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Championship Recruiting

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 Bcs09country 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).
Jermaine_gresham> 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.
Major_wright_2> 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).
Sean_spence> 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).


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Well, we seem to holding our own in recruiting up to last year. Now we just have to maintain a critical mass of productive recruits as it will be hard to beat "them" now that they won another NC...

Manny...great work once again. Excellent research, but not sure how the Canes will stack up in 2009. Time, and a NEW OC, will tell.

Fake SOUP posting on previous blog, U might want to check it.

Thanks, Manny. This is awesome. Way to put a silver lining on an otherwhat horrendous evening. These stats clearly show that UM is turning things around due to Randy's recruiting skills. Time to re-read 'Cane Mutiny before signing day, pray for a top 5 class, and remind the Gay-tors that 3 is less than 5. GO 'CANES!

good work we are getting better with recruiting

Yo..manny thanks for throwing us a bone with 2008 cause the prior years highlighted just how far our recruiting slipped. You are only as good as your recruiting in college football, plain and simple.

Looks like the Canes have the edge with the 2008 players, but that's simply because more of them played. Major Wright was clearly a loss for Miami because the dude was all over the ball all season long. He's going to be an NFL guy after next year or the year after, no doubt. We'll see though. It's not ALL about recruiting, Manny. There are a ton of the less sought after 3 and 4 star recruits (with some 2 stars mixed in) that become the big time guys. The key is learning how to play as a team and thinking with the team's interest in mind. I think the problem at UM has been the lack of speed, true playmaking ability, and teamwork. The teams over the past 3 years or so just don't work as a team and end up shooting themselves in the feet. This year's team had something going with that 5 game win streak, but couldn't finish it off. I chalk that up to inexperience. If RS can continue to pull in some of these Postgrad linemen who can make an immediate impact, UM will be a force to be reckoned with very soon.

Go Canes!

Nice to read a love fest each day in a paper that charges for for advertising.

let the truth be said 't back tebow' is not so nice after all.....3........IS LESS THAN...5......SIGN BY...KEN DORSEY 12-O...
GO CANES......

So now you see how the Coker years affected the U's program. The guys that should have been at the U have helped UF win the NC. The tide is most definitley turning back in our direction. The Canes will be back stronger than ever. For all those recruits undecided, think twice about sitting on the bench for 2 or 3 years at UF or coming to Miami and making an immediate impact. GO CANES!!!!!!

Interesting look at how the Hurricanes found themselves in the position that they were in during the 2007 and 2008 seasons:

Per Rivals100.com

2002: Ranked 8 nationally
4 or 5 star QB: 1 (Mark Guillon)
4 or 5 star HB: 1 (JR Mounts)
4 or 5 star OL: 2 (Alex Pou, Eric Winston)
4 or 5 star TE: 1 (Curtis Justus)
4 or 5 star WR: 2 (Akeem Jolla, Ryan Moore)

2003: Ranked 5 nationally
4 or 5 star QB: 1 (Kyle Wright)
4 or 5 star HB: 1 (Tyrone Moss)
4 or 5 star OL: 1 (Andrew Bain)
4 or 5 star TE: 1 (Greg Olson)
4 or 5 star WR: 1 (Darnell Jenkins)

2004: Ranked 4 nationally
4 or 5 star QB: 1 (Kirby Freeman)
4 or 5 star HB: 3 (Andrew Johnson, Charlie Jones, Bobby Washington)
4 or 5 star OL: 1 (Tyler McMeans)
4 or 5 star TE: -
4 or 5 star WR: 1 (Lance Leggett)

2005: Ranked 7 nationally
4 or 5 star QB: - (no recruits signed)
4 or 5 star HB: - (did sign one two star recruit)
4 or 5 star OL: 3 (Christopher Barney, A.J. Trump, Reginald Youngblood)
4 or 5 star TE: 2 (Dajleon Farr, Richard Gordon
4 or 5 star WR: - (no recruits signed)

2006: Ranked 14 nationally
4 or 5 star QB: -
4 or 5 star HB: 2 (Javarris James, Kylan Robinson)
4 or 5 star OL: 1 (Orlando Franklin,
4 or 5 star TE: 2 (Derick Epps, Jason Fox)
4 or 5 star WR: 1 (Sam Shields)

2007: Ranked 19th nationally
4 or 5 star QB: 1 (Robert Marve)
4 or 5 star HB: 1 (Craig Cooper)
4 or 5 star OL: 1 (Orlando Franklin)
4 or 5 star TE: -
4 or 5 star WR: 1 (Jermaine McKenzie)

2008: Ranked 5th nationally
4 or 5 star QB: 1 (Jacory Harris)
4 or 5 star HB: -
4 or 5 star OL: 2 (Benjamin Jones, Brandon Washington)
4 or 5 star TE: -
4 or 5 star WR: 3 (Travis Benjamin, Aldarius Johnson, Tommy Streeter)

2009: Currently ranked 9th nationally
4 or 5 star QB: -
4 or 5 star HB: 3 (Bryce Brown, Mike James, Lamar Miller)
4 or 5 star OL: 1 (Jermaine Johnson)
4 or 5 star TE: - (3 TEs below this level committed)
4 or 5 star WR: 1 (Jamal Reid)

Thus here are the trends for UM's four and five star recruits on offense:

QB: 2002 (1), 2003 (1), 2004 (1), 2005 (0), 2006 (0), 2007 (1), 2008 (1), 2009 (0)

HB: 2002 (1), 2003 (1), 2004 (3), 2005 (0), 2006 (2), 2007 (1), 2008 (3)

OL: 2002 (2), 2003 (1), 2004 (1), 2005 (3), 2006 (1), 2007 (1), 2008 (2), 2009 (1)

TE: 2002 (1), 2003 (1), 2004 (0), 2005 (2), 2006 (2), 2007 (0), 2008 (0), 2009 (0)

WR: 2002 (2), 2003 (1), 2004 (1), 2005 (0), 2006 (1), 2007 (1), 2008 (3), 2009 (1)

So, to total we had the following four to five star recruits in these years, offensive and defensive:

2002: Offense: 7, Defense: 10 Total: 17
2003: Offense: 5, Defense: 8 Total: 13
2004: Offense: 6, Defense: 7 Total: 13
2005: Offense: 5, Defense: 8 Total: 13
2006: Offense: 7, Defense: 4 Total: 11
2007: Offense: 4, Defense: 4 Total: 8
2008: Offense: 6, Defense: 11 Total: 17
2009: Offense: 5, Defense: 7 Total: 12

The downward trend was not just in wins and losses, but in overall numbers of top recruits. Shannon appears to have reversed this.

AZCanesDude, good points.

I would like to add a little your comments.

First off, seems as though you remember the 80' and 90's when The U might have cracked the top 15 list, in recruiting, once possibly twice - at best.

Yet with 5 years to work with, The U produced great (team work) "teams", back then. These zero star to 2 star guy's were coached well, (with time) while the skill positions had overwhelming speed. And as you said grew to be NFL quality guy's.

Again, as you remember The U introduced the nation to "Speed". The common phrase from those covering our games was "you can't coach speed".

Today it's common place. Even UF's "speed" didn't overwhelm OU last night.

Your right - it's not all about recruiting, but that's, when you have some "existing veteran talent" and some "veteran depth" at key positions. Most importantly O-Line & D-Line. And overwhelming speed at the skill positions.

Unfortunately, the circumstance the U found itself in - after Coker, was that these areas were totally depleted.

Shannon has had to re-build the depth charts, get (recruit) the right coaches and create depth where there wasn't any ie. QB, OL, DL, LB, DB, WR etc.

He's doing that. How well, only time will tell.

QB for example even with RM gone, we have backup QB's with a minimum of 1 yr practice time under their belt.

That is a "normal" QB positional situation. For example: Who backs up Tebow, Bradford or McCoy? Most people couldn't answer that question.

Anyway - 1 season with a talentless & depth less team - plus 1 season with "his" first recruiting class just isn't enough. It took Schnells 5 years.

The other point I need to stress is the swoon to end the season.

This was a classic example of "Freshmen Fade". As the youngest starting team both offense and defense in division 1, this was expected.

The "Freshmen Fade", that is.

What wasn't expected was the inability of the "veterans" to step up and help, thanks Coker.

Thanks for the good point,

Go Canes!

TonyCane, great research.

Yes as I've said "there is FEAR in the posts of all those Gator fans."

They see the future. By looking back at the past, when the Canes get there recruiting on this kind of a track, Gators get their butts kicked and their coaches leave.

Bye Bye - Urban.

I knew we had slipped, but it's frightening when you recruit guys and they end up on the SCOUT TEAM! Woah!. Way to go COKER, I am so glad your outta here. WAY TO GO MANNY!.

And the stuff I keep hearing on Jacorry Harris, man the kid is a born leader.


Until last night I was wondering where Nix would end up.

I'm not wondering anymore He's safe and sound calling play's for OU.

Wow, eerily similar to the uncreative play calling by Nix at the U. This kind of crap gives the pro style offense a bad name.

When done properly, with talent, as The U has done in the past,'83 - '92 and '99 - '03, this is an extremely powerful and creative offense.

During the regular season OU seemed to understand this.

Go Cane Beat OU!

It did seem that we were down for a few years Tony, and then up for 2008. But right now we are only at 12 which seems like the same number in the Coker days. I know there is a chance we can gain more 4/5 start recruits but at the same time we coudl lose a few. So is this something to be worried about? Or is there an explanation for this?

Well CanesFuture, I was only born in '84, so I think I'm a little too young to remember. I do remember my dad telling me the Flutie story (he's a BC alum) because he threw me so high in the air (I was only 6 months old) that I almost hit the ceiling. I think I became a Hurricane fan in 1991 when I decided that I wanted to go to Miami to study hurricanes (low and behold I have a degree is meteorology from Miami working on the PhD). But I didn't know anything about any of the players or anything. I didn't learn that until high school (my senior year was when Miami beat Nebraska).

That all being said, over the past 6 years I've tried to learn as much about this game as I can, and what I've concluded is that football is the epitome of a TEAM game. It takes all 11 guys on either side of the ball to win games. It's nearly impossible to have all 22 starters be 4 and 5 star recruits. In a dream world it isn't, but in the real world, not every one of those 4 or 5 star recruits pans out to be as good as projected. For a team to be really good, it takes every player working as hard as he can to improve himself individually and assist the rest of his teammates in any way possible. Those things work hand-in-hand. I would rather have 22 2 or 3 star recruits who put in 110% every day at practice and in games than have all 4 and 5 star narcissists like Miami has had through the Coker years. Not every one of them was a narcissist, but this is certainly a case where the bad apple can ruin the bunch.

Give Shannon credit...the man can recruit.

also understand shannon understands hurricane football commitment dedication and the brotherhood all i hope for is when shannon starts winning national titles he doesnt take of to the pros

Great post, TonyCane. It looks like, according to the experts, Coker's classes were just as good as Shannon's, if not better. Yet most people blame our troubles on Coker's poor recruiting and assume that Shannon's similarly rated classes will take us to the promised land.

I believe our problem has never been poor recruiting by Coker, Shannon or anyone else. UM, at least for the time being, sells itself. Our problem has been the poor teaching, motivation, management and development of players by ineffective coaching staffs. Basically, we've had four and five star players being led by one and two star coaches.

This offseason (OC) and next offseason (HC) fans should focus more on UM's success at recruiting coaches rather than players.

Manny...Great Research, nice to see Coach Shannon doing a good job.

Manny...Great Research, nice to see Coach Shannon doing a good job.

It did seem that we were down for a few years Tony, and then up for 2008. But right now we are only at 12 which seems like the same number in the Coker days. I know there is a chance we can gain more 4/5 start recruits but at the same time we coudl lose a few. So is this something to be worried about? Or is there an explanation for this?

Posted by: Troy | January 09, 2009 at 12:13 PM

Hi Troy,

I think a key thing to look it as the percentage of 4/5 star recruits out of the overall class:

2002: 17 out of 24 recruits (71%)
2003: 13 out of 24 recruits (54%)
2004: 13 out of 28 recruits (46%)
2005: 13 out of 17 recruits (77%)
2006: 11 out of 22 recruits (50%)
2007: 11 out of 19 recruits (58%)
2008: 17 out of 33 recruits (52%)
2009: 12 out of 19 recruits (63%)

Also, I listed the players who committed to Miami on signing day. Not all of them played, and some transferred away rather than coming here:

2002: take away 2 recruits, (Marc Guillon and JR Mounts never played)
2004: take away 1 recruit, (Bobby Washington never played)
2006: take away 1 recruit, as Orlando Franklin had to recommit to Miami the following year.
2008: take away 1 recruit, as Brandon Washington could not play last season.
2009: add Brandon Washington this season.

Thus the revised percentages of 4 & 5 star recruits out of Miami's overall classes would be:

I think a key thing to look it as the percentage of 4/5 star recruits out of the overall class:

2002: 15 out of 24 recruits (63%)
2003: 13 out of 24 recruits (54%)
2004: 12 out of 28 recruits (43%)
2005: 13 out of 17 recruits (77%)
2006: 10 out of 22 recruits (46%)
2007: 11 out of 19 recruits (58%)
2008: 16 out of 33 recruits (49%)
2009: 13 out of 19 recruits (68%)

And to compare how Ron Zook and Urban Meyer have done against Coker and Shannon during that time period:

FLORIDA GATORS four to five star recruits in these years, offensive and defensive:

2002: Offense: 5, Defense: 4 Total: 9
2003: Offense: 6, Defense: 8 Total: 14
2004: Offense: 4, Defense: 8 Total: 12
2005: Offense: 3, Defense: 5 Total: 8
2006: Offense: 11, Defense: 10 Total: 21
2007: Offense: 9, Defense: 11 Total: 20
2008: Offense: 8, Defense: 8 Total: 16
2009: Offense: 6, Defense: 6 Total: 12

Percentage of 4/5 star recruits out of the overall class:

2002: 9 out of 23 recruits (39%)
2003: 14 out of 26 recruits (54%)
2004: 12 out of 23 recruits (52%)
2005: 8 out of 18 recruits (44%)
2006: 21 out of 27 recruits (78%)
2007: 20 out of 27 recruits (74%)
2008: 16 out of 22 recruits (73%)
2009: 12 out of 16 recruits (75%)

Urban Meyers clearly stepped it up a notch after taking over from Zook, who was a great recruiter in his own right. Shannon's improved recruiting over Coker has had no immediate impact on Meyers. Phenomenal numbers.

The U's recruiting concept was developed by Lou Saban in '77-'78 (yes they are related, distantly) and followed by Schellenberger, Johnson, and Erickson.

After '99 Coker decided to change things. He wanted a more National focus on recruiting and lost respect with the South Florida High School Coaches. Bad move.

Shannon, who's full time (according to JJ it's everyday) mentor Jimmy Johnson, decided the first thing he was going to do was to repair what Coker broke. He's gone a long way to repair this. And he's moved the fence closer to Gay-torville.

Now with regard to these websites that pose as recruiting services, they aren't - nor have they ever been - very good at this recruiting stuff. But, they've been very good at "selling subscriptions."

Having said this, they do give us something the to use as an early measure - as to what our football team "may" have in it's future.

But really, all one needs to do is to look at The U from '77 - '92. We had 1 recruiting class, maybe 2, in the top 15. And that was # 15!

('77 - '92 = 4 National Championships. While Cokers last year following "the concept" '99, produced the '01 National Championship.)

But, they were mostly local kids that - got no respect - from "these so called recruiting Gurus" because they didn't go to the Big 10 and Big 12 schools that wanted them.

The kids decided on that "upstart no-name school" in South Florida. And they (the Gurus and sports writers) have been after The U ever since.

I don't know, maybe these writers/guru's came out of the Big 10. Maybe?

Oops, put Butch in there. He stuck to the concept and his boys won the '01 NC.

Oops, that's Butches boys that won '01 NC. Following the recruiting concept.

It really all boils down to whether or not the guys you have coming in understand the concept of what you are trying to build. Over the years we have had a bunch of guys that had a sense of accomplishment before they had proved a thing. Coker sold these guys on thinking that just being at the U was going to put them in NFL. What it seems Randy is trying to do is promote a culture of competition w/in an atmosphere of family. When you have good players pushing better players to become their best you can achieve special things.


You left out the biggest difference maker of all in the recruiting wars, the guy who basically won the NC game: Tim Tebow. If that had gone the other way, how different would the last three years have been for both schools? Shocking when you think about it.

It did seem that we were down for a few years Tony, and then up for 2008. But right now we are only at 12 which seems like the same number in the Coker days. I know there is a chance we can gain more 4/5 start recruits but at the same time we coudl lose a few. So is this something to be worried about? Or is there an explanation for this?

Posted by: Troy | January 09, 2009 at 12:13 PM

we still have 8 spots to fill. so that # will raise. The problem was coker was not filling skill positions, 1 wr and qb in 3 yrs???? What we r lacking is offense, and it starts their. Each yr after dorsey left, and the stars left, we got worse, 2 loss in 03, 3 loss 04. 4 loss o5. 6 loss 06. cokers players 7 loss 07. Tommy Tubs was announcing the all american game in orlando last week, and he said accept for the 1-2 top freshman(spence type) it really takes 2-3 yrs to see their true talents, usually a true JR or redshirt soph . WELL. this was the 1st yrs of randys class, so, realistically 2009 if we can 9-10, that would be great, and in 2010, we should be great with depth and loaded with experience at the depth positions. Its like the 98 team lost 4, we lost 4 again in 99 but U can see we were getting better, and then in 00, we turned it oon.

Look at UF last yr, tebows 1st as a starter. GUYS, they lost 4 games and their bowl. SO, it can be turned around. people forget that urban has had a 3 and 4 loss season, and that 06 team could have lost 4-5 games, with many last second wins

all these numbers mean that what used to be a great program still draws great recruits--no matter the coach. shannon hasnt proved he can CHANGE anything. just because someone rates a player high, doesnt mean he will truly work to get better{marve}. and without great coaching, these recruits are not going to grow. shannon tossed aside HIS recruits on defense when he was d-cood. now since he didnt get what he wanted, he starts over. wasting talent-shannon will waste the time and talent of these new guys. one more year--FIRE SHANNON

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