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Pour your hate mail this way... and when you are done, talk recruiting

I know you guys are mad. And you have every right to be. This blog has been pathetic for the past two weeks. No entries. No thoughts. No news. Not even a fresh opinion. So, go ahead and rip me. I deserve it.

But I got to at least explain myself. I've been busy. I haven't had a day off since Jan. 28. Super Bowl week, my UM trip to North Carolina (talk about a blowout) and national signing Manny_strahanManny_salleyday are to blame. I know. I know. (WHY WAS THE GUY AT THE SUN-SENTINEL ABLE TO BLOG AND NOT ME?) There are several reasons. As you can already tell, I'm the only writer who blogs Eye On The U even though there are two photos attached to this site. My only Manny_gunionManny_tweedenexplanation: She doesn't like to blog. The other excuse, while being a beat writer is a tough enough job, I have a few more responsibilities than the guys who only cover UM. The guys who cover UM at the competition do a great job. But unlike them, I'm also in charge of gathering video and audio for our website, helping out on high schools (my previous beat) and playing the role of "recruiting expert" for all the other writers who do not spend nearly as much time on the computer as I do. So there. I know its not going to make you feel any better, but it made me feel like I at least explained myself. (The pictures, are of my interviews last week for our Super Bowl coverage. Yes, they do let fat people speak to the famous. Anyway, that's Michael Strahan, John Salley, Leanne Tweeden and Gabrielle Union from top left clockwise. So there is your proof. I really was working).

Anyway, now that I've hopefully replied to the haters about how Eye On The U sucks, I will proceed with something much more fun to read and the purpose of this blog: How about them Canes?

AllenbaileyToday's signing class in my opinion was spectacular. The last time I blogged, I told you I thought UM would end up with QB Robert Marve and S Joseph Nicholas and likely lose out on LB Allen Bailey and LB Brandon Hicks. I was wrong. UM got three of the four -- including Bailey who I thought was better than Hicks. Overall, I really liked what Coach Randy Shannon was able to pull off with the entire class. RB Lee Chambers was another surprise. Overall, I'd give it an 8 out of 10 rating.

But back to Bailey. I spoke to his high school coach for a while Tuesday when I found out he had chosen UM. You can hear the interview here AUDIO. If you don't want to hear it, here's a basic summary. Bailey is a stud. 6-3, 265 pounds of pure muscle. Bailey's high school coach Robbie Robinson said Bailey really wants to play linebacker, where coach Randy Shannon recruited him at. But Bailey, whom Robinson runs a 4.7, will have to show some speed to stay there. Tom Lemming, like most experts, said when Bailey eventually puts on weight -- which every player does when they get to workout in a real gym with a strength coach and eat college food -- he'll be forced to move inside. While some internet reports say Bailey only wants to play linebacker, Robinson said Bailey told UM coaches he doesn't mind if he eventually has to move there because "he wants to do what is best for the team." Having Bailey anywhere on the field will be best for the team. The kid is a freak of nature, extremely strong. I'd love to see him in the middle linebacker spot, ala Brian Urlacher, who is big, strong and fast and made the Bears what they were this season.

Dougwiggins4_19150_1 Aside from Allen, I asked a few experts to give me their opinions on where they thought UM did best on this class. Rivals.com analyst Mike Farrell, who covers the ACC and is one of two national recruiting analysts, said the Canes hit a home run in the secondary. I couldn't agree more. Farrell said cornerback Doug Wiggins (who is already enrolled, shaved his head and is already undergoing intense training) is one of the most physical, lock down corners he has seen. I saw Wiggins play safety at North Miami Beach first hand for two years. He's special. I can remember one high school game against Carol City in the rain in which he ran do a running back, stripped the ball from him and returned it 80 yards for a touchdown.

Of the five DBs UM got this year -- Wiggins, cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke, safety Joseph Nicholas, safety Damien Berry and cornerback Jared Campbell (Calais' little bro) -- Wiggins will by far be the most prepared to make an immediate impact next year . Which is good because like Shannon said today (HEAR THE AUDIO) every position will be open for battle. Which in the long run will make Randy Phillips and Glen Sharpe, two guys who I thought struggled, better players. Don't be surprised if Wiggins is good enough -- along with Chavez Grant -- to steal starting spots from both. I think they are both that good.

As for the rest of the class... before I ask you for your thoughts, I'll make a few quick hits and then ask you for your thoughts on the same subjects.

Best signee: QB Robert Marve. Miami needed a quarterback and somehow was able to trade Alabama for the better one.

Position most served:
Wide Receiver. Miami didn't get Deonte Thompson. But Jermaine McKenzie and Leonard Hankerson alone could come in and be No. 4 and 5 on the depth chart in a heartbeat behind Sam Shields, Lance Leggett and Darnell Jenkins. Daniel Adderley is a project, but a solid one at 6-6, 215 pounds. Kayne Farquharson, who is taking two JUCO classes, isn't officially part of the class yet. Strange. But our investigative work only turned out that UM didn't want to talk specifics because he is not officially there's yet. Either way, when he does get in -- assuming there are no unforseen problems -- he is also an instant contributor. Taurus McKinley, whom UM was recruiting and expected to sign, wasn't going to qualify anyway and is now expected to end up at West Virginia. Better off he doesn't come. UM really wants the two best receivers in the state anyway next year -- Northwestern High's Aldarius Johnson and Tommy Streeter. And they'll need to have scholarships.

Position least served: Defensive line. Canes may have a ton of young players on its current roster. But I'm still not sure how many of them are really good. Calais Campbell will be gone after next season (NFL), and the cupboard -- aside from Richard Gordon, Eric Moncur and Antonio Dixon -- may be bare thereafter. This is definitely an area UM would have liked to have gotten at least one or two more quality guys. Of note, tackle Chris Perry (Keller, Tex.) apparently had some trouble with his paperwork. But from what I hear that will be all taken care of, allowing him to join Adewale Ojomo as part of the d-line class.

Biggest fish that got away: No doubt it was Thompson, who apparently grew up a UM fan. He would have made this class even more spectacular. But like I said before, if UM can get the two kids from Northwestern next year, they'll be fine.

Biggest surprise: No doubt it was Bailey. I was sure he was going to the SEC -- hometown Georgia, Alabama or Florida. But he apparently is a different breed of kid. Someone who follows his heart. I like that. All the special Canes have always seemed to have that trait.

OK, I'm done. Now fill out your blank form (BEST SIGNEE, POSITION MOST SERVED, POSITION LEAST SERVED, BIGGEST FISH THAT GOT AWAY AND BIGGEST SURPRISE).

P.S. - And don't forget to include your hate mail.

Comments

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get a real job grouch

I think Coach did a good job going after quality guys. Thompson and probably 80% of UF signees got hefty work study checks. Whatever the case may be The U did well yesterday. In saying that, I mean landing a great QB Marve, A monster LB in Bailey And the best kept secret Kayne! Wiggins is all I hear about, he really has the hood buzzing right now. As for Hankerson and DVD, it is time to bring the U back and I think we got a quality group of guy’s who really love the U. I have a prediction, we win the ACC go undefeated and win the whole damn thing. I'm out!!! Peace to all my people in Richmond Heights.

Damn I forgot, Coach Shannon better not let no body out of Dade Co. next year. So all you dreamer’s get your grades right, stay off of So. Beach, and study for the F#@%&*! SAT, ACT & exit exams remember you have to be a full qualifier to go to the U.

I think our new staff has done an outstanding job recruiting this year. I've been saying all along that we need to get better on the outside on both sides of the ball. That's exactly what we did getting 5 great DBs and 4 solid WRs. I'm expecting these kids to play not only on off/def this year, but to make contributions on special teams where we fell off last year after losing Hester to the NFL. I wouldn't worry too much about the D-line. We'll end up with 3 signings once Perry straightens out his paperwork, and Bailey will move to the line as well (4.7 is amazing for a DE/DT, a tad slow for a MLB at the U). We also cleaned up at RB, where maybe only USC had a better class (at least on paper). I'm very impressed so far with Coach Shannon and his staff, in both what they say and do. Its a sign that good things are coming, and I don't think its out of the question to put expectations high for the upcoming season. We have a lot of experience coming back, and a schedule that would put us on the national radar should we come out unscathed or with 1 loss. If we get a couple kids to step up and most importantly our QB to take the next step - Whew, watch out!

its not work interviewing Gabrielle Union

Manny,

Thanks for the explanation about you leaving this blog out to dry. But, there's no need to degrade yourself so much.

You mentioned Allen Baily will be eating "college food"? The college food I ate just made me take a deuce 4 times a day. Are the U players on special diets?


Dru

Congrads RS and staff...looks like things have changed Back to the UM we are accustomed too! Love the fact that they recruited kids that can play any where and are fast and hungry. Should be exciting to see how many points our D puts up now along with our new O weapons...did you get the feeling their was theme with these DB's being able to score. Go Canes!

I was really impressed with the way RS came back and put this thing together in short time, specially after losing recruiting extraordinaire Mario Cristobal to FIU. The important thing is keeping the So. Florida kids like Wiggins, Van Dyke, Nicholas, Hankerson, and Ojomo here and not let the big ones like the S kid from Aquinas, a big producer of talent in the 954 including 3 linemen the past 2 years that signed with Notre Dame (Young started as a true freshman), get away. I figure good old fashioned WINS will solve that by itself.
Let's get an early start on the "NW package" of QB Harris, WR's Johnson and Streeter, DL Fortson, who figure to be even better than the one we got with Vernon Carey and Co.
I really think "The U" got much better yesterday, bringing in athletes that are looking to compete right away and bring back the 'Canes thing, which is best man for the job...

Manny...I think you have actually done a pretty good job on this blog for the most part..it is your co-worker that I write nasty posts about...Can't the Herald re-assign her to do stories about dog shows or better gardening tips...so that the readers of the Herald can get someone else in to cover UM who is actually passionate about the "U"? Anywho..good recruiting class...Way to go Randy....

first of all manny excuses are like azzholes...now that we got that out of the way there's one little correction...Deonte Thompson didn't grow up a fan of da U, he grew up a fan of the gators...here's a little quote from your competitors paper,

"I grew up a Gator fan, and I just felt like it was the place for me," Thompson said. Just moments after Thompson signed his national letter-of-intent,

anyways...please try to keep up with da U and don't get lazy again.

this is for Degnan, not you manny...
I’ll keep this as short as I can because you’re probably working on the blog as I type (lol j/k). Would it kill you to give us fans of the U something to read about. Or better yet, just take your name off this blog since you never contribute anything to it. You’re probably the laziest writer around…even Cote manages to put in a couple silly sentences into his blog a couple times a week to appease someone.

Until a few weeks ago, I thought this recruiting class was going to be a bust and I am now pleasantly suprised by the quantity and quality (and especially athletic ability and apparent work ethics) of the recruits. I think Shannon did a good job considering he got into it late in the game (especially with asst coaches). I can't wait to see what he does next year with more time to prepare (top 5 recruting class?).

I've read good things about almost all the recruits, so I think if they work hard they should be able to push the current players to play harder or get out of the way. I am most excited about recruits in the areas where we had challenges last year, especially QB (Marve), 2nd RB(Cooper), OL (Franklin), WR (all of them), Punt/KO Returns (VanDyke), LB (Bailey), DB/S (Wiggins/Berry). Most of theose should at least see some playing time next year.

GO CANES!!!

Good post Manny

I'd give the class a 9 out of 10. Thompson will soon see that he made the wrong decsicion. Its okay though, bc like u said, 2008 will have a plethera of WRs.

Dru, you just brought back some horrible memories, we had a 30 min rule, don't plan anything for 30 mins after you leave the dining hall because you know where you're going to be. I'm positive they laced their food with lax.

I just can't wait to watch Bailey rip someones head off! Getting Marve was really cool but Bailey is the one I'm most excited about. Good job Randy! The rest of the recruits sound pretty impressive as well, now hopefully one of them can make us forget Devin Hester (only player on the Bears that can score!).

You want hate mail. Go to the PBP and read Jorge Milian's blog.

The hate mail you receive can't hold Jorge's j_ck.

As far as your blog goes. I really appreciate your perspective. Omar Kelly doesn't have a monopoly on the SoFla Newspaper Canes Blog Industry.

Want my opinion? Well you'll get it anyway. You're writing style for the blog is to formal. OK puts a little bit of street in his style, and he relates to the masses. You write your blog just like your articles for print. e.g. You wrote, "How about them Canes?" Your competition (if you call it that) would have written, "How 'bout dem Canes?"

Subtle. It just reads more like a conversation.

I personally like the more formal writing style.
------------------------------

I think you nailed the recruiting front. I'm excited about our class, and I belive your points are right on. You are the first one to report (that I've read) that A. Bailey has said he'd play something other than linebacker if it is best for the team.

Everyone has him pegged as a DE, but I know that he wants to give LB a try.


Pathetic for the past couple of weeks... give me a break. It's been pathetic for a lot longer than that. (just kidding)

There is my hate mail Manny. It's not serious.

On a serious note, I can't believe you wore that shirt to a Super Bowl Event.

Good work, newshound.

Manny get over yourself I really thought the Herald could do alot better; got to tell U this bolg has been pathetic since the start.
Big O, is the best in S.Florida.

Their is my hate mail.

Leanne Tweeden...nice bro.

Go Canes!!!!!

I saw on canesport that somebody posted we are supposed to get "new" football uniforms. If this is true, does anybody know of the link where we can see them? Canes for life! "class of 03"

I'm excited about these guys especially Bailey, Gunn and Franklin. Those are the guys who could contribute right away. The WRs you have to proceed with caution because Moore and Leggett were highly touted and they couldn't make a catch when it mattered. I am impressed with this class especially since Shannon took too long to get a staff in place.

Coach Shannon will run these guys and get everyone into football shape. Like Michael Irvin said, a 19 year old should be running all day long. Coker spoiled his kids and was there like a guidance counselor. Grandpa is out, now we gotta get back to the basics. Two a days that will actually get some results, get everyone into shape!!!

Manny, whats up with your shirt? Dude your in south beach with a bunch of stars....c'mon. Just tryin to look out.

Manny, this post... not to shabby. the U did a heck of a recriuting job for the limited time the position coaches that were hired have and shannon did a great job for his first class. i love that we got recruits for all positions (minus TE) on offense. w/ the 3 OL that should contribute early, Marve who should compete and has a fair shot to start, Cooper, which if you seen the you tube on him you would be damn excited to see him, Marve, and Baby J, in the back feild, and w/ all those recievers. it will be nice to think that the offense of 2001 could come true again... and the defense will be stout... you konw shannon will get them into shape. good things look to be coming... on a side give props to the former cane christobal w/ his first recruiting class... he did his thing

what about A. easterling from the 'west'? this kid is special and hungery growing up in the 'city'. he errored big time true,but why does he deserve a second chance? we made a similar mistake with kid from Edison senior and look how he turned himself around.shouldn't we consider what aldarius & tommy will think of U.M that we will drop a kid if he iswn't squeeky clean? The 'west' is like a mini U.M and always has been (Bratton & co.) They feed us great players with toughness and that 'Miami inner city attitude' I hope coach Shannon who knows a thing or two about black struggle and personal loss will at least look closer at the kid.his family would love to see him play at the U.

BEST SIGNEE: Marve, in terms of the program's future; Cooper, in terms of raw talent

POSITION MOST SERVED: Obviously running back, with WR coming in 2d

POSITION LEAST SERVED: Linebacker. Bailey MIGHT end up an LB, but it's a lot harder to make somebody faster than it is to keep them the same speed while making 'em bigger. Losing Hicks to the Gators didn't help.

BIGGEST FISH THAT GOT AWAY: If we hadn't gotten four quality WRs, this would be Deonte Thompson. As it is, I'd say Hicks.

BIGGEST SURPRISE: Absolutely no decommits. Awesome.

An outstanding job. It's especially nice to realize that this is probably as bad a recruiting performance as Shannon and crew will turn in for the next several years. With the shaky post-Coker decommits, to turn things around like this...

Good things are ahead.

Randy wanted quality guys----Easterling with his trouble (and I heard couldnt qualify) in the end I think it was So Miss and RUtgers only who offered). Randy wants quality guys. Anyway, we were #9 overall on scouts inc and espn. THey did that 7hr show and know what they are talking about. To have a top 10 class is tremendous-------#13 on scout. Lee Cha

I think Shannon did a good job w/this class - I give it a solid "B".

We should be excited about Bailey, however let's keep things in perspective - Willie Williams was a linebacker more highly regarded than Bailey......and Shannon could NOT manage this young man and get him on the field. And if the blames all goes to Willie's character then why did Shannon recruit him.

We should support Shannon, but also hold him accountability. RS is not new at UM nor in SoFl. He should have numerous HS coach relationships that serve him well recruiting. It will then be up to him to produce the Wins......which is the bottom line.

I think this class will be the core of our success in the future. I like Coach Shannon's philosophy on targeting good kids because the academics will carry on to the football field. D.T. would've been a good get but if you look at the bright side of things the Canes got two corners who could shut him down in 08'.

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