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UM recruiting update; Ireland's status; Wade's message to Barkley; Fins, Marlins

SUNDAY BUZZ COLUMN 

With 7 1/2 weeks left before National Signing Day, UM is in decent shape – with 11 oral commitments, including four ranked among ESPN’s top 150 – but still has several holes to fill. A half dozen highly-rated Dade/Broward recruits are undecided, and UM wants to come away with at least a couple of them.

 Unlike last year, when UM signed 33 players, this Canes class will be limited to 15 to 18. Recruiting this year “feels different – more focused, more personalized, more selective,” coach Al Golden said.

“We don’t need that many and we’re trying to find the right ones and trying to be patient. We’re going through it methodically. A lot of these guys will be at All-Star games and we should be patient – give them an opportunity to say yes to us for sure.”

An update on where things stand with UM's 2013 class:

DEFENSE

### Orally committed: UM has four --- under-the-radar Alex Figueroa (a linebacker/end who didn’t have the grades to qualify coming out of a Virginia high school and then suffered a torn labrum in a Virginia All-Star game in July); California junior college linebacker Devante Bond (17 sacks, three forced fumbles last season); and two well-regarded defensive backs: Miami’s Northwestern’s Artie Burns (ranked 69th in the county overall by ESPN) and Southridge’s Jamal Carter (rivals.com’s 20st-best safety prospect).

“Artie is a track athlete who’s tall, rangy and fast but still learning the game,” recruiting analyst Charles Fishbein said. “I think he has better upside than Tracy Howard. Carter is more of an in-the-box safety, very physical. More of a run-support type kid. In coverage, he’s not as fluid as Artie.”

The UM staff likes the versatility and athleticism of Figueroa, who attended a community college last season while recovering from his injury. Virginia and Virginia Tech had been showing interest in him before Miami offered. UM believes Bond can help immediately as a pass rusher. 

### Still pursuing: More than a half dozen, including two of the nation’s top linebacker prospects: Alabama-based Rueben Foster and Booker T. Washington’s Matt Thomas. Foster, the nation’s No. 1 rated inside linebacker, says he’s considering Georgia, LSU, Washington, UM and Auburn.

Thomas, the nation’s No. 2 rated outside linebacker, has UM, FSU, Georgia, Alabama and Southern California as his final five, but his coach (Tim Harris) said Thomas hasn’t established a favorite. “I grew up watching Miami win championships,” Thomas told rivals.com. “They are right down the street, so my family and friends could come and see me play.”

Harris said Thomas also could play defensive end: “His pass rush ability is excellent.”…

Miramar’s Jermaine Grace, a big hitter and rated 17th among all inside linebackers, told canesport.com there’s a 70 percent chance he signs with UM.

Meanwhile, UM is pursuing several top-40 defensive tackles, including Fort Lauderdale University School’s Maquedius Bain (his coach, Roger Harriott, said UM, LSU and Oklahoma are his top choices); Delray Beach Atlantic’s Keith Bryant (a former UM oral commitment who said he favors FSU but hasn’t ruled out UM); Port Saint Lucie West Centennial's Jaynard Bostwick; and Immokalee’s Deadrin Senat (leaning toward FSU, but UM is in the mix).

UM also has been recruiting junior college tackles such as Toby Johnson (41 tackles, three sacks, blocked punt at Hutchinson Ks.), Ben Bradley and Lavon Hooks (who canceled a visit here).

Bostwick’s coach, Ron Parker, said Bostwick visited with Canes coach on Thursday night and that UM, UF and Alabama are front-runners for him.  “He’s the best d-tackle in the country and will play right away,” Parker said, though rivals.com rates him 27th among tackles.

Dee Liner – the nation’s No. 2 ranked defensive end with the unusual but highly appropriate name – said he will visit UM in January, though he remains an Auburn oral commitment. UM is in the mix for New Jersey's Al-Quadin Muhammed, rated the nation's fourth-best defensive end. He visited UM last weekend. 

One other defensive note: UM has been trying to convince four-star Pompano Beach Blanche Ely cornerback Rashard Robinson to drop his LSU oral commitment and come to UM. The Canes believe they have a chance here.

OFFENSE

 ### Orally committed: Running back Ray Lewis III (a three-star prospect who averaged 13.1 yards per carry as a junior and 14.2 as a senior); two three-star offensive linemen (New Jersey’s Hunter Knighton and Cincinnati’s Alex Gall) and Kevin Olsen, rivals.com’s No. 6 quarterback prospect who missed considerable time with a foot injury this season but returned for the playoffs (his team lost in the second round) and finished the year 39 for 77 for 448 yards, with five touchdowns and five interceptions.

Olsen, ESPN’s 67th best prospect overall, “is very polished, good feet and a Ken Dorsey type,” Fishbein said.

Also, UM has oral commitments from three tight ends: Tampa-based Travis Johnson (rated 102nd among all players by ESPN), New Orleans-based Standish Dobard (rated 138th by ESPN) and St. Petersburg-based Jeremy Kerr. “Johnson is the best receiver of the three,” Fishbein said. “They can flex him out.  One of the better receiving tight ends they’ve had in a while. Kerr is more of a blocking tight end. Dobard (52 catches, 723 yards this season) is like Bubba Franks – can do blocking and running.”

### Still pursuing: Golden said UM wants another high-impact back to complement Duke Johnson.

Even though South Plantation’s Alex Collins (rated 147th by ESPN) dropped his oral commitment to UM a few weeks ago, the Hurricanes believe they have a decent chance to reel him back in. His coach, Doug Gatewood, said UM, Wisconsin, UF and FSU “all have the same chance.” He said Collins de-committed not because he doesn’t like UM but, “to use an analogy with dating,…it wasn’t right looking at other girls and dating this one.”…

Among running backs, UM also covets Philadelphia-area back David Williams, ESPN’s No. 124 overall prospect who ran for 1804 yards this season (9.5 per carry) and 24 touchdowns. Williams, a powerful runner who has been compared with Dallas Cowboys back DeMarco Murray, said he's considering UM, South Carolina, Arizona State and Ohio State, and is looking at visiting UM in January. And Santacules’ Diocemy St. Juste (1400 yards this season) is a fallback option...

UM is pursuing even more tight ends: 6-9 Indiana-based prospect Nate Wozniak (considering UM and Purdue) and Woodland Hills CC (Cal.) prospect Beau Sandland, who will decide Dec. 19 among UM, Nebraska and Arizona State….

Booker T. Washington’s Denver Kirkland, rated the ninth-best offensive tackle, remains a high priority but doesn’t have a favorite, coach Harris said. He visited FSU and Mississippi and will visit Miami, USF and TCU … UM is in hot pursue of Oakland Park Northeast receiver Stacy Coley (ESPN’s 30th best player overall) and also has offered University School receiver Jordan Cunningham (ESPN’s 51st).

Northeast coach Donnell Bennett said “Miami is high on Stacy’s list; he enjoyed his visit a lot” but that FSU, UF, Mississippi and North Carolina also are in the running. Among former Canes, Bennett compares Coley’s ability and route-running to former UM standout Lamar Thomas, and his speed to ex-Cane Horace Copeland. Cunningham’s coach, Roger Harriott, said UM and Stanford are his finalists.

CHATTER

### Though Dolphins owner Stephen Ross declined to comment about Jeff Ireland’s status last week, associates say Ross has seen enough improvement this season – and is encouraged about Ryan Tannehill -  that he still has faith in his general manager. “He sees progress,” a friend said. There has been no internal discussion of replacing Ireland, though it’s impossible to say what Ross would do if the Dolphins lose their final three.

### Ross cannot like this, though: Not only are the Dolphins producing the worst local TV ratings of any team, but they sold only 77.8 percent of available tickets to their first six home games, by far the NFL’s lowest percentage. In fact, Miami’s average paid attendance (58,484) is lowest since the team started tracking it in 1997 – and fewer actually show up.

But to suggest fans don’t come because there’s so much else to do here “is kind of a cop out because… the beach isn’t going anywhere,” Brian Hartline said. “You have eight games a year in the fall to watch NFL football. I don’t know what you’re doing on a Sunday at 1, but I don’t think people are out raging and having parties.”

### The Dolphins are very intrigued by the size/speed combo of 6-3 receiver Armon Binns, who will be asked to stick around if he impresses this month. “Jeff Ireland told me he’s excited to have me and knows I can make plays,” he said. “Lots of defensive backs told me I have quick feet for my size. I caught a lot of deep balls in college.”

### The final word from Dwyane Wade on Charles Barkley’s criticism: Though Wade he understands it’s Barkley’s job to talk about players,” he believes the heart of his criticism “is not reality. It’s opinion. I don’t know why he’s saying stuff but I can’t concern myself with it. It doesn’t change anything in my life… You can say anything you want to about me. But if you want to continue to say anything about me, reach out to me as well or don’t even speak to me when you see me.” Barkley hasn’t called Wade and “he’s not going to do that,” Wade said.

### An official with an American League team said though the Marlins aren’t actively trying to dump Ricky Nolasco, they indicated they would be open to trading him if the right deal comes along – perhaps not until during the 2013 season – but haven’t had an appealing enough offer. 

Comments

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deployeddiehardcanesfan

Finally a pretty in-depth recruiting article, keep up the good work Barry. Much appreciated sir.

NaplesCane

What UM needs most are defensive ends and tackles. everything else is gravy.

Frank

Hartline is right. The fans here are terrible.

'Cane Fan

No, Hartline's wrong, the team is TERRIBLE. If Ross is half an idiot, he'll dump Ireland in a New York minute.

deployeddiehardcanesfan

No, Hartline's wrong, the team is TERRIBLE. If Ross is half an idiot, he'll dump Ireland in a New York minute.

Posted by: 'Cane Fan | 12/16/2012 at 04:56 AM
----------------------------------------------------------
So easy to do, yet for some f@#*in reason it hasn't been done yet, SMH. Same ol story for the past 4-5 years.

Tampa Cane

Thanks Barry for your Canes coverage, the full timers don't seem able to provide interesting indepth coverage like this. Would have been better if you had included B'Nofrio's departure :)

v2lapapa

Thanks for the update on the Canes.
As for the Phins, Hartline is right, I'm not going out on Sunday afternoon, but I'm also not spending close to $400 to take my family of four to watch this train wreck of a franchise any longer. In the world of us little people that's a lot of money.
What's my ROI?

caneoutwest

Why don't you Dolphin fans become Cane fans for next season and watch the most exciting tailback in the world, who will become royalty before his career ends, none other than "Duke" Johnson!!!!

Kevin

Jeffy needs to GO. What improvement???? How WRs do we have going to Pro Bowl? ZERO. Take a look at the Pats, hard to do when ur a fan of Miami but look at them, then see how many Dolphins could start for them. When you do that you will see no improvement and its time for Jeffy to go. Ross needs to stop listening to his friend Peterson from KC the other GM failure who went to 1 playoff in his tenure. Jeffy never addressed the glaring WR problem all year! Since Hard Knocks when he knew we didnt have a number 1 burner. Just bring in retreads like always, the only difference this year there were no ex cowboys brought here. 5 years is enough , time to change Jeffy and go get Bill Polian, a GM who has built multiple SB winners, has a resume that Jeffy will never have.Remember back to that great question Jeffy asked Bryant about his mom? Most companies would have had you fired for that. Look at ESPN they are most likely going to fire Rob Parker for his RG3 comments this week. Our Jeffy keeps his job and then gets a raise. Enough is enough. The only improvement I see is that the more and more seats are empty each week.

john smith

The fans here ARE terrible. And these comments just show it. Fans will only support the team when they win. FAIR WEATHER to the extreme. They dont support the dolphins, dont support the canes. What a joke. And its not a secret. Its known across the country that S.Florida fans dont support their team. It is what it is. Dont try to pretend that its any different.

elgrancane

Looks like there's tough competition for the recruits the Canes are courting(LSU, Ohio State, FSU, Stanford, etc.). On one hand, it sort of validates that Golden is going after the right top talent. On the other hand, let's hope more of the blue-chip Florida recruits think about their families being able to go to all the games to see their son play. I hope the NCAA penalties come after signing day, and that they are not vindictive ala Roger Godell and the Saints, and recognize UM's proactive and corrective institutional control steps they've already taken and the proactive bowl bans which became a bit more painful this year with denying 2 more post-season games this season for the Canes.

 5>3>2

Ireland stinks. Knows nothing about football. His business savvy is nonexistent as well. Only a moron would make a "gator natoional championship celebration day" last year to commemorate Tebows arrival to south florida, KNOWING FULL WELL THAT AT LEAST 50% OF FINS FANS ARE ALSO CANE FANS, PLUS HE WAS A DANGED RIVAL QB... AND WE ARE GOING TO CELEBRATE HIM? STTOOOOPID IS WHAT STOOPID DOES. SURPRISED NOW WHY RATIONGS AND ATTENDANCE HAS DROPPED? Not to mention the fact that this idiot and the remainder of idiots dont like to recruit heavily from the U. Last year was a big exception when they took Vernon who is doing very well, and Lamar Miller who has the highert ypc of all the rbs. How mnany superbowls or playoffs have you gone to Ireland? Isnt ittime to start thinking differently?

The morons that say "these fans are terrible"-- Guess what. Win m--f, and the fans will come. And shut up with your whining.

To Brian Hartline- yeah that's because Columbus is the arm pit of the world. There's nothing to do but to go to Ohio STate suckeye games. Proof is thousands went to celebrate thier 12-0 season this year. Why? Because there is NOTHING else to do in that grey drab cesspool.

Can you roller blade now? No.
Can you go to the beach? Nop.
Can you go hiking? No.
Jet skiing? No.

So Hartline- SHut up and start getting more open. This isnt big ten football ya idioT!

Chris

The best Canes coverage on the Herald yet again. Great job Barry.

dbc

Thanks, Barry, for a great update!

michael

thanks barry for the great update on recruting been wondering what recruits we have been looking at and have a shot at.would you happen to know what recruits will be visting between now and signing day.thanks.

Mike

'Cane Fan, the team is not good, but far from terrible. You're an idiot.

Mike

5>3>2, You are the one that needs to shut up. It shows that you don't travel much and are myopic about what Miami offers. You can go to the beach on Saturdays stupid.

Mike

5>3>2, watch your spelling and grammar, well educated are you lol.

rboud

To Elgrancane: The NCAA penalties will definitely come after national signing day. The allegations of wrongdoing will most likely come before signing day, but UM has 2 or 3 months to respond to the allegations. After that response, the NCAA will decide on the penalties.

AnonymousCane

The Dulphins are about as boring to watch as watching paint dry or the grass grow or even better yet watching the New York Jet's offense!

Hartline while having a good year is on a team that is not very good, yeah the beach is not going anywhere but many of you Dulphins will be, is my guess,lol! The product is not worth the expense period!

paolo

Brian Hartline is right - Fans here are idiots - Bandwagoners, lousy and uneducational, of course. Had the Dolphins not gone on this slide of losses and stayed in contention before - People would still on the bandwagon because people here are just bandwagoners. What ever has gone wrong is not on the coach or Ireland, it is on the players who are out on the field and have control of the outcome. Philbin is taking this team in the right direction as is Ireland - If you dont like it, just get off the bandwagon and stay off

dom

Almost half THE U's committs right now are ESPN 150 players. If Golden nabs 3-4 of those kids, its a strong class. This team is just young, but loaded. If U can get Thomas the OLB, the 2 University Kids-DT,WR, Coley-WR, 1 top RB, added to what we have, U will be good. just KST and No Dame were blowouts(2 top 3 teams), but FSU, NC, and VA losses were close games..........You add all that experience next season with a Sr qb, and the canes should be pretty good next yr..........8-4,9-3, or 10-2 reg season SHOULD B EXPECTED. Anyhting else is gravy.......

Jo jo

Nice to see that the Canes have alot of players they re interested in for their handful of remaining picks for 2013..Plenty of potentially good talent and ability it seems.Everyone s more concerned with acquiring good or much better D line players and linebackers though.THAT lousy DC coming back saddens me too much though.If he had the guts.....(which he does not)...he d of left for the Temple job and sold himself.Instead he wimped out...like all South Florida already knows he is.(a wimp).Didn t even have the courage to take THAT job seriously.....cause he knew there was no way in ---- that he could come close to handling it.Anyway....the defense will be lucky to grade out as a C- with him still messing up the defense and remaining clueless in coaching up/helping players to improve.(just a pipe dream).

israel

Jean-Louis is no longer in this recruiting class, unless UM changes its mind. Academic problems.

badyboycane

Somebody please tell me why Golden is only recruiting 15-18 players?? The ncaa hasnt even handed out any penalties and hasnt even said "what" the penalties will be! Golden should not take it upon himself to self-impose limiting scholarships like he did with the bowl games! STUUUUPID!!!!!!!!! IDIOT!!!!

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