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Great start to recruiting home stretch

University of Miami fans waited up well past their bedtimes Thursday night -- who am I kidding? -- to find out if their final recruiting weekend was going to start off with a bang on the West Coast. It did.

Long Beach Poly defensive back Vaughn Telemaque, considered the nation's 12th-Vaughn_telemaquebest safety by Rivals.com, announced during a recorded interview on Fox Sports Net in California he was picking the Canes over favored USC. Telemaque became the 27th player to commit to the Hurricanes this recruiting season and the third safety prospect to pick UM. And thanks to our friend Matt In LA, who emailed me his quotes because he was watching it on TV in Los Angeles, we get to read what he said.

"Well, Miami, I didn't want to say it was a long time dream but it was," Telemaque said after putting on hats of USC, Oregon and North Carolina before settling on Miami. "And I want to live dreams as much as I can so, I wanted to be part of the 'U'. It's something that they are kind of rebuilding and they needed a strong rebuilding class and so I felt like I wanted to be a significant part of the recruiting class at the end of the day."

Telemaque could be the start of something big for the Canes, who still have between 6-8 scholarships, they hope to use in the final days leading up to national signing day. This weekend, the Canes are expected to host several high profile uncommitted visitors including...

* Jacksonville Trinity Christian RB Jamie Harper (who will choose between UM, FSU and Clemson)
* Northwestern WR Tommy Streeter (who decided earlier this week to give UM a visit after all)
* Northwestern OL Ben Jones (who is expected to pick UM over Clemson)
* Memphis Melrose WR Laron Byrd (who has always been high on UM, and could finally get the scholarship he's been looking for)
* Waco S Victor Johnson (an Oklahoma State commitment who was high on UM early and might switch)
* Detroit King DE Nick Perry (a sack-monster who is considered a longshot to leave the Michigan area, but was impressed by a Randy Shannon visit earlier this week)
* Melbourne Palm Bay S Ramon Buchanon (who is visiting UM after switching his commitment to UF and could be on the verge of pulling another switcharoo)

The Hurricanes are still obviously courting Booker T. Washington cornerback Brandon Harris (who is visiting UCF this weekend and will announce his decision Wednesday at 1 p.m. on ESPN), Long Beach Poly safety Herman Davidson (who is set to choose between UM and North Carolina on Wednesday at 5 p.m. EST), Tallahasse Lincoln cornerback T.J. Bryant (who is expected to pick the hometown Noles after his visit there this weekend), cornerback Alonzo Lawrence (who is likely to pick Bama over the Canes this afternoon) and Hialeah defensive lineman Corey Liuget (who has FSU, Illinois and two other schools hot after his trail).

VISITING ANYWAY: One player who will still be making an unofficial visit to the Canes this weekend is Northwestern OL Brandon Washington, whom I spoke to late Thursday night. B-Wash Brandon_washington told me he still hadn't received his necessary ACT scores to make an official visit. But, since he wants to be there to help influence the decision of fellow Northwestern teammate Ben Jones, Washington said he will make the trip to Miami and hang out with his buddies this weekend. "The only difference is I can't go on the tours and they can't feed me," Washington explained. Washington admits he was upset he was unable to take any other official visits in the past month and said he really wanted to visit LSU and North Carolina to see how they would treat outsiders. Ultimately, he said, he thought he would have ended up picking UM anyway because he didn't think he could be far from home. Washington also said he would have no trouble moving to guard next season -- where some experts project him -- if that's the place he can see the field the fastest.

To listen to the complete audio interview, click on the following link to visit our UM audio section.

STAYING ON TARGET: Hollywood Chaminade linebacker Jordan Futch already expected to be part of UM's early enrollment class, but was held up by academic issues. I spoke with him Thursday night Jordan_futch and found out he still at least living his life like he's did make it into school. According to Futch, he speaks with quarterback Jacory Harris and linebacker Arthur Brown on a daily basis to find out what their daily regiments are, when they have workouts and what their routines are and then he follows it up by doing the same things. "They get up at 4:45 a.m. and I get up at 4:45 a.m.," Futch said. "They go in the sand pit and I'm in the sandpit with my trainer. They go over film and I go over film on my Tivo. They go into the gym at 6 and I'm in the gym at 6. I may not be there with them, but I'm still doing what they're doing, getting bigger, stronger, faster and ready." Futch said he is scheduled to enroll in classes at UM in May for the Summer Term. In his conversation with me he discusses meeting new UM defensive coordinator Bill Young, his relationship with safety Joe Wylie (the other UM recruit who didn't get in early) and more. Check out his conversation with me.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: The newest edition of The Countdown (the recruiting podcast) is available for your listening pleasure. In this week's edition I talk to Larry Blustein about how he thinks UM will wrap up its signing class and how FIU has done surprisingly well. Then, I speak with Charles Fishbein to get his thoughts on FSU's and Florida's classes -- their strengths and weaknesses and what other targets they looking to land. Fishbein also tells me how FSU is making a push for Homestead linebacker and UM commitment Marcus Robinson.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT...
- Check out The Miami Herald's new Recruiting Section for all the latest updates and features.
- I also conducted an interview with CSTV.com's Tom Lemming to get his thoughts on the Big 3 and how they are doing recruiting.
- I also spoke with incoming UM quarterback Taylor Cook earlier this week following his visit to UM.
- And I spoke with highly-touted cornerback Brandon Harris about how he will reach his decision.

VIDEO VAULT... Here are some highlights I found of Harper, who is visiting this weekend, on YouTube.

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