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A good day for UM recruiting

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Is it just me or did Wednesday's news regarding five-star defensive back Latwan Anderson feel like the first big victory in recruiting for the University of Miami in a while? 

Latwan Anderson I'm not trying to put a negative spin on it. It's great the Canes were able to land a top-notch recruit they weren't supposed to get. But ever since Jacory Harris and those other guys from Miami Northwestern came in as part of ESPN's No. 1 recruiting class in 2008, the public perception has been the Canes have missed out on most of the big-time kids they really wanted.

You remember the names and the stories. It started with Patrick Johnson (now Patrick Peterson) dumping the Canes for LSU. Then, there was Matt Patchan, son of a former Cane, choosing the Gators over UM and talking trash about his dad's program. A year later, Kayvon Webster, Defensive player of the Year in Miami-Dade, switched from the Canes for USF on National Signing Day. Then, there was the whole Bryce Brown fiasco, which ended with him choosing Tennessee a few weeks after NSD. This year, Canes fans crossed their fingers for Seantrel Henderson and Ivan McCartney. Again, UM came up short.

Today, though, was a good day for UM. Anderson, a big-time talent in Ohio State's backyard, basically fell into the Canes' lap. Before Signing Day, he wasn't really even on the Canes radar. A U.S. Army All-American, he picked West Virginia on national TV and was all set to go there. Now, he's headed to UM without even being really recruited by UM coach Randy Shannon and his staff. 

The general response I gathered from fans since the news broke Wednesday morning was "it's about time." But is it really fair to say that? Last month, when the Canes wrapped up their 2010 signing class, the overall consensus from experts was that Miami underachieved. The thought was the Canes were supposed to do better with all of the talent available in their backyard. 

The truth is, nothing burns Shannon more than the perception he and his staff aren't doing their jobs as good as they should be doing it when it comes to recruiting in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties. In his eyes, there have been a lot of great recruiting days since Jacory and company picked The U.

Randy Shannon LUNCH WITH RANDY... Three weeks ago, I got a chance to go out to lunch with Shannon. There were no tape recorders, no note pads. It was just two guys born and raised in Miami talking about the college football program they've been around (In my case, from a seat far away from the field for most of it). The hour and half I spent with Shannon was about as close as I've been able to get to him in the four years since I've been covering the team.

Shannon, guarded by nature, doesn't trust the media one bit. He thinks most of us don't do a good enough job investigating anything before we write it. But he also doesn't think he needs to volunteer any information he doesn't have to. This lunch -- in part -- was for us to get a better feel for where we come from, where our opinions are formed. 

In this case, Shannon doesn't want the idea to get out there that he's bashing programs in his backyard. So you won't ever read or hear any quotes from him saying high school programs are failing him. But the truth is he's worried about the way many local high school programs are being run these days. 

He says there are many issues that has made recruiting local players to UM a lot tougher than before. At the top of the list: Academic failure (test scores or low GPAs) and arrest records. The old UM might have been to take a chance those kids. But not this one run under President Donna Shalala. 

Then, there is the issue of individuals (street agents/assistant coaches) who are making deals (either for money or employment) with other colleges to send players away. On top of that, there are a few high school coaches for one reason or the other who have agendas against him and the program (in some cases because Shannon didn't hire them as assistants he was named UM's coach). Add it all up, and the field of high-end available recruits available to UM has shrunk. 

Shannon says he isn't asking for pity. He says he just thinks there needs to be a better understanding of why UM ultimately might not recruit a certain player or end up with them on National Signing Day. Ultimately, he says, every player now at UM has gone through the recruiting ringer (background checks, academic checks, character checks). Ultimately, he says, he is the final person to sign off on any written scholarship offer the program hands out. That whole Todd Chandler fiasco? Consider it one of a few mistakes by a now former assistant. But we know through Miami Northwestern coach Billy Rolle that Chandler was never given a written offer. 

Shannon says he is trying to help as many local coaches (many who are young and replacing legends) as he can better understand their responsibilities. He said he talks to them about image (he's scolded several local coaches for wearing bagging jeans and sunglasses on the sideline), instilling discipline (he says not enough suspend their best players for breaking the rules or missing practice) and not falling prey to recruiting promises (some high school coaches he says have been burned by college programs who promise they'll give them a job in exchange for a recruit). But it's hard sometimes, he says, to get through to them.

Whether you are a Shannon supporter or not, you still have to respect the fact the position he was put in wasn't easy. The Canes were well on the way to going in reverse by the time he took the steering wheel. Little by little he's made the program better than it was when he took it over. Nobody can argue that there isn't more talent on this team here now than when got it. Miami has a chance in 2010 to be really good again. And the bottomline is Latwan Anderson would not have picked UM if he didn't like the direction the program is headed in.

A FEW MORE TIDBITS...

> I didn't make it up in time to catch the Canes basketball team practice at the Greensboro Coliseum, but I'll be at Thursday's ACC Tournament game against Wake Forest. I'll be sending updates on Twitter throughout the game. Our Michelle Kaufman wrote about the Canes' uphill battle coming into the tournament.

> Here is a highlight video I found on Latwan Anderson on YouTube.

Comments

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where do i start? most of you still dont understand where shalala is coming from by demanding a cleaner program. you do not see the need to build the perennial power house institution with the most dynamic football program and a highly acclaimed academic program? didnt shalala just raise a billion (might be wrong on the amount) the other day. you seem to think the only way south florida football can be great is if its played without discipline? consider this: if a child was raised by animals from birth, it will always walk on four limbs without seeing people walk on 2 legs to show example. it is BS to think we cannot get FL athletes that are top notch and come without baggage. 80% of our recruits are FL boys after all. the culture in FL football can be remade so the off the field madness is removed from it, leaving pure athletes that vent their anger out on the field and off it dream of the days they will make their millions in the NFL.

Manny listed a few players we missed out on, and now Shannon can't recruit. This year, the 2010 class, is the FIRST class anyone has cast any doubts on. It's the first one where we didn't try for some of the more popular names, and all of a sudden the two top 10 classes we had the last two years disappear in a puff of smoke. The talent at the U stunk 2 years ago, and now we're stacked top to bottom. Shannon may turn out to be a bust as a coach (I doubt it, but we'll see), but there is no doubt whatsoever that he can recruit. We, the side seat recruiters of the world, don't agree with some of his choices (kids we've never seen, mind you) this year and so we can dump all over the last two classes, where everyone practically had orgasms because they were so excited.

It's amazing how short people's memories are. And I can't think of a single one of the recruits Manny listed, outside of P. Johnson, that I would like to have now.

Go Canes!

and lastly, some of you dont see the example shannon is showing by reprimanding high school coaches about their own behaviors? how do you teach these kids if you dont lead by example? if you dont understand this concept, then I'm going to assume you are white. for every white knuckle head, there 80 white people doing the right thing. those of us that are black and dedicated to improving the image and lives of our people (obama, tony dungy, coach of the NFL colts, randy shannon), demand that grown ups and leaders do the right thing as an example to young ones. there is much work to be done in our community. with all the craziness going on in the inner cities of FL, it is even more imperative that leaders in those communities show the best example. imagine how easier Shannon's work will be if the kids are already groomed right before getting to college. in lame language, imagine how ready this kids will be if they were taught pro schemes from high school. besides, FL is the life line of the nations football empire. it is sound thinking and business to make sure its well looked after.

I don't think the just has come in on RS yet. But we got a good team going in to next year.

Will Whip stay?

The fact that recruiting has changed since the "U"s glory days does have an impact to some degree, especialy if ones program is down. But the fact still remains that until the "U" becomes the top dogs in the State of Florida things around here will remain the same. Which means Miami missing out on some top recruits. That is why the 2010 season is a make it or break it season for the "U". WIN ACC. GO TO BCS GAME. WIN BCS GAME. If Miami does that in 2010 and FSU and UF have down years the recruits WILL once again flock to the "U". Remember it was not the lack of recruiting that started this doward spiral. It was 4 to 5 star recruits and top 5 recruiting classes that ended up being complete busts. GOOO! CANES!

Don't want to get ahead of myself, but I have been waiting for another "Sean Taylor" and "Jonathan Vilma", etc who can read defenses and cause havoc in the backfield. First, let's see if LaTwan Anderson will honor his word up til NSD. Been burned too many times recently re young kids making promises on coming to the U. He looks good on film, though with a sharp eye on the ball. The U sure could use him.

Coach Shannon is good for this program and continue to do the right things to help the community, HS coaches, and football players to become better men for themeselves and families. What are you negative bloggers afraid of???? When Coach Shannon took over this program the team was not big, fast, or had the size and depth to compete with the big dogs. Today, those issues have been addressed. Give him a chance the way you did for: Howard S and B. Davis when they had to rebuild the program; by their 5th year, Miami was National Champion!!!! Food for thought..

HILARIOUS .... the Jimbo Fisher era is ON and FSU will OWN the Ewwwwwww on the field and in taking their top talent right out of their backyard

EITHER YOU'RE CARRYING A SPEAR OR YOU'RE RUNNING FROM ONE!

Great insight on the recruiting process

To the people questioning why is he going to High Schools & getting on some guys about their attire---It's because he is trying to be a mentor to them. "Each 1 teach 1" is a term we used back in the day. Props to our coach.

Shannon is finally learning--"COMMUNICATION"
with the media and fans is the KEY !!

Not ISOLATION--we are concerned fans--"NOT THE ENEMY"!!Also I wish as a much concerned ALUMUS and
ex. HURRICANE CLUB MEMBER, (still mad about ART Kehoe firing) that Pres. DONNA SHALLA would keeps
her fingers out of the football pie!! Some
kids with lower academic grades etc.--need a "SECOND" chance in LIFE!!I hope MIAMI gives them the opportunity minus the B.S. and POLITICS !!

Miggs Post.

Perfect example of how fans want Shannon to come accross, present himself, and be just like every other white coach. He is not Meyer, Mack Brown, Kiffin, Saban or Carrol. He is Randy Shannon. And he does it the way he wants to. Not like you or your friends, or all the other coaches on TV that you can relate to. I dont think you are wrong for being comfortable with these coaches, b/c they are you. I think you're wrong for feeling that everyone should carry themselves the way these coaches do, and if you dont you are wrong, not a good communicator, distancing yourself etc. Miggs comment is a perfect example of the superiority complex that most have that they dont even recognize, and the disconnect between whites understanding of Blacks." He doesnt sound like me, talk like me, look like me, hell what he's doing has to be wrong". Get some black friends. Go to their homes, talk with them, understand them, diversify yourself. Then make a quote about their personalities and how they express themselves. Promise you your ideas will change.

Miggs

1. There is zero translation to you and that public arena you speak of b/c you dont understand the man.

2. He doesnt like the media b/c they are 90% made up of people like yourself that are confused by his demeanor and how he carries himself and because of such automatically elude to negative comments about the man he is, as you did. And b/c they dont understand him, and cant relate, all they do is communicate the harsh upbringing he had.

3. I dont cringe watching him speak at all. But then again Im versatile enough to understand where Lane Kiffin is coming from, as well as Randy Shannon.

4. Athletes actually relate to Shannon far better than the aformentioned coaches. He comes accross as understanding and down to earth and not having to sell them on anything b/c what he says is believeable b/c he understands him and they understand him. Remember Black/White ration of playes is 30/70.

3. If you came ina Black neighborhood, people would cringe at your language and consider you a "peckerwood". Shannon doesnt lack confidence at all. Couldnt have won the NC's as a coach and player if he did. What he is learning on the fly is how to satisfy persons like yourself. The same diversity you need to understand him, he is learning and diversifying himself as to how to communicate to and satisfy the mainstream, and that majority public arena that you and your friends are a part of. I think once this happens, the disconnect that you both have will be much better. He will trust the media and pubic more,and you all will understand and support him more.

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