We interrupt this week's regularly scheduled programming of position by position previews to pass along some news from this afternoon -- including some of the things coach Randy Shannon talked to the media about during an informal lunch Tuesday with beat reporters.
But first, the Canes have landed their 10th commitment in the 2009 class, picking up 6-2, 335-pound lineman Curtis Porter of Charlotte Victory Christian in N.C. Porter called UM coaches last night to give them the good word. He made an unofficial visit to UM earlier this month. Porter is rated an ESPN Top 150 recruit and said he chose the Canes over offers from Florida, Florida State, Michigan and Clemson among others. The following is Porter's highlight reel on YouTube.
Perhaps, the bigger news is that this likely ends the courtship of Miami Columbus High defensive tackle Antwan Lowery, who last week told me he was negating on his previous plans of announcing August 1st and plans to reopen his recruiting with Florida and Rutgers also in the picture. While Porter played left guard last season at West Charlotte High, he is expected to play defensive tackle in college. Miami is supposedly only seeking to sign two defensive tackles in this class and already has 6-3, 280-pound Luther Robinson of Fort Pierce Westwood.
In more recruiting news, Canes 2008 linebacker recruit Brandon Marti told me this afternoon he received the good news he was looking for from the NCAA Clearinghouse and will report for the fall semester at UM this Thursday. Marti played at Gulliver Prep his senior season, but transferred to Braddock High for the second semester of his senior year because he was no longer on financial aid. It caused a bit of confusion for Marti with the Clearinghouse.
"My dad went online today and saw that I was cleared at about 11 a.m.," Marti said. "I called and let coach Barrow know and now I'm waiting to hear back from a few other guys. I'll be in my suite with Thearon Collier and Kendall Thompkins later this week. I'm excited. Coach told me to come in ready because he thinks I can make a real impact on special teams."
As for coach Randy Shannon, our Susan Miller Degnan, who attended the lunch on UM's campus, tells me Shannon broke the news to the media today that it will no longer have locker room access after games. This is what Randy said when asked why:
"Some of the players voiced to me that they have a problem that some young ladies are over in the locker room that they go to school with, that are, what you call, reporters also. It’s a touchy situation, but when you’re walking around on campus and you see a young lady that you were in the locker room with and you.. it’s kind of tough for those guys to respond to that. So we’re going to try something new to see if this can work with you guys that the same thing we do after practice. You guys get together and say, “Here’s the eight guys that we want.’’ And those eight guys are going to come up when I come up. That’s when they’re going to come up. So when I come up, they’re coming to see you guys. I can tell you that if Robert Marve or Jacory Harris or Cannon Smith have a bad game, I’m going to bring Robert Marve up there and I’m going to bring Jacory up there. If the offensive linemen give up eight sacks, I’m going to bring two offensive linemen up there. I’m going to appease as much as I can, because I know that’s the story you guys gotta get. We’re going to give them an ample amount of time. We’re not going to say, ‘OK, you all got five minutes.’ No, we’re not going to do that. We’re going to give you guys time enough to get your story written, get your things that you want to get done. I’m not going to have them guys sitting down in the locker room, getting dressed. We’re going to bring them right up with me…because I know how important you all guys have to write your stories. But also I got to take into consideration what’s best for the players in certain situations like I explained. It’s tough, but let’s see if it works. It may work, it may not work, but I have to try to find a way to make it work."
All I'm going to say is that when I covered the Dolphins this past weekend, I had more access than I've ever in the years I've been going out to UM. I got to watch all of practice (something we rarely get to do at UM) and had about as much time as I needed for interviews.
Among the other highlights according to Susan...
> Shannon insisted defensive end Allen Bailey is "ahead of schedule" in his return from a torn pectoral muscle he suffered while training back in May. The 6-4, 289-pound sophomore could be ready for the first game according to Shannon and has already begun "pushing on things." I want to see what he looks like with my own eyes this Saturday.
> Shannon addressed several weight issues, saying offensive lineman Chris Barney has lost 21 pounds -- dropping from 360 to 339 this off season. Defensive tackle Antonio Dixon has dropped 15 pounds and is now at 323. He also said he would like Graig Cooper to get up to between 210 and 215 pounds with Javarris James between 220-225.
> Shannon pointed to senior Khalil Jones as developing as a leader a lot of players go to.