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My take: Jacory, recruiting, hoops, BTW and The West

I don't want to sound like a hater because nothing is worse than covering a losing team, but I'm kind of happy the Hurricanes aren't preparing for another trip to Boise or some bowl game nobody cares about. It's allowed me to zero-in on more important stories in the last of couple of weeks including the amazing runs Booker T. Washington and Northwestern, two of our local high school football programs, are putting together, the great start UM's basketball program has gotten off to, and of course everyone's favorite -- recruiting.

Obviously, nothing is more important to The U right now than that. It's more than obvious the level of talent this team has harbored the last two seasons has been simply not up to standard. And I'm being nice saying that. I'm sure most of you could come up with more colorful descriptions.

That being said, the biggest surprise to me has been the high volume of new names that have surfaced since the end of the season only two weeks ago. As U know, UM can only sign 25 in February and will push for as many as eight for early enrollment in January. Yet, lately, I've been hearing new names all the time, which makes me wonder if Miami is expecting some already committed to either not qualify or not sign with the program. Obviously, there isn't enough scholarships for everyone. But it looks to me like UM is trying to make sure it doesn't lose out on filling all of its 33 spots. By the way, the only players who will be gone, I've been told, are Dajleon Farr and Daren Daly.

- As for the latest... the Hurricanes had 22 commitments already before the season ended, a number which grew to 24 this past week before Canesport reported Sunday night that linebacker Lerentee McCray was dropping his commitment. Miami from what I've been told wasn't exactly crying over losing McCray and had actually been hoping he'd cut himself loose after some of the recent finds they've picked up including New Jersey's Zach Kane (6-3, 220), Vero Beach's John Calhoun (6-3, 225) and local boy Brandon Marti (6-0, 200). Calhoun is most likely to end up a fullback.

- If Marti and Kane, currently listed as athletes, are counted as linebackers that would currently give UM a total of five linebackers in this incoming class -- alongside Northwestern's Sean Spence, Chaminade's Jordan Futch and Memphis' Antonio Harper. Harper and Kane are middle linebackers. Futch, Spence and Marti, who I was recently told received an offer from USC, are outside linebackers. Homestead High's Marcus Robinson, who will be making trips, is expected to end up playing defensive end. Recruiting coordinator Clint Hurtt told me the team was looking to land between 6 and 7 linebackers in all. The biggest and best target, Arthur Brown, hosted coach Randy Shannon at his home Sunday night in Kansas. Brown is set to announce on Dec. 17 according to Rivals.com reports. Ultimately, I've been told Brown and Spence would be considered the real gems of the linebacker class. Seeing Spence play up close several times this season I can tell you he's as talented and as smart a linebacker as I've ever seen in the county. And I expect him to be a star with the Canes.

- As for what else the Canes are going after, I've been told the focus has turned to defensive back -- including a pair of new names out in California and another safety in Jacksonville. The feel is talented Ely cornerback Patrick Johnson will be a question mark up until the end. I know Johnson has gone on the radio recently and told several fellow UM commitments he's going to be a Hurricane, but I won't believe it until I see him put on the cap and sign the scholarship papers.

- Even if Johnson goes elsewhere (it would be a huge loss), Miami still has a great shot at Booker T. Washington's Brandon Harris, who would be one of the final 25 signing and expected to arrive in the fall. I watched Harris' team beat offensive line recruit Matt Patchan and Seffner Armwood Friday night in the Class 4A state semifinals. Nobody on the field was better than those two. Harris might not have the prestige or size of PJ, but I absolutely love his heart, hustle and intensity. He made so many great plays in coverage, but it was the little things I loved too. He set a big block for BTW's first touchdown of the game, which sprung receiver Thearon Collier for a 39-yard score. Then, when his teammates on the sidelines had fallen asleep on a punting assignment, he simply ran out onto the field and filled in, blocking an oncoming rusher from getting to the punter. Longtime recruiting analyst Larry Blustein compares Harris to Antrel Rolle and I agree. Both of them were so smart, such good kids and leaders in high school. I can see Harris going to UM and having the same type of career there.

- Last week, I reported Northwestern quarterback Jacory Harris' new-found interest for Oregon and I know it caused a bit of an uproar especially considering Harris is not only the most important recruit in UM's class, but also someone who has been UM all the way since he committed. Some of you ripped him on this blog for it. But personally, I don't see a reason why you would put a high school kid down for saying how he truly felt. Harris took a trip to Oregon and liked it. He has every right to. And the things he said comparing Oregon's facilities and fans to UM's are not off base. I know I've talked about the latter a few times here and how it disgusts me how some UM fans get abusive in the treatment of players. If anything Harris' comments about fans should be taken seriously. Fans should know ripping current players in front of potential recruits simply isn't good for business. Harris, by the way, isn't the only current commitment to tell me he's been bothered by the foul-mouthed criticism of players at games. Harris, by the way, engineered one of the greatest drives in high school history against Deerfield Beach last Friday night, leading the Bulls 99 yards in the final two minutes for an amazing come-from-behind win. I was told he also had two touchdown passes nullified -- one was a drop by Aldarius Johnson on what would have been an 80-yard touchdown strike and another by Tommy Streeter on a penalty. Harris has 47 touchdown passes against only 6 picks this season.

- This weekend, I'll be up in Orlando at the Citrus Bowl to watch Booker T. Washington, Northwestern and St. Thomas Aquinas play in three of the four large-school state titles games. For any of you interested, St. Thomas plays at 7 p.m. Friday. On Saturday, Booker T. plays at 1 p.m. and Northwestern plays at 7 p.m.

- Couldn't end this blog without something on UM hoops, which improved to 8-0 with its win over FIU on Saturday night. It was nice to see Canes fans show up in force, including a strong representation by the students in the upper level. Coach Frank Haith's team was up by 25 points with 9 minutes left before once again beating the press became an issue. Miami turned the ball over 9 times in the final five minutes. Freshman point guard Eddie Rios and junior forward Brian Asbury each finished with five turnovers in the game. We knew point guard was going to be an issue, but at this point I'd consider it the achilles heal of this team.

- Haith said Saturday he wants his veterans on the floor late to make sure those type of mistakes don't happen again. But with Jack McClinton playing with a splint in his left hand, I'm not sure how good he'd be having to beat double teams and traps. McClinton in my eyes shouldn't be handling the ball anyway unless its in spot duty. Miami is going to need Rios to pick up his play if they aren't going to fall victim to some late game collapses. Lance Hurdle did a nice job Saturday beating the press with his speed. But when Miami goes into hostile environments in the ACC, that's not always going to cut it. Haith knows that. His team has a stiff test Thursday at Mississippi State and a few more ACC warm-up games before conference play begins. Hopefully, McClinton will get healthy in that time and show he can handle the point guard duties or Hurdle or Rios will learn quickly. Otherwise, it will come back to haunt Miami down the road.

Comments

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I'm a Hurricane fan all the way in Louisville. Let me simply say that UM current coaching staff should be commanded for keeping thier focus on recruiting locally. Why should we go out of states searching for recruits when every body from all over are sneaking to the back door stealing our talents. I feel our local kids should reward our coaches by staying with the U. Not only it's the right thing to do, it's the best and logical decision.

All High school kids that have currently commited to UM, we urge you to stay the course by supporting this progam when it needs you most. Do not go to other school and make them look good while your Miami Hurricane is suffering. Keep our wining power-house tradition alive. It feels right to be a Hurricane. GO CANE....

do any1 know what happened at the pathcan house ? also whats the 411 with patrick johnson

I SUPPORT ALL THE INCOMING RECRUITS THAT HAVE THE MATURITY TO WANT TO RETURN THE CANES.. TO PROMINENCE....THE BOYS FROM THE WEST AND BTW AND THE ONES WE HAVENT HEARD OF YET... DONT ACCEPT ANY LOSSES DONT DANCE HIT THE OTHER TEAM AND HIT EM HARD.....

ITS A CANES THING YOU WOULDN'T AND WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JACORY HARRIS. I am 11 yeers ols\d and i stay on 70 street and you are da man I go to all your games and you are good. No you are better then good you are like the best better than Tom Brady. I have a big brother that go to the west and he say that you are a smart guy and funny guy. He say that and I play football too. and i wanted to wear your number but couldn't. Do dont not listen to these clowns. some of them just lazy people who sit on the computer all day to talk bad stuff. Dont let stuff get to inside your head. you the best. you a superhero to me. i am proud of you and my friends say that you gonna win the heisman with miami

JACORY HARRIS. I am 11 yeers ols\d and i stay on 70 street and you are da man I go to all your games and you are good. No you are better then good you are like the best better than Tom Brady. I have a big brother that go to the west and he say that you are a smart guy and funny guy. He say that and I play football too. and i wanted to wear your number but couldn't. Do dont not listen to these clowns. some of them just lazy people who sit on the computer all day to talk bad stuff. Dont let stuff get to inside your head. you the best. you a superhero to me. i am proud of you and my friends say that you gonna win the heisman with miami

Brandon Harris has the potential to be something really great. I think he is are best defensive recruit we have right now. I respect Jacory for checking out Oregon. He's a smart kid. I hope we get him.

As for Spurrier...I like Patrick Nix. I'm starting to understand their philosophy and I like it. We are going to be baddass very soon!

Hey all, speaking from someone stuck up here in Jacksonville, you all should be happy to get recruiting news, and heck even the ability to see games live which is hard for those of us having to travel 5+hrs just to get back down to Miami.

First off, thanks Manny for these updates of which we up here would not hear nor have since this is the 2nd hometown of the Gators....Tebow this, Tebow that, did you see Tebow spit up? Wow, let's create another freaking award for him, the so called Son of God up here....hats off to him and his season this year, but I am getting sick and tired of hearing about that, or the problems with FSU. All programs go through cycles, let's put this into perspective; Bobby himself only has 2 titles to his name however all we read about in the Times-Union is the fact that Jimbo is replacing him...finally. All respect to Bowden but geesh, let's get on with it...sooner or later he or Paterno have to retire, or die.

As to our recruiting class prospects for 2008, realize that even up here, the word is coming out that we will have an exceptional class, perhaps the best in 3-4yrs in terms of talent. We can have all the talent in the world, but if they are not taught well, if they don't gel as a team, its all for not. And know this; up here we have TWO full time sports talk radio stations, both local. Which for a town that is smaller than Miami, is incredible. AND, they actually do a great job, particularly Frank Frangie who is a UF grad. If you get a chance to stream them, one is 930 The Fox, and the other is 1010XL (more affiliated with ESPN and the station Frangie's show is on).

Finally, let's see what Marve can do provided he stays away from driving a car back up to Tampa this off season. I personally think that Freeman's days are done, and I'm not going to rip him, I only hope this spurs him on. I am tired of hearing Noles and Gators fans brag about their teams, but alas, the point is they BRAG, regardless of their records. We need to do the same....

Coming from up here in J-Ville, where we only really have the Jags, there is no other competition outside of these 2 college schools fighting for attention. We don't have the Panthers, nor the Heat to contend with, which is actually how I like it, local college teams, and the one NFL team, so all the focus is on the positives these programs provide. I wish us the best in every sport we compete in; heck I'd root for the Canes against the darn Noles and Gators in lacrosse if we had that program. The point being, let's support our Canes.....and not simply spout off at the mouth because we aren't winning 10+games each year in football....the basketball program looks like we are turning the corner, thanks to Haith at the helm. The baseball program always competes for Omaha...let's not abandon the football program when the talent base down there is so vast we simply can continue to show improvement and get them to stay put. We certainly don't need Butch coming down and stealing potential recruits because of our in-house fighting....the time is to rally behind our team, regardless of record. Don't forget if not for the loss to Washington in '00, we would have played for 3 Chips in a row; that's amazing, and it didn't take 10yrs in between Chips like it did for the Gators....

I welcome your thoughts on mine, I just want us to do well, get the best recruits that will fit Randy's system ( and Nix's) so we can get back to the pro style offense we are accustomed to seeing, and move us back into the thick of the Nat'l considerations each year. We have to realize that USF is a much better (and rapidly) football team than we were in starting out their program, Howard's doing well at FAU, and we have FIU right in our backyard. Throw in the Noles and Gators, and this state is stocked with high caliber programs from South to North Florida.....

Any chance we can get the basketball team to play, say UF or FSU up here? I know JU and UNF played them both this year, and last. All the games sold out, so it would be nice to see us expand our exposure within the state this way....just a thought. Til next time....Go Canes!!!

CaneDog66

But (Lerentee McCray) also says "I don't know if I would have wound up at Miami."

Posted by: mitocallejas | December 10, 2007 at 10:37 AM
WILD GOOSE CHASE

If Mr. C's wife (what's her name again?) wins, will she ask Shalala back?

Posted by: Lake Worth Cane | December 10, 2007 at 07:58 PM
be careful what you wish for ...

Miami is a small player in the context of NCAA Football.

Posted by: GatorTime | December 10, 2007 at 11:25
NFL, TV, blue chips disagree ... WISHFUL THINKING

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/columns/story?columnist=feldman_bruce&id=3148851
ESPN's Bruce Feldman (Cane Mutiny author): "(Tradition) is also why Notre Dame and Miami can go through disastrous seasons and still be putting together top-10 recruiting classes."

http://media.miamiherald.com/smedia/2007/11/10/21/378-Team11_ob_spts_jvb.standalone.prod_affiliate.56.JPG
UM can only draw when they have a Great Team and they play another great Team. Otherwise nobody shows up to the game.

Posted by: GatorTime | December 10, 2007 at 11:25 AM
nobody? HYPERBOLE

Manny or Green,

Can either one of U get the 411 on why the Canes have yet to offer the jc stud DE Markus White? According to rivals& scout he just committed to the noles. This kid led the nation in sacks with 24.5, and said to be high on the Canes but never received an offer. The same goes for stud LB Gavin Hardin, the #1 overall player from Tenn. He also is very high on the Canes but has yet to receive an offer. How can the Canes not have use for a 6'5 240lb LB? Please tell me that the Canes have not offered these guys cause they know they might not qualify!

Posted by: Cane-ster Nip | December 10, 2007 at 09:45 PM
trust Randy

This is not your typical UMhater since I live in CG

Posted by: GatorTime | December 10, 2007 at 11:25 AM
hey gaturd, why don't you go back to your cracker mecca ...

gainesville is insignificant

Jacory will do the right Thing, He bleeds Orange and Green. Thats all he knows. He knows how to Win Championships.

Cant wait to see him in the spring drills.

Go Canes!!!

It always annoys me when I hear boos at the OB too, but I have heard other teams fans boo their teams at away games as well. Not just a U thing. What is a U thing is we love this U and the kids who play here, and we want them to be successful. I think Jacory is the next great U QB and can't wait to see him in the spring.

Jacory don't worry about the comments made by some of so called cane fans. They don't know your heart and that's what you should follow. Listen to your parents and coaches for guidance and you will be successful in life. Good luck in the state game even though I'm a Carol City alumnus let them know 305 have the best football in the nation!

Manny, don't waste my time with basketball. What's going on now is a total farce. The games don't count for squat. Even the conference championship doesn;t get determined until the 3 day tourney in March. All that's going on now is meaningless warmup games.
Then when the "regular season" gets under way, it doesn't determine the conference championship, but only seeding for the 3 day conference championship tourney. Then if you think winning the conference championship in 3 days was special, you find out that 80% of the teams in the ACC are also going to the NCAA tournament. What a farce!

Leo: bubble teams disagree ... MEANINGFUL

any confirmation that Streeter is committed to THE U as well??? i heard it on 560 from some espn guy....

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