In a year unlike any other, Miami Central (Fla.) OG Laurence Seymore has given it his all to keep the excuses away and the success coming.
“I’ve recognized a lot of things I thought I wasn’t going to have to go through,” Seymore told 305 Sports. “I feel as though I’ve grown as a player.”
Indeed he has, playing an integral role for the Rockets, who on Friday, defeated Dunbar (Fla.) 40-0 to advance into the Class 6A state semi-finals.
Central, which is now 6-1 on the season, didn’t have the ideal start to a season they had hoped for. They kicked things off against Miami Northwestern in a rivalry-amped matchup. They fell short, as a scoreless second half helped the Bulls pull away, 21-14. Then, the Rockets had to deal with the cancellation of a plethora of games – due to COVID-19.
That kept them off the field for 22 days.
“Right now we’re doing good for the little bit of time we’ve had to collab with each other and the amount of time we’ve had to build a bond,” Seymore said prior to Central’s victory over Dunbar.
Creating a relationship between one another has been crucial for Central, which has helped them manage its six-game winning streak. Whether it be through playing together in past years or an overall love of the game, those specific characteristics has them bound to repeat as state champions.
That unity was on display against Naples (Fla.) two weeks ago. In a contest that saw Central down 17-3 at the half, it took the use of everybody to stay away from being upset.
“That was a wake up call for us to take nobody lightly,” Seymore said. “Our season could’ve ended like that. After halftime, we always got a huddle and we said ‘it’s time to click over.’ After that, we got it rolling”
The game surely took a complete turnaround, as Central used a 28-point spurt to garner a 31-21 win.
Now, as they head into their showdown against Palmetto (Fla.), it’ll take another mutual effort from both sides to continue their dominant run.
Offensively, that starts with the running back duo of Amari Daniels and Yulkeith Brown, both Texas A&M commits. In the case of Brown, he’s been the bread and butter of Central, showing exactly that with two touchdowns versus Dunbar Friday. As for Brown, the four-star athlete has been efficient on both ends of the field, adding in plenty of trips to the end zone this season.
Seymore has been the lead factor to that running protection, making things easier for the powerful duo.
“We all communicate, we’re all on one page,” the 6-foot-2 senior said on his relationship with the two. “Whatever I see, I tell them. Whatever they see, they tell me. Me and Yulkeith played two years together, me and Amari have been playing together since we were in little league. That was not too hard to click.”
Another piece to the puzzle: sophomore quarterback Keyone Jenkins. In his first year as the full-time starter, Jenkins has done his part in making a difference offensively. He’ll have his first shot at capturing a state semi-final win this upcoming Friday.
“I’d tell him ‘don’t look at the game bigger than what it is,'” Seymore said, referring to the advice he’d give Jenkins during Central’s playoff run. “‘Look at it as a practice with a crowd.’ To me, I tell the quarterback ‘throw the ball how you would throw it if it’s just there. Just throw it to the receiver that’s there. Keep your head in the game, don’t let the crows get in your head, none of that.'”
Seymore and his group are one of two teams in Miami-Dade county still alive for an FHSAA football state championship (Miami Palmetto). That being said, there are hefty expectations on them to represent the city all the way up in Tallahassee.
“It always feels good to represent Miami,” Seymore, a UM commit, said. “A lot of big time players come through Miami. We had to come up with one decision [to either opt-in to the playoff or not], but I told my coach [Roland Smith], ‘I need another ring, so we might as well opt-in.'”
His opportunity for that state title continues Friday at 7:30 p.m., per MaxPreps.
Seymore plans to sign early, but still keeping his options open.
“It’s a big relationship I’ve built with [Miami],” he said. “We talk mostly every day. They stay in touch with me to see how I’m doing.”
That being said, he did make it clear that he’ll make his ultimate decision on December 16. A number of schools remain in the hunt, including Florida, Texas A&M and Florida State.
“I’m keeping my options open. I’ll make my decision December 16th,” he said.
If Seymore were to stay put, he’d join Columbus’ (Fla.) Ryan Rodriguez and Stoneman Douglas’ (Fla.) Michael McLaughlin as the other ‘Canes commits joining the offensive line in 2021.
“Me and Ryan have known each other since we were little because we played basketball together,” Seymore said. “It would be good to get back together. If we played basketball together, why not play football together?”
Rodriguez, like Seymore, plans to sign early with UM.