I know some of you have become fans of our high school podcast The Countdown. With National Signing Day just around the corner, we've turned the focus of our podcast to recruiting. Tonight, I began our latest series (we had one last year) with The Herald's Larry Blustein.
This week's episode is a half hour conversation between Larry and I that touches on FIU, Miami and Florida as well as several local recruits including Northwestern High's Wayne Times and Gulliver Prep's Frankie Telfort. We'll have more shows in the coming weeks that will go into more detail with our home teams -- The Canes and Golden Panthers -- as National Signing Day draws near. Among the Canes' topics tonight: Which offensive linemen Blustein thinks Miami has the best shot at getting, his thoughts on Bryce Brown's performance at the U.S. Army All-American game and how he thinks the Canes' class is shaping up. My favorite Blu liner: "UM better super glue Brown's feet to the ground, so he doesn't talk to anyone else."
Here are some other recruiting tidbits I've got to share:
> Defensive end recruit Olivier Vernon still hasn't gotten back to me about whether or not he's going to stick with the Canes or is passing up on them to leave for Florida State or Alabama. He told me he would likely have a decision not long after Christmas. I did, however, speak with his mother tonight. It looks like the decision continues to linger in Vernon's head. He graduates Jan. 14 and is expected to enroll at UM Jan. 20.
> Offensive line recruit Jared Wheeler will make his college announcement -- it should be Miami -- this Saturday at 11:30 a.m. on 790 The Ticket. Vanderbilt is his other finalist.
> Even if Wheeler picks UM, the Canes are still likely going to remain with 19 commitments after this weekened. Blustein told me tonight it looks like tight end Billy Sanders (Blustein speaks to his father) is backing off his commitment and going with UCLA, who Sanders is supposed to visit this coming weekend. Of the three tight end commitments, Sanders is probably the best Miami has. But that's not really saying much. Cory White is expected to be an offensive tackle and Stephen Plein has played mostly defensive end in high school.
Miami does have a few other players they are looking at including Dion Sims, a 6-5, 230-pound kid from Michigan who is supposed to visit UM in three weeks. Sims' first love is basketball. My take on the tight end search: Orson Charles would have had a great opportunity to play right away here if things with Robert Marve, Robert Weiner and UM's program hadn't gone sour. Now, it looks like UM will still be another year away from signing that game-changing tight end.
> I got an email today from the mother of defensive back recruit Prince Kent. It looks like he'll be coming down from Georgia to be with his father -- who lives in Fort Lauderdale -- when he signs his letter of intent on National Signing Day. I'm looking forward to being there for it.