With exactly two weeks left until National Signing Day (Wednesday, Feb. 6) the nerves of internet recruiting junkies are at all an time high. Do a quick search of UM recruiting message boards and you'll find subject lines like these...
-- The B-Wash Saga... what's the deal? (Translation: What is happening with Northwestern offensive lineman Brandon Washington?)
-- Buchanon makes the switch (Translation: Melbourne Palm Bay linebacker Ramon Buchanon says he is now going to sign with the Gators)
-- The Heck With Streeter already (Translation: Frustrated UM fans are tired of waiting for Northwestern receiver Tommy Streeter to follow his teammates and pick the Hurricanes)
For those of you not so deeply connected to the insane world of recruiting but who suddenly got a bug to find out what Randy Shannon and crew are trying to do to build a better future for this 5-7 program, I've decided to compile a checklist if you will of what has happened, might happen, could happen and potentially happen in the next two weeks. Basically, here's what you need to know and what you need to follow over the final 14 days of recruiting insanity if you wear green and orange on Saturdays.
- There are between 32-34 scholarships Miami is trying to use by Feb. 6 to go toward this upcoming football season. So far, 26 scholarships are accounted for from kids who have given Shannon their word they'll sign scholarships (that number was higher before a few decommitments). Just so you know: Miami can use a maximum of 25 scholarships on national signing day. The rest of the commitments will either have to enroll early or wait until the following January to sign with UM. There's also the junior college route and prep school route, but it also means those players are open to being recruited again and possibly choosing other schools.
- Back to early enrollees, the kids that are trying to sign up early for the spring semester at UM so they can participate in spring practice. The deadline to enroll in those classes is today (Wednesday, Jan. 23). If any of those early enrollees are unable to begin classes by today (barring some new unforseen rule stretching), it means they'll have to take up one of the 25 scholarships used on NSD (National Signing Day) and begin taking classes in the fall. Or, go somewhere else.
- According to a previous count, 11 commitments were supposed to be enrolled by today. We already know that Boyd Anderson safety Joseph Wylie (short by a credit) will have to wait until NSD to sign with the Hurricanes. As of Tuesday night, five other EE (early enrollees) remained in question -- Miami Northwestern quarterback Jacory Harris, defensive tackle Marcus Forston, linebacker Sean Spence and receiver Aldarius Johnson and Hollywood Chaminade linebacker Jordan Futch. *Despite an internet report that the Northwestern four would be allowed to enroll in classes by Wednesday because their transcripts from high school had cleared UM admissions, I was told by Jacory Harris' father Rodney Harris, the families of the players had yet to be informed of anything by UM late Tuesday night. "As soon as I hear something I'll let you know," he said. A family member from Futch's family said they too had yet to hear from UM as of late Tuesday night. Futch's family member said Futch was NCAA eligible and the hold-up was in the UM's admissions office. "Jordan is ready to go. He's anxious. But no matter what happens, whether he starts school in the fall or now, he wants to be a Hurricane. We're just not realy optimstic right now its going to happen tomorrow." We should find out by Wednesday night what finally happened.
- The other five early enrollees -- linebacker Arthur Brown, kicker Jake Wieclaw, quarterback Cannon Smith, fullback Patrick Hill and tight end John Calhoun -- are already said to be taking classes at UM. The school is supposed to announce an official list later this week. If the other five scheduled early enrollees are unable to begin classes by today, it would likely leave UM with 21 commitments for NSD and only four open available scholarships (perhaps more if any of the current commitments do not qualify academically). The Hurricanes already hosted a large group of visitors this past weekend are set to host more than dozen over the span of the next two weeks.
Below is a list I compiled of who could end up choosing the Hurricanes on NSD or before then as well as an update on current "soft commitments" of players. Basically, its a whose-list-of-who could end up choosing the Hurricanes from now until NSD.
THE BIG TARGETS
RB, Jamie Harper, Jacksonville Trinity Christian (6-0, 210, 4.4): Rivals.com reports he will visit UM on Feb. 2. Clemson is said to be the front-runner although the return of James Davis to Clemson could make things more interesting. Harper is consider the fifth-best running back in the country by Scout.com. He is the only running back Miami has consistently recruited. His close friend, safety Daniel Andrews, is a Clemson commitment. He recently skipped a trip to the University of Florida. He is also said to be considering Florida State and will visit the Noles on Jan. 25.
OT, Ben Jones, Miami Northwestern (6-6, 280): The starting right tackle on Northwestern’s state championship team, Jones took a trip out to Clemson on the weekend of Jan. 11. He is said to have whittled his choices down to the Hurricanes and the Tigers. The Hurricanes have felt strongly they'll get Jones in the end. Canesport.com reported Shannon visited Jones' home Tuesday night but didn't come away with a commitment.
WR, Tommy Streeter, Miami Northwestern (6-5, 200, 4.5): One of the top remaining high profile recruits from Northwestern who has maintained an open stance toward his recruitment. Streeter recently visited South Carolina and went to Boston College and Oregon earlier this year. Scout.com reports he will visit Mississippi the weekend of Feb. 2. Despite what many people perceive as a cooling off between Streeter and the Hurricanes, the fact remains four of his teammates are already at UM including quarterback Jacory Harris and fellow receiver Aldarius Johnson. That alone leaves the Hurricanes in the mix for what is expected to be some signing day drama.
WR, Martavious Odoms, Pahokee (5-8, 175, 4.5): The Hurricanes will supposedly get a visit from Odoms on the weekend of Jan. 25 and are one of five teams with a shot at him. South Florida, Auburn and West Virginia are also in the running. Odoms is considered a four-star recruit by Rivals.com.
WR, Laron Byrd, (6-4, 205, 4.5): Rated the 69th best receiver prospect in the nation by Scout, Byrd has been busy making trips over the past month. He recently visited Mississippi State and supposedly will hit Nebraska before coming to UM on the weekend of Feb. 2. He had 50 catches for over 630 yards and 13 touchdowns his senior season. He also picked off three passes from his safety spot.
DE, Nicholas Perry, Detroit Martin Luther King (6-4, 235, 4.7): Perry was a menace and tallied more than 30 sacks his senior year in Michigan. Considered the fifth-best defensive end in the nation by Scout.com. He recently made a trip out to USC and loved it. He is set to visit nearby Michigan this weekend before making his final trip to Miami on the weekend of Feb. 2. Perry said he has no front-runner, but would like to be a part of a talented incoming class. He is said to have hung out with Northwestern defensive tackle and UM commitment Marcus Forston at the U.S. Army All-American game in San Antonio.
DT, Corey Liuget, Hialeah (6-3, 270, 4.7): Liuget committed to Illinois in October but has since said opened up his recruitment, including the Hurricanes with Florida State and LSU. The Hurricanes have made an in-home visit to Liuget, but are not likely to receive a visit from him. Word on the street is his family would like Liuget to leave South Florida.
LB, Gavin Hardin, Jackson Central, TN (6-4, 240, 4.7): Hardin has been an oral commitment to Mississippi since before the football season began, but after a coaching change he opened things back up and visited UM the weekend of Jan. 18. He told Scout.com he loved the trip and was blown away. He is still set to visit Mississippi the weekend of Jan. 25. The Hurricanes have a strong shot of landing him.
CB, Brandon Harris, Miami Booker T. Washington (5-10, 185, 4.4): Will visit UM on Jan. 25 with high school teammates and current Hurricane commitments Thearon Collier and Davon Johnson. Harris is the top remaining available local player and considered one of the country’s five best cornerbacks -- and a must get for Miami by most experts. Miami will not be his final visit. He could end up going to visit South Florida on the final recruiting weekend. Herald High School Writer Andre Fernandez thinks Harris is going to choose either Ohio State or Miami. Harris' announcement is expected to come on national signing day, likely to a live TV audience.
S, Vaughn Telemaque, Long Beach Poly, Calif. (6-2, 187, 4.5): Telemaque has come out of nowhere to become one of the best defensive backs in the country. He visited UM on the weekend of Jan. 18-20 with several friends from California and said he came away impressed. He lists UM in the top three with Oregon and USC, who he is supposed to visit on Jan. 25. Telemaque told Scout.com he will announce his decision on FSN on Jan. 30.
CB, T.J. Bryant, Tallahassee Lincoln (6-0, 185, 4.4): Bryant is considered the prototypical cornerback. He has kept his recruiting quiet for the most part and is said to be down to six schools along with Miami, Alabama, Florida, LSU, USC and Florida State. Scout.com reported he is visiting UM this week. Bryant is rated a top five recruit in the state.
CB, Alonzo Lawrence, George County, MS (6-0, 180, 4.5): Being recruited by special teams coach Joe Pannunzio, Lawrence is rated the nation’s 11th-best cornerback by Scout.com. He’s visited Alabama and Ole Miss and recently added UM after an in-home visit. He’s supposed to visit UM Jan. 25. He had 30 catches for 772 yards and 11 touchdowns his senior season. He also returned five kickoffs for touchdowns. On defense, he had 91 tackles, two touchdowns, and two picks.
DB, Herman Davidson, Long Beach Poly, Calif (6-2, 216, 4.6): Davidson made the trip down to Miami with teammate Telemaque on the weekend of Jan. 18 and told Scout.com UM opened up his eyes. He lists UM with Cal and North Carolina. He finished the 2007 season with 71 tackles and six interceptions and two fumble recoveries. He is rated the 19th-best safety prospect in the country by Scout.com.
- There are a number of other low-profile recruits Miami could end up extending scholarships to if the Hurricanes strike out with the big boys -- especially locals like Archbishop Carroll cornerback George Baker or Booker T. Washington defensive end Jonathan Jackson. But for right now, those are the big names to worry about.
- As for those soft commitments (those would be kids who are committed, but are still taking trips or looking elsewhere)... Palm Beach Lakes defensive tackle Jeremy Lewis, who has visited four other schools, is expected to solidify his commitment this weekend when he visits Miami... Northwestern offensive lineman Brandon Washington told me Tuesday night his trips to other potential suitors have been ruined by the fact he has yet to receive his ACT scores. Washington had planned to visit North Carolina (Jan. 11), LSU (Jan. 18) and South Florida (Jan. 25) before hitting Miami on Feb. 2, but he says those plans are now on hold. When asked who he would pick in the end, he said "The team who recruits me the hardest." Washington, who played left tackle this season for the state champion Bulls, also said he has no problem playing guard in college if it is in the best interest of the team.