Football recruiting: The curious case of Cardinal Newman DB Vinkevus Pierre
WEST PALM BEACH — It’s hard to imagine what more Vinkevus Pierre needs to do to validate himself in the eyes of college coaches.
The Cardinal Newman senior safety continued his strong play Monday with two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown, in the Crusaders' 40-7 win against previously-undefeated John Carroll Catholic.
Despite his strong play and receiving interest from several colleges, Pierre’s still waiting for official offers.
Just about every high school in Florida (maybe America) feels they have a player who is drastically underrecruited and just needs a chance. Pierre is one of a couple Newman players — along with wide receiver Chris Presto — who certainly fit that mold.
“I’m beside myself,” Cardinal Newman coach Jack Daniels said. “I had so many kids that were Division I kids at Dwyer that Vinny is better than. That’s honestly the truth. He’s complete. He’s a tackler. He has ball skills. He’s super smart. I don’t know what’s going on, but he’s going to make someone happy when the recruiting process is over.”
At 6-foot, 190 pounds, Pierre checks the measurables colleges are looking for.
The ability is there, evidenced by him winning MVP honors at a Florida Atlantic camp during the summer.
Oh yeah, he’s also been outstanding for Cardinal Newman, which improved to 6-0 with Monday’s win.
“I don’t know,” Pierre said of his recruiting. “It’s like they’re overlooking me. Most schools say it's because of my speed, but I prove that it’s not about straight-line speed. You’re not just running in a straight line in a game. You’re rarely running in a straight line in a game. I’m a ball player. I know something is going to come and when it does, I’ll be ready for it.”
He’s been in contact with several schools, including FAU, Wake Forest, Pitt and Stetson.
Pierre certainly has not let any frustration over his lack of offers impact his play. His two interceptions Monday came in key moments for the Crusaders.
He intercepted a pass in the end zone late in the first half to give keep the game tied at 7. After Newman scored a touchdown on its opening drive of the second half, Pierre stepped in front of a pass and retuned it for a score. Suddenly, it was 19-7 and the momentum had swung completely to Newman.
“The first pick, they threw up an ball and I just had to be an athlete and go get it,” Pierre said. “The second pick, we work on that every day in practice, coming down. They do that route. I knew they were running the route and he was closest man, so I knew he was getting the ball. I just had to come down and make a play.”
Cardinal Newman sophomore wide receiver Nae’shaun Montgomery caught a pair of second-half touchdowns. Montgomery has been offered by Miami and USC.
John Carroll Catholic senior edge rusher Wilky Denaud (Auburn commit) had a tackle for loss, three quarterback pressures to force incompletions, and a couple other tackles at or near the line of scrimmage.
Cardinal Newman senior edge rusher Maverick Gracio (Kent State commit) had a sack and a tackle for loss in the first half.
Cardinal Newman junior athlete Josh Philostin had an big catch early in the second half to set up a Henry Bennett touchdown. Philostin, who was at Florida State over the weekend, has offers from Indiana and Ole Miss.
John Carroll Catholic sophomore safety Robert Jones III had a pass break up to prevent a touchdown in the first half and also had a key tackle on a third down play to force a long field goal attempt, which was missed. Jones has been offered by USF and FAU.
Jon Santucci is the statewide high school football recruiting reporter for the USA Today Florida Network. He can be reached at email@example.com.