As I was watching the game tonight, I got a few text messages from my buddies who were asking me how many of the guys playing in tonight's BCS National Championship game could have been at the University of Miami. So, aiming to please, I spent some time tonight doing a little research.
While many of us believe coaching is important, there's no denying when you get the best players in the country you are going to go places. Recruiting is simply the most vital element of all. The Hurricanes certainly tried to win over some the players from Oklahoma and Florida in tonight's game. They just didn't get them and that's a big reason Florida and Oklahoma were in tonight's game. Here's a look back at the players UM battled for over the last four years and ending up losing to the Sooners and Gators and whom Miami ended up with. It's a bit eye-opening.
The good news is if you are a Canes fan is the closer you get to next year's signing class, the more it looks like Miami is winning the recruiting battle.
> WR -- Oklahoma: WR Malcolm Kelly (2nd round pick now with the Washington Redskins). Kelly never visited UM, but got an offer. Miami: Didn't sign a receiver.
> LB -- Oklahoma: LB Curtis Lofton (2nd round pick now with the Atlanta Falcons). He never visited the Canes. Florida: LB Jon Demps (career cut short, arrested, kicked off the team).
Miami: Eric Houston (career special teams player), Spencer Adkins (career role player), Demetri Stewart (transfer) and Daryl Sharpton (most productive of the group).
> CB -- Florida: Avery Atkins (died in 2007). Atkins visited UM in December and wen with the nearby Gators. Miami: Bruce Johnson, Ryan Hill, Chavez Grant (all three have started and were part of a secondary that produced just 2 INTs in 2008).
> RB -- Oklahoma: Demarco Murray (All Big 12). Miami: Kylan Robinson (Rivals rated No. 11 running back, moved to linebacker), Javarris James (injured most of his career, had 286 yards rushing, 4 TDs in 2008).
> WR -- Florida: Percy Harvin (All-American), Jarred Fayson (transferred to Illinois). Miami never got a visit from the nation's No. 1 receiver in Harvin. Miami: Sam Shields (Rivals' No. 17 receiver now playing mostly on special teams), George Robinson (no longer with the team).
> TE -- Oklahoma: Jermaine Gresham (All Big 12). The Canes got a visit on the final weekend, but couldn't pull off the magic. Miami: Dedrick Epps (top receiving tight end, caught 22 passes for 304 yards, 2 TDs), Richard Gordon (has switched from DE to TE twice), Jason Fox (moved to left tackle and has been a starter for 3 years).
> OL -- Florida: Marcus Gilbert (backup left guard) and Carl Johnson (starting left guard). Miami signed: Ian Symonnette (has never played) and Joel Figueroa (Played in 12 games, started four).
> DT -- Oklahoma: Gerald McCoy (All Big 12). Miami: Josh Holmes (injured most of his career, 5 games, 7 tackles, 1 sack), Chaz Washington (has yet to play).
> WR -- Florida: Deonte Thompson (4th on team with 269 yards receiving, 3 TDs). Miami signed: Kayne Farquharson (had 18 catches, 280 yards, 3 TDs), Daniel Adderley (transferred out), Leonard Hankerson (disappeared midway through the season, 10 catches, 99 yards) and Jermaine McKenzie (never caught a pass)
> OL -- Florida: Maurkice Pouncey (started 24 games at guard and center) and Michael Pouncey (started all 13 games). Miami: Harland Gunn (still on the scout team), Orlando Franklin (started 10 games at guard this season).
> DT -- Florida: John Brown (still hasn't played). Miami: Chris Perry (transferred to Texas Tech).
> DE -- Florida: Duke Lemmens (Played in 9 games, 2 sacks). Miami: Adewale Ojomo (10 games, 21 tackles, 3 sacks), Allen Bailey (Had 22 tackles, led team with 5 sacks).
> LB -- Florida: Lorenzo Edwards (key special teams player) and Brandon Hicks (starting stronside linebacker). Miami: Didn't sign a linebacker.
> S -- Florida: Major Wright (started 20 games in his career, was third on team in tackles in 2008). The Canes got a visit from Wright, but couldn't convince him to pick UM over UF. Miami: Damien Berry (top recruit now a scout team running back), Joseph Nicholas (Played in 10 games, had 28 tackles started a few games), Jared Campbell (has not played).
> WR -- Florida: T.J. Lawrence (redshirted), Frankie Hammonds (redshirted). Miami: Aldarius Johnson (led team in receiving with 30 catches, 321 yards, 3 TDs), Travis Benjamin (16 catches, 276 yards, 3 TDs), LaRon Byrd (had 18 catches, 184 yards, 3 TDs), Davon Johnson (caught 5 passes for 71 yards, 1 TD), Thearon Collier (2nd in receiving with 25 catches, 318 yards, 1 TD), Kendall Thompkins (redshirted) and Tommy Streeter (redshirted).
> OL -- Florida: Matt Patchan (moved to defense, played in 11 games with one start). Oklahoma: Ben Habern (redshirted). Miami: Ben Jones (redshirted), Brandon Washington (spent '08 in Prep School).
> DT -- Florida: Byran Jones (moved to offensive side, redshirted). Miami: Marcus Forston (Started 1 game, 17 tackles, 3 sacks), Jeremy Lewis (redshirted), Micanor Regis (played in 10 games, 10 tackles).
> LB -- Florida: Brendan Beal (ACL injury in spring, redshirted) and William Green (moved to defensive end, played all 12 games, 7 tackles). Miami: Sean Spence (ACC Defensive Freshman of the Year), Marcus Robinson (moved to defensive end, 33 tackles, 4 sacks), Arthur Brown (played in 10 games, 4 tackles), Gavin Hardin (redshirted), Jordan Futch (redshirted), Antonio Harper (spent year in prep school), Zach Kane (never made it to UM), Brandon Marti (off team?).
> CB - Florida: Janoris Jenkins (11 starts, leads team with 11 passes defended, 3 INTs). Miami: Brandon Harris (Several starts, 26 tackles, 3 PBU, 1 INT).
> S - Oklahoma: Joseph Ibiloye (redshirted). Florida: Will Hill (Played in all 12 games as backup safety, led all freshman with 45 tackles). Miami signed: Ramon Buchanon (played in 9 games and finished with 7 tackles), C.J. Holton (redshirted), Vaughn Telemaque (redshirted) and Joe Wylie (redshirted).