Five Under 25: Miami's Top Young Pro Athletes | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

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Five Under 25: South Florida's Most Promising Young Athletes

Clockwise from top left: Jaylen Waddle, Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, Jevon Holland, and Spencer Knight are five of the top South Florida athletes under 25.
Clockwise from top left: Jaylen Waddle, Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, Jevon Holland, and Spencer Knight are five of the top South Florida athletes under 25. Photos by Michael Reaves, Kevin C. Cox, Cliff Hawkins, Andy Lyons, Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
South Florida has its share of star professional athletes. From Tyler Herro of the Miami Heat to Spencer Knight of the Florida Panthers to Jaylen Waddle of the Miami Dolphins, it can be argued that some of the most talented players in sports reside in the 305.

What is sometimes overlooked, though, is the age of Miami's star players — and how stocked South Florida's sports cupboard appears to be in the years to come.

Here are five of the best athletes under 25 who play professional sports in South Florida.

Jevon Holland, 22

Jevon Holland had himself a rookie season. He's not only at the core of the Miami Dolphins rebuilding effort but one of the best young safeties in the NFL. He finished the season totaling 69 tackles, 10 passes, three fumble recoveries, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and two interceptions.


Named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team, Holland is primed to lead a Dolphins defense full of young talent but in need of reinforcements if Xavien Howard is traded or Byron Jones is let go. Already respected as a dynamic playmaker, Holland is positioned to burst on the national scene this year and become a household name among fans who don't even watch the Dolphins.

Spencer Knight, 20

What were you doing when you were 20? Likely something much different from playing in the NHL, something Florida Panthers goalie Spencer Knight has already seemed to master.


It's almost unimaginable to think that the Panthers' brightest young star was born in 2001, which means he was 2 years old when the Miami Heat drafted Dwyane Wade. Even at his age, he's already proven he belongs, already starring in the playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

So much is yet to come from Knight, who's likely to be on the sports radar in South Florida for the next decade — or more.

Jaylen Waddle, 23

Jaylen Waddle was one of the best wide receivers in the NFL last season. There was no mention of him being one of the best rookie wide receivers last season because that would be selling his performance short. That's because at 23, Jaylen Waddle is already elite.

Waddle broke the NFL record for catches in a rookie season, finishing this past year with 104 catches for 1,015 yards and six touchdowns. Under new, offensive-minded head coach Mike McDaniel, the expectation is that those numbers will only increase in 2022.

Tyler Herro, 22

The odds-on favorite to win the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award, Tyler Herro is already a borderline All-Star, playing well beyond his years on a nightly basis. He's currently averaging over 20 points a game and shooting 44 percent from the field. These are stats a 32-year-old shooting guard would be proud of — never mind that Herro is only 22.

Prior to this season, it was cute to mention Herro's name in trade package deals that would land Miami a star. Now, he is the package. The Heat have often called Herro untouchable, and at only 22, everyone is starting to see why.

Bam Adebayo, 24

It seems almost unfair to place Bam Adebayo on a list that limits itself to players under 25 years of age. The level of play Adebayo brings to the court every night warrants his name appearing on lists next to legends like LeBron James and Steph Curry.


Bam Adebayo has managed to average almost 19 points and 11 rebounds a game during a season in which he's battled an injury.

If it hadn't been for the missed time on the court, Adebayo would have undoubtedly appeared in his second All-Star game. Not to worry, though — at his age, chances are he'll need both hands to count his All-Star appearances before he hangs up his sneakers.
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Ryan Yousefi is a freelance writer for Miami New Times, a lover of sports, and an expert consumer of craft beer and pho. Hanley Ramirez once stole a baseball from him and to this day still owes him $10.
Contact: Ryan Yousefi

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