University of Miami coach Al Golden and his staff have been busy traveling the country, visiting high school recruits and hosting them over the past month. Now, after building the Canes' commitment list up to a dozen, UM's new coaching staff will try to close the deal on their first, express-style recruiting class by filling some key needs over the next two recruiting weekends.
The Hurricanes have offered two QBs scholarships thus far -- Palm Beach Dwyer's Jacoby Brissett and Orlando-area Lake Nona High's Kevin Sousa (6-4, 220). Brissett, a U.S. Army-All American, is considered a long shot. Sousa, however, a Wake Forest commitment, appears much more attainable. But in order for the Canes to sway him south, it will likely take a special effort from new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch, who spent his first day at his new job Wednesday after coming over from the Seattle Seahawks.
In one weekend (Sousa hasn't decided if he will visit this weekend or Jan. 28), Fisch will have to top what Wake Forest's Jim Grobe and quarterbacks coach Tom Elrod have built with Sousa since they started recruiting him last April. No easy task. But Sousa's position coach and mentor, Anthony Paradiso, said the Canes will get their shot at his QB, who was committed to Michigan before switching to the Demon Deacons last month.
"He was committed to Michigan [last June]. He had that big-time football commitment," Paradiso said. "Then things changed up there and he felt real comfortable with his visit to Wake Forest. It's been an ongoing evaluation process since. I always tell him 'You always have to keep your options open.' Right now he is committed with Wake Forest. Coach Grobe and Elrod were with him at school today and spent about five hours with him. He's really comfortable with that staff. He's built a great relationship.
"But I tell everybody if you have a great job and get offered another job that might be a little bit better you're going to consider it, doesn't mean you are going to take it. Hopefully on the Miami visit we're going to look at the staff, have a chance to meet the quarterbacks coach, coordinator, see what they're thinking. Coach Golden has spent a lot of time with him. He's a guy they've really targeted, emailing him, letting him know how they feel. It's not like they came in late. They were just hired. Coach Golden has been real receptive of the process. He doesn't want to push anything. He says coach whatever you need to make this happen, we'll be patient. He said 'I'm not just offering him coach. I want him to be my quarterback.'"
Sousa, who grew up playing soccer, didn't begin playing football until his sophomore year of high school. He finished his senior season at winless Lake Nona, a new school, with 1,001 rushing yards and six touchdowns along with 2,239 passing yards and 13 touchdowns. Although he is still relatively new to football, Paradiso believes Sousa has a college-football ready body and the raw skills a lot of coaches covet.
"He's athletic and as hungry a kid as you'll find," Paradiso said. "He plays basketball the same way he plays football, wanting to tear the rim off the basket. This year we didn't win any games, but it was our second season as a school. We have 700 to 800 high school students and were playing a Class 3A schedule and 6A teams in the Orlando area. We were close in a couple games, but just didn't have enough in the trenches. Sousa is the biggest, tallest kid on our team. The thing is you have all these kids putting up numbers with a supporting cast. Sousa for the last two years had to make things happen by himself. He's throwing to kids that are 5-7, 5-8. He'll finally realize what a pocket is, what pass protection is. when he gets to the next level.
"He has all the skills. It's finding the right school now for him."
> If Sousa ends up making to UM this weekend or next (we'll find out Thursday), UM will have a big recruiting weekend on tap this week with more than a handful of top-notch visitors from California as well as 5-star defensive end Anthony Chickillo.
Here is a short list of the some of the names scheduled to visit this weekend:
> DE Anthony Chickillo, Tampa Alonso (6-4, 235, 4.7)
> WR George Farmer, Gardena, Calif. Junipero Serra High (6-2, 210, 4.38)
> S Marquise Lee, Gardena, Calif. Junipero Serra High (6-1, 185, 4.62)
> MLB Denzel Perryman, Coral Gables (5-11, 220, 4.60)
> OT Antonio Richardson, Nashville Pearl Cohn (6-6, 310)
> DT Antwaun Woods, Woodland Hills, Calif. Taft (6-1, 310, 5.18)
> S Byron Moore, Los Angeles Harbor Wilmington JC (6-1, 205)
> DT Lonnie Gosha, Lake Butler Union County (6-3, 245)
> CB Rashad Wadood, Lakewood High Calif. (5-10, 181, 4.49)
> Be sure to listen in on our first recruiting podcast of the new year. InsideTheU's David Lake was kind enough to join me for about 20 minutes previewing this coming weekend as well as recapping what the Canes have accomplished thus far on the recruiting trail. The last segment is with Anthony Parasido, Lake Nona's quarterbacks coach.