One recruiting weekend down, one to go. The University of Miami hosted its next to last group of weekend visitors. Here are a few tidbits I was able to gather...
As expected, the Canes were able to nail down a commitment from Buffalo (N.Y.) Canisius High linebacker Jimmy Gaines. The former Buffalo recruit apparently had a great time on his visit and told UM coach Randy Shannon Saturday night he was ready to join the family. "He just loved it from the moment he got there," Canisius coach Brandon Harris said. "I think the kid is going to be a really good player for Miami. In three years, you'll find me and say 'Coach, you were right."
While it looks like St. Thomas Aquinas kicker Michael Palardy is going to stay true to his commitment to Tennessee, UM was able to bring in Sacramento (Calif.) Christian Brothers tight end Asante Cleveland and his parents for a visit. And word is, Cleveland had a great time and is now considering switching from Washington State to Miami. Cleveland (6-5, 230) would be a great get for the Canes considering the need at tight end. Stay tuned for updates this week.
> Gaines might have enjoyed his visit, but he did get a little razzing from his future teammates. According to Davie Western offensive lineman and now fellow UM commitment Jonathan Feliciano, players were deliberately ignoring him until he decided to commit.
"We kept messing with him, telling him 'We don't talk to guys who aren't Canes," Feliciano said. "He's cool. I didn't get a chance to see him [Sunday] before we left. But I heard he decided to become part of the family. That's great news."
Feliciano, who had Wake Forest, Florida State and Tennessee still chasing him up until last month, said he's grown an inch (he's now 6-5) and put on another 10 pounds (He weighs 318) since the start of the season. He said UM coach Randy Shannon told him he's happy he never strayed and is looking forward to him competing for playing time at guard.
A FEW MORE TIDBITS...
> I've been told the Hurricanes are hot after another defensive tackle, current Ole Miss commitment Byron Bennett. Although I haven't been able to confirm it with Bennett or his coach, the 6-3, 265-pound senior at Madison Central High in Mississippi could be making a visit to UM this weekend.
> Miami Springs receiver Willis Wright hasn't heard from Miami coaches in a long time. But his high school coach Alex Pacheco said he received a phone call from UM assistant Wesley McGriff on Friday to see if Wright was still interested in UM.
Wright, who visited FIU this past weekend and has West Virginia as another of his finalists, told me Sunday afternoon he would love to visit UM next weekend. But he still hasn't heard from Canes coaches.
"I'm willing to give them a look," Wright said. "I've taken three visits and can take one next week if they wanted me to."
Pacheco said Wright, who is still awaiting his ACT test scores and should get them this week, took his studies seriously his senior season (he worked with a tutor) and raised his GPA to 2.6. "Willis isn't a dumb kid," Pacheco said. "Is he lazy? Yes, he had been. I know grades could have been an issue with Miami. But he might have what he needs to get in there now."
> There is no reason to hold out hope anymore on Winter Park Lake Howell linebacker Christian Jones giving UM a visit. His coach, Tom Oliver, told me Friday Jones has basically eliminated UM.
"I think he was supposed to go down there and visit and just decided not to," Oliver said. "I know the last thing he wants to do is waste anybody's time. I know Micheal Barrow has made a strong effort to convince him to give Miami a look. But it just doesn't look like its going to work out. He's probably going to give USC a look next week."