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Golden, UM steal local cornerback from Spurrier

It started with a visit from defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio on Monday, heated up when Steve Spurrier missed an in-home visit on Wednesday and ended in Al Golden's office Friday morning.

Thomas Finnie That's the short version of how Miami Central cornerback Thomas Finnie went from being a Gamecock to a Hurricane -- and the first local recruit Golden and his staff were able to sway away from another school since taking over for Randy Shannon

Finnie (5-10, 170, 4.4-speed) was a three-year starter for the Class 6A state champion Rockets and is considered the 39th best cornerback in the country by Rivals. He grew up dreaming of being a Miami Hurricane. But it wasn't until Friday that it became a reality.

"It's been a big week -- a lot has changed," said Finnie, an early enrollee who was all set to drive up to South Carolina Friday morning before UM got into his recruiting picture earlier this week. "I guess you can say it's pretty special. Everything is going to be good. I'm going to be a Miami Hurricane. I was always a Cane fan, grew up down here. Everybody likes to dream about UM and everything. Now, it's real."

Finnie received initial interest from the Hurricanes at the beginning of his senior season. But then, UM backed off. Finnie then committed to South Carolina and assumed the Hurricanes weren't interested. The plan for Finnie's family was to drive up to South Carolina this weekend. But little by little, Golden and his assistants got UM back into the picture, starting with a visit from D'Onofrio on Monday.

"They really showed themselves, really went after him the way they should recruit a kid," Finnie Sr. said. "Coach Golden told him everything we needed to hear in terms of us parents putting our child in his hands. They actually really showed the program to him and to me and my wife. He did a hell of a job.

"The recruiter from South Carolina did a good job. But we were suppose to meet with Steve Spurrier Wednesday and he never showed. The recruiter told us he had an emergency. But you could kind of see through that. That, he just wasn't going to come to that. That kind of took the air out of my son. When you get to meet the head coach, that means a lot to a kid, shows that you really want him. That took the air out of him. My wife wanted to meet him for him to know that 'I'm going to put my son in your hands.'

"But Golden went all out man. I'm talking about since yesterday and he had one day to do it. I told him my son is leaving in the morning. He asked for an opportunity to do it, to talk with us and everything. And he went at it. He was in Tampa with [Anthony] Chickillo. He said 'I'll come straight to your house when I leave there.' But I knew it was going to be at 2 or 3 in the morning. So we setup a meeting at 6 a.m. Everything he told my son starting yesterday, that made my son say he'll commit to UM."

Finnie, a former assistant coach at Miami Northwestern, said Golden and his staff really impressed him and just kept asking for an opportunity.

"The new coaching staff apologized for what happened, 'Saying we didn't have the opportunity to recruit, come after your son. Now, we're doing what we have to do to.' And I mean, in two days man, not even a whole day everything changed," Finnie Sr. said. "[Golden] really put pressure on us. He came at us. He was unreal. He was like: 'Sir I apologize for the old staff. We have a whole new staff. We evaluated your son, watched the state championship game and we were very impressed. We really like what we saw in him. And we want him, we want him bad. Whatever it is, I'm going to do everything I have to do to get him.'

"He impressed me and my wife. He showed I want him. They always said he was a heck of a recruiter. He can go get 'em and he showed he could do it. He went after him. He didn't let me say no. We tried everything. We said when we give our word, we stand behind it. He said 'I understand that. But give me an opporunity.' And he went from there.

"He told us everything a coach should tell a parent as far as getting their kid. South Carolina did it too. But we only got a chance to talk to the recruiter. [UM's] defensive coordinator, Michael Barrow, quite a few of the coaches contacted us about him. They said they evaluated him and that he has an opportunity to come in and play right now. They put it on the table. When they do it like that, it's hard to say no. Plus, he's staying home."

Finnie said he hopes to come in and compete right away for a starting job. The Hurricanes have only five cornerbacks on their current roster for 2011: redshirt sophomore Brandon McGee, junior and former running back Lee Chambers and three redshirt freshmen. 

"There's no better place than home," Finnie said. "With Brandon Harris and all the cornerbacks left, there's a lot of opportunity. They got new coaches, a new playbook. The U is going to be back soon. And I want to be a part of it."


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Wow! That's pretty amazing. Golden is tireless. Welcome to the U! Now let's pile on a bunch more.

Go Canes!


What a wonderful story. Congratulations to Thomas and the Finnie family. Welcome to The U, young man!!

I read this quote from Finnie on a South Carolina recruiting website:

"He (Golden) said that he wanted to try to keep all this talent here in South Florida and get back to the old Canes like they used to be," Finnie said. "Miami was never recruiting me and I was upset by that. Miami was a place where I always wanted to go. I had grown up watching the Canes. But they weren't recruiting at Central at all. That's why I was going to go to South Carolina. But now I get to be a Hurricane. I talked to my family about it for a few days. They are real excited I will be staying home."

This tell you all you need to know about the failure of Shannon's time here. How do you not recruit one of the most successful High School programs in the country that is in your own backyard? Did Shannon really think that he could only recruit NW and be successful? What a joke.


Welcome to the Canes family, Thomas and
your family! You WILL be part of something
really special at UM! And you have chosen to work with a quality coaching staff at a great university!

Finnie is exactly the sort of kid that Golden needs to continue to go after. Hungry local kids that are excited to be Hurricanes. You don't need 5-star prima donnas to be successful. You certainly need kids with talent, but this program was not built by bringing in 4 and 5 star players. The U became what is was by getting tough kids with desire, that played with a chip on their shoulder.

Shannon was never a real coach, he had discipline but didnt know how to recruit from his own backyard. NW is not the only school in south florida that got talent, we got talent in dade, broward and palm beach. So Golden has to go get it now and not let them go up north or leave the states. Let's go U.....

Some of the Central coaches have got to be pissed. Golden is hands on and willing to break down that bucket of crabs. RS wasn't willing, or able to do it.

But the kids with caring parents will always override some of those crab coaches at Central. Finnie's got loving, caring parents. And I'm glad they got the opportunity to send their son off to a coaching staff that will do the right thing by him.

Congratulations Finnie!!!!

let the 'stealing' begin...nothing is official until LOI's are signed..until then everything is FAIR GAME lol go golden go canes


Manny, you see this piece on you?



Honestly, I had my doubts about coach Golden. Him being a relatively unknown coach on the national scene and all. But the more I read about him, hear about him, his choices in staff and they energy they are bringing to the game. And now that they were able to "steal" away one of the ole ball coach's recruits, that's impressive. They are doing all the right things out of the gate and I hope that this upward trend continues. The U needed this, the Golden Era has begun.


@K Cane and others. You all really need to know facts before speaking. The coaches at Central who know Randy persoanlly have issues with him. For one they were upset Shannon or Whipple didnt recruit their Star but very short QB last year Godfrey and they are upset about different assistant coaches not getting hired on staff at UM. The old b/c you know me you owe me attitude. U people have no idea some of the things Shannon had to go through. So they were the ones blackballing Shannon and bad mouthing him making the relationship difficult between Miami and Central players.How idiotic that a coach wouldnt want a player to help his team just b/c of the High school. Do u people listen to yourselves.This is the same Central high that Najeh Davenport and Darnell Jenkins went to. And they were recruited before the Lockett staff thats there now!

There 3 sides to every story

lol, hes the 39th best CB by rivals. I mean that is a good player but by no means a game changer. Don't get it twisted a 4.4 is fast, very fast, but in the south they are almost a dime a dozen. Good for UM but until Golden gets a Nole recruit or a guy we wanted Im not sweating.

Congrats Thomas - Welcome to the U.



Well then Randy should have recruited the midget QB anyway. What's one scolly anyway? I'm sure Randy wasn't the first HC to deal with a situation similar to that at Central. But apparently Randy wasn't blackballed at just one S.FLA HS.

Canes fans, please stop beating a dead horse. Coach Shannon is not a part of the coaching staff anymore. Your point has been made about him not being a good coach or recruiter. There is a new coaching staff in town. Let's see what happens when the new season starts. How long will the honeymoon last for Golden? Until that time, THAT HORSE IS DEAD regarding Shannon.



I really believe before signing day, we will make some people decommit and come to the U. Especially, the talent that we have in our backyard. Go CANES!!!!!!!!

Welcome to the U, Mr. Finnie!! You have the distinction of being the first local recruit to commit to the new coaching staff. Golden is building something special in Coral Gables, and no you are part of that. Welcome aboard!!

And, I agree, there is no reason to bash Coach Shannon. He will always be a huge part of the U family. Thank him for his years of loyalty and service. Let the rest of it go.

MANNY: 3 things: 1. Awesome article. Welcome to The U Finnie!! 2. We actually broke Univ. of Tenn record with 18 former Canes in the NFL playoffs. You reported we tied the record at 17. Everyone forgot Gregg Olsen with the Bears. That makes 18 and another Miami record for the books. 3. I haven't seen this type of recruiting at UM since Jimmy Johnson. We are finally putting a fence around 305, 954, and 561. It may take a few more years, but whatever. Go Golden!!

Props to Caneboss & Miami2heart...

Welcome to The U, Finnie

I just don't get it. I don't care what my stinking High School coach says, if I want to go to a school, that's recruitng me and they don't want me to because they don't like the head coach, F'um, They don't own me and if I committed to a school and want to change my mind and they don't want me to do that either, f'um twice. It's my life , my decision. Got that Coach Aquanis!

WOW Caners, hopefully this is a sign of things to come. We should have OPEN BORDERS to ALL the schools in S Fla, and other states as well. I remember we used to even recruit Canada, Brett Romberg and some others. Thats how you create a great team. Bits and pieces from all over the country, but the bulk of it, right in your own backyard.

that is fabulous came in at the last minute to entice a recruit to come to UM. that says he can recruit and get the job done in that area. imagine what else he can do. this is great. score 1 for al golden

@Caneboss: I agree that there was a fractured relationship between Shannon, and consequently UM, and the Central staff. My problem is that a coach at a major university should not allow him or his school to be blackballed by a local High School coaching staff. These High School coaches cannot decide who a college coach is allowed to recruit. I heard Larry Bluestin on Joe Rose's show a few weeks ago talking about UM's interest in Jake Ruddock, and Blustein said that coach George Smith probably wouldn't allow Ruddock to change his commitment from Iowa to UM...Excuse me? What right does Smith or any other high school coach have to tell a kid where he can and can't go to college. Yes, high school coaches do and should play a role as advisors because most coaches do have the kids best interest at heart, but the idea that a coach is deciding who can and can't talk to or recruit a kids is absurd. Despite the shaky relationship, Shannon still should have gone after Central kids. To allow his program to be cut off from one of the most talented high schools in the country was unacceptable.

When is the OC announcement and is going to be streamed online. Good job recruiting.

Can someone answer this question- Why doesn't UM recruit more JUCO players? I believe Cam Newton came from a JUCO program.

In November 2 Temple players were arrested on rape charges, former Central player Jose Jose arrested for assault and weapons charges. If Stanford can recruit quality kids and win and if the coaching staff is committed to being great then so can we.

The key is...

"He grew up dreaming of being a Miami Hurricane. But it wasn't until Friday that it became a reality."

UM coaches have to win these players that have a heart for the U !

Very impressive recruit from Central High, but how many local talent will follow suit will tell the true impact of this new cane recruit.

This what great recruiters do.

Tough situation, Golden wasn't allowed to talk to any recruits until Tues. the 4th of Jan. And he's flipping kids about to leave for early enrollment.

Good stuff!

Can someone answer this question- Why doesn't UM recruit more JUCO players? I believe Cam Newton came from a JUCO program.

Posted by: northfloridacane | January 07, 2011 at 01:11 PM

So did Mt McKinney & Shockey....

Getting Finnie, is huge for the new staff and the U, now the local kids and coaches will see Golden determination to come and get the local talent, that he has in Dade,Broward and Palm Beach.

Clam? Price to pay to be at duh U? this guy is talking tough for a bottom dweller ACC team!

I agree with Caneboss, Miami2heart & 202cane.
What is done is done. Thank you Coach Shannon for improving our team and for starting the process. Let's hope this staff can take it the rest of the way.

Good Luck Finnie!

Great recruiter!

Keep it up. Tough when Tue. was the first day Golden could speak with recruits.

Chickillo and O'leary are next. And a couple of QB's, too.

"We're not trying to make anybody's Rivals list!"

Wonder why?

Teams that made Rivals list
Florida State

I particularly like when Golden told the father "Sir, I apologize for the old staff." I think he's gonna be doing ALOT of that for a while.

Finnie signed w/ us because he sees we have NOBODY at CB now. If he's good, he can start or play nickel immediately. I wish him the best.

man this is some great news ..all i been hearing is how randy didnt do a good job..he is the past lets focus on now...al golden is going hard and the kids he will recruit will go hard for him....!! GO CANES

Shandel Richardson:
really knows the University of Miami program has hit rock bottom when it's big news that the `Canes stole a recruit from South Carolina. Not USC. Not Texas. Not Oklahoma. Not Florida. Yes, South Carolina ...

golden is the man

Posted by: Sergeant Shultz...I know nothing! | January 07, 2011 at 01:34 PM

That would be THE South Carolina that kicked your teeth in this year gator troll.

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