheless, two of his juniors are planning to publicize their commitments next week.


Linebacker Zachary Allen and cornerback Merril Noel are down to four finalists each and originally were scheduled to announce their choices after school Monday, but now that has been postponed.

Thompson said the announcement has been moved (day and time TBA) to later in the week in order to accommodate family. It is not a result of indecision.

“I’d rather them wait, but it’s their decision,” Thompson said. “All I can do is counsel them. It’s not my job to convince them what to do or where to go.

“But I believe Merrill and Zach can make that decision. They’re not wishy-washy. They’re smart enough to make this decision.”

Both players have double-digit offer totals. Both have offers from Tennessee, which has had a roller coaster spring in Pahokee, but neither appears to be headed to the Volunteers. They aren’t headed to Michigan, either, which is probably a disappointment for Rich Rodriguez given the pipeline he’s trying to build with Pahokee.

Allen (6-1, 210) is the Big Board’s No. 10 college prospect and is choosing between Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, West Virginia and Purdue.

Noel (5-10, 170) has seen his stock soar during the off-season and has four finalists: Wake Forest, Georgia, Florida State and West Virginia. He is the Big Board’s No. 15 prospect.

Last time Pahokee held a joint press conference for two prospects was just prior to the start of the 2008 regular season. Linebacker Brandin Hawthorne and running back Vincent Smith both declared their intent to play for Michigan that day.

The real surprise to watch for with this situation will be if any other Pahokee players show up unannounced to declare their decisions. The Blue Devils are always mysterious about signing day and early commitment ceremonies, so you have to wonder if one of their other stars might join in and commit too.