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Making my way down to Miami today; Targeted Florida football recruits beware!

GAINESVILLE -- It's about 6:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, nearly time to hop in the ol' Ford and head down Florida's Turnpike. Next stop is my lovely home base, Miami. I really miss Miami now that Momma Herald has me living in Gainesville and covering the Gators. Don't get me wrong, Gainesville is great and it's a great place to live, but there's nothing quite like those Miami nights.

While I will be making a cameo appearance at our office on Biscayne Bay, I won't be kick'n it in South Beach tonight. Instead the party will be near Hollywood Beach. I know, I know: Hollywood Beach doesn't have the same ring to it as South Beach. But, hey, I lived in Hollywood Beach for nearly a year when I first moved to South Florida and the place has it's own special charm. They don't call it Hollyweird for nuthin'.

If you want to find me tonight, I'll be at Le Tub on AIA enjoying the best sirloin burger in America! What does this have to do with the Gators? Absolutely nothing, but while I'm in South Florida I might take the opportunity to hunt down a few high school football prospects. I hear the Urbanator and his staff are impressed with several South Florida studs. Now, the million dollar question is: Can Meyer actually sign any of those players? Florida's current administration has made a little headway in Broward but can't get anything done in Miami. (True story: The latest crop of Miami Northwestern Bulls who signed with UM used to call former Florida assistant Doc Holliday "Snake Eyes.") Holliday was considered a great recruiter by his peers, but he wasn't really trusted in Miami.

Urban revamped his recruiting strategy when Holliday bolted for West Virginia at the beginning of this offseason. Meyer positioned new assistant Lance Bedford (cornerbacks) in Miami. Meyer says that Bedford's lone responsibility is making inroads in Miami. According to some of my old high school sources in the area, Florida assistant Kenny Carter (running backs) has also been spotted in Miami quite a bit.(For the record, Miami coach Randy Shannon has about three assistants AT ALL TIMES working Miami-Dade.) We won't know until February whether or not Meyer's new "Miami Plan" is working.

Urban can close the deal on just about any recruit north of Boca but he hasn't been able to make much of a splash on the South Florida recruiting scene. (Why? It probably has nothing to do with Meyer and everything to do with Miami coach Randy Shannon.) Major Wright, of course, is the lone exception. Sure, Meyer has done a fabulous job reeling in the unheralded players -- Moses Jenkins (Lauderhill Boyd Anderson), Marcus Gilbert (Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquanis), Bo Williams (Oakland Park Northeast), Frankie Hammond Jr.(Hallandale) -- but those guys haven't amounted to much. Jenkins, probably my favorite player on the team, is yet to break into the secondary rotation. Gilbert, injured much of his first two seasons, is poised to make an impact this fall. Williams transferred to Iowa State. Hammond is an incoming freshman who looks like another project.

Miami, and in particular Randy Shannon, hated losing Major to Florida. Miami was Major's first choice at the beginning (he'll still you his favorite player of all time is Sean Taylor) but that was when Larry Coker was on the outs, leaving the Hurricanes vulnerable. Meyer swooped in.

Meyer now has a foothold in Broward, but can Meyer sign a few Miami-Dade superstars this recruiting cycle? He's looking to sign two or three from the area. When talking about Miami-Dade and Broward, Meyer always likes to stress "quality" over "quantity" -- an indirect reference, of course, to Shannon cleaning house in the area. Here's a list of a few Miami and Broward prep stars Florida would love to sign. Gator Clause, of course, offers an opinion on whether or not that might happen.

WheelerOT JARED WHEELER (6-5, 300 pounds) Plantation American Heritage
Cut from the Sam Young mold (Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas/Notre Dame), Wheeler is a powerful kid with a nice upside.
Does Meyer have a chance? Expect Wheeler to give Florida a lot of consideration. There is a tendency, however, for kids from Broward private schools to leave the state.

QB EUGENE SMITH (6-3, 175 pounds) Miramar
Florida needs to sign a quarterback and this kid is plenty talented. He threw for over 500 yards last season against Pompano Beach Blanche Ely, a team that featured two future FBS cornerbacks. Does Florida have chance? Nope. Smith wants the chance to play right away and that would not be the case at Florida.

DuronWR DURON CARTER (6-3, 185 pounds) Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas
Now here's a kid to keep an eye on. The son of NFL great Cris Carter, Duron Carter is a skilled receiver with strong leadership potential. This would be a great pick up for the Gators and Meyer should have the inside track. Not only has St. Thomas recently been a pipeline to Florida, but Cris Carter is close friends with Meyer. Carter speaks to the Gators once or twice a year and gets sideline passes to home games at The Swamp.

RB LAMAR MILLER (5-11, 205 pounds) Miami Killian
Oh, what the Gators' coaching staff would do to sign this kid. Miller is projected to be one of the best high school running backs in the nation this fall ... but Miami has first dibs. That won't stop Florida from making a strong push.

RB JAMAAL BERRY (5-11, 190 pounds) Miami Palmetto
Another talented Miami-Dade back. Another talented Miami-Dade back who Florida probably has no chance of signing.

LB FRANKIE TELFORT (5-11, 194 pounds) Miami Gulliver Prep
Meyer does a great job of recruiting the moms. This speedy linebacker wants to go out of state but he could probably be swayed.

McgeeATH BRANDON MCGEE (5-11, 180 pounds) Plantation
McGee is a star quarterback for coach Steve Davis at Plantation but McGee will likely play secondary in college. Florida should make signing McGee a top priority or be prepared to see him playing against UF for another SEC team or perhaps Ohio State.
-

FS TEVIN MCCASKILL (6-2, 180 pounds) Miami Northwestern
Florida offered Tevin early. This guy is a lock for UM, of course.

GATOR CLAUSE'S SLEEPER SPECIAL
SS A'Kevis Anderson (5-10, 190 pounds) Hallandale
This guy has been cracking skulls at the varsity level since his freshman season at Hollywood Hills. A born leader, Anderson would be a talented addition to the Gators' secondary.

-jo-

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yeah, randy shanimal has done quite well with all those miami thugs...

"He's looking to sign two or three from the area. When talking about Miami-Dade and Broward, Meyer always likes to stress "quality" over "quantity" -- an indirect reference, of course, to Shannon cleaning house in the area"


where the hell do you get this from? His quotes were in reference to past GATOR STAFFS, not randy Shannon:

Exact quotes from his post Signing Day interview:

Meyer: (Miami) did a good job. Every year we do the research on south Florida and before our staff got here, (Florida) signed a few players from there but I always look at who plays. South Florida in the last couple years with Major Wright Marcus Gilbert, who is going to be a contributor, Deonte Thompson is going to be a good player. I'd much rather take a smaller number of guys who are actually going to play.

They signed six guys in whatever year it was but none of the six ever played so I'm very pleased with what we're doing down there. Losing Doc Holliday who recruited down there for a couple hundred years…so we're going to put Billy Gonzales in the Lake Okeechobee, Broward County area and one of the new coaches I'm going to put right in the city of Miami. Great football players, but Miami did a good job down there. We're still going to go down there, compete and try to get a few players out of there. Quality is going to be the key.

boo boo gah,
If you take a closer look at your Gator teams in general, U might find out there is plenty of thugs trought the Gator Nation. Latest alumni, NOAH!!!!

and noah won 2 titles...your N's have sunk. sorry kid.

My preseason grading and analysis on Duhhhh U vs. The Mighty Gators

QB = ??? Rather difficult to grade when every QB on the roster has shown up tardy and they do not have a single down of experience between them.
Result = 9 sacks for the Gators

WR = C-. We won 5 games in 2007 and 4 of those wins were only because we had a Sr. QB with years of experience.
Result = 4 INTs, 1 returned for a 60+ yard TD by the Gators

RB = B+. The only minor bright spot on an otherwise mediocre offense. If any of our running backs were playing in the SEC they would be riding the pine. Please don't remind me that we only had a whopping 13 rushing TD's in 2007.
Result = One fumble for Duhhh U

D Line = C-. The Canes were surprisingly soft inside last year, a situational that’s being muddled by the uncertainty at tackle.
Result = Touchdowns for Moody and Tebow

Linebackers = D+.
It’s not as if the Miami linebackers will get pushed around, but this is an undersized ensemble that could have trouble against physical offensive lines that get to the second level. The Canes also aren’t very tall,which presents problems when trying to cover tight ends on passing routes.
Result = Good thing CI turned down the NFL beacuse he's going to enjoy his 2 TD's on September 6th. Rather unfortunate for Duhhh U that the Gators have the preseason #1 ranked O-Line in the nation.

D Backs= D-. While you still don’t want to cross over the middle on the Miami defensive backs, going deep on the them has become a safe haven. This is not a premier group of pass defenders.
Result = Harvin makes an early push in the Heisman race with 230+ yards and 3 TD's on Duhhhh U.

The Return Game = F The return game has lacked electricity the last two seasons, and that is not about to change.
Result = Huge advantage for the Gator FG unit with 1 short yardage field goal and the Gators 3rd string offense during the entire second half who will tack on 2 more TDs.

Final Score = 0 - 73

Canesrule,

Nice analysis. Thanks.

-jo-

Canesrule,
SLAP YOURSELF AND DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE!

The only two guys on this list I see UF really going hard after are Berry and Telfort. UF will be very much in the running for both (no pun intended as to Berry the rb). I think there are some guys higher up on Florida's wish list than some of the players here (ex.: Gators have some impressive qbs visiting their camp next month and I don't think they'll push for Eugene Smith).

By the way, UF sure has been doing nicely in the muck in Palm Beach the last two years. It will be interesting to see how hard UF goes after the wr from Belle Glade.

Gatorman,

I think you're right about Eugene. Florida's coaching staff will be looking elsewhere. As for the Belle Glade wide receiver, if you're referring to Nu'Keese, he has already committed to the Gators.

-jo-

Jo, Nu'Keese is from Pahokee. He is talking about Wooten from Glades Central. I know you're a Bama guy, but you are going to have to learn about the Muck if you cover recruiting in Florida.
I take it that your column is for Miami fans to keep up with UF, because you sure are taking some shots at the Gators. Do you actually know how many Gator fans there are in Dade county?

bigDgator,

Good call on Nu'Keese being from Pahokee. Of course I knew that but I wasn't sure if the poster was talking about Nu'Keese or Wooten because he said Belle Glade and not Glades Central. My mistake if I offended any Mucksters. ANYWAY, I'm quite familiar with the Muck Bowl after covering preps in South Florida for several seasons. I actually covered Pahokee, Glades Central and Glades Day in state championship games. Oh, and I covered Clewiston vs. Chaminade in the 2006 playoffs. As for taking shots at the Gators...feel free to call me out, but don't mistake me keeping it real for something else.

-jo-

What a dumb comment about those kids not amounting to much. A kid who was a true freshmen last year in Jenkins, a redshirt freshmen on the OL in Gilbert and a kid who has not even reached campus yet in Hammond. Great call. By the way, Miami offered Hammond and Gilbert so those would count as recruiting wins, not just Major Wright.

This whole article is written with a Miami slant. Why not just call it what it is? This is the press for a program that in recent years has become mediocre trying to keep the fans from being apathetic towards the program with a little rival bashing (thinly disguised as journalism).

I am sure this reply will never get approved. That would require backbone.

Matt,

I think you're being a little too touchy. Neither Gilbert nor Jenkins were highly recruited. Gilbert was not recruited by Miami or FSU. Jenkins and Hammond Jr. are depth guys, kids with high character who aren't going to mind working their way up and not playing most of their first two (or three) seasons. And, by the way, backbone is writing something and leaving your real name.

-jo-

Isn't Florida on Berry's short list now that Miami signed Brown? No chance of signing? It's a long way until signing day, why not wait on the comments like having "no chance of signing" until the Fall? You have to see why UF fans might find this column a bit touchy. I guarantee you that recruits read these blogs, just look at what happened with Jacory Harris commenting on Manny's blog last year. Of course Miami has three coaches working Miami at all times...they are working locally and this is their back yard. I do enjoy reading your blogs, but in my honest and completely biased opinion as a UF fan, you could have done without some of the jabs to UF. By the way, Gilbert was being recruited by Miami (though I am not sure how hard)and he was a 4 star guy...not sure if that makes him "highly recruited".

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