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Heavy hitters weigh in on UM's recruiting

Spent most of the day today talking recruiting with three respected names in the game -- ESPN's Tom Luginbill, Rivals' Jamie Newberg and South Florida's very own Charles Fishbein of Elite Scouting Services. Some of it will run in my story on how UM's 3-1 start has helped or not helped the Canes recruiting efforts (whenever the story runs). But I'm done holding off the info from you here on the blog.

St. Thomas Aquinas offensive lineman Brandon Linder is a major target for UM in recruiting. Here's what you need to know: Regardless of public opinion that UM isn't getting enough superstars in their own backyard, recruiting coordinator Clint Hurtt and most analysts believe UM's next sigining class (currently ranked 18th by Rivals, 19th by Scout.com and just outside of the Top 15 by ESPN.com) will finish strong no matter what.

In fact, where the real boost from the start to the 2009 season will likely come is in 2011. Hurtt told me the Canes have already offered 46 juniors -- more than double what they did at the start of October in 2007, 2008 and 2009 combined. He said the feedback, "has been amazing."

"I would be floored if they don't finish in the Top 10 [in recruiting] because I know they're going to close out this season well," said Jamie Newberg, an ACC and national recruiting expert for Rivals.

"I think in the end, they'll get [St. Thomas Aquinas offensive tackle Brandon] Linder, [Booker T. Washington running back] Eduardo [Clements] and a couple big time receivers from down there and finish with some impact guys from the area.

"But while it will be a good, solid class, some people -- including me -- will think it's somewhat disappointing. With all that talent within a stone's throw of Coral Gables, people are still going to wonder why didn't Lemarcus Joyner or Jeff Luc didn't end up there."

Hurtt has already encountered some of those questions from fans while out grocery shopping. Hurtt, who can not talk specifically about recruits per NCAA rules, said he tells everyone who approaches him about local players and why they aren't being recruited by Miami with "we believe in the way we evaluate players."

"Central, Northwestern, St. Thomas Aquinas are all great teams," Hurtt said. "But people have to understand while we try and take care of our backyard, we try and take the kids we want and we feel fits what we're trying to get done here. And if they don't fit that or we make a mistake, we'll have to live with it."

UM has six players from the Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach area. But only Miami Northwestern defensive tackle Todd Chandler is ranked among the nation's Top 150 recruits according to ESPN or Rivals. Jacksonville Raines defensive tackle Louis Nix is the only other current commitment in the ESPN Top 150.

Luginbill, however, said the Canes shouldn't be judged on what they do locally alone. "Recruiting is a marathon and not a sprint. With their numbers, they have to be selective and be sure of who they take every year," Luginbill said.

"Look at their track record in South Florida. They've been able to keep a lot of those kids at home. One year out of three where a few get away isn't a big deal. The way we rank classes is based on needs. When I look at their class right now, six of their seven recruits are guys up front who can win you games. That's where they need the help and that's what they're getting."

Hurtt said while players they once were recruited have tried to jump back on the Canes bandwagon, he and his staff have been firm in being selective. And the spots they've already given to other recruits, Hurtt said, will not be taken away.

"We've had a lot guys call in now who want to get on the boat, who had the opportunity before," Hurtt said. "But I tell them ‘Now, it's too late because other kids have given us their pledges and decided they wanted to be with us from the get-go.'

"We don't have a ton of spots available. We are to a point where we're very selective on who we're talking to and who we're talking with. We we have our focal points and our needs for the remainder of the class and we plan on meeting them."

UM's big focus areas coming in were offensive line, tight end, cornerback and linebacker. With the commitments UM already has, Hurtt said the Canes have one spot left for a running back, three for receivers, one for a tight end, one for a defensive end, one to two for a linebacker and two to three for offensive linemen.

> Palm Beach Central's Shane McDermott, Davie Western's Jonathan Feliciano, Jacksonville Raines' Tavadis Glenn and Malcolm Bunche, a 2009 signee now at Milford Prep, are four offensive line commitments.

Linder, considered a four-star recruit by both ESPN and Rivals from nationally No. 1-ranked St. Thomas Aquinas, has long been Miami's top target. Most expect UM to beat out Notre Dame and Florida to get him. Aquinas teammate Jermaine Barton, a 6-6, 270-pound, project, would then likely be the last linemen UM takes.

> Aquinas cornerback Keion Payne, rated 26th at his position by Rivals, said the same about the Canes. He likely will become the fourth corner in the class, joining Gainesville High's Devont'a Davis, Pahokee's Raheam Buxton, and Kacy Rodgers of Southlake Carroll, Texas.

"Payne would definitley be an upgrade at a position of need," said Charles Fishbein of EliteScoutingServices.com. "You look at their roster and they need guys who can play on the field next year with Brandon Harris and Demarcus Van Dyke. Payne could probably play right away."

> At linebacker, the Hurricanes already have three commitments. Gainesville High's Kevin Nelson is rated the No. 3 inside linebacker in the country by ESPN. Washington (D.C). Dunbar's Javarie Johnson (6-4, 215) is considered an elite outside linebacker.

"I love Nelson," Herald recruiting expert Larry Blustein told me. "Florida is going to be kicking itself it blew it with that kid."

UM is in position to yank in at least one more, if not two. Winter Park Lake Howell's Christian Jones (once a Florida State lean) would be the biggest catch with his 6-4, 220-pound size and mix of speed. Norfolk (Va.) Lake Taylor's Travis Williams (6-2, 190) and Pahokee's Zach Allen, currently a Wake Forest commitment, are also possibilities. Miami's interest in Jeff Luc has evaporated. 

> Defensive end, hampered by injuries this season, is deep with young talent. The Canes would be happy with either Hialeah High's Corey Lemonier (6-5, 223) or Fort Lauderdale University's David Perry (6-6, 230).

> With seniors Jimmy Graham, Richard Gordon and Dedrick Epps leaving after this season, tight end is a position of need. But there simply might not be much available.

Ivan McCartney Unless the Canes can convince Palm Beach Dwyer's Gerald Christian he'll get more playing time at UM instead of Florida, Clive Walford, a 6-6, 225-pound project from Belle Glade Glades Central, and Andrew Tallman, a 6-5, 237-pound defensive end from Boston, will be the best UM can reel in. Tallman will likely end up playing offensive tackle.

"It's just not a great year for tight ends," Luginbill said.

> Without a senior receiver on its roster, there is no pressing need for pass catchers. But UM could still end up signing quality targets for the future.

Miramar High's Ivan McCartney, an ESPN Top 150 recruit, said his interest level in UM went up "from 50 percent to 75 percent'' after the 3-1 start and says the Canes are serious contender along with West Virginia and Florida. Jacksonville Raines' Sean Tapley, who has teammates headed to UM but is currently a South Carolina commitment, said the Canes have his attention.

Ditto for Miami Northwestern's Michaelee Harris (6-1, 180) and Carol City's Allen Hurns (6-2, 180). Hurns is currently the only player UM feels confident they'll get.

"If they're going to take that next step toward winning a championship, they need to start getting those guys," Fishbein said. "Miami's strength has always been that next group -- after those first 22 -- to put them over the top.

"When they had [Jeremy] Shockey, they had [Kellen] Winslow behind him. When it was [Clinton] Portis, they had [Willis] McGahee behind him. Those are the type of players that could come in and be that next player -- behind the starter to help them get to the elite level."


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2b, kevin nelson is damn good. dont worry, this class will be beastin by signing day.
we'll probably have 12 four stars and 18 three stars. which is an excellent class.

to all those who say stars dont matter, think again. yea we've had bad luck with wright, leggett, williams, youngblood, brown, etc. but thats not always the case. what you have to do is look at other factors and find the guys with the intangibles. which our old coaches didnt do very well. it was their fault for going after the wrong ones. you see, ESPN has no way of knowing that willie williams would be such a dirtbag, or that arthur brown would be too dumb to understand the basic defence. (hes a great special teamer though! lol)

in general the majority of 5 stars pan out (look at the top 5 stars on ESPN for 2006-2008). for '06 you had myron rolle, taylor mays, matthew stafford, percy harvin, sergio kindle, demarco murray, and andre smith. thats 7/10 of the top players who became/will become potential 1st round picks. its the coaches responsibility to make sure he gets the right 5 star players. when you look at the great teams in college football today (UF, TEX, BAMA, USC, etc.) they all had great recruiting classes a few years back. their top players panned out and have become impact players for their respective teams.

the lower the star caliber, the less likely it is that that player will have success. for every 2 star you name who panned out i could name 4 who didnt.

dont be stupid. in general, stars matter. i still believe shannons doing the right thing this year though, going for underrated sleeper players. this class is good and will only get better. to say that this class sucks because theres no big timers is stupid, but so too is saying that stars dont matter. ultimately, trust that randy and hurtt know what theyre doing. and if they dont theyll be looking for work (which i highly doubt will happen).


I definitely want Brandon Linder and Arie Koujiando, specially since his lil brother is the number one rated Oline for 2011.
linder solidifies and will make the calls to pick up the blitz, and makes us strong up the middle of the offense. We could actually become known for our offensive linemen for once !!!! We will be GREAT again, just you watch !! Great job Manny !!!!!!!! Like Always !!!!!!!!!!!

Too many projects in this class. Stars don't mean everything, but ESPN has been pretty spot on with overall class evals. The 2006 UF class ranked #1 has resulted in a dominant team. The 2008 Canes class #1 is resulting in a top 10 team.

I agree, ESPN's rankings are a lot more accurate then Rivals and Scouts

You will always be able to find a 5-star that didn't work out or a 3-star that became a stud. But that doesn't change the fact that the schools with the top rated recruiting classes based on stars over the last 6 years are Florida, LSU, Texas, USC and Oklahoma. The National championships over the last 6 years? Florida x2, LSU x2, Texas, USC. See the correlation? Given multiple trials, a guy who is rated highly is more likely to become a star player. That doesn't mean every time, or that no one else will ever become a star. Miami has had a rash of bad luck with 5-star recruits. Kyle Wright, Ryan Moore, Charlie Jones and Reggie Youngblood come to mind. Not to mention the ones that never really played here. But that doesn't mean our coaching staff blew it by taking those guys. At the time, every program in America wanted Kyle Wright. And all of you were just as excited as I was when he chose the U. Now it's easy to look back and say the coaching staff should've told him to go elsewhere, but if they did it at that time you all would've been screaming for their jobs.
Bottom line is, guys who are consensus superstars in High School will more often than not be superstars at the next level. We have to take some chances on those guys if we are going to compete with the top programs again.

Thx Manny
Which team leads for Michaelee Harris?

Do not discount Jeremy Davis at RB or WR or DB. That kids tape is sick. Also, Clive Walford will surprise people. RB's Hagens and Hall will be nice gets. The LB from GA looks really good on film. So we have guys that will be good in a few years. In my opinion.

I bet the recruits love that the Canes take the bus to games, just like high school teams.

You cant spell bUs without da U!!!

Posted by: Chaz Reinhold | October 12, 2009 at 07:02 PM


I am trusting the staff.

Anyone going to the game I can catch a ride with. If not, can someone pick me up at the ORLANDO GREYHOUND STA 555 N JOHN YOUNG PKWY. I will have to take a bUs too. Go Canes.

Hi Canes Fans, Lets let get worked up over a recruiting class, they may only have one or three kids come in and contribute right away. For many of the people who do not know much about UM other than the football team. UM is a small private academic institution, that is what makes what they have done in college football the story that it is. They also have an academic reputation to maintain, the kid can be the greatest athlete period, but if he doesnt have what it takes to get a college degree without it being handed to him. The U will not recruit him. I'm proud of what RS is doing, he is getting quality kids who academically qualify or will do what it takes to qualify if they want it bad enough. He is also graduating his kids all of them are on schedule to get their degree and in the real world where and NFL career isn't promised that is what matters most. So lets not compare who USF, UCF, FSU, FIU or even Florida recruits, they are state run schools who can spend a lot of money nor have the academic qualifications UM does. I remember UF used have that, but they sold their soul along time ago to get to the top of the mountain and it worked for them. I don't want to see UM go that route. RS bleeds Miami, he is not a hired gun, that will jump for money its all he knows and its all he wants to know and no one knows what it takes to get the U back on top the right way, and he is doing that. Go Canes....

Go Canes in Minneapols(It's spelled Minneapolis)

What the hell are you talking about? UF is ranked in the Top 50 Academic Instituions -#47. Get your fact straight you douche.


Oh and Miami is ranked 50...we are ranked higher...AGAIN

By the way, Jeff Luc was just downgraded to a four star prospect by Rivals. Maybe Randy does know something about recruiting and player evaluations. Let the man do his job, the U is getting back to the spotlight again. In our everything now society, canes fans will be rewarded for having a little patience.

Love me some me UFag also has the most felons on it's footzeball team. So I guess gaysville is not just known for incest and beastiality

A survey of court records from The Sun has revealed:

* Florida players have been charged with crimes in 24 cases during Meyer's four years as coach.

* There have been 21 arrests, with three more players issued citations and later booked on charges.

* Of the 24 cases in which players have been charged, nine of those charges were for felonies.

we need some d-line studs. we always had the run game stuffed, it seems a little weak this year, still pushed around at times. but we are growing, young guys stepping in and doing well, defense wins championships, and ours needs help. i know after this year the players will get stronger, but we need more depth on both sides of the line. great job manny, shannon is proving me a wrong and im loving it. go canes

ESPN U is televising the night game!

Georgia Tech is gonna beat VT this saturday in Atlanta:-)


Stars do matter when your team is loaded with them like So. Cal's team is. They don't have that premadonna attitude because the guy in front of you on the depth chart is a 5 star guy. Da "U" gets maybe one every other year and to me they come in here with I'm going to play because I am one of the few 5 stars they have and they cop an attitude. It also helps that you played against good comp. in high school, which obviously Art Brown did not. Unless he makes a giant leap next year, you can add him to the 5 star flop list, with co-stars like: Younblood, Williams, Wright, Moore, and Jones. People who are on the Luc band wagon ought to know we don't like 24o Lb's and he would probably be 27o by the time he left.

Luc looks like he is taking HGH or other like substances. High schools dont test anymore .College testing is sparse and depends on the institution. It seems pretty clear Percy Harvin was taking something while in college.

Very Good & Interesting article!


Ya know you are not supposed to play on the internet with these nice folks. I told sis, your ma, to watch you better. Now ya done stired up a hornets nest and I may get fired from the Piggly Wiggly. Lets put on your protective helmet and head back to the double-wide.

yes manny, great article. i wish espn had a good writer for the ACC like the herald has in you. good research.

anyway, i have to say. i like the job RS and Hurtt are doing with recruiting, if you see the list of commits so far they might not have a bunch of those little sparkly stars next to their name like we used to get in elementary school but they are clearly focusing on needs. moreover, you can tell that they are recruiting specific traits. like big and physical. out of the 18 commits so far there is only one under 6 foot.

also, there are clearly up and down years for teams, we used to be at the top and hit a slump allowing USC and Florida to take all the "sparkly star recruits" but our time is coming back around, we have had the 1st and 7th rated recruit classes the past 2 years,... some of you act like being in the top 15ish is horrible. besides,.. all these recruits are exactly what i think we need for us to reload our team at this point. its also clear that 2011 RS and company are going after every single cream of the crop player they have a chance for since he is providing the depth we need for the team in this recruiting class.

for all you nay sayers that where talking smack about shannon won't get anything done at the "U" and have now retracted your prior statements, why don't you think a little bit more open minded. such as with the recruiting class your knocking..

canesniper and drew, thank you for reiterating what ive been saying.

love me some me, idiot, they werent talking about the academic standards for the general public. they were talking about the academic progress rate for the football team. (of which the gators are far below that of the 7th ranked miami hurricanes.)

fellas,i don't care what uf does or does not do,there is enough success for everybody.i'm from tx. and i love MY CANES.if r.s. can win more power to him.some people i guess,expect him to cure cancer.let's just pull for the canes and wish him and the team the best.

Explaining the stars for recruits...If Urban Meyer, Pete Carroll, Jim Tressell, or Mack Brown offers a scholly as a junior, then you are a 4 star at least. Getting a Miami offer gets you a 3 star. When we were hot in the early 2000's a Coker offer got you 4 stars. Thats why Coker had all 4 and 5 star classes, but look how they played.

If anyone is headed up for the UCF game (and I hope there are many) give me a post here if you need help with directions.

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