University duo gain UA honor

Davie (Fla.) University School head coach Roger Harriott couldn't have seen this coming when he started this program back in 2006.

Harriott, who was part of Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas' first national title in 1992, has tried to build his program in the same mold of the traditional powerhouse a few miles away.

So far Harriott's mission has been a successful one. University made the Class 2B finals in 2010 and made its national television debut in August, defeating Trotwood-Madison (Ohio). The accolades kept rolling in Thursday morning when University seniors and ESPN 150 prospects Jordan Cunningham and Maquedius Bain were presented with their Under Armour All-America Game jerseys.

"You don't really anticipate a lot of the accolades but you just work hard and try to use football as a tool to develop quality young men," Harriott said. "That's the ultimate goal of this program. We want to provide a positive atmosphere for these young men to go on to bigger and better things in the world."

Bain, who made the transition from basketball to football two seasons ago, said he was lost in the moment.

"It was like a media day or something," Bain said. "It was an awesome feeling but it's also a little sad because it's the final game I'll play as a high school football player.

"Luckily I get to share the moment with my teammate and my coach on the sidelines."

The 6-foot-4, 285-pound Bain will be back at his familiar post as a defensive tackle for the Jan. 4 contest. The former Florida State commit has taken significant snaps on the offensive line this fall.

"Coach Harriott needed me on the offensive line, and we all do whatever it takes to make the team better," Bain said. "I expect I'll be playing more defensive line in the playoffs so by the time practice for the game starts, I'll be back in my comfort zone."

Cunningham (6-2, 175) has been in his comfort zone all season with 30 catches for 427 yards and five touchdowns to lead one of the state's most explosive offenses.

The senior admits things have been a little more challenging over the past year as his stock has risen on the gridiron.

"The competition down here in South Florida is pretty fierce and I have faced a few younger defensive backs that come out trying to boost themselves up [against me]," Cunningham explained. "I look at it like an opportunity for me to quiet any critics out there."

With the state playoffs on the horizon, Cunningham believes a deep postseason run will be the best way for him to prepare for the All-America Game.

"Everyone's looking at us as a favorite to win the state title this year," Cunningham said. "So in a perfect world, we'll run the table and keep winning so I'll be more than ready for the competition.

"Overall this is a major honor. One of those things you really dream about and only a few players have the privilege to participate."

As Harriott prepares to coach Bain and Cunningham for the final few weeks, he reflects on how much his program has grown in such a short period of time. Several former University School standouts like Daniel Braverman (Western Michigan), MacGarrett Kings (Michigan State) and Abraham Garcia (Louisville) were key to the program's early success and are now contributing to their respective college programs on Saturdays.

"It's really nice to see all of the hard work of our student-athletes and the administration come to fruition," Harriott added. "It's a credit to the coaches and the people we have working to provide a great atmosphere for success here. There have been countless contributors and today was a day of celebration for Jordan and Maquedius and everyone who has helped make this program successful."