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Holiday Break? Not at The U

The holiday season is supposed to be a time when you get to sit back, chill and spend time with your family. But covering this beat isn't allowing for any of that. Questions are abound heading into the holiday break at The U. The list of inquiries are endless...

There is the whole defensive coordinator dilemma. Could coach Randy Shannon take on part of the defensive responsibilities next season? Who are some of the candidates? Do the Hurricanes already have someone picked?

Speaking of picking, who is going to be the next athletic director? Weren't we supposed to hear something by now? And is the list really down to five?

Then, there is recruiting. Where is Matt Patchan going? When is he announcing? What about Tommy Streeter? Is Brandon Harris a silent commitment? Is Patrick Johnson really a UM commitment? Whose the next big time recruit? How many scholarships are left?

And then, there's a few basketball questions. But the main one: Is this basketball team for real or the result of what appears to be an easy schedule?

I'm not going to pretend to know I have all the answers. I wish I did because this job would be a lot easier. But I'll give you my insight as well as what I've heard through the grapevine and from my sources. But first...

WEEKLY RECRUITING PODCAST: With recruiting information at a premium and since I now more than half the questions you guys feed me are about recruiting I've decided to do something new for you Podcast here at Eye On The U -- a weekly podcast. What is a podcast? Basically a radio show without commercials you can download to your IPod or listen to online. For the past year, I've conducted a weekly podcast on high school sports (I'm willing to bet most of you had no idea) on The Herald's website called The Countdown. High School Writers Andre Fernandez and Bob Emanuel record at my house every Tuesday and usually its up on our site every Wednesday morning. With the high school football season finally over, I've decided to dedicate our weekly podcast from here until National Signing Day on recruiting. I've called on two of the best in the business -- longtime South Florida resident recruiting guru Larry Blustein (he's been on recruiting since 1971) and MSLCombines.net's National High School Scouting director Charles Fishbein.

Both of them are about as in-tune with recruiting as you can get. Blustein, who also works for MSLCombines.net, travels the country, attending combines and camps to not only get an idea who the best high school seniors are going to be, but also the best ninth, 10th and 11th graders. Fishbein does the same. You'll often see them on the sidelines here in South Florida. But they usually travel all over the state. Fishbein's job is to provide scouting information to schools who are willing to purchase his services. So, he goes to dinner with guys like Randy Shannon and Bobby Bowden. He hears the rumors, the thoughts coaches really have about potential recruits. And then, he hears the other side -- the recruits themselves and what they are really thinking.

This week, our first recruiting episode, touches on a number of key topics: their thoughts following the state championship games in Orlando; how UM got Arthur Brown and how they feel about his skills; the Patrick Johnson saga; Armwood offensive lineman Matt Patchan and where they think he'll end up; Fishbein breaks down UM, UF and Florida State's recruiting classes; and lots more. It's about 50 minutes of audio conversations with a set of music to break up the two segments. Anyway, for those of you interested check it out here. You can either download it to your IPod or listen to it online.

Back to the hot topics...
- I'll start with the defensive coordinator position. I've spoken to two sources at UM who told me there are no current solid candidates out there yet and that they didn't expect a decision until after Dewayne_walker bowl season. Is there speculation? Tons. I've seen and heard the names UCLA's DeWayne Walker, Georgia Tech's John Tenuta, Michigan's Ron English and UF's Charlie Strong. But from my conversations with UM brass, I get the sense money will likely be an issue in this hiring. Are the Hurricanes going to be cheap? Not necessarily. But they are going to be "money smart." Jim Frevola, who has been at UM since the fall as the assistant AD for external operations, told me it made sense to think UM could go after a talented, young NFL position coach or an up and comer from another school. Getting an established college or pro defensive coordinator will not come cheap. Granted, this is a coordinator position. But when Shannon brought in Patrick Nix from Georgia Tech last year, Nix was only in his first season as offensive coordinator at Georgia Tech.

- Speaking of Frevola, he did tell me he spoke to UM brass for an hour about the athletic director position. But he said he wouldn't necessarily consider it an interview. The only solid name he's heard is Army athletic director Kevin Anderson. When I asked Frevola if he really thought the list was down to five, his response was "I don't think so. I still think they're in the process of trimming the list down."

- Now to your favorite -- recruiting. As I mentioned earlier, in my podcast I broached Matt_patchanthe subject of  Matt Patchan. I think the general consensus out there is that Patchan is at best a 50/50 chance he ends up at Miami. I know his father played at UM and there is that connection. But by no means do I or any of the folks I spoke to at UM (that would be folks who cannot be quoted on recruits) believe it is a slam dunk Patchan ends up at Miami. He could decide today, Saturday or Sunday. Either way, I along with everyone else who covers recruiting expects it soon.

- Whether Patchan ends up at UM or not, UM is near completion on filling its scholarships. Those folks at UM tell me the commitment of WR Travis Benjamin received Thursday all but locked up the scholarships the Hurricanes were planning on spending on receivers. Right now, UM has 27 commitments. The shaky one is obviously DB Patrick Johnson. UM is going to give Johnson a scholarship if he wants one. But guys on the fence like Northwestern WR Tommy Streeter could be running out of time soon. I've been told Streeter's window will not be open much longer because the Hurricanes are looking to sew up other spots at tight end and offensive line.

- As I've reported before, UM is planning on using 33 scholarships -- eight for spring enrollment and 25 for the fall. Assuming LB Arthur Brown, QB Jacory Harris, LB Jordan Futch, DT Marcus Forston, WR Aldarius Johnson, LB Sean Spence and ATH Johnny Calhoun enroll in January, that would give UM five scholarships left to use for the fall and only one for spring (possibly Patchan).

- So, who are the other five scholarships for? Miami is working hard to pull in another defensive Brandon_harris end. FSU commitment Markus White and current Illinois commitment Corey Liuget from Hialeah High could fill that role. If they don't, look for UM to take  Whether Patchan ends up at Miami or not, the Hurricanes feel good about their chances of getting Northwestern offensive lineman Ben Jones. He would give UM three offensive line recruits in this class -- not bad. Miami wants Booker T. Washington cornerback Brandon Harris (who will announce on national signing day) and has Jacksonville Trinity Christian safety Daniel Andrews and Tallahassee Lincoln cornerback T.J. Bryant (whose mom is a Miami Central grad) on the radar. But Harris is the most likely possibility. Andrews is part of the package deal UM could get with RB Jamie Harper, which I've been told by others will be tough for UM to pull. Most experts tell me they expect Harper and Andrews to choose Clemson. The biggest vacancy in this class is tight end. Streeter could potentially become a tight end. But UM also has another big body in Laron Byrd on its radar.

- Onto basketball... The Hurricanes are going for their 12th victory before Christmas Sunday against North Carolina A&T. UM had 12 wins all of last year. The Canes are likely to move up in the Frank_haithnational polls after this weekend and could climb into the teens. I still feel pretty bad for coach Frank Haith. While I understand many of UM's students are home for the holidays, his team is nationally ranked and is still barely drawing 2,000 fans. College basketball is a tough draw in this town and it only makes things harder in recruiting when he can't get folks to show up. I know attendance will pick up when UM begins ACC play. The place should be packed for Georgia Tech on Jan. 12. But there is no reason the Jumbotron at BankUnited Center should be inviting fans in the upper levels to move down closer to the court when the team is 11-0.

- As for UM's plans in recruiting. The Hurricanes have one scholarship left in 2008. Haith told me  and InsideTheU.com last night he will likely turn his focus to landing a scoring guard that can penetrate and create. Haith had told me earlier this season he was interested in signing another big man. But I think he feels guard is a greater need with Jack McClinton and Lance Hurdle gone after the 2009 season. Freshman point guard Edwin Rios is still struggling to find his shooting stroke. Haith had hoped for Rios or Hurdle to emerge by January. But I don't think either of them are ready yet to take the starting point guard duties from Jack McClinton. It appears UM is going to have to stick to its point guard by committee approach the rest of this season.

Comments

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wow manny THANX 4 DA GOOD WORK!!!!! like most UM fans ive given up on PJ we want MATT P.

Great info Manny..thanks as usual

Wow, solid work. Greatly appreciated!!!

Nice work Manny, we are in great shape for the upcoming years!!

Randy Shannon is locking down South Florida!!

thanx manny

this is the first yr i have followed recruiting this closely
maybe its cause im looking for hope after the past 3 years of sorrow

its nice to see we are getting a solid class in here.

it seems like this yrs class is much larger than last yrs
how many did we bring in last yr ?

I think 18 Rog...

Yeah I think somewhere in the 15-18 range last year. This is looking like a great class.

Manny, thanks for all of the updates. Happy Holidays everyone.

According to rivals.com we currently have 27 total commits (3 five stars, 10 four stars). Compare that to last years class where we had 19 total commits (1 five star, 7 four stars). Things are looking up.

If we can keep these commits and add Ben Jones, Matt Patchan, Brandon Harris, Tommy Streeter, TJ Bryant, and a DE (either Markus White or Corey Liuget) that would give us 33 total commits (4 five stars, 12 four stars) and by my estimation would be considered in the top 3 recruiting classes in the nation.

If Randy and company can continue to bring in talent like this there is no reason we can't be challenging for a national title within 3-4 years. I'm just crossing my fingers that Randy doesn't turn out like Ron Zook in the sense that he brings in great athletes but fields inconsistent teams. The fact that Miami seemed to regress as the season went on has me worried but for now we can chalk that up to the circumstances Shannon has stepped into.

awesome post manny. Keep up the great work.

There are so many unknown's going into next year that I would not predict how good or bad we will be even assuming that these new recruits pan out. I think some guys will make an instant impact, but others take time to develop. Clearly, we will be losing our best players to the draft and graduation. Let's give Shannon some time to build his team. Hiring the right guy for the DC post is a big deal, and I hope that Shannon has all the say.

Hope this class can compare to the ones of past: 5 First Round picks in back to back years!!!

http://hurricanewarriors.com/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=48&Itemid=2

Manny
Great info and podcast. You are really bringing it....thanks
Go Canes!

Thanks Manny.

Thanks for the info and also great stuff on the podcast.

Great works Manny. Much appreciated.

Ed, the reason we regressed through the season was because of two factors: 1) Injuries and depth...2)QB.

It's that simple.

Medioker left the cupboard very, very bare.

Shannon is stocking it with the best of the best. The question is how quickly and how much can they contribute?

On offense, I think these young men will have an immediate impact.

Defense might, I repeat, might take a little longer but you never know, especially with four or five of these guys enrolling early. They'll have 8 months to learn and grow, mentally and physically.

Of course, I'm pulling for the incumbents to make great strides this off-season as well.

This will be the most intense spring practice we've seen in a long, long time.

And Ed, Shannon is no Zook. Don't worry about that.

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/education/highered/sfl-flpcrowd1222sbdec22,0,2306723.story
sunsentinel's scott travis: "The Florida Atlantic University crowd may not have been huge by college bowl standards: The university sold about 1,500 seats for the game." bowl mania? FOOL'S GOLD

http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/columns/story?seriesId=2&columnist=smith_marty&page=DoorToDoor071219
dolphin stadium pursues Race of Champions

http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/industries/finance/article/luke-entertainment-group-launches-uncleluketv_414687_9.html
Luther Campbell launches UncleLuke.tv ... GODFATHER

http://blogs.trb.com/sports/custom/business/blog/2007/12/orange_bowl_hall_of_honor_indu.html
Orange Bowl Hall of Honor inducts FedEx ... ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY

Nobody hates UM because Miami is a small player in the context of NCAA Football.

Posted by: GatorTime | December 10, 2007 at 11:25 AM
the Orange Bowl Classic disagrees ... NAMESAKE

http://www.theacc.com/sports/m-baskbl/spec-rel/121907aaa.html
50 years of ACC hoops TV ... CONSTANT

http://www.miamiherald.com/588/story/354062.html
QAM jettisons jivin' jason jackson from morning drive ... GOOD RIDDANCE

(cont.) QAM GM Joe Bell: "My goal was to build a wall of football and we've done that with the Dolphins and Hurricanes." CORNERSTONE

(cont.) herald's barry jackson: "WQAM renewed its University of Miami deal for five years." EVERLASTING

Cavaleer, it is true that we had injuries that were a factor but every football team has to deal with injuries. After more thought I'm not even sure if we regressed---although we certainly didn't improve. Perhaps it was easier to look good against FIU/Marshall than it was to look good against VT/UVA/BC.

I don't think Shannon is a Ron Zook, the thought just crossed my mind when I was thinking about how great this recruiting class is turning out to be and how bad we plays last season. I guess I was more pointing out the fact that if he doesn't start winning in the next few years then there is a serious problem.

Jax!! You're my boy!!!! hahaha

If Shannon IS another Zook, so be it. At least the cupboard will be well stocked for the next coach can win right away.

Can't understand all the putdowns of Ron Zook. The Gaytors just didn't want him from the getgo. He's doing something special at Illinois, and I'd like to see an Illini beatdown of those arrogant ****s real soon!

Folks, lets look at this a little bit deeper. I for one have never as long as I have been following UM have never seen such a recruiting haul like this. I believe RS is about to do something so extra-ordinary that before his tenure at UM is over, many will tout him as the best head coach in the schools history. Lets be honest, if Elmer Fudd was still running this team, there is no way in HELL that the recruiting class would be of this caliber. RS is LOCKED up the tri-county area and its no secret that this is the most talent rich location in the nation. Elmer Fudd did not do the obvious which was to grab the best of the south florida talent, but instead he got the secontier talent and he went away from his backyard and got secondtier talent from out of the area/state. With that being said,UM was doomed to have the season they had anyway(didn't matter who the coach was, it could've been Jimmy Johnson himself). Also, RS didn't have an effective QB to work with, we didn't have that FORCE at DT, we had UnMiami like LB's(with the exception of Colin McCarthy), add to that the WOEFUL play at CB like Chavez Grant who couldn't cover his face if he sneezed, and a DC in Tim Walton who probably couldn't adjust his rearview mirror. Look, RS is a master at work, I say to all Canesfans, just sit back and enjoy the Championships that were going to win really soon. To be honest, the only thing that I'm worried about is if one day RS decides to leave.

Looks Like CJ Holton might be jumping off that sinking FSU ship. He has decomitted and stated this following his All-Star game in Lakeland, FL:

"Right now I'm leaning slightly towards Miami," said Holton. "I just feel Miami is a good team and their school fits me pretty well defensively with my type of schemes they run over there. I still have to take my visits, but as of right now the Canes are where I'm leaning at right now."

"It's a perfect choice either way because I like both schools a lot, but with Miami they have always done well in putting a lot of safeties in the NFL and with my big hitting style I just like them a little better than FSU right now," Holton replied.

Da U is on its way back to elite status. CJ Holton is the real deal. A really hard hitting safety but of course thats not all he can do...

Spoken like a true Canes fan lilcane! All the Shannon haters seem to be forgeting that this is the same team from last year minus:

Brandon Merriweather
Jon Beason
Greg Olsen
Baraka Atkins
Bryan Pata (rest in peace)
Kareem Brown
Anthony Wolschlager (can't spell it but U know who I'm talkin about!)
Glenn Cook-injured
Anthony Reddick-injured
Charlie Jones-injured
Romeo Davis-injured
Robert Marve-injured
Jermaine Mckenzie-injured (he and marve were both freshmen but were expected to compete for starting spot)

SO WHY DID ANYONE THINK THIS YEAR'S TEAM WOULD BE ANY BETTER? EVEN SUGE WHITE KNEW BETTER!

All I want for Christmas is MATT PATCHAN and PATRICK JOHNSON.

I don't mean to bash Zook. He is a great coach. I just think he is a guy who can build a program up but can't seem to field a consistently good team worthy of a national title...in other words not the guy I'd want coaching UM.

per canesport, criminole commit CJ Holton switches to U! MAN OVERBOARD

Don't even blink guys, Liuget is reconsidering and may switch to the U. (WWW.insidetheu.com)

Manny U are the source of all things good and wise!

The recruiting is over folks, the PARTY is starting right now!

GO CANES IN 2008!!!

All I want for Christmas is MATT PATCHAN and PATRICK JOHNSON.

Posted by: nemo2002 | December 22, 2007 at 06:06 PM

Nemo, how about CJ Holton for now and possibly Liuget a little later. Then in the New Year Matt P and Pat Johnson?

This is all too unreal. Miami U now is the whirlpool for talent. All heavies come to Us!! Good night gentlemen. Lets see what brings us tomorrow. Full three days before XMAS.

You heard it hear first. CJ Holton has committed to da U.

"It's 100 percent done for Miami," the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Holton told CaneSport. "I like the academics there, the smaller classrooms. I love it there. I could see myself playing in their defense, the way they rotate their corners and safeties."

If there is one coach we can not afford to lose, it is Coach Barrow (although if this continues he will get better opportunities from somewhere). He will win some recruiting awards at some point and maybe even this year. CJ Holton had this to say about him.

"He's just one of the most impressive guys, best people I've ever met coaching-wise," Holton said. "He's not even a coach to me, more like a brother to me."

CJ will visit Miami on January 26 and says that will be his only visit.

"Miami's just where I wanted to go," he said.

Holton has already informed Florida State coaches of his change in plans.

"Florida State's a great school," Holton said. "I have nothing against Florida State. I just felt it for Miami."

Shannon is building a program here fellas. Let us be patient but the way it looks, by next year (2009-2010 season) we will be back in the top 10 if not top 5. Go CANES!!!

http://miami.rivals.com/video.asp?section=fbrecruit&pkey=60288&vidtype=prospect&vidid=101783

UM JUST GOT ANOTHER PICK-UP, CJ HOLTON 4 STAR SAFETY FORMER FSU COMMIT.

Without a doubt, this class is the best in UM history if they all enroll. My bigger question is I know we have 33 scholarships to offer, but it seems they are breaking down the door to come here. If we lose Johnson or Streeter, and even Patchen for that matter, we have a great group already.

Anyone on the fence better commit soon or there won't be a scholarship left for them. UM has a history of leaving prima donnas to FSU or Florida, and taking kids who want to play here above high school stats which mean nothing in college. Can't remember last time we "won" the recruiting services ratings, but can tell you we ain't lost to Florida, or even FSU in past few years.

My nephew held out one year. Was all county OL in his school division, honorable mention for all state. He thought he was such a hot shot. FSU and Miami heavily recruited him. He refused to commit. A week before signing deadline, he called to commit. Neither FSU or Miami had a scholarship left. He played well for Middle Tennessee State University for 4 years. Got a fine education too. But I know he always felt like he played the recruiting game and lost. Just something to think about...

OMG this class is loaded!!! Everyday we get a new stud. Its going to be fun watching these guys play.

Randy Shannon and crew are lights out at recruiting. They are totally taking advantage of not having to prepare for a bowl game. Almost too bad this will be the last time we don't go to a bowl.

rivlas said that ucla commit aaron hester is also shaky on his commitment and is now leaning toward UM as well...anyone know if there is any relation to devin because we could use another devin hester.

c´mon, many you gotta have some kind updated on holton, everyone else have kinda slow steppin...... give me some info on patchan, when is his decision coming any time soon, wasnt supposed to be this weekend his announcement..


Way to go Shannon!! Can't wait for UM to rise to the top!! Go CANES!! Good job Manny.

Manny,

So much for you being my aource for miami football! Why is everyone but you reporting CJ Holton is now a cane? For all you know Patchan could have commited already too. I know it's holidays but come on Manny!

WORD IS THT JIMBO F IS LEAVING FSU FOR WVU. LOOK ON WARCHANT.COM

also heard trickett is going with him. this would be great for us and recruiting.

That would kill FSU...will probably help UF more than us, we are already going to be loaded. Would probably mean Terry Bowden gets the FSU job next year. I read that he wanted the WVU job.

Without a doubt, this class is the best in UM history if they all enroll.

Posted by: VaCanesFan | December 23, 2007 at 02:19 AM
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