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1 posts from January 29, 2014

January 29, 2014

5 p.m. Thursday update: Big loss in UM recruiting but some good news, too; Heat; Martin fallout

5 p.m. update: UM got mixed news on the recruiting front today, with National Signing Day less than a week away.

The good news: Brad Kaaya, rated the No. 8 quarterback in the country by rivals.com, removed any doubt about his intentions by announcing on Twitter that he's signing with UM next Wednesday.

The bad news: Michael Wyche, a key defensive tackle commitment in this class, announced on Twitter that he's decommitting from Miami because of an obscure ACC rule that requires players be enrolled three semesters at the same junior college.

Wyche, who was enrolled for only two semesters at East Los Angeles Junior College, had appealed the ruling, but apparently unsuccessfully. Wyche could have stayed committed to UM and enrolled here in May but apparently has chosen not to, at least at this point.

Wyche tweeted: "Due ACC rule I am opening up my commitment and decommitting... from the University of Miami."

Wyche did not immediately respond to a request for comment. His coach said previously that he might not want to stay a third semester at a junior college.

UM people expected Wyche to be a major contributor next season. One UM official thought he would have been the best defensive tackle on last year's team if he had been a member of the Canes.

With Travonte Valentine leaning toward LSU but not completely ruling out UM, the Hurricanes are left with three commitments among defensive tackles: four-star Anthony Moten, three-star junior college transfer Calvin Heurteleu and three-star prospect Courtel Jenkins. Heurteleu is already enrolled here.

This weekend, UM also is expected to host Lamont Gaillard, a three-star defensive tackle from North Carolina. But Gaillard is orally committed to Georgia.



Notes on a late Wednesday night:

### Four-star Hialeah Champagnat defensive tackle Travonte Valentine, whom UM covets, told me today he’s not sure he will take his scheduled visit to UM this weekend because of a “family situation.”

Valentine said he will make a decision on Thursday.

Is LSU still the favorite? “Something like that,” he said.

But he said he will consider UM whether he visits this weekend or not. He met with Al Golden earlier this week. But LSU is in the lead for the highest-rated defensive tackle in South Florida.

### Few other recruiting notes: Four-star Booker T. Washington defensive end Demetrius Jackson announced on Twitter tonight that he will sign his Letter of Intent with UM on Thursday. Then he realized he cannot do that just yet, and clarified that he will sign it next Wednesday, on National Signing Day.

Earlier in the day, Rivals.com quoted Jackson’s coach as saying Jackson would visit Texas this weekend. But Jackson tweeted that he will not visit Texas.... Chaminade (Cal.) High coach Ed Croson told me receiver Brayden Lenius has decided to visit Washington instead of UM this weekend but hasn't completely ruled out UM. South Dade receiver CJ Worton is a UM target.

### UM offensive coordinator James Coley, and his Twitter feed, have boundless energy. “This is survival of the fittest! Wouldn’t have it any other way --- Miami!!!!”…

And: “Stick your hand out the window – feel the FORCE!!!”…

And: “CHANGE just walked in and kicked your front door OPEN.” And, well, you get the picture.

### Jonathan Martin’s interview with Tony Dungy today was disappointing in many regards, largely because of Martin’s unwillingness to offer details and Dungy’s reluctance to ask key questions.

Dungy never asked Martin who harassed him besides Richie Incognito, or who viciously attacked him, or whether he ever stood up to Incognito.

And Martin seemed excessively cautious and scripted and less than convincing at times.

He offered no details about the nature of his harassment beyond saying they were of a “racial nature” and included “sexual comments” about his sister and mother. Everybody knew that already.

Dungy asked Martin three times if he was friends with Incognito. Martin would not answer directly, saying only: “I wanted to be his friend. I was working to be his friend. But it’s a hard situation. I did everything I could. I didn’t know what else I could do.”

Does he have any regrets? Martin wouldn’t say. “Hindsight is 20/20,” he said. “It’s easy to nitpick. I’m focused on moving forward.”

Did he check in the hospital after fleeing from the Dolphins? Martin wouldn't say: “I don’t think that’s important.”

He said he “had to get myself healthy” but refused to say what was wrong with him.

Martin seemed most concerned with trying to sell himself to NFL teams, to convince them that he’s worth taking a shot on. “I know I would fit in any NFL locker-room,” he insisted. “I’m as physical and dedicated a competitor as anyone you’ll find. Teammates will say I’m a great locker-room guy. I’m a leader! Being a leader is part of who I am.”

He volunteered that he “loves” hostile road environments and “fans yelling obscenities at you.” Good to know!

Asked about pro-Incognito, anti-Martin reaction among players in the Dolphins’ locker-room, he said: “Everyone can have their own opinion. They may not have had all the facts.”

No final judgments should be made before Ted Wells’ report is released in February, and there should be a fair share of compassion for Martin if Wells concludes he was a blameless victim here.

But Martin should realize there will be skepticism because he didn’t tell Joe Philbin about the bullying and because he gave no indication that he told Incognito to stop.

“I never intended to be a crusader against the culture in the NFL,’ he said.

For a response from Richie Incognito's attorney, please see our story on The Herald's home page this morning.

### Smart move by OKC coach Scott Brooks to go with a small lineup against the Heat after falling behind by 13 points with Kendrick Perkins to start the game. Down by 18 in the first quarter, OKC spread the floor, Kevin Durant again went nuts (33 points, his 12th straight 30-point game) and the Heat lost at home for only the fourth time this season, this one by a 112-95 count.

By the way, Durant scored 23 points on 9 for 17 shooting when guarded by LeBron James. "We played well all the way until the second quarter," LeBron cracked.

OKC was 16 for 27 on threes, the Heat 3 for 19. And the Heat’s 21 turnovers (its second-most this season) were costly --– including five by Mario Chalmers, four by Dwyane Wade. "Our plan was to protect the paint, and they made us pay by hitting 16 threes," Wade said. ... The Heat was outscored by 24 in Ray Allen’s 31 minutes.

“They out-competed us,” Erik Spoelstra said. “That’s what’s disappointing. They shot the heck out of the ball. Our offense got us in trouble quite a bit tonight. We have some work to do, like everybody else in the league.”

### UM went on a 10-0 late run to tie Wednesday's game against Maryland at 71, before losing 74-71 on a three-pointer with 3.5 seconds left. Maryland then fouled Manu Lecomte, who missed a free throw, then intentionally missed a second. But UM couldn't get a three-point attempt and fell to 10-10 (2-6 in the ACC) despite 25 points by Rion Brown and 19 from Lecomte.

### Quick note on a local charity event, for those with the time or the interest: Former Dolphins receiver Chris Chambers will raise money for student scholarships at his annual celebrity bowling tournament at 8 p.m. Thursday night at Lucky Strikes on South Beach.

Cost: $25, including entry into the event & one drink ticket. Or you can pay $50 for entry, two drink tickets, a sponsor bag and a one-week membership to Chamber Fitness.

Among those expected: Chambers, O.J. McDuffie, Channing Crowder, hip-hop artist Rick Ross and others.

### Please see the last post for a bunch of other developments updated throughout the day Wednesday... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz