Anyone who has seen Amarie Godwin play basketball could easily see that she is the “Spark Plug” for her team. Although she is the youngest and smallest player on her team, she is a fierce and aggressive competitor that plays with a lot of energy. As a 5th grader at Rampello Downtown Partnership School, she is talented enough to compete for The Skills Center Lady Elite 6th grade team. This year her team has placed 2nd in the USSSA Future Shootout and the Under Armour Tournament. They recently won The “Think Pink” Tampa Tournament March 14, 2014. She has won the Hustler award at the “Think Pink” and Future Shootout Tournaments. As far as in the classroom, she is a repeated winner of the Good Citizenship Award and manages to keep her grades up.
Basketball is no stranger to her family. Her great grandmother Josephine Booker was star between the years 1953-1955 for Middleton High School in Tampa, FL. She was a 3 year starter at forward for Middleton High and earned a scholarship to Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, FL. Amarie’s basketball future is promising. She has a strong family support system lead by her mother Ariel Montgomery and Grandparents Althea Montgomery and Arnold Montgomery. They are the ones guiding her on that path to greatness and hopes that she can earn a college scholarship one day.
Mariah Wynn is Resolute Training’s first female to be honored in the Student-Athlete Spotlight.
§ 2012 Most improved award
§ 2013 Gulf Coast National team
§ 2013 Palm Harbor Hurricanes team MVP
§ Varsity starter sophomore and junior year
§ 2013 First Team All-Conference
§ 2013 Under Armor South Team
§ 2013 High School Senior Team Captain
Received an Academic and Athletic Scholarship to attend Caldwell University
When not working his way up the depth chart, FIU redshirt sophomore wide receiver Fred Porter worked at the campus recreation center. Meanwhile, Porter’s student loan debt rose about as steadily as his playing time.
All that came to a stop two weeks ago. Saturday’s home game against Louisiana Tech will be the second since Porter began getting paid.
Not in straight cash but via scholarship, which is quite good enough for the now-former walk-on.
“A lot of people go through the walk-on process. That’s what it is, a process,” Porter said. “I went through two and a half years of seeing other people get their stuff paid for — their books, classes, meals. My mom, who’s 100 percent disabled, hasn’t worked since I was in middle school, and my dad having to struggle to help me pay for my education. … It’s a huge blessing for me to not having any more bills on my account.”
FIU coach Ron Turner said, “He’s earned it on the field with his attitude and the way he’s playing and contributing. He’s earned it off the field with his academics, the way he carries himself and represents FIU.”
Mother Sabrina Porter displayed a predictably happy reaction in an unpredictable way.
“I called her, she was on her way to the mall, I think. I said, ‘Mom, I got some news.’ She’s always expects the worse. She always thinks something’s wrong. I told her, ‘I just got off the phone with Coach Turner, and he decided to put me on scholarship.’ She started yelling at the top of her lungs. Then, she got really quiet. I asked, ‘What’s wrong?’
“She said, ‘Man, I got so excited, you made me pee myself.’ She was mad at me because she had to turn around and go back home,” he laughed. “My dad [Fred Porter] is my No. 1 fan. He’s here at every game. He tries to make every away game. He’s been that way since high school, middle school. He just told me to stay humble because this is just the first step. My first goal, when I came here wasn’t to play, it was obviously to get good grades, but it was to get on scholarship. That’s the first goal. Now, it’s just an uphill battle. I’m very happy, but I can’t be satisfied.”
Fred Porter, the son, would be happy if his mother could attend just one FIU game in the 2 1/2 seasons that remain for him. She suffers from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines it as “a painful disorder that usually follows a localized injury, that is marked by burning pain, swelling, and motor and sensory disturbances especially of an extremity.”
Porter explained, “She’s very irritable a lot. She has to take a lot of shots to help her muscles relax. She watches on TV as much as she can, she listens on the radio.
“In a big atmosphere like this” — he threw his eyes up the FIU Stadium south stands — “it’s hard for her. She likes to be in her own environment. A lot of things will trigger her nervous system, and she’ll just be miserable.”
Porter came to FIU out of Tampa-area Ruskin Lennard High School as a quarterback in 2011 and redshirted his freshman season. With a continued quarterback glut, Porter traveled the well-worn path to wide receiver many high school quarterbacks walked in college.
“I just wanted to play,” Porter said. “I thought my athletic ability was good enough to transition to different positions.”
His only catch last season came in garbage time of the 46-26 season-opening loss to Duke, yet was as spectacular as it was inconsequential — a 31-yard touchdown leaping grab at the back of the end zone.
“Solid player, not great speed, but I’ve seen a lot of good receivers not have great speed,” Turner said. “Good route runner, good hands, you could tell he was a former quarterback the way he handled himself and what he knew about the game.”
After a hamstring injury limited him in the spring, Porter took advantage of a void at the wide receiver spot. He provided FIU’s offensive bright spot in the season-opening loss to Maryland with another air climb — did we mention basketball actually is his first love? — for a 36-yard gain. He started the losses to Bethune-Cookman and Louisville.
Now, he can finish his degree in business management by next fall (he has a 3.4 grade-point average) and get a year of his master’s done under scholarship.
“I love kids,” Porter said. “I really want to be a teacher and some kind of coach. I’m a sports guy. I love basketball, I love football. I would really love to be a coach [of] high school football.”
Jeremi Wilkes is a Defensive back for Syracuse University. He is ball hawk that absolutely loves contact. He is definitely a play maker in my book. If I had to choose a word to define his style, it would be “SPARK.” I coached Jeremi in high school and when we needed some momentum or a SPARK, Count on Mr. Wilkes. Jeremi is a very respectable, talented young athlete with potential as tall as Mt. Everest. He was one of 15 true freshmen to play in 2010 and his production earned him All-Big East freshman honors as a defensive back. He played in every game in 2011 as a Safety. So far he has recorded 44 tackles and 2 interceptions in his collegiate career. This year is a promising year for Jeremi as he aspires to continue his production and make his name be known as one of the top safeties in college football.
Hank McCloud Jr. is a very talented running back with a lot of potential. I had the pleasure of coaching Hank in high school and if I had to describe him in one word, I’d say he was RELIABLE. He is the kind of kid that will give you all he has, going over and beyond what is asked. Hank was a three-year starter and rushed for 3,962 yards and 37 touchdowns in his high school career. He compiled 1,767 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior in helping his squad to an 11-2 record and second state runner-up finish in his final three years. On top of that he was a star baseball player and racked up a batting average of .381, one homerun, 20 RBIs, and 15 stolen bases his senior year. Hank not only excelled on the football field but was Scholar in the classroom. He was the Scholar athlete of the year in 2009 for Hillsborough County and was a member of the National Honors Society. As far as a college student athlete, he has 550 yards rushing and 130 yards receiving and 1 touchdown as a redshirt freshman. He was the leading rusher this past spring game and was the Furman Special Teams Player of the Week Recipient (game vs. University of Tennessee- Chattanooga). I have decided to feature Hank as this month’s Spotlight Student athlete.
Noel Ellis Jr. is one of the top student athletes in the country. A product of Edna Karr High School, he is rated in the top 20 for high school cornerbacks in the nation according to ESPN. He is rated in the Top 15 Cornerbacks in the nation according to Rivials.com and is the #1 Cornerback in the State of Louisiana for the class of 2013. I had the pleasure of coaching Noel in a football camp run by the National Underclassmen Combine for the top 100 athletes in his region. Although he showed up as a cornerback, I saw fit to try him at WR and he stole the show by winning the WR MVP for the camp. Noel is now a Participant in “The Opening” presented by Nike on ESPN. There is no doubt that he is a very talented athlete and he proves it every time he is in the spotlight. I was so impressed with Noel, I felt the need to interview and feature him as our Top student athlete this Month.