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Finding hidden gems no easy task for Canes

I've never been a believer in the star system used to rate recruits. Just because a player has a certain number of stars -- or offers -- doesn't necessarily mean he'll become a superstar in college. 

Is linebacker Kelvin Cain going to be another Colin McCarthy or will he end up being the next Eric Houston?  But on the flip side of the argument -- and one I think maybe isn't discussed enough -- are the under the radar players, the kids who don't have offers from many BCS schools. There has been a long held belief that when the University of Miami was thriving in the 1980s and late 1990s, it did a great job at finding those hidden gems and signing them. 

Over the past couple of days, we've heard about how UM has gone after players like Miami Beach defensive tackle Delmar Taylor (a player with five high school games under his belt), Buffalo Canisius High linebacker Jimmy Gaines (a Buffalo commitment and 2-star prospect visiting UM this weekend), Clovis (Calif.) Buchanan High linebacker Kelvin Cain (a player with no other BCS offers). 

If there is one common theme with the Hurricanes' 2010 recruiting class its that most of the players expected to sign on Feb. 3 aren't among the most highly coveted in the nation. In fact, if you look at Rivals for instance, only six of UM's 24 commitments are rated four stars (elite) or above. Those are: RB Storm Johnson, OL Malcolm Bunche, RB Eduardo Clements, OT Tavadis Glenn, OT Brandon Linder and LB Travis Williams. ESPN also has six players rated four stars or above. Their list has: Johnson, Clements, Linder, Glenn and DE David Perry and LB Kevin Nelson. 

For argument sake, let's say there are eight players that are being recognized as "BCS caliber." That means the Hurricanes are counting on 16 current commitments, considered "middle of the road" to "2-star gambles" that UM's staff is hoping develops into gems. So what is the likelihood of that happening? Who really knows. But if you look at UM's recent history with players rated 3-stars or less, it's easy to see finding a gem is harder than it might have been when UM was winning national titles. 

Here's a look at the good, the bad and the ugly since 2005 when the Canes signed players considered by Rivals.com to be three stars or less. Note: *-denotes 2-star player.

- Eric Houston, LB: Career special teams player
- Daryl Shaprton, LB: Late bloomer broke out his senior year
- Matt Pipho, OL: Didn't play until his fifth season, struggled at right tackle
* Jerrell Mabry, FB: Never panned out 

- Chris Lewis, DE: Transferred to Fresno State, had 20 tackles, 1 INT in 2009
- Colin McCarthy, LB: 3-year starter, All-ACC First Team in 2009 
- Ian Symonnette, OL: Career special teams player
- Chavez Grant, CB: Never made a strong impact. Started 19 games, 2 INTs
- Steven Wesley, DL: Has started 17 games and has 3 sacks heading into senior year
- Matt Bosher, K: Team MVP in 2008, All-ACC First Team
- Chaz Washington, DT: Never panned out
* Daniel Stegall, QB: Returned to baseball, career fizzled with Mets in minors
* Joel Figueroa, OL: Has 13 career starts heading into senior year at guard
* George Robinson, WR: Quit football after one year

- Lee Chambers, RB: Career backup has 272 yards rushing, 1 TD heading into junior year
- Harland Gunn, OL: After two years on scout team, he started five games in 2009
- Leonard Hankerson, WR: Had breakout 2009 season and enters senior year highly touted
- Shawnbrey McNeal, RB: Transferred to SMU and had breakout season, entering NFL Draft
- Jojo Nicholas, S: Injured in '09, likely will be passed up on depth chart in 2010
Chris Perry, DT: Played in eight games in '09 at Texas Tech, four tackles, 1 sack
Adewale Ojomo, DE: Broke jaw in a preseason fight with walk-on; expected to start in 2010 
Jared Campbell, S: Made 6 starts in 2009, 31 tackles, 5 pass breakups 
* Tyler Horn, OL: Projected started at center in 2010
* Daniel Adderley, WR: Has not panned out 

- Micanor Regis, DT, Made strong push toward end of '09 season, 2 INTs in 13 games
LaRon Byrd, WR, Struggled down stretch of '09 season, 33 catches, 460 yards, 1 TD
Joe Wylie, DB, Left the program last summer 
Thearon Collier, WR, Shined as a punt returner, finished with 18 catches, 250 yards
Antonio Harper, LB, Academic casualty, now a defensive end at Troy
Kendall Thompkins, WR: Has hardly played, rumored to be transferring or switching to cornerback
Gavin Hardin, LB: Played in one game in '09, missed rest of season with injury
Cannon Smith, QB: Transferred to Memphis, expected to assume backup role in 2010
* Taylor Cook, QB: Transferred to Rice, expected to assume backup role in 2010
* Brandon Marti, LB: Arrested, cut from the team; in JUCO trying to revive career
* Zach Kane, LB: Arrested, cut from team, not heard from since he entered prep school
* C.J. Odom, DB: Another academic casualty. Out of football
* John Calhoun, FB: Has played mostly on special teams
* Patrick Hill, FB: A two-year starter expected to return in 2010 after missing most of '09 with injury.
* Jake Wieclaw, K: Hasn't been able to wrestle away any of the three kicking jobs from Bosher 

- Prince Kent, DB: Academic casualty, signed with Baylor after shining in prep school
Curtis Porter, DT: Filled in well during his freshman season for injured Marcus Forston
A.J. Highsmith, QB: Elevated himself to backup quarterback in the spring
Billy Sanders, TE: Expected to compete for the starting tight end job
Jared Wheeler, OL: Could compete for playing time at guard or center
Cory White, TE: Converted to offensive tackle, played on scout team
Shayon Green, DE: Injured, missed entire freshman season
Stephen Plein, TE: Converted to offensive tackle, played on scout team


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Manny, you should take this list back to 2002, the latest that Rivals lists its rankings. By the way, where do people get this information that Reed, Wayne, and others were 2-star or 3-star recruits? I can't find that information anywhere but everyone seems to be pointing at them as proof that ratings mean nothing. I can't speak for everyone, but I think most will agree that UM would rather take Florida's class than what the U has coming in, as a whole, this year.

All of your busts were Coker 2-stars. If you look at the 2008 list, Byrd, Collier, Regis and Hill are all good contributors (i'm assuming Regis heals...he was a projected starter). Most of the busts in that class never actually showed up. The only problem there was Cook, and God knows what that was about. Also, those 2-stars are always meant to be 3-4 year projects, so you can't really say whether some of these guys (Thompkins in particular...cornerback or not) are actually busts. The came in with a bunch of 5-stars, so the fact that they're not playing yet isn't a surprise.

We all know Coker couldn't recruit. Shannon is probably doing pretty well.

Go Canes!

Once again, Shannon does not get it. He cannot RECRUIT. UM IS EMBARASSING ITSELF NATIONALLY. Their entire recruitng class is Mediocre at BEST!!!!!
SHANNON MUST GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

unfortunately, we haven't done much better with 4 or 5 star prospects either


Lets be real where looking for a diamond in the rough because we cant get the big time recruits.

Hey boca man, are you always this stupid or are you making a special effort today ?

Only 4 out 15 in Shannon's first FULL recruting class panned out... 3 transferred, 2 had arrests and were kicked off the team, 2 academic casualties (one transferred)... So out of the 11 that didn't "develop," 7 of them aren't on the team AT all anymore... That's not the coach's fault... Laron Byrd (one of our top two WRs) might not have all the catches but I would hardly say he "struggled" down the stretch, the OL and an injured Jacory struggled down the stretch and the WRs numberss... Pat Hill was a stud, he was busting ass until he got hurt... Thearon Collier is another kid who makes big plays. Davon Johnson was actually rated higher than him coming out of Booker T., but Pimp is the one on the field... Regis is solid, but our whole D Line can get better... And Kendall Tompkins is a solid WR, he came in with Aldarius, Streeter, Pimp, D.J., and Byrd... Its going to be hard to get on the field, so the ones that are on the field must be showing up in practice!!

Ryan Moore was a 5 star, rivals ranked him the #1 receiver in the nation. Lance Leggett and Akeem Jolla, were not far behind as 4 stars. Russell Maryland (pre-star system) only had two offers besides Miami - Illinois State and Iowa. He won the Outland Trophy. Nevertheless, I still think Miami deserves a lot better than Randy Shannon.

Manny - Great analysis. Please give us the flip side: How have our elite (greater than 3-star) recruits panned out during the same period?

The team overall was 9-4 so the whole team is what counts. UM is above average, so the Canes play like an overall 3 star team. That's what counts. To turn the corner, we need a strong group of players to become play makers. I like the chances of J. Harris, D. Berry, A. Johnson, B. Washington, B. Harris, M. Fortson, A. Bailey, S. Spence, R. Armstrong, and V. Telemaque to become the 4 and 5 star players IN COLLEGE.


Kind of an inconclusive article. Some other examples of 2 and 3 star recruits are Russell Wilson, Colt McCoy and Sam Bradford. Hmmm, I wonder how those panned out?

"...entire recruitng class is Mediocre at BEST!!!!!
SHANNON MUST GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Posted by: Boca man | January 22, 2010 at 08:24 PM

It just got rated No. 12 by ESPN, what is your expertise? Are you a recruiting guru?

It never ceases to amaze me how caught up people can get when it comes to recruiting. How do people NOT see that a system NOT endorsed by anyone involved with college football; ran by corporations who's only objective is to drive traffic to their respective websites, is a fraud system? By rule, coaches aren't allowed to talk about this so their is no way for them to defend their actions or explain their logic. Everything is based on hearsay and most of the people who work for these recruiting websites didn't even play football. The only way to truly measure the strength of a recruiting class is threw wins; which Coach Shannon and his staff have been able to improve upon EVERY year!

0 stars or 5 stars it doesn't matter if the coaches can't develope the talent. I've given this staff the benefit of the doubt for a couple years now and there has been improvement record wise but the time to take it to the next level is this year. That number 1 rated recruiting class from a few years back will be juniors....no more excuses....it's time for an ACC championship at the very least. Go Canes!

Shannon has had only one class that was widely considered a strong one. This will be his fourth class and it doesn't look good at this stage either. Can Miami be a national power again with such weak recruiting classes?

I remember back in the 1980's. Miami dominated on the field even though their recruits were rarely highly touted. I didn't follow recruiting much under Davis. The talent at the U in 2000 and 2001 was incredible. What did Rivals and ESPN have to say about those classes while they were being recruited?

boca man why don't you tell us who um should be recruiting. also why don't you tell us who should be the head coach. give us some names on recruits and name us a head coach.



Colt McCoy was a 2 star QB. But no one cares as long as you win. Va Tech does a pretty good job with their crappy recruiting classes. Talent matters, sure, but wins matter more, however you get them

Maybe we need to stop focusing so much on the recruits....and maybe start looking at the "DEVELOPMENT OF OUR PLAYERS"! We can blame/praise Coker and Shannon all we want for poor/great recruiting....but if those kids aren't developing into BCS/NFL players, we could recruit 30 Ray Lewis's and STILL have a 7-4 record! You don't lose the Kehoe's, Schiano's, Cristobals,and Butch's....then replace them with Nix's, Hurrt's, and Shannon (who by the way....USED to be that kind of coach, now it just seems like he is overwhelmed)

All of it is a crap shot.Im loving what Shannon has done thus far, so let t he man continue to work. In Shannon we Trust, at least the real fans. Im sure we had more 4 and 5 stars that never panned out than 2 and 3 stars. Boca Dude, U just need to not be a fan until we get a coach that U like. Its better than complaining.

Posted by: Reuven | January 22, 2010 at 08:30 PM

Somebody who's paying attention!!

Posted by: ChicagoCane | January 22, 2010 at 08:09 PM

Someone else who's paying attention!!

Why do we go to other WACK states and recruit no name dudes. We can find a bunch of dimonds in the rough rite here in the state of Miami. Look at Lebrendon Richardson DE/LB of Miami Central. He would be perfect for the U

Calling for Shannon to be fired? Thats a great idea..its such a bad idea to have continuity in the coaching staff, who wants the same old staff? Its been , what 3 years now? Time for a change, sure..great idea. Get the fck out of here!!!!


versus the noteable 3 star or below over the same time period:

brandon meriweather
sinorice moss
darryl sharpton
colin mccarthy
matt bosher
leonard hankerson? <<< maybe?


you tell me which group you'd rather have.

If you look at Georgia Tech's recruiting classes the past 3 years including this year, you see mostly 3-star rated guys. they go out and get guys to fit a system. They were ACC champs and a top team in the nation. This is the first time Miami will have a quality offensive system for consecutive seasons, and the same for the defense(having a full time coordinator, focused only on the defense). Relax, see how the next 2 seasons pan out with Jacory's recruiting class (he's not turning pro as a junior) then pick up your torches and pitchforks and go after Randy. Allow continuity to develop. Stop comparing Miami to UF. UF , as well as most of the top schools are state schools that have lower academic standards and therefore can affford to let anyone play for them. A lot of the times Miami brings in the clowns and they don't make it here because of academic failings or behavioral issues, they go somewhere else and do well because they don't have to worry about academics, etc. Don't just look at wins/losses, 4-star/5-star. Look at everything as a whole.

At least don't look at wins/losses thus far. Next year and the following year, look at wins/losses.

One more thing, the team had no choice but to elevate A.J. Highsmith to backup status. It's a little thing called DEFAULT. LOL!!

Like I said in last post until U analyzing film allday, Won a championship in 87 and, live the Cane life then bagg back. These guys need a 5 yr plan not three yr plan.
1.UM acc rate higher than other schools
2.Brawls and the media piles on UM if they ever step out of line.they have to recruit quality kids that act right.
3.Shannon is a disciplinarian and sometimes kids wanna go to school to party not study.Give me the strict dad anyday.
4.FACE IT we sucked 2 yrs ago we got better last yr.I expect a 2 to 3 win improvement in 2010.
5.This class is ranked 12# with to big weekends coming up hold your panties until NSD.
Every hire Coach has made improved the team.Whipple(EVEN THOUGH HES OUT WHEN J12 LEAVES)Lovett improved both sides of the ball. Petri can coach a d-line just look at the guys leaving Kentucky and the kids left UM(Kenard Lang)Mcgriff has a foothold in GA and Hill is Shannon's right hand man we got a great staff thanks to Coach.
6.This the U baby "Us against tha world"
5.UM has not

SHUT-UP! Boise State beat "Oklahoma's 5-Star players" and Stanford beat "USC's 5-Star Players" the list goes on-and-on.

It's about wins & losses. The Canes are getting better every year.

So SHUT-UP, about the star system idiots.


4 or 5 stars don't matter when the players fail to qualify. Kent was one of these top tier players last year and now he's going to Baylor.

I don't recall too many stars for Dan Morgan, Santana Moss, or Portis. The stars are nice, but the coaching is the difference. Look at Ron Zook's Gators. He had all the 4 and 5 star players and they were average. Better coaching and all the sudden they were undefeated.

Guess what Manny? It is no the 80's or 90's anymore. Take a look at the teams that are winning national titles, they are all bringing in top national recruiting classes EVERY year.

The formula that Miami was using in the 80's and 90's was to recruit SOUTH FLORIDA well, but coach Shannon isn't even doing that. He is losing every good kid in his own backyards with the exception of 1 or 2. That's not good enough.

The 2001 team was assembled in the late 90's when these recruiting sites were not what they are today.

The fact is that those rankings show that the top schools often are bringing in the top players.

Miami fans need to stop living in the 80's and 90's and start living in the year 2010. In the year 2010 you don't find "Diamonds in the rough" nearly as easily. Every player is discovered and known in camps, 7v7's, etc.

What happened to putting a fence around south florida? why are we losing out on almost ALL of the South Florida talent?

You can always find a 2 or 3 star player that turned out great and a 5-star that didn't. That doesn't mean the stars mean nothing. The top recruiting teams in terms of stars this decade were Oklahoma, Florida, Texas, Ohio St, LSU and USC. Who won the national championships this decade? Yeh. Exactly.

It's not about the stars becuase the fact of the matter is at the college level of your a five star or a one star.. U still need development... The five star might be harder to develop if anything becuase it probably needs minor adnuatments that need to be taught right or the player will be a bust... Look at Kyle wright...? Thing is the current staff isn't developing the players... That's the problem

here u all go again bashing shannon. i dont know why u guys read the blogs bcuz u dont know college football.lol

You guys kill me with this star ranking bs. How about this, Shannon first recruiting class was ranked number 1 by espn and his second class was top 10. We are stockpiled with young talent and the recruits see this. They know they will have a hard time seeing the field with so much young talent so they opt to go to school where they can play sooner. By the way, when 75% of your first recruiting class are starters, what does that say about the talent level there before coach Shannon took over? You guys act as if we won the championship in 07, Coker moved on to coach in the NFL, and Shannon took over and this is the result. Get the F out of here! IN SHANNON WE TRUST!

Zack Kane played at Temple this year.

Manny, I'd like to see you do the same exercise with the 3,4 and 5 star Cane recruits. For example, how would you rate Javarris James career?

Fire Shannon does not guarantee another coach is going to walk in here and put is in the national championship game in'11. That coach is going to want to put his system in and if the production is not there you are going to belly ache that that coach needs to be fired also. Plus I also believe Shannon's hand is being forced by the administration as far as entrance requirements and the type of recruits he is bringing in. Go back to the movie where Tad Foote tried to make UM a Ivy league school. No UM will not be on that level but recruits are seeing this and I have to believe this is why they are going elsewhere and finally for all the under the radar recruits that haven't panned out, look at Warren Sapp he came to UM recruited @ TE and developed into one of the best defensive players of all time @ UM so that is what I believe is going on.

Manny, I think '07 and '08 are still early to tell. And just because they arent a standout (like Figs) that doesn't mean they aren't a good get as a "middle of the road" guy

unfortunately with shannon UM is only going to be 2-3 losses at best. Shannon sabotaged the team this past season, he personally lost the game against clemson and did not have the leadership to rally this team and bring them back, this team never recovered from the clemson loss because shannon is not aggressive, shannon wants his players to wear a suit and tie on the football field and that is not going to be it done on the field.

I think Shannon has done a good job so far, but not a great job. I don't think that ratings mean everything, but they do mean something. Let's face it, if the U was only recruiting 2-star and 3-star players then we'd all be alarmed by that and agree that there is something wrong in their recruiting process. There have been plenty of "busts" like Moore, Willie Williams, Leggett, Wright, Freeman, (to this point A. Brown), Jolla, just to name some recent ones. But there have also been some great highly-rated players like Hester, McGahee, D.J. Williams, Darnell Jenkins, Jon Beason, Greg Olsen, etc.

Another point, that kid Gore from Columbus was recruited by LSU but not the U b/c he doesn't fit Whipple's system, but everyone knows Whipple is only looking to stay on for another year or two at the most. Is that a sound recruiting philosophy? Couldn't the U have taken a chance on a kid like Gore and found some way for him to contribute? He's Frank Gore's cousin and the U flat-out refused to recruit him, that's just not cool.

Manny thanks for all you do.

I think anything Canes related becomes like a Rorshart? test for Canes fans. If they want to see positive they see it. Want to see negative they see that in it as well.

I appreciate the late night conversations at the 'Space even though I missed out on that one.

Keep it up, your good people!

I think that "Boca Man" is a Florida fan trying to stir things up with negative comments. I think I've seen him on the Florida

Manny...thanks for the info and regular updates. Appreciate U dropping by last night. Keep the news coming!

VANN, yea retaining a bad coaching staff for the sake of "continuity" is fcking brilliant, what an idiot,CaneBoss, that screenname you gave your self must have gone to your head, who exactly are you to tell Boca Man or anyone else who they can or can't root for? lmao@you, i will answer your question, you said who should shannon have been recruiting, well how about getting in his car and attending some games in hialeah where corey lemonier and calvin smith(headed to tennessee) played, how about focusing on more so fla talent instad of no names from fresno, and even local no names like delmar taylor, look i hope taylor and all of them pan out, and having some kids like him in a recruiting clas is great, but to basically go all in, using poker terms, betting that 80% of your recruits are forget stars, not being recruited by anyone but illinois st, jeffery brown who has not even committed is "weighing" his choice of UM and buffalo, that is embarassing, back to who he should have recruited, how about Jeff Luc? glaring need at lb right, this used to be TE U, since he let gerald christian the #2 rated TE in the ntion slip out from under his nose right here in so fla, how about focusing in more on Christian Thomas who said UMwas his dream school, being from cali, considering the coaching turmoil at USC, and the fact that both USC and UCLA, already have multiple highly ranked TE's in their recruiting classes, please tell me how it is excusable to lose him should he not come here? and it now does not look as promising as it once did, Michalee Harris? are you kidding me, J Harris and the other MNW kids are here, he (shannon) chased off robert marve to pander to jacory and the MNW kids, and M Haris spurns UM despite J Harris being the QB now, and Teddy Bridgewater supposed to be the next QB at Miami,the depth chart stuff is crap or the gaytors and texas et al would not be getting any recruits and they are kicking A__ in recruiting, and besides all that "depth" at WR will be juniors and Hnakerson a SR next yar, and final note by misusing travis benjamin, probably the most gifted athlete at Miami since Hester, shannon may alienate Kelvin Benjamin, Travis's brother who may be the top recruit in the nation overall next year,please tell me why J Gore was not even considered yet we have scholarships for 17 reclamation projects? hope the I Macartney to UM buzz is true, Lemonier is supposedly in play there was buzz he had also committed as a silent and he may still wind up at the U, but how are we even in a fight for a kid who has publicly stted his love for miami, and how miami is home, and the U is special to him, and his mom wants hi to stay home? WWW.FIRECOACHSHANNON.COM

hey Vann, firing Cam Cameron by the Dolphins must have been a "disgraceful, shameful " act by the Dolphins, you are too dumb to post, put down the bottle or crack pipe or both and try paying attention and watching the state of the UM program while in a sober state, shannon is terrible, yea let me see duh let me kick off to CJ SPILLER with under a min left in the half vs clemson, duh, let me call all my timeouts on the first drive of each half every game, duh, and then after i call the timeouts the defense still gets burned byt he same play the other team has been using all along,duh, let me alienate 5 highly ranked recruits who had committed to UM,L NIX, T CHANDLER,J JOHNSON,GREG DENT(why take hi if you knew he would go to F$U? or was he just not cnvincing enough?elam flipped to F$U from the turds and urban liar got him back)and quinton dunbar, duh, shannon is incompetent, www,firecoachshannon.com, I HAVE SAID IT BEFORE AND I WILL SAY IT AGAIN, I HOPE I AM WRONG AND SHANNON MAKES ME LOOK LIKE AN IMBECIL, I WILL GLADLY EAT CROW BREAKFAST,LUNCH AND DINNER, FOR A DECADE, AND COME ON EVERY FORUM AND TYPE MY REAL NAME AND SAY I AM THE DUMBEST SOB EVER, IF SHANNON TAKES US AT LEAST TO A TOP 5 RANKING, ACC TITLE OBVIOUSLY A BCS BOWL WOULD BE AUTOMATIC IF THE ACC TITLE IS WON,SO I HOPE I AM WRONG FOR 2 REASONS, 1 I LOVE UM FOOTBALL AND WANT THEM TO WIN EVERY GAME THEY PLAY, AND 2 IT LOOKS LIKE IF SHANNON WOULD HAVE TURNED OUT TO BE A GOOD COACH HE UNLIKE PREVIOUS UM COACHES WHO WERE SUCCESFUL WOULD HAVE NOT JUMPED SHIP FOR GREENER NFL PASTURES, ANYWAY WE WILL SEE, FOR NOW WWW.FIRECOACHSHANNON.COM

Continuity...that is a word Shannon doesn´t understand. How many OC´s and DC´s has he had under him? MMMMMMM. I think he is the one that has to go. We need a real head coach that can assemble a GOOD COACHING STAFF and STOP BLAMING HIS STAFF and STOP CHANGING COORDINATORS like if they are underwear.

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