Al Golden didn't officially become cleared to begin recruiting until around 5 or 6 p.m. Tuesday. But since he's been given the green light, UM's new football coach and recruiting coordinator Aubrey Hill have been pounding the recruiting trail.
> Goal No. 1: Pursue the players who plan to enroll in January and have been strongly considering the Canes -- whether they're uncommitted or have de-comitted.
> Goal No. 2: Phone as many coaches in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties as possible and let them know the Canes are eager to build friendships and get some players.
"He said it went well -- and that's pretty much all he said," said Pete LeDuke, assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator at Vero Beach. "I didn't get to talk to Marcus too long because the coach from Georgia Tech was coming in to talk to him tonight. But Coach Golden and Marcus talked, the and mom talked to Coach Golden and pretty much that was it."
Jackson, who is trying to complete an online course while studying for finals, is declining all interview requests. But what Golden set out to do, he achieved. LeDuke said Jackson told him he is planning to go through with visiting UM this weekend. Jackson (6-2, 315) is considered the 13th best guard in the country by Rivals.com. He was committed to UM until two weeks ago when former coach Randy Shannon was fired.
LeDuke said Jackson will make his announcement Jan. 5 at the Under Armour All-American Game in Tampa -- the same place where Monsignor Pace defensive back Jabari Gorman, considered the 10th-best safety in the country by Rivals, plans to announce his decision as well (We'll get to him later).
"Marcus hasn't said where he's leaning to and all that," said LeDuke, who said Jackson visited Michigan State, Georgia Tech and Tennessee twice (once unofficially).
"The visit to Miami will be huge. But I think coach Golden did a great job. I was very impressed with him. I thought Miami did a great job hiring him. He's very personable, very easy to talk to. We talked about families. Obviously, he's a family man. So am I. I like what he was talking about. He talked about how we want football players. I liked how he talked. He was very easy to talk to like I've known him forever. He's a former linemen. We had a bond there. I think he had the same bond with Marcus."
Golden's next scheduled stop Wednesday night was Boston where he was set to meet with another Canes de-commitment, cornerback Albert Louis-Jean, rated 12th best at his position by Rivals. No word yet on how that meeting has gone, but Louis-Jean's father told me Monday night his son was coming down this weekend to visit UM.
The big question that remains is if Miami Northwestern quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will be joining Jackson and Louis-Jean as the only other guests at UM this coming weekend.
According to a source, Bridgewater, who visited the University of South Florida officially on Tuesday, told UM coaches last night he would be making the trip. But UM is still waiting for a final confirmation.
Bridgewater (6-3, 185) has and continues to be the No. 1 recruiting target for the Hurricanes according to the source and was set to receive an in-home visit from Golden on Tuesday night until it was learned he was in Tampa. The hope now is UM coaches will be able to visit Bridgewater on Thursday night and try to convince the No. 2-ranked dual threat quarterback in the country according to Rivals to jump back on board at UM.
It will definitely take some convincing. His mother, Rose Murphy, wasn't happy with the way UM fans reacted when her son de-committed last week, telling me, "nobody reacted this way when those other boys de-committed. They should be happy he's looking for a great education, be respectful."
OTHERS WAITING FOR A CALL: While some recruits and coaches have received phone calls from Golden and Miami assistants, others are still waiting patiently.
Miami Belen defensive end Nick Menocal (one of four commitments along with Tampa Alonso defensive end Anthony Chickillo, St. Thomas Aquinas receiver Phillip Dorsett and Milford Prep cornerback Jeremy Davis) said Wednesday afternoon he had still not heard from Golden. But Menocal said was he told by defensive line coach Rick Petri on Monday to expect a call from UM's new coach soon. Menocal said he's hoping to be invited to come see the Hurricanes practice for their bowl game.
"I am still committed," Menocal said. "I look forward to seeing what Coach Golden has to tell me and who is going to bring in and hopefully I can go to UM and do big things."
Menocal (6-3, 235) is ranked as the 58th best outside linebacker by Rivals. He said he plans on visiting UM in January, somewhere between visits to Georgia Tech, Virginia and possibly North Carolina, which still hasn't offered Menocal but has been after him harder of late.
"I talked with him to touch base," Perryman said. "It was a regular conversation. He's going to touch base with all the recruits. I'm looking forward to talking to him in person. Everything is still up in the air. But I still feel good about UM."
Perryman (5-11, 217) rated the 23rd best middle linebacker in the country by Rivals said he has plans to visit Florida State, Florida, USC and LSU in January, but wants to squeeze in an official to UM as he gets to know the new Canes coaches better. He said he planned to be out at practice on Friday.
What could end up being huge for Perryman is if linebackers coach Micheal Barrow sticks around. "I hope he does, I really do," Perryman said. "It's a big factor. We've had a little bond since my freshman year. I don't want to lose that."
> Monsignor Pace defensive back Jabari Gorman (5-11, 170) cut his list down to Ohio State, Miami and Florida earlier this month before Randy Shannon was fired and Urban Meyer stepped down in Gainesville. He said Wednesday night while Ohio State still leads, the Hurricanes and Gators remain in the hunt. Gorman said he plans to announce his choice at the Under Armour All-American Game on Jan. 5.
"I'm sure I'm going to talk to him soon, talk to him this week and have a meeting so I can get a feel for him," Gorman said of Golden. "I'm hearing great news about him. I like the fact of how he turned Temple's program around. That means the coach knows what he's doing. You want to be around a coach like that."
Gorman said even if he picks a school at the UA game, he will still visit UM in mid-January and could end up changing his mind by National Signing Day.
"Nothing is final until signing day," Gorman said. "I've been feeling OSU. But I've been having doubts about it too. You know how Miami is, they come at you hard. Coach Hill has been on me.
"Stephen Morris is recruiting me as hard as the coaches the do. Me and Stephen have always been real close since my ninth grade year. We always talk. Me and him always used to be together as far as doing the right things on the field. I know what he tells me at Miami is no lies. I can trust him."
> While Golden was in the Northeast Wednesday night, Hill was visiting with Oakland Park Northeast defensive end BJ Dubose at his home. Dubose is one of several local players UM plans to make hard efforts to get in the coming weeks.
Others include Perryman, Gorman, Palm Beach Dwyer tight end Nick O'Leary and Miami Southridge defensive back Gerrod Holliman. Golden is expected to also make a push for Brooklyn, N.Y.'s Ishaq Williams (6-6, 220), considered the second best defensive end in the country.