With only three weeks left before National Signing Day, the recruiting rumor wire is going bananas.
Bryce Brown talk is at a fever pitch. Is Rivals.com's new No. 1 national player sticking with the Canes or heading elsewhere?
Does Miami have a chance at getting receiver Reuben Randle, the country's No. 2 overall recruit? Or will he stick with those SEC schools in his backyard?
Are the Canes going to lose any other recruits now that tight end Billy Sanders (UCLA) was the first one to jump ship? Will Kayvon Webster, Luther Robinson, or [gasp] will Brown be next?
All of those are nice burning questions for you recruiting junkies. Here's one at least that looks like it will finally be resolved: Defensive end Olivier Vernon told me he's made a final decision and will announce it Thursday at 12:30 p.m. at his school. Vernon, a 6-3, 240-pound defensive end at American High in Miami, was one of the first players to commit to Randy Shannon's 2009 signing class last August. But he's been flirting with Alabama and Florida State ever since. While UM expects Vernon to begin taking classes Jan. 20, I was told by someone last night Vernon still hasn't given the Canes his final notice he's really coming.
I finally got down to chatting with Olivier last night -- two weeks after he told me he had planned to make a decision. Why was he holding out? To allow Bama's Nick Saban, FSU's Chuck Amato and Shannon to make in-home visits. Each made a different pitch. Vernon said Saban talked about how 'Bama could use him as a hybrid linebacker/defensive end; Amato talked about FSU's tradition and academics; Shannon didn't even talk about football, preferring to stick to life. Now, Vernon says he's ready.
"I already know where I'm going, I'm just got to let everybody else know on Thursday," Vernon said. "I just wanted to decide on the best school. All I really care about is going to the school where I think I have the best chance at winning a national championship at."
> Much the same way Vernon needed some extra time before making his final decision, Bryce Brown needs some time, too. According to reports from Canestime and Canesport, Brown is waiting to see who UM hires as its next offensive coordinator and waiting to plan his final recruiting visit for either Jan. 23 or 30th so he can meet and greet the new coordinator. The good news? Now, you can follow this saga all on your own. According to Canesport, Brown's mentor, Brian Butler is building a webpage at www.potentialplayers.com so fans can track Brown's latest thoughts. Amazing how far we've come in recruiting isn't it?
> Defensive back Prince Kent, who was supposed to graduating early, is holding off on enrolling at UM until the summer time. I spoke with his mother Bernetta Walker this afternoon who told me Prince needed some extra time to pass an online trigonometry class and fell behind because of football (the Under Armour All-American game). Kent, who grew up following his mother who was in the U.S. Army, has spent most of his life trying to rally his academics after falling a bit behind when his mother was stationed in Hawaii. But, he's been working with UM's academic department throughout the recruiting process to make sure his academics are in order. Prince is retaking the SAT soon to try and score higher than 1,000. "Our plan is to have all our paperwork in hand by the time we head down there for signing day," Walker said.
> Scratch Michigan standout and tight end Dion Sims off the Canes' list of potential recruits. Sims, rated Rivals.com's 7th best recruit, committed to Michigan State Tuesday. He was supposed to be visiting the Canes on Jan. 23, but those plans now look nixed. Sims picked Michigan State in part because he also hopes to play basketball. You can't blame the Canes for not trying to sell both sports. I spoke with Frank Haith Monday, who told me he and Shannon have spoken in the past and present about potential recruits playing in both sports. "We definitely work together when we've had to," Haith said. "[Assistant] Jorge [Fernandez] has made calls to kids when he's had to and I definitely know the kids they were looking at recently were good enough to play basketball for us, too, if they wanted."