Skip to main content

South Florida: Football's mecca for talent produces another crop of future pros

No region produces more NFL talent than South Florida. On Kickoff Weekend of the 2021 regular season, 192 of the league's talent came from the state of Florida, out-pacing two states with vastly more space and higher populations (Texas and California). On top of that, no city produced more players on NFL rosters than Miami (19).

With the Scouting Combine set to take place this week in Indianapolis, we look at the football's mecca for producing talent. Here are a few of the standout prospects who will be representing South Florida in Indianapolis this week:

WR Kevin Austin Jr. - Notre Dame

Hometown: Fort Lauderdale

High School: North Broward Prep

With 48 catches for 888 yards and seven touchdowns in his final season at South Bend, Austin Jr. was named a Phil Steele First Team All-Independent wide receiver.

WR TyQuan Thornton - Baylor

Hometown: Miami

High School: Booker T. Washington

After a sterling career at Booker T. Washington, Thornton went on to collect stats over a four-year career at Baylor. He caught 143 passes for 2,242 yard and 19 touchdowns during his college career.

RB James Cook - Georgia

Hometown: Miami

High School: Miami Central

Brother of Dalvin Cook, James saved his best for last for the National Champion Georgia Bulldogs. He piled up 236 yards from scrimmage in the 2022 College Football Playoffs to cap off a career in which he accumulated 2,233 yards from scrimmage and 20 total touchdowns.

DE Nik Bonitto - Oklahoma

Hometown: Fort Lauderdale

High School: St. Thomas Aquinas

A three-year starter for the Sooners, Bonitto went from St. Thomas Aquinas to the Big 12 where he collected 19.5 sacks in Norman, OK. Bonitto also had 33 tackles for loss, seven passes defensed and a forced fumble.

DT Jonathan Ford - Miami

Hometown: Fort Lauderdale

High School: Dillard

Going from Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale to the University of Miami, Ford amassed 60 tackles and three sacks over a five-year career with the Hurricanes.

CB Kaiir Elam - Florida

Hometown: Riviera Beach

High School: Benjamin

A three-year starter for the Gators, Elam is generating buzz as a potential early-round draft pick after registering five interceptions and 20 passes defensed in his career in Gainesville.

These South Florida-made players will be among 330 in total in Indianapolis this week for the NFL Scouting Combine, kicking off Wednesday March 2. It's another important and exciting step in the pre-draft process. Tune into NFL Network to watch all the action, and stay locked in on all Dolphins platforms for updates from Indy.