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McDermott eager to make impact

If there is one area the Miami Hurricanes absolutely needed to address in the 2010 recruiting class it was offensive line. With three starters (Jason Fox, Matt Pipho, A.J. Trump) headed out the door and only four players (Orlando Franklin, Harland Gunn, Brandon Washington and Joel Figueroa) returning with real in-game college experience, the Hurricanes absolutely need to not only find big bodies but guys who could play if called upon.

Shane McDermott  Shane McDermott is ready to be one of those guys. I caught up with the 6-3, 275-pound All-American center from Palm Beach Central High before he began taking classes at UM this past Tuesday to see where his mind was at heading into spring football next month. Needless to say, this guy sounds like he's ready.

"I want to make an impact," McDermott answered when I asked him about his expectations for his freshman season. "Coach [Jeff] Stoutland told us if you come in and you perform, we'll play you. We aren't scared to put a freshman in that position. I've let him know I'm not scared to be in that position."

As it stands, the Hurricanes are bringing in seven offensive linemen in this class. There could be more. But of the seven, a source at UM told me its not hard to imagine McDermott, Milford Prep offensive tackle Malcolm Bunche or St. Thomas Aquinas offensive tackle Brandon Linder seeing real playing as true freshmen. The truth is none of them have much in the way of competition -- especially McDermott. 

Redshirt sophomore Tyler Horn, penciled in as the starting center, played in all of six games this season -- garbage time minutes mostly against Florida A&M, UCF, Virginia and USF. Brandon Washington has taken snaps at center in practice, but the Hurricanes want him to take over the left guard spot while Franklin moves out to left tackle. The other returning scout team offensive linemen -- Ben Jones (6-5, 300), Jermaine Johnson (6-6, 310), Jared Wheeler (6-5, 330), Cory White (6-5, 260) and Stephen Plein (6-6, 260) -- are expected to compete mostly at tackle and guard.

"I think I could make a big difference early," McDermott said. "I'm pretty much second string. Coach told me they're looking at converting a couple of other guys to center, the guy who used to play tight end [Plein]. But I'm graduating early for a reason, that's to play early."

McDermott is definitely gifted. Despite playing on a 3-7 team, he graded out a 98 percent according to his coach and is already as strong as some of UM's biggest linemen. He benches 365 pounds and squats 490 pounds. He also received great reviews at last month's Under-Armour All-Star Game in Tampa, where he lined up opposite former Canes recruits Louis Nix (now of Notre Dame) and Todd Chandler (USF) and dominated. 

"It was a great experience and awesome to compete against some of the best in the nation," McDermott said. "I thought I did really good, especially against Nix and Chandler. It was a little weird facing them after they decommitted. There were some serious battles and we were going at it a little bit. But I felt like I came out on top."

McDermott is definitely one of the brightest minds in the class. He graduated with a 3.4 GPA and scored a 1010 on his SAT. His plan is to double major at UM, Marine Affairs and Marine Biology. It's not surprising since he won the Palm Beach Science fair with a project on the on the effects of acidification on the asexual reproduction of corals. It's no surprise either that in addition to his love for the study of the sea, McDermott loves spear fishing, something he said he plans to do a lot with Linder.

"Being in the ocean, hunting, is a lot of fun," said McDermott, who is rooming with quarterback Stephen Morris. "Brandon and I have been keeping up on Facebook a lot. He told me how cleaned up during mini season, 60 lobsters. The biggest thing I've ever caught is a six pound hog fish."

Truth is, the biggest catch McDermott could end up with this fall is a starting job. He's going to give it his best shot. 

"I've been lifting everyday at 6 a.m. since the season ended," McDermott said. "I've been doing speed and agility drills with Athlete's Advantage. I feel like I'm ready for college. It's all I've been focused on. I can't wait to get in there."

A FEW MORE TIDBITS...

> I wasn't able to hook up with Malcolm Bunche before he began taking classes Tuesday, but word is he'll be given every opportunity to win the starting right tackle job this fall. Hurricanes coaches felt Bunche could have made an impact last year if he hadn't had to go to prep school. 

> I wasn't able to attend Tuesday night's basketball game because I spent a few days taking care of my wife who is sick with a vicious stomach virus. But I spoke to a few well respected coaches last night to get a feel for what they believe might be wrong with the Hurricanes. 

In their opinions, while UM coach Frank Haith has done an excellent job recruiting talent to Miami, he needs to find more help in terms of X's and O's. "Everyone knows Frank can recruit, but just like Leonard Hamilton needed to go out and get him a Stan Jones, Frank needs to do the same," one coach said. "Once Leonard got Stan, UM really started winning. What I see now is a lot of confusion."

The other criticism: Substitutions. "It kills me to see him yank guys like clockwork," another coach said. "At the four minute mark every game, he gives his starters a blow. Why? Post guys like [Dwayne] Collins need to feel the ball, need to get into a flow. He needs to go with his best guys more often."

Comments

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Hey thanks for all the info as always. And most important, wishing a speedy recovery to your wife.

Love your work Manny. Sorry to hear about your wife's health. Hopefully she feels better, so you can keep we Canes fans looped in. I find myself checking the Herald site 2 or 3 times a day when it's been a while between your posts. Keep up the good work.

McDermott, Linder, and Bunche could make or break the season in 2010. We need them to produce NOW. Hey Manny, is Tallman really a TE or is he an OT. At 6-6, he could beef up.

I hope this guy is as good as he thinks he is. No doubt our OL needs to improve and quickly. Good news is that this o line could be better than last years despite losing 3 starters. Outside of Fox, I won't be missing any of those guys.

Go Canes!

Hey Manny thanks for the article!

I really believe the guys who come in early have a real step up compared to other recruits (pretty self explanatory why).

I think what everyone needs to understand is that even though Miami isn't getting the 5* guys they're getting the determined and ready-to-play-now type guys. What I mean by that is that these guys are not diva's (from what we know) and all their "measurable's" look like they are ready to play. Here's what i mean..

- Whipple likes big wideouts. Hankerson had a fine year and besides Benjamin (who's around 6'1'' and Collier (who was a main special teams player) all the others are above 6'3''.

- Linemen seem to have a "height requirement" as well. All of UMs linemen are easily above 300 pounds and 6'2''.

- Running backs need to be complete backs. Storm Johnson, need I say more? Whip doesn't seem to go after scat backs but he likes pass catchers and fine run blockers (ala Mike James).

Just like others have pointed out, don't look at all the rankings. These coaches spend all day evaluating and going after the talent. I trust them better then guys that look at highlight reels. Plus, many of these guys are projects that need to be developed (Stephen Plein and soon to be Delmar Taylor) they will need time and we must be patient to see the fruits of Randy and the staffs labor.

good we need o line help.

Frank Haith can recruit? Oh really? Who has he rercruited lately who is really an ACC caliber player? If he is such a great recruiter, why is it that our team is doing so poorly this year in the ACC. Sorry, I'm just not seeing it.

Yeah, we've "been in the running" for a few top athletes; but in the final analysis, they all seem to go elsewhere.

Our team is competitive alright. We can surely compete with the WORST teams in the ACC. but that's about it. We're nowhere nearly good enough to compete with good ACC teams.

Of course, Jack McClinton was a great player. No doubt. But he wasn't really recruited by Coach Haith, was he? He transferred to the U from Siena.

How have our other transfers worked out so far? Not so good!

This UM fan is VERY disappointed.

I think Frank Haith is a great guy. But I am unconvinced about his recruiting prowess. He came to Miami with a big rep. But I sure don't see him recruiting any big time players.

Who's the best performing "Frank Haith recruit" in college today? Is it Denny Clemente?

Man, am I depressed. First, football, now basketball. I don't even want to think about the upcoming baseball season.

I'm out!

McDermott reminds me of John O'Neil (NMB) from the late 80's. Monster blocker from a losing program with awesome upside. Go Shane, love those smart O-lineman. They can dominate.

How about Henderson??? UM needs a strong recruiting finish badly. Mccartney, Shirley, Thomas, Lemonier, Fergauson, Whitaker, Dixon, Palardy,and perhaps another OL. UM's recruting class is the laughing stock of the country.

Morris better do well, because they need a true back-up QB or 2 next year. UM MUST WIN the ACC NEXT YEAR or they must NOT RENEW Shannon. Whipple will be gone, so they must do it NOW. They better get some good people like Ken Dorsey or Steve Walsh as offense coordinators/QB coaches of the future.

Another recruit bites the Dust. I see that CHristian Thomas the 4 star tight end prospect has skipped his UM visit and will committ elsewher. WHAT is it with SHANON???????? He is lossing all recruits. now, he invited a 1 star MLB named Gaines who has received only 1 offer -from Buffalo University of all places. WHY??????????????????
What is wrong????????????? FSU will have a top 5 class with a NEW COACH. UF a number 1 class with NO COACH. UM athletic Director Hocutt-PLEASE DO SOMETHING NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Excited to see what McDermott and Bunche can do next year. Really excited about these guys coming in as very strong young athletes. Need more of that on both of our lines.

Awesome work Manny! It's all about having the right mindset when coming to Miami and not getting caught up with star ratings.

If our O-line can take care of business, it is lights out this season. Our D will be stacked. I calling you boys: Ojomo, Bailey, Fortson, Vernon, Lemonier, Robinson. We must get to the QB and anihilate.

Manny,
Good job taking care of your responsibilites as a husband. I hope that your wife is feeling better. Thanks for the football info. McDermott seems like he is one of those "damonds in the rough" that Coach Shannon and his staff are going after. The kid is ultra smart, strong, competetive and ambitious. He wasn't a 4 or 5 star player, but competed very well against 4 and 5 star players in the Under-Armour All-Star game. I truly hope that one of the returning players will be our starter next year and that McDermott gets the chance to sit back, learn and develop over the next year. It is good to know though that if in a pinch, we hopefully have a guy who can step in and do the job.

I coached against Palm Beach Central last year, the team wasn't very good but McDermott absolutely dominated that night. He was laying out people left & right, his the definition of a high motor guy. McDermott is going to take Horns starting job before game 1, its just a matter of time!!!.

Buying a McDermott jersey tomorrow.

Shane sounds like a great pick up, kid is grounded and hungry to compete as well.


Shane McDermott interview at UA Game
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAm09FXYKas


Storm Johnson interview at UA Game
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRDiPuUk9-U


Tavadis Glenn interview at UA Game
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9gzJgO7LC4w


Realistically,if we end up starting 2 freshmen on the Oline, we should be concerned. With that being said, I'd love to add another big named o linemen.

Sounds like Shane is ready to go. When Canes win National Championship I'll invite him spearfishing in the Exuma Cays of the Bahamas. You wont believe the size of lobsters here!

I like his attitude Manny! The brains will definitely come in handy after losing Fox this year. I'd like to say that our line is going to be alright but I'm a little hesitant. We're definitely going to need the young guys to step it up. GO CANES!!!!

Hope your wife gets well Manny. Other than Henderson, who are other recruits that are comming on visits in the next 2 weeks ? I think these weekends are tricky because we don't know if the recruits are comming to actually visit the school or hang out and party for the pro bowl weekend.

here we go again. now we have to wait seven days to be able to see ant comments posted on here.

What a waste manuel.

If it ain't broke don't fix it. Leave the starters in as long as possible.

Now how about some defensive lineman and a real line coach.

Nice read, thanks Manny!! I hope the influx of offensive line talent we have with this coming class with show some during this coming season. You build your football team first with the guys in the trenches.

Question though...has anyone heard whether or not Lemonier has made an announcement about his decision? The Canes need him to help out the defensive line. He is strong and big enough to both rush the passer and stop the run.

And after the bowl game, we need some bigger bodies in there to stop the run.

Manny, a correction should be made. UM actualy lost only two starters on the offensive line. I am sure Pipho will make a great doctor but he was a terrible offensive linemen. The Wisconsin game did show how much we will miss J. Fox though. GOOOO! CANES! WHATS UP EDD.

Excellent points about recruiting.

Few if any of these recruits are in the "Rivals Top 100 etc etc". As such few are 5 stars. Why? because they are the unsung heros inside the trenches. The "big uglies". These guys win or lose games. We are stacked at the skill positions (except maybe at QB, DBs and OLB)- those positions are the ones with the most hype, stars etc. regardless, the last ESPN recruiting rankings had UM moving up to 12 from 14. UM recruited what it was in most need of-big uglies.

Manny: WE NEED UPDATES ON:

- Coop
- J12
- Coaching changes (or not)
- Shannon's contract talks

wad up?

first.. man this is the first time ive done that

It starts up front..we all know we have the talent at the skilled positions but when youre qb is running for his life that cant be good..I hope they work these guys to death and we become a dominate OL team..we need animals upfront and nasty and smart..looks like that is where we are heading...To all the UM guys that came in early..THANKS...GO CANES

This is great news, it all starts on tle line. Canesport is reporting that Buxton won't be part of the class. grades? Who is the surprise vistor?Why am I still unable to post from my iphone? Thanks. Go Canes!

looks like our O line will be the weak line...lots of inexperience there...hope Whip gets them in order quick and use the unbalanced line.

The Boca guy is a piece of work!

A few things have become quite obivious to me: The big dogs are backing out of their visits. We are starting to panic with some of these sleepers or left overs that the likes of Buffalo are recruitng and don't expect no surpises on Feb. 3RD except maybe another sleeper. I'm already bored talking about sleepers. Give us some big news. We need some stud D.T.'s and D.B's. It's great that we are getting the o-lineman because we needed a bunch. This class will be long on o-lineman and L.B's and short on everything else. Except for Storm don't look for any skilled position players in this class, that will be stars. This will be the o-line & L.B. class, next year will worry about a Pro-style Q.B. & W.R. & D.T.'s.

I guess that assesment of Haith could just as easily have been the same for Shannon. A recurring theme for the Cane's bigtime teams coaches. Cut, copy & paste.

I have to agree with nemo....and i've said it before myself..."excellent job recruiting talent to Miami" c'mon Manny, are we just throwing the word excellent around now? We haven't had an excellent recruit yet! Lets not kidd ourselves, the basketball team is garbage top to bottom all the way from the head coach down to our "excellent recruits"...Wake me up when spring football gets started!!

Man man man. no 1 ever bring up the fact that UM has had 1 arrest in the past two years and UF has had over 20. they'll give that for a national championship, what a joke.
You have to realize that the coaches do background checks on the players, and Randy in not into taking any knuckleheads... As a fan that might upset some of you, but as a parent I know what school I would rather send my son...

BocaMan,without a brain and at the bar,you
will soon be a BoyntonMan.

Boca Man is right!!!! Shannon is a moron. Another 1 star stiff in Gaines!!!!! So he tells Arie Kouandijo a top rated offensive lineman that they have no more scholarships for him but he has scholarships to give to stiffs like Gaines, Taylor, and Cain!!!! Anyone who thinks that Shannon is outsmarting guys like Urban Meyer and Nick Saban getting these so called diamonds in the rough are complete morons!!!! The man just can't hack it against the big boys so he he takes the scraps from the likes of Buffalo and San Jose State. Pathetic!!!!! Shannon must go NOW!!!! In fact get rid of Hocutt and Shalala as well. Those three losers are destroying our proud university!!!!

lol @ saying Boca is right, when he is saying we should bring in either Steve or Ken as our OC. How dumb is that? Who complains about bringing in lower star recruits, then turns around & say we should bring in a person w/o any exp & the other is a HS OC. Come on mannnnnnn!

Don and Boca, you're absolute idiot's. Shalala is the REASON our football program has been in a decline. Hocutt has his hands tied with what SHE wants to do. Miami isn't state funded like the local big dogs, so they can't just crap money for a big name head coach, recruiters or coordinators. It's not as easy as you make it sound.

Facts are facts. We've been on a two year rise after the hiring of Shannon as H/C. We've done that with two or three different D/C's, two or three O/C's, a mixture of players playing where they shouldn't (as depth was a problem the first two years) and injuries didn't help the '09 season. I'd say Shannon has done pretty damn well with what he's had. For your ignorant self to sit there saying the PRESIDENT of the University of Miami should be fired because the FOOTBALL program is having downtime?..

..LOL. Wow. Speaks VOLUMES for your intelligence.

I wish u well cone in strong

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