Highlights from Al Golden’s just-completed National Signing Day news conference this afternoon:
### His overall view of this class: “I’m excited about what we did. The guys who said [they] were coming came. We have a lot of guys that everybody wanted. We took a run at a couple of other guys. Last year, I had a ceiling. I was against the cap. I didn’t have any wiggle room [with scholarships]. Not having the NCAA to deal with.. felt good.”
### On the front seven additions: “They’ll make an impact. Really excited about them from an explosiveness, size, maturity [standpoint] --– when you look at Michael Wyche and Calvin Heurteleu. Chad Thomas, a elite player, excellent explosiveness, pass rusher. Brings speed on the edge. On the other side, Demetrius Jackson, Trent Harris, to go along with Quan Muhammad and Tyriq McCord.
"Inside is where we’ve made the most gains. AJ Moten, a premier player in the country. I saw him last week --– he’s a shade under 300 pounds. Three nose tackles we’ve brought in, two junior college players [who are] more mature physically and mentally. Heurteleu, at 322 pounds, will give us size and strength [that] we need. Wyche, we think will do an incredible job for us. He will make an impact on the field and in the locker-room. And Courtel Jenkins we’re excited about.”
### He said he's "excited" that UM is adding linebackers with good size. "Juwon Young is on campus at 240 pounds. Darrion Owens is 6-2, 6-3, 230-pound range. Terry McCray, a sought-after player. Michael Smith. Trent Harris and Demetrius are swing guys --- they can play SAM or the rush in our system.”
### Golden said Trayone Gray can "play wide receiver or running back, in addition to what he did at quarterback. I fell in love with him after about 10 minutes" at one of UM's camps.
### Golden said David Njoku “won’t be a tight end per se” but can play receiver and H-back and could eventually play more tight end. “He’s a big athlete, ex-wide receiver. We’ll see where he goes with his body. He’s 6-4, 218. He’s a guy we can move around and put him in space.”
### He said quarterback “Brad Kaaya has always been a winner, but now he’s a champion. He’s coming out of this year with a lot of confidence. USC, UCLA [went] after him; we’re thankful to him for his loyalty. 6-4, big arm. Very bright. He’s a leader. He visited us 11 months ago, and you could tell just how bright he is. He came to our camp, did a great job there."
Quarterback “Malik Rosier will be playing baseball for Jim Morris, in addition to playing football. Heck of an athlete. Big hands, strong arm, excellent mobility. He can throw the ball in the pocket really well but he also gives you an extra element of being able to escape and make plays with his feet.”
### He said offensive tackles Trevor Darling and KC McDermott “are exactly what we thought they were. They are two young men who will be able to help us right away. Smart and tough, get after it every day. We may need to get another offensive lineman in this group because I’m worried about the numbers. Not worried about the quality. Nick Linder will play center for us.”
### Golden said “we needed to get two safeties and we did. Kiy Hester played multiple positions in high school, can strike, has explosiveness, has good ball skills. Marques Gayot is physical. Both these kids are big. Ryan Mayes can play corner or safety. We’ll start him out at corner.”
### Golden said Chad Thomas, UM’s only five-star addition, “at such a young age is very mature, is inquisitive. He’s a young man who had everybody in the country offer him but decided to come down here to our camp to get better. You don’t always see that. We will add some strength, some weight [to him]. He’s explosive and a thinker. If you ask him his three best pass rush moves, he would demonstrate them for you.”
### Golden said he decided not to add a second running back besides Joseph Yearby. “Joe is not 6-foot, but Joe runs hard. He’s a strong runner. Duke Johnson is 202 pounds. We’re trying to get him to 205, 206. Joe is following Duke’s footsteps. We have Dallas Crawford and Gus Edwards. The depth there looks a lot better. I don’t think we’ll go after a big back. I would rather save that for next year and get two running backs. We really like a lot of the running backs in next year’s class.”
### He said South Dade receiver Tyre Brady “was under the radar. Maybe some other guys were ranked higher. But we were like, ‘6-3, can run like that, athletic.’”
### He said “we’re at our max” with scholarships but “may be able to add one or two.”
### He said Christopher Herndon “is an H back, similar to Clive Walford except he will come in a little bigger than Clive. We’re excited about him. We were really close to taking another tight end. Clive kind of bailed us out [by returning for his senior season in 2014]. Next year, we need to get a tight end, a Y and an H.”
### On his team: “We have a lot of playmakers. I’m excited our skill level and production is coming back. You look at the guys with sacks, caused fumbles, interceptions. That’s a lot of production coming back.”
### Golden said: “I realized I didn’t have to spend three-quarters of the time explaining the NCAA thing" to recruits this year. "That really felt good. I could talk about our classroom size, the type of curriculums we have, the campus itself, our football program, our tradition. Eighty-five, 90 percent of this class was done by the middle of October, when this [NCAA sanctions announcement] came out…. We’re not where we want to be, but the questions now are about the campus, about the education, about things you would think young people would want to know.”
### Golden said injured Duke Johnson and Yearby are "definitely out” for spring ball. So is receiver Braxton Berrios, an early enrollee recovering from an ACL tear…. Golden said receiver Rashawn Scott, who was suspended for the bowl game, is having a great offseason.
### Please see the last post for major NFL TV news from this afternoon; highlights from David Beckham's news conference today; plus, if you haven't read it, the Wednesday buzz column with five analysts breaking down this UM class, as well as Heat and Dolphins news.
### Twitter: @flasportsbuzz