Cooking up good content for Eye On The U is a lot like making Thanksgiving dinner. It takes time. And sometimes, when there isn't a big turkey to put in the oven, you got to cook up a stew with a little bit of everything. That's what this entry is -- a stew of this and that, a new feature I plan to give you once or twice a week with a little bit of everything I collect between other entries like The Hot Stove and Keeping Score.
I'll start this stew with the freshest stuff I got this week. Tuesday afternoon, I spent most of my day with the Canes' top football recruit, Ely High cornerback Patrick Johnson and his father Patrick Peterson who visited The Herald for a photo shoot for our Broward High Football Preview (set to be released next month). Johnson, whom I met for the first time yesterday, will be our cover boy.
Listed at 6-1, 193 and rated one of the top 2 cornerbacks in the nation by most experts, the first thing I've got to say about Patrick is that he is about as polished an interview as I've ever had with a high school football player. He also is physically the most college-ready corner I've ever seen. While I don't want to give away all the stuff we collected yesterday (we do have to save something for our preview section) I want to share my impressions of PJ and some of the insight I got from speaking with his father.
Patrick certainly has a deep relationship with his dad, who has coached him since the age of 7 and is his defensive backs coach at Ely. "The first time I knew he was special, he was about 10 years old," Peterson told me. "He was in the Pop Warner league championship game and we threw a pass out to him and this kid had him wrapped up by his legs, he was twisting and turning, had two yards to go and dove backwards into the end zone. It was amazing."
Johnson has been a University of Miami football fan for most of his life. Despite his great relationship with USC's Pete Carroll and Florida's Urban Meyer, whom he speaks to every now and then, Johnson appears to me to be a lock to be a Hurricane. He told me he would be as long as nothing changes on UM's staff changes after this coming season.
"It's pretty firm," Johnson told our Bob Emanuel, our Broward High School writer, when he asked him about his commitment to Miami. "It's good to see a building process going on down there and to see Coach Shannon is stressing there is no 'I' in team. They'll be up and rising soon."
Johnson, who flashed a U for us on camera, told us he speaks regularly with Kenny Phillips, freshman receiver Leonard Hankerson and fellow Canes recruit Jordan Futch about how together they could lead Miami back to a national title.
"He loves all the fast guys, the speed, Devin Hester, and Portis and all the big boys that made it to the next level over at Miami," Peterson said. "I was shocked when he committed at first. We talked about it and he was like, 'That's where my heart is at.' I told him, son, you got the world to see. You got other options. Don't forget about it. I just want him to enjoy it all you know."
Johnson, who is taking only two classes this coming school year -- English and Economics, will be graduating in December. His father says his son has a 3.0 GPA and will retake the SAT next month. As for Patrick's personal life, his father said he's a kid who loves to play PlayStation2 and stay home -- a lot like Kenny Phillips was in high school to my recollection.
Patrick, the eldest of five siblings, definitely comes from an athletic family. His father and uncle both played football for Ely, his grandmother played basketball and his aunt ran track. His younger brother, Avery, who is only 13 years old, is already 6-2, 170 pounds and a stud receiver known as 'Scooter' in the Pop Warner leagues. "Everybody tells me Scooter is going to be the real top gun," Patrick's father told me.
There's a lot more. But hopefully, this will get you hungry for what else is in our preview section.
ALL-ACC RELEASED: The ACC released its Preseason team and as expected just three Canes were on the list, guard Derrick Morse, defensive end Calais Campbell and safety Kenny Phillips. The following is the complete list.
QB - Matt Ryan, Sr., Boston College
RB - Branden Ore, Jr., Virginia Tech
RB - Tashard Choice, Sr., Georgia Tech
WR - Greg Carr, Jr., Florida State WR- Darrius Heyward-Bey,So., Maryland
TE - Tom Santi, Sr., Virginia
T - Duane Brown, Sr., Virginia Tech
T - Barry Richardson, Sr., Clemson
G - Andrew Crummey, Sr., Maryland
G - Derrick Morse, Sr., Miami
C - Steve Justice, Sr., Wake Forest
DE - Calais Campbell, Jr., Miami
DE -- Chris Long, Sr., Virginia
DT - Andre Fluellen, Sr., Florida State
DT - DeMario Pressley, Sr., NC State
LB - Xavier Adibi, Sr., Virginia Tech
LB - Vince Hall, Sr., Virginia Tech
LB - Phillip Wheeler, Sr., Georgia Tech
CB - Brandon Flowers, Jr., Virginia Tech
CB -- DeJuan Tribble, Sr., Boston College
S - Kenny Phillips, Jr., Miami
S - Myron Rolle, So., Florida State
A DASH OF BASEBALL NEWS: Three Canes baseball players have been selected to the 2007 Cape Cod Baseball League All-Star Eastern Division roster -- first baseman Yonder Alonso, right fielder Dennis Raben and center fielder Blake Tekotte. Alonso and Raben will start in Friday's 6 p.m. game. According to the press release out of UM, Alonso is hitting.321 with 10 doubles, two homers and 30 walks in 33 games and ranks in the top 10 in the league in average, doubles and on-base percentage. Tekotte leads the league in stolen bases with 18 in 32 games. Raben leads the league with 29 RBI and is tied for second with six home runs. The game will be broadcast on NPR radio and can be seen online at www.capecodbaseball.org. There are five Canes in the league in all, including third baseman Mark Sobolewski and shorstop Ryan Jackson.
WHAT I'M HEARING ON RECRUITING: The next likely football commit will be Belle Glade Glades Central receiver Travis Benjamin and most likely sometime early next week. So far, what I've been hearing of late has been on the money. When I went spoke to coach Ice Harris at Booker T. Washington a couple of weeks ago, he told me Davon Johnson was close to picking a school. A week later, he announced for Miami. Same deal when I went out to Northwestern for Billy Rolle's hiring last week. I heard two Bulls would be picking schools very soon. So far, Aldarius Johnson has, becoming UM's 15th commitment for 2008 on Monday. For the record, I haven't spoken to Benjamin before. But the person I heard it from is very well connected at Belle Glade.
OK, that's what is in the stew for now. I'll be back later this week with more. Feel free to drop your thoughts and questions. Hopefully, I'll have an interview with Jacory Harris to share from his experience out at the Elite 11 camp. For now, I'm out.
P.S. - When you get a chance, go over Canespace.com and read the interview one of our devout readers had with former Hurricane linebacker Rohan Marley. The first part in the series was interesting.