Palm Beach Central High School football standout Akeem Dent will be featured on the cover of the August issue of Friday Night Football Magazine.
The county’s top-ranked player, Dent committed to Florida State University last fall, and has remained committed to the Seminoles, despite the departure of head coach Jimbo Fisher.
Friday Night Football Magazine is a national high school football publication that features coaches, teams and individual players that stand out within their communities. Attracting national attention, like Dent and others have, also serves cause for notice by the magazine.
The football periodical has seen its longest tenure in Florida, running its 10th anniversary issue in August. “We’re in our tenth year in Florida, ninth year in Georgia and just started our second in Ohio,” said Dan Guttenplan, the managing editor. “We have 150,000 copies in circulation, with 50,000 in Florida.”
The publication is available through various outlets, book stores, specialty stores and large corporate retail stores across the country.
Dent is one of four players to be featured on the cover; two were voted on by fans who participated in a “cover-boy” contest, and two were selected by FNF staff as top prospects, with Dent being one. “It feels good and makes an example of what it will feel like in the future,” Dent said. “I didn’t know it was that big, being national.”
Despite Dent’s 24 Division I offers, he feels he may have been slightly overlooked by some. He was rated the top cornerback in the nation before last season, but he welcomed the switch to safety his first year at Palm Beach Central, after transferring from Pahokee.
Dent, a 6-foot-1 converted safety, quickly became a contributor for the Broncos, racking up 81 tackles, five interceptions and one sack. He also recorded one pick-six last season. He solidified himself as the anchor of the Bronco secondary.
Last season, the Broncos were known for their quick, hard-hitting defense, and that could be a big reason why Palm Beach Central went from 3-7 to 8-3 and district champions. “It’s satisfying,” Dent explained. “This is my first and only year playing safety, and actually being top-notch at that position makes me feel good.”
Dent still thinks he has plenty of room for improvement. “I need to work on breaking on the ball better,” he said. “I need to break at the right angle on the ball.”
Dent will likely see some time on offense as a slot receiver; he vowed to bring his competitive spirit to the game in the fall.
Bronco head coach Tino Ierulli could not be happier for Dent. “As far as I know, I think he is the first Bronco to be featured on the cover of FNF Magazine,” Ierulli said. “It’s tremendous for the program, especially with the direction we’ve been going. We had a very successful year last year.”
Ierulli also appreciates Dent’s ability to take on a leadership role entering his final year as a Bronco.
“The way he has grown since he has been here; he did everything right on the field for us last year,” Ierulli said. “He was reserved, but led by example. Now he’s doing both, taking on a leadership role. He’s growing up and takes his academics seriously.”
Dent stressed that his academics are a priority, as he indicated to the younger players. “If you think you’re just going to play football and not give attention to your grades, it’s not going to happen,” he said. “You have to stay on top of your grades.”
Ierulli believes that with the returning players, the team has what it takes to continue last year’s success and make a push deep into the post-season in the fall. “It’s always good to get the recognition for the kids,” he explained. “This is the most important thing. We have had every major college visit us both in the winter and the spring; it was huge.”
To get more information on Friday Night Football Magazine and the 10th anniversary August issue, visit www.fnfmagazine.com.