One of the greatest fears Canes fans have about this year's team is that if the team struggles again, it could potentially cost them a few of the top-line recruits coach Randy Shannon and his staff have managed to corral in the early going of building what could be a stellar 2008 Class -- something extremely and obviously important to Miami's future.
So far, UM's 2-1 start has been pretty unimpressive -- especially on offense, where quarterback issues and red zone issues have led Miami to put up some ugly numbers. The Canes rank 83rd in scoring offense (22.33 ppg), 99th in total offense (302.67 ypg) and 113th in passing offense (130.67 ypg) out of 119 I-A teams. For those of you worried about these type of figures being used against Miami commitments, THERE IS REASON TO BE SCARED.
Last night, I spoke to Miami Booker T. Washington receiver and current Cane commitment Davon Johnson, who visited Gainesville this past weekend with teammate Brandon Harris (a four-star cornerback on Miami's radar), Ely 5-star cornerback Patrick Johnson (another UM commitment) and several other local players Miami's interested in including Krop linebacker Etienne Sabino. From what Johnson told me, it sounds like the Gators are using Miami's offensive struggles against the Canes.
"It opened my eyes. Coach sat me down and really broke down the offensive schemes they run [at Florida]. He told me about the catches I could get compared to Miami catches. Yes, it's causing me to worry because every receiver wants the ball. If your not giving the receiver the ball, why should I go there?"
While Johnson told me he is still a Miami commitment, he admitted it is now 50-50 between UM and UF. Johnson, a four-star receiver who made Miami fans drool when he starred in Booker T.'s nationally televised beating of Summerville, S.C., last month, said though he will still make UM his last visit. He plans on visiting South Florida, South Carolina and LSU before then.
Monday, though, Johnson said he got a visit from a few fellow Cane commitments and Northwestern players when quarterback Jacory Harris, defensive tackle Marcus Forston and linebacker Sean Spence passed by his practice (the trio also stopped by UM Monday). Johnson said all three told him to follow his heart, but still pushed the Canes (CLICK HERE TO HEAR THE COMPLETE AUDIO INTERVIEW AS WELL AS MY INTERVIEWS FROM MONDAY'S PRESS CONFERENCE).
Miami fans should expect some of this to go on as the year goes on, especially in light many of these recruits will stay make visits to other schools. They should also expect to hear the type of rumors coming out of Gainesville regarding receiver Deonte Thompson, a 5-star receiver out of Belle Glade Glades Central who picked Florida over Miami last year.
Shannon said during his press conference Monday he's received phone calls from freshmen at other schools who have shown interest in transferring. I've spoken to a source who told me it could happen, but cautioned the more it gets publicized the more likely it won't occur.
Anyway, I'm running late for practice. I'll be back later tonight for a live Q&A between 8 and 9 p.m. Leave me some questions here for later tonight.
ON A PERSONAL NOTE: I got back from Dallas Sunday after nine days out in the Midwest and have to say I'm happy to be back home. The trip was a lot of fun and my wife and I got to see a lot aside from UM's loss in Norman and Miami Northwestern's big win in Texas.
We visited Oklahoma City and the memorial to the bombing victims of the federal building. We took a hiking trip down to Dinosaur Park in Glen Rose, Texas (which boasts the longest dinosaur footprints in the US). We made the four and a half-hour drive down to San Antonio to see the Alamo and the famous Riverwalk. And we went into downtown Dallas to see the Sixth Floor Museum where Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK (plus, a walk around the famous grassy knoll). For those of you who like to travel or might have made the trip yourselves, feel free to share your thoughts one some of the places we hit this past week. I'd love to hear your experiences.