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TRR: Highsmith coming to play QB

Since the day he committed to Miami back in February -- just days after the Canes brought in Jacory Harris to share the quarterback duties with Robert Marve -- A.J. Highsmith has maintained he'll come in and play whatever position coach Randy Shannon wants him to. But it's looking more and more to Highsmith like that position will be quarterback, even though the Hurricanes currently have two freshmen who are sharing the job and two more on the scout team.

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"Everybody thinks I'm going to play safety at UM, but Miami says they're going to keep me at quarterback. The more I talk to the coaches, the more I really believe quarterback is where they want me," Highsmith, the son of former Canes running back Alonzo Highsmith said Wednesday. "You never know what can happen. I just want to go in, learn everything I need to and be ready if they call on me."

Highsmith (6-0, 186) has played nothing but quarterback for Fort Bend Hightower High in Houston this season. He's led his Hurricanes to a 7-0 start and 4-0 record in district play. Highsmith had a huge game two weeks ago in a 35-14 win over Kempner, going 8-of-15 for 189 yards and three touchdowns. His season statistics are 58 of 117 passing for 1,035 yards, 14 touchdowns and two interceptions. He also run for 104 yards and two touchdowns. Aside from Harris and Marve, UM has Cannon Smith and Taylor Cook -- who are being redshirted this season -- on its roster of available quarterbacks. In 2005 and 2006, UM failed to sign a quarterback. But since inking Marve in 2007, the Canes have managed to bring in four more including Highsmith.

Houston, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State are still chasing after him, but he says he's still 100 percent committed to UM. He says because Miami has been televised only on regional TV, he's tried to keep up by watching highlights on the weekends. "I haven't talked to Jacory or Robert in a while, but I'm sure I will once my season is over," Highsmith. "They're good guys."

> Highsmith said he won't be enrolling at UM until the summer. But the Canes could potentially have nine players who are looking to enroll early. Of the team's 16 commitments, defensive tackle Luther Robinson, cornerback Brandon McGee, linebacker Antonio Harper, running back Mike James, running back Bryce Brown, tight end Billy Sanders, tight end Stephen Plein, linebacker offensive tackle Brandon Washington and defensive end Olivier Vernon have all said they are planning on enrolling by January.

> Brandon Washington, who is finishing up his prep school season at Milford Prep in N.Y., will definitely be at UM by January. And the 6-5, 330-pound former Northwestern standout is all set to come down and make an immediate impact according coach Bill Chaplick.

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"He had a great year. I started him at left tackle and he started every game. He was the pillar of our offensive line and he's played pretty good," Chaplick said by phone Wednesday night. "He's definitely going to Miami -- there is doubt about that. For him to get down there and with the workouts for the winter time is going to be huge. The benefit of going to prep school is you get there a semester before anybody else. He's already played 11 JV college games here. He's been away from home. He's more mature. He's ready."

Chaplick said Washington is in good physical shape saying "he's not sloppy, he's just as big as a house." Washington has one more game this season -- against Navy -- and will return home to Miami in December.

Miami could definitely use Washington right away. With Jason Fox expected back at left tackle, Washington could move over to right tackle and help with the losses of Chris Rutledge and Reggie Youngblood to graduation next year. Potentially, Orlando Franklin could also move outside to tackle (he has the size for it and hinted at it when I spoke to him last week). Miami will be think on experience at tackle next year. Freshman Ben Jones could potentially play there as well along with scout team regulars Tyler Horn and Ian Symonnette.

> With the regular season coming to an end for a lot of high school recruits, I decided to catch up in this installment of The Recruit Report with as many guys as I could to find out how their seasons were going and who was making the playoffs. I made a ton of phone calls, but only got to talk to a handful of guys. Here's the update on the Canes' 16 oral commitments and how they are doing right now based on local newspaper reports and more.

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> Bryce Brown, RB, 6-0, 215, Wichita East, Kan.: Bryce Brown isn't going to the playoffs. His season came to a disappointing finish when the East Aces dropped their final two team games of the year to finish 6-3. Brown scored all three touchdowns in his team's 38-18 loss to undefeated Derby on Oct. 24. Then, he scored once and ran for 192 yards as the Aces' season came to an end with a 44-26 loss to rival Southeast on Halloween night. Bryce finished his nine-game season with 1,872 yards rushing -- breaking his own league record. Brown capped his career with 6,809 yards rushing according to The Wichita Eagle.

> Antonio Harper, LB, 6-4, 230, Hargrave Military Academy: Nothing new to report on Harper, who is still expected to come to UM. There isn't a whole lot of information available on the internet for Prep School football results.

> Mike James, RB, 5-11, 211, Davenport Ridge: For the first time this year, James Mike_james couldn't break the century mark last week against an opponent. Lakeland, the state's No. 2-ranked 5A school, got the better of him and Ridge, dropping the Bolts to their first loss of the season. Ridge finished with 71 yards on 21 carries. A week earlier, though, he helped Ridge capture its first district title in school history with a stirring 45-31 upset of Lake Wales. James ran for 131 yards on 28 carries and scored the final two touchdowns of the game. James now has 980 yards and eight touchdowns on the season.

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> Prince Kent, ATH, 6-3, 195, Norcross (GA): Kent hauled in a 61-yard touchdown pass and caught five passes for 94 yards last Saturday, but it wasn't enough to lift his team past Peachtree Ridge last weekend. Norcross will be going to the playoffs, but will not be seeded very high. Kent has 29 catches for 611 yards and four touchdowns this season for Norccross, which is 6-3, 5-2 in Region 7-5A.

> Brandon McGee, DB, 5-11, 186, Plantation High: Brandon has a big district Brandon_mcgee showdown this week with rival South Plantation to decide who makes the playoffs as the runner-up behind Boyd Anderson. McGee, who has stopped playing quarterback and played solely in the secondary since late September, was honores this week by being selected as U.S. Army Bowl All-American. He'll join Bryce Brown as UM's two commitments playing in the All-Star game Jan. 3 in San Antonio.

> Lamar Miller, RB, 5-11, 205, Miami Killian: He told he would do it and now he's on Lamar_miller the verge of accomplishing it. With two regular season games left, Miller is on his way to the coveted Miami-Dade rushing title with 1,175 yards and 16 touchdowns on 140 carries. That's an 8.4 yard average. He only leads Central junior Brandon Gainer by two yards. but Gainer only has one game left to play. In Killian's 34-0 win over South Dade, Miller ran for 161 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns. This week, Miller gets rival Palmetto High. But he likely will not be going head-to-head with Dade's other top senior running back Jamaal Berry, who is Ohio State-bound. Berry hasn't played since going down with an ankle injury on Oct. 10. He suffered a wrist injury in the preseason and had been playing with a broken bone.

> Stephen Plein, TE, 6-6, 240, Fort Myers High: Plein was suspended on Oct. 24 by Steven_plein the Florida High School Athletic Association for gross unsportsmanlike conduct. Plein reportedly hit an official in the arm with his helmet and directed an expletive at him as the official was trying to leave the field according to the Fort Myers News-Press. Plein told InsideTheU.com this week, though, his suspension might be lifted in time for him to return for the team's final games of the season. He also said UM coaches are being supportive of him. Plein, who committed to UM in June, had 49 tackles, 3.5 sacks and one fumble recovery for Fort Myers, which is now 5-4 and still eligible for the playoffs.

> Curtis Porter, DT, 6-2, 334, Charlotte Victory Christian: Porter's season came to an end last week and although his team didn't finish with the record he wanted to, he's excited. Because now, he can focus on being a Cane. Porter said he will take an official visit to UM on Dec. 12 and plans on enrolling in January. He says he feels like he's i n the best shape of his life after having dropped from 335 before the season to 320. He said UM defensive line coach Clint Hurtt has already given up an idea what to work on as he prepares to arrive and start taking classes. "I definitely want to come in and compete right away," Porter said. "It looks like those guys are having a lot fun. I want to be a part of it."

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> Jamal Reid, ATH, 6-1, 175, Mayo Lafayette: Reid continues to make a strong case for Class 1A State Player of the Year honors. He caught four passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns as Lafayette cruised to a 41-0 district championship-clinching win over Hilliard last week. Reid has 38 catches for 973 yards and 15 touchdowns. His team is 8-0 and hoping to make a deep playoff run in the next couple of weeks.

> Luther Robinson, DT, 6-3, 280, Fort Pierce Westwood: Robinson helped his team lock up the District 13-4A title last week and improve to 8-1 with a 14-7 win over Sebastian River. A week earlier in a 27-14 win over Okeechobee, Robinson had 11 tackles and a sack. Robinson, who starts both ways on the offensive and defensive line, has 53 tackles, eight sacks, eight tackles for loss and one interception this season. Canesport.com reported Tuesday Robinson is planning on taking his full slate of visits -- including trips to Georgia and Florida.

> Billy Sanders, TE, 6-4, 235, Couer d'Alene Lake City, Idaho: Two weeks ago, Sanders helped his team to a playoff-clinching 20-17 win over Coeur d'Alene High by collecting two huge turnovers in the waning moments. Sanders caught three passes for 30 yards in that game. A week later, he hauled in a five-yard touchdown pass in a 28-21 loss to Lewiston. Sanders and Lake City will head to the playoffs with a 4-5 record.

> Olivier Vernon, DE, 6-3, 239, Hialeah American: Vernon, who suffered an ankle injury early in the season, still hasn't returned to action this season. He's scheduled to take an official visit to Florida State this coming weekend. He'll visit Alabama on Dec. 5 and then UM on Dec. 12.

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> Kayvon Webster, DB, 5-11, 181, Monsignor Pace: Webster helped Pace lock up its third district title in a row and its 18th consecutive trip to the state playoffs (tied for the state record with St. Thomas Aquinas) with a 31-19 win over Edison last week. Webster caught three passes for 29 yards a week earlier in a 10-7 win against Belen.

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> Cory White, TE, 6-4, 225, Fleming Island: After a 7-0 start to the season, White and his teammates were blown out 41-3 last week against district rival Orange Park and now must win this week at Gainesville Buchholz to make the playoffs. White was having a great season as the team's starting left tackle before the Eagles were dominated.

> The Hurricanes resumed practice Wednesday and will be available to the media starting following Thursday's practice. Here's a link to what Randy Shannon talked about during his ACC Teleconference Wednesday.

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