I really wanted to get away from having to work much today after spending the week covering the Orange Bowl and with all the news coming out of the U. But it seems like the tap down in Coral Gables just isn't going to be shut-off these days.
Instead of leading with the same old story (Robert Marve, coaching rumors), I'll start with something fresh -- incoming cornerback Brandon McGee, who I caught up with earlier tonight on the eve of Saturday afternoon's U.S. Army All-American game in San Antonio. B-Smooth, who will be wearing No. 25, told me he found out Friday night he'll be starting at cornerback and on kickoff and punt returns for the East. And he's definitely thrilled he'll be able to show a national audience what he'll be bringing to Coral Gables when he starts classes on Jan. 20.
"Practices have been cool, we've been doing two-a-days from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day and I've been going up against Je'ron Stokes (Tennessee), Josh Adams (North Carolina and Orson Charles," McGee said. "The competition is great. But I'm definitely feeling real comfortable at corner. I've only been beaten once in practice -- Adams got me one time on the fly, but I didn't know the ball had been snapped. I definitely have made an impact, made my name known, playing against some of the top receivers."
McGee said he's looking forward to his matchups Saturday against two of the nation's top receivers who play for the West -- five-star receivers Reuben Randle and Kendall Kelly. McGee said he's had a fun week since arriving in San Antonio Sunday night. He said he's spent a lot of time with East running back and fellow UM commitment Bryce Brown, whom McGee said has impressed him in practicing.
"He's definitely the best running back on the field," McGee said. "Me and Bryce have been talking a lot. He's real funny. I know people have said maybe he was just good in Kansas because he didn't play against top competition. But he stacks up awesome. He has tremendous speed for being so big. He's doing great in practice, making cuts, embarrassing guys. I don't know if I can make any comparison to anybody back home -- maybe [Ohio State commitment] Jamaal Berry. But he's on another level. To be honest, a lot of the guys here shouldn't be ranked among the nation's best. But he's not one of them for sure."
McGee said he has no doubt Brown -- rumored to be interested in Oregon -- will be coming to Miami. He said all week they've been talking to other players trying to convince them to go to Miami, especially Detroit native and defensive tackle William Campbell, who set to chose between Miami, Michigan, LSU and Florida on Saturday. While McGee said he has been busy trying to convince Campbell to join him at UM, he's received a number of phone calls from other schools trying to convince him to not go to Miami. He said in light of recent events -- the firing of offensive coordinator Patrick Nix and the Marve fiasco -- other schools have been trying to jump in and persuade him and others to go elsewhere.
"A lot of people have been calling me to see if I'll be de-committing, trying to get me to switch because they say there will be more firings, more transfers," McGee said. "They've even been calling my dad. I just tell them I made my commitment and I'm sticking to it. The only way I'm de-commiting is if the school blows or something."
> It looks like UM coach Randy Shannon, whom McGee said he spoke with Tuesday after learning of the Nix firing and Marve transfer, has taken notice. It could explain why today he contacted his sports information department and had them call every South Florida reporter to tell them there would be no more coaching changes at the program. In the three years I've been covering this team, I've not once received a phone call from anyone in the UM sports info staff directed by Shannon or any Canes coach to give us anything. It's pretty clear Shannon wants that message out there.
By the way, don't be so sure that no other coaches are leaving comment to include strength and conditioning coach Andreu Swasey. We've heard rumors this week Swasey could be leaving for a job in the NFL.
> Speaking of messages, Robert Marve's father appears like he wants to change the tone of the ones he fired out earlier this week. As many of you probably already know, Eugene Marve spoke with WQAM's Joe Rose Friday morning and tried to apologize for his comments earlier this week ripping into Shannon and the program. He told our Susan Miller Degnan part of the reason he wants his son to transfer is because he has prostate cancer and would like for him to be closer to home.
I can understand Eugene wanting to make amends. He was speaking like an angry, frustrated father Tuesday. He probably wouldn't have said half of what he said to reporters if he had a chance to step away from the situation. But I'm pretty sure he still meant what he said. The real question is will any of it help his son avoid the stipulations Shannon placed on his transfer Tuesday. Marve's high school coach Robert Weiner, who also ripped into Shannon, supposedly told a Tampa radio station Friday night it has and that UM could possibly now take away some of those restrictions. I called UM's sports information staff after first hearing of it. There is nothing official yet. But who knows -- that could be tomorrow's news.