In working on my Sunday feature last week, I had an opportunity to speak with Tom Lemming of CSTV.com and Jeremy Crabtree of Rivals.com and got some good insider information as to what they really thought of UM's recruiting efforts and potential recruits.
With some research sprinkled in also from Scout.com, I've compiled a list of who UM is apparently after and where UM ranks for them. I've broken it all down by position along with status categories (commitments, targets, and the also out there). Enjoy.
• Nick Fanuzzi, a 6-3, 200-pounder from San Antonio, has been a UM commitment since
March. He's been rated the 94th-best recruit in Texas by Rivals.com. Jeremy Crabtree said of Fanuzzi: "He could be a good one. I don't know if he's going to be a four-year starter type guy. Could be a potential All-Conference type candidate. We don't project him to go to the NFL. I think he'll be true to his commitment, which is what Miami needs. He's a good kid that could add some depth early on."
My hunch: I think UM is content with Fanuzzi and only one QB in this class.
• Graig Cooper, a 5-11, 185-pounder from Memphis who signed with UM in February, has looked even better since heading off to prep school. Rivals now lists him as the top prep school player in the nation and expects him to make an immediate impact at UM. His coach at Milford Prep said Cooper "sets up the defense perfectly, then shoots out of a cannon." He compared him to former Iowa running back Fred Russell.
• LeSean McCoy, a 5-11, 204-pounder from Pennsylvania, who signed with UM in February, has shared the same backfield with Cooper at Milford Prep in N.Y. and is expected to join him at UM, but not until the fall. McCoy is apparently a little more behind in school.
• Antwain Easterling, a 5-11, 195-pounder from Miami Northwestern High, has UM in a top five with UF and Notre Dame. Easterling is a local stud and is related to Willis McGahee.
• Lennon Creer, a 6-1, 202-pounder from Texas, is rated the fourth-best back in the nation by Rivals.com. Creer, however, recently listed Tennessee and Texas as his top two with UM back in the pack with Oklahoma and Florida.
OTHERS OUT THERE
• Noel Devine, a 5-8, 170-pounder from North Fort Myers high school, is a player UM fans were hoping the team would go after. But despite his interest in the Canes, UM isn't apparently interested in Devine.
My hunch: Two running backs might be enough here. Tyrone Moss is the only RB UM is going to lose after this season, With Charlie Jones, Derron Thomas, Andrew Johnson, Javarris James, Derron Thomas and Kylan Robinson, tailback isn't necessarily a position UM lacks depth.
• Kayne Farquharson, a JUCO standout from El Camino, Calif., has been a UM commitment and is expected to sign and arrive at UM in January. He is rated the nation's 14th-best JUCO recruit regardless of position.
• Terrance Toliver, a 6-4, 185-pound speedster from Hempstead, Texas, rated No. 1 nationally by Rivals, lists UM in his top five.
• Arrelious Benn, a 6-2, 210-pounder from Washington, D.C., rated No. 2 nationally by Rivals, lists UM in a top five with FSU, Illinois, Maryland and Notre Dame.
• Jay Smith, a 6-4, 200-pounder from Norfolk, Va., rated No. 11 receiver, has supposedly scheduled a visit to Miami in October, but is also being hunted by hometown Virginia Tech. Might be UM's best hope of a top-tier receiver.
• Deonte Thompson, a 6-0, 180-pounder from nearby Belle Glade Glades Central, rated fourth nationally by Rivals, is supposedly taking an unofficial visit to Miami.
• Alphonso Bryant, a 6-0, 190-pounder from Homestead High, listed as the seventh best receiver by Rivals.com, has UM and Florida State as his top two teams. Scout.com rates Bryant 24th.
• Leonard Hankerson, a 6-2, 185-pound receiver from St. Thomas Aquinas, rated the 50th-best receiver in the nation by Rivals.com, was high on Michigan, but it appears the Wolverines aren't as high on him. He know lists UM, Ohio State and Tennessee as possible destinations.
• Lionel Breaux, a 5-11, 183-pound receiver from New Orleans, rated 68th at his position, was expected to be an LSU lock. But now he lists UM as his favorite.
• Taurus McKinley, a 5-9, 163-pound receiver from Belle Glade Glades Central, unranked, lists UM, Georgia, Auburn, South Carolina and West Virgina among his top five.
My hunch: With a real lack of talent and with Ryan Moore and Darnell Jenkins gone after this season, UM needed at least one player ready to play for 2007 and got in Farquharson. While Leggett, Sam Shields and Ryan Hill are going to be there next season, UM needs to land some real talent for the future. Look for the Canes to push hard at receiver and land at least two more recruits in this class. Monsignor Pace's Demarcus VanDyke (a UM commitment) could end up switching to receiver if need be. To me, Jay Smith looks like the next real hope for UM of landing a big-time recruit at this position.
• Center Harland Gunn from Omaha, Nebraska, a three-star recruit by Rivals.com, says he's a solid UM commitment. Listed as the eighth-best center in the nation by Rivals.
• Anthony Davis, 6-5, 341-pound tackle from Piscataway, N.J. who is rated the No. 3 in the nation by Rivals.com. Recently cut UM out of his top five, leaving USC, Ohio State, Rutgers, Florida State and Florida. Liked UM, but with the coaching instability is cooling off the Canes according to Scout.com.
• Kristofer O'Down, a 6-5, 315-pound guard who is rated No. 4 at his position by Rivals.com, from Tuscon, Arizona who has scheduled a visit with UM for the weekend of Nov. 4.
• Kevin Bryant from Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson, a 6-6, 380-pound, who is rated eighth at his position by Rivals, also lists UM as a suitor.
• Ernest McCoy, a 6-5, 330-pound guard from Belle Glade Glades Central, rated 10th at his position, also has UM among his top five.
My hunch: Gunn could end up being a Wollschlager type player, somebody who takes a few years to crack the starting lineup. Wollschlager and Alex Pou are the only seniors on the roster and the only real losses after this season. Jason Fox and Orlando Franklin could be two solid bookends at tackle for at least the next two seasons. But UM needs help talent-wise and depth and landing at least 2-3 solid players on the line would help.
• Martez Wilson, a 6-4, 230-pound weakside end from Chicago, rated tops at his position by Rivals.com, has scheduled a UM visit. Tom Lemming said Wilson is a legitimate NFL-type talent.
• Chris Perry, a 6-3, 319-pound four-star recruit from Keller, Texas, was once a solid commitment but has now opened up his options again following UM's struggles.
• Luther Davis, a 6-4, 255-pound end rated from West Monroe, Louisiana, has reportedly scheduled a visit with in November. Davis is rated the fifth-best end in the nation by Scout.com.
• Kerry Murphy, a 6-5, 315-pounder from national power Hoover in Alabama, is rated the fifth best defensive tackle in the nation according to Scout.com and lists UM along with Alabama as his top 2. Does not, however, apparently have a UM offer.
• Adewale Ojomo, a 6-4, 217-pound defensive end rated 31st nationally, from Hialeah. Has supposedly setup a visit with UM in December.
• DaJohn Harris, a 6-4, 266-pound tackle from Gardna, Calif., lists UM, USC and Michigan as his top schools.
• Marvin Austin, 6-2, 291-pounds from Washington, D.C. whom rivals rates as the No. 1 tackle in the nation. Other suitors include Florida State, Illinois, Maryland and USC. Has scheduled a November visit to USC.
• Joseph Barksdale, a 6-6, 323-pound standout from Detroit, rated the third-best tackle in the nation by Rivals. Has UM even with FSU, LSU, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and USC. Already has three visits scheduled, but none include UM.
• Derrick Morgan, a 6-4, 260-pound strongside end from Coatesville, Penn., rated 8th at his position, is scheduled to make one of his five official visits to Miami.
• Devon Still, a 6-6, 251-pound strongside end from Wilmington, Delaware, is rated the 10th best at his position by Rivals. He lists UM and Ohio State as his top two choices. Could also end up playing offensive line.
My hunch: Canes will be losing three players after this season -- Bryan Pata, Baraka Atkins and Kareem Brown. Calais Campbell and Eric Moncur appear to be the future at end, but tackle is a spot where Miami could use some more help. Landing a guy like Austin would be great for UM.
• Jacksonville Forrest's Brandon Hicks, a 6-3, 205-pound outside linebacker, who lists UM among a top three that includes Florida and Michigan. Hicks is rated the nation's No. 6-ranked linebacker by Rivals.com.
• Darran Kinsey, a 6-1, 235-pound middle linebacker from Gulliver Prep, has offers from Kansas State, UM, Michigan State, Minnesota, Wisconsin and UCF.
My hunch: Unless something unexpected happens -- like Jon Beason leaving for the NFL -- UM should return its linebacking corps intact in 2007. Either way, the future -- Darryl Sharpton, Eric Houston, Colin McCarthy and Spencer Adkins are all young and have at least two seasons left after this one. Getting 1 or 2 players here to add depth appears to be the goal.
• Damien Berry, a 5-11, 197-pounder from Belle Glade Glades Central, who is rated the nation's No. 11 safety by Rivals.com and the No. 23 safety by Scout.com. His father Kenny played at UM.
• Phelon Jones, a 6-1, 185-pound cornerback from Mobile, Alabama who is listed as the nation's 10th best by Rivals and the 24th best by Scout.com. Rivals editor Jeremy Crabtree likes Jones a lot and feels he can be an immediate impact player for UM. Has strong bloodlines in football with his older brother, Tiger, having played for Louisville. Has a cousin who plays for the Redskins.
• Major Wright, the No. 7 safety in the country, from nearby St. Thomas Aquinas lists UM among six potential destinations. Tom Lemming says Wright is the best safety in the country and likens him to Ronnie Lott.
• Chad Jones, the No. 2 safety in the country according to Rivals, from Baton Rouge lists UM and LSU as his top two schools. Jones is 6-2, 220-pounds. Scout.com rates Jones as the No. 11 safety in the country.
• Joseph Nicholas, a three-star recruit from Homestead, who is listed at 6-3, 198 pounds claims to have offers from UF, UM, Pittsburgh and Wisconsin.
• Eric Berry, a 6-0, 194-pound cornerback from Creekside High in Georgia, is listed as the No. 1 corner in the country by Scout.com. Rivals recently reported Berry cut UM from his list because they did not contact him in the fall. Recently listed USC, Tennessee, Georgia and Ohio State as his top four.
My hunch: As talented as UM's secondary has been the past several seasons, the Canes could certainly use some help. The only player UM will lose after this season is safety Brandon Meriweather. Filling his spot with Anthony Reddick or Lovon Ponder won't be a problem. But in 2008, replacing Kenny Phillips (if he leaves for then NFL early) could. Getting a talent like Major Wright to join a pair of solid commitments from Damien Berry and Phelon Jones would give UM a solid class yet again in the secondary.
• Demarcus VanDyke, a 6-0, 161-pound standout with 4.3-speed from Miami Pace has been committed to the team since June but said recently he will begin taking trips.
• Doug Wiggins, a 5-11, 180-pound corner/receiver from, North MIami Beach. Also has interest from Michigan, Georgia, Viriginia Tech, Auburn, Florida, Boston College Oklahoma and Louisville. With that much interest he told me he's likely to take an unofficial visit to Miami. Rated 19th best athlete in country by Rivals.com.
• A'Jami Guyton, a 5-10, 179-pound receiver-type from Homestead High. Only rated a 3-star recruit by Rivals.com, but he's a tremendous athlete. A Roscoe Parrish type.
• Marquis Rolle, a 6-1, 181-pound receiver from Orlando Olympia with 4.46-speed in the 40. Rolle has been high on UM since the summer.
My hunch: I got a feeling VanDyke will stay with UM and give them either a solid receiver or corner. He's a tough, fast player. UM would still like to land a guy like Wiggins who is just a flat out playmaker. Guyton, who reminds me of Roscoe Parrish, could be that third or fourth receiver Miami ends up getting in this class.