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18 posts from February 2011

February 26, 2011

Canes baseball wins big (finally) as Coach Morris recovers in hospital

Get well wishes to UM baseball coach Jim Morris, who is in the University of Miami hospital recovering from surgery to have his gall bladder removed.

His Canes must have wanted to perk him up, so they went out and destroyed Appalachian State 10-0 Saturday afternoon. Sophomore Eric Whaley went seven scoreless innings on the mound and seven Hurricanes collected base hits at Alex Rodriguez Park. Whaley struck out nine. Freshman Shane Rowland hit a three-run homer.

Morris underwent surgery Friday night because his gall bladder was infected. He had battled a stomach illness much of the past week. He hopes to return to his team sometimes next week. UM faces top-ranked Florida in Gainesville in a three-game series beginning Friday.

Morris missed his second game of the week Friday night, when the Canes (4-3) lost 7-5 to Appalachian State. They also lost on Wednesday at Florida Atlantic University, the first game that Morris missed as a UM coach since 2002. Pitching coach J.D. Arteaga serves as head coach when his boss isn't around.

Morris did coach Thursday's game against Appalachian State until the middle of the fifth inning, when he left to go to the hospital. UM eventually won that game, and Morris was admitted to the hospital Friday morning, UM baseball spokesman Bryan Harvey said.

Morris, who has brought the Canes to Omaha for the College World Series 11 of his previous 17 seasons, turned 61 last Sunday.

From UM: Miami will close its five games in five days schedule on Sunday, Feb. 27, traveling to play the Florida Marlins of the MLB in an exhibition game at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., at 1:05 p.m. UM will get back to the collegiate circuit on Tuesday, March 1, traveling to Tampa to face the USF Bulls at Steinbrenner Field as part of the “Florida Four” showcase, also featuring a game between Florida State and the University of Florida.








February 25, 2011

AD Kirby Hocutt leaves for Texas Tech, says decision was tough

Kirby Hocutt has left his post as athletic director at the University of Miami for the same job at Texas Tech.

"I am deeply disappointed that after only two-and-a-half years of a very successful tenure as leader of our athletics programs, Kirby Hocutt has decided to accept the AD position at Texas Tech," UM president Donna Shalala said in a statement.

"We did everything we could to convince him to stay, but in the end it was an intensely personal decision. I thank Kirby for his integrity, leadership, and dedication to the University.”

The move comes less than three months after Hocutt fired Randy Shannon and hired Al Golden to coach the Hurricanes' football team.

Hocutt released a statement through UM at around 6 p.m. Friday evening.

"While I am very excited about the unique and special opportunity that is ahead at Texas Tech it was a very difficult decision to leave the University of Miami," Hocutt said in the statement. "While I am proud of the progress and advancement we have made in Coral Gables, there is never an easy time to leave and the job at the University of Miami was not complete.

"There are great things in the future for Miami Athletics. The leadership, confidence and support I received during my time at the U from President Shalala and the entire Board of Trustees, and especially Paul DiMare was superior. I could not have asked for anything more. Again, I am confident that the foundation has been set to return this proud program back to national prominence.

"While you can never control the timing in which opportunities present themselves there is no question this is the correct decision for me and my family. The opportunity to return home and be near family and friends is one that we are excited about."

February 24, 2011

High-ranking official to Lubbock paper: Hocutt has been offered Texas Tech AD job


    The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal has been told by a high-ranking Texas Tech official that University of Miami athletic director Kirby Hocutt has been offered the Texas Tech athletic director's job.

    Hocutt, who was in Texas Wednesday and Thursday, now must make his decision as to whether to leave the Hurricanes.

    He took the Miami job in February 2008. He grew up in Sherman, Texas, about a five-hour drive from Lubbock. As of three years ago, Hocutt's parents lived in a suburb of Dallas.

    Current Texas Tech AD Gerald Myers will retire at the end of May.



February 23, 2011

UM at FAU tonight; Figueroa waiting and hoping


    UM baseball fans in North Broward and Palm Beach counties won't have to drive as far tonight to watch the Hurricanes (2-1) take on the Owls of Florida Atlantic (3-1).

   FAU Junior right-hander Ryan Garton, the Owls' No. 1 pitcher in 2011, will make his second start of the season tonight against UM left-handed sophomore Steven Ewing. Garton (7-3, 4.78 ERA in 2010) started the season opener last Friday and threw three innings. He was on a pitch count of 50, and got roughed up a bit, allowing four runs on seven hits.

    Had the Owls defeated Florida Tuesday night in Jupiter, this game would have been more intriguing. But as expected, the No. 1 Gators dominated with 18 hits in a 13-2 victory. UM goes to Gainesville March 4-6.

    Expect the Owls, who swept opening weekend by averaging 10 runs a game against Hofstra, to be fired up tonight.

    Of note: FAU hit two homers yesterday, one by Nathan Pittman and one by Eddie Cassidy.

  This will be Ewing's 2011 UM debut. He was 2-2 with a 5.18 ERA last season.

    "I'm really excited,''  Ewing said yesterday. He said last year he started to get "dead arm" after his first two outings, but has been working hard "to get in better shape.'' He played this past summer in the Northwood League in Duluth, Minn.

    Ewing, out of Orlando University High, was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 37th round of the 2009 draft. He was recruited by all the Florida schools and Penn State and Columbia. His SAT score was an impressive 1270. 

    General admission to tonight's game is $10 and reserved seating is $14 at the gate.

    To get to FAU Baseball Stadium, take I-95 to Glades Road in Boca Raton, go east to the main FAU entrance (less than a mile; first FAU entrance you come to on Glades), make a left into the entrance and then go to the first traffic light, hang a left and the stadium is there.

> UM offensive lineman Joel Figueroa will not participate in spring football practice, which begins Saturday, March 5. Figueroa, 6-6 and 323 pounds, had surgery near the end of the season, reportedly on his back -- though former coach Randy Shannon said in early November that the surgery was to a "lower extremity.'' UM applied to the NCAA for a sixth season of eligibility and still is waiting for an answer.

Figueroa graduated from North Miami High. He redshirted his freshman season in 2006. By 2008 he played in all 13 games at right guard with starts against Charleston Southern, Florida, North Carolina and NC State. Shannon switched him to tackle last season, when he started against Ohio State and Pittsburgh, and also played at Clemson. He has had injury problems throughout his career, also sitting out last spring to rehabilitate from shoulder surgery.

The move to tackle didn't work out, and if he returns, he would likely be at guard. For now, according to UM, he can still condition and work out at UM, but will not be part of practice.







February 22, 2011

Two Scrimmages and Spring Game Open to Public & Jersey # Changes

   It appears that single digits are in for 2011.

   The University of Miami football program announced some of the jersey number changes for the upcoming season.

   Tailback Storm Johnson has snatched up former cornerback Brandon Harris'  No. 1. Last season Johnson wore 24.

   Wide receiver LaRon Byrd exchanged his No. 47 -- Michael Irvin's former number -- for No. 2, previously worn by Graig Cooper.

    Receiver Tommy Streeter has gone from No. 86 to No. 8, previously worn by DeMarcus Van Dyke.

    Former offensive lineman Cory White has switched from No. 71 to No. 84, formerly worn by Richard Gordon. White is now playing tight end.

    Jordan Futch, who switched to tight end before the bowl game, is wearing 58 again.

    Former Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier, who will sit out 2011 because of NCAA transfer rules, has not received his number.

     Early enrollee Blake Ayles, a tight end, will wear No. 86; Thomas Finnie, a defensive back, 25; and defensive end Olsen Pierre, 91.

   Linebacker Kevin Nelson, a redshirt freshman from Gainesville, is listed on the roster. There were questions as to whether Nelson was transferring.

> The Hurricanes released their spring football media policies Tuesday, as well as the football scrimmage schedule. The first practice session will be at 9 a.m. on Greentree Field. Most of the other practices are at 2:15 p.m., although other Saturday sessions are in the morning.

All three scrimmages will be open to the public: Saturday, April 2, 10 a.m., at a venue to be announced; Saturday, April 9, 10 a.m., at a venue to be announced; and Saturday, April 16 (spring game), likely at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale. The time for the spring game has not been decided.

The media will be allowed to watch the first 15 minutes of each practice. And in a new policy, reporters now will interview players and Coach Al Golden before regular practices, instead of afterward, as previously had been the case at least since Butch Davis took over in 1995.

Practices will be open to all high school coaches, prospective student-athletes, NFL scouts and UM football alums (former players), as long as they have valid passes.

>Anybody going to the UM baseball vs. FAU in Boca Raton on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.? The new bats have made the games faster for sure. But the bunting and baserunning strategy really come into play more than ever. UM coach Jim Morris thinks home runs will be cut in half for the team.








February 14, 2011

Hurricanes release 2011 schedule

Sept. 5: at Maryland (Monday), ESPN, 8 p.m.
Sept. 17: vs. Ohio State
Sept. 24: vs. Kansas State
Oct. 1: vs. Bethune-Cookman
Oct. 8: at Virginia Tech
Oct. 15: at North Carolina
Oct. 22: vs. Georgia Tech
Oct. 27: vs. Virginia, ESPN, 8 p.m.
Nov. 5: vs. Duke
Nov. 12: at Florida State
Nov. 19: at USF
Nov. 26: vs. Boston College


February 13, 2011

Canes land '12 commitment from QB Gray Crow

The Miami Hurricanes may have struckout on signing a quarterback for their 2011 signing class earlier this month, but they're making serious headway for the 2012 season.

Gray Crow Sunday, UM picked up a verbal commitment from Clearwater Countryside junior Gray Crow. The 6-3, 220-pound pro-style passer hasn't necessarily shown a lot on the field yet, but scouts believe he has a lot of upside.

Crow, who received his first verbal offer as a freshman from former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis after attending one of his camps, is rated the 95th-best player regardless of position in the state by The Herald's Larry Blustein. Last month, Crow was tabbed by Rivals.com as the second-best junior quarterback at the U.S. Army All-American combine in San Antonio.

Although his junior numbers weren't very impressive (103 for 194, 1,439 yards, 8 TDs, 7 INTs), he did play on a team that ran the ball 433 times for 2,978 yards and 45 touchdowns and finished 12-1, losing to state runner-up Tampa Plant in the Class 5A regional final. But, more importantly for the Canes, he's someone offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch apparently likes a lot.

Countryside coach Jerad Davis said Fisch offered Crow about a week before National Signing Day and said Fisch fell in love with what he saw of Crow on tape. The Hurricanes were the first school to offer Crow a scholarship. He committed to UM on Sunday, shortly after flying down with his parents to be a part of UM's Junior Day with about 50 other high school student-athletes.

"I just liked everything Coach [Al] Golden and Coach Fisch told me," said Crow, whose older brother L.D. Crow is the third-string quarterback at UCF. "I got to meet and spend a lot of time with them. I didn't really see any downside of it. Going into the Junior day I knew I really liked Miami from an academic standpoint and the program in general.

"Me, personally I'm a very hard worker. I feel like I can compete against any quarterback in the nation. Yes, the fact only two QBs will be there helped in the deciding factor. But if any QBs would have been in this signing class, I probably still would have committed.

"As far as the offense, we run a college style offense. I'm used to having to see a lot different reads. It's a complex offense. The playbook is very complex. So, I think the transition will be easy because what we do is very similar to what a college offense does such as Miami."

If Crow sounds smart, it's because he is. He has a 3.8 GPA and recently scored a 1380 on the SAT.

"You can hold on one hand how many B's he's ever gotten," said Davis, who was the high school teammate of former UM kicker Jon Peattie. "He's a great kid and a great person, too."

Crow said he's planning on graduating in December and enrolling at UM in January.

The Hurricanes, who picked up a transfer from former Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier on Wednesday, have reportedly offered scholarships to at least two other quarterbacks in the 2012 class. One is Kentucky's Zeke Pike.

> Westminster Christian slugger David Thompson, who set the Miami-Dade County home run record last season with 19 longballs, also attended Sunday's Junior Day event at UM. Last summer, he verbally committed to playing for the Hurricanes baseball team.

Sunday, he told Canesport.com he's committing to UM's football program as well. But Thompson, who was named to Baseball America's All-American Second Team, probably won't ever end up playing in college. He's considered one of the best young up and coming baseball talents in the country.

February 09, 2011

Will Forcier be a good fit for the Canes?

Tate Forcier agreed to be a Miami Hurricane Wednesday when he put his signature on a financial aid agreement, setting the stage for his transfer from Michigan to Coral Gables later this summer.

Tate_Forcier Forcier won't be eligible to play in 2011. But in 2012, the 6-1, 192-pound quarterback from San Diego is expected to give current sophomore Stephen Morris a fight for the starting job. Will Forcier -- a quarterback who has only run the spread in college and high school -- fit UM's pro style offense?

National recruiting guru Tom Lemming said Forcier definitely can and expects him to be successful. "They obviously needed a quarterback and Tate gives them that," Lemming said.

"But this kid is also a polished veteran of the college football and has always looked pretty good when he's been on the field against good competition to me. He's not real tall, but he has a good arm and can run. He's confident, athletic and you'll be surprised with what a good arm he has. Yes, he's only played in a spread offense before. But he can throw the ball from under center, too. I really like him."

Lemming rated Forcier the ninth best quarterback in the country in 2009 -- two spots ahead of former Rutgers' quarterback Tom Savage, who was also interested in transferring to UM. It's unknown if the Hurricanes still have interest in bringing Savage in, too. But it only makes sense he's helded elsewhere now Forcier that is bound for Coral Gables. 

The big question for UM moving forward is if Forcier will be bringing any of his baggage from Michigan down with him. After starting 12 games and playing well as a freshman, Forcier lost his starting job this past season to former Deerfield Beach High star Denard Robinson. A few teammates accused Forcier of not working hard enough in the off-season because he missed voluntary workouts. Forcier ended up playing in eight games a sophomore before being ruled academically ineligible for the Gator Bowl. 

Lemming, however, believes Forcier has learned from his issues at Michigan. And his father Mike Forcier said living closer to campus (Forcier was living off campus at Michigan) and being around Al Golden's coaching staff will make a difference.

"Coach Golden has a lot of attributes that we really like," Mike Forcier said. "He came from the [Joe] Paterno coaching staff. Tate originally had Penn State at the top of his list [coming out of high school]. It was them, Michigan, Oregon, Texas A&M. When he took that first trip to Michigan he just saw too much of an opportunity. But we really liked the coaching staff of Paterno, the discipline, structual organization. I think it had a lot to do with why he picked Miami now.

"Golden brings that structure. He wants the players to be players, but he also wants discipline, structure and respect to the program, the school and each player back to each other."


> Mike Forcier said even if Palm Beach Dwyer quarterback Jacoby Brissett had opted to sign with the Hurricanes last week, Forcier would have still probably chosen the Hurricanes.

"I think he was coming here no matter what," Mike Forcier said. "He told me he didn't care who they signed. Last time this happened, he was at MIchigan and [Greg] Paulus was talking about coming to Michigan. [Rich] Rodriguez had a prior relationship with Paulus. It looked like it was going to happen. Tate put on his Facebook, he said 'It's fine if he wants to come here and be my backup.' That's part of people misunderstanding Tate's cockiness. He was just confident he was going to beat Paulus out."

> ESPN named former Hurricane defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Clint Hurtt the No. 1 recruiter in the country for 2011. Hurtt, who parted ways with UM after the 2009 season, cleaned up in South Florida -- signing Miami Northwestern quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (a former UM commitment) among a group of 10 players from South Florida. 

> In case you don't believe following recruiting is for crazy people: Gulliver Prep defensive back AJ Leggett, one of the top local players in 2012, switched his commitment back to UM on Wednesday. Leggett was committed to UM last season before Randy Shannon was fired. Then, he switched to Florida State and is now back with UM. He's not even a senior yet. We'll let you know where he's really, really going on National Signing Day 2012.

Former Mich. QB Tate Forcier transferring to UM

The Miami Hurricanes didn't sign a quarterback as part of their 2011 recruiting class. But they've already got one lined up to start helping them right away in 2012.

Tate Forcier Former Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier signed a financial aid agreement with UM on Wednesday afternoon and will transfer to Coral Gables "as soon as possible" according to his father. 

Forcier will be required to sit out the 2011 season under NCAA transfer rules, but will have two seasons of eligibility remaining as soon as he becomes eligible in 2012.

"He's in the airport now getting ready to fly back to Michigan," his father Mike told The Miami Herald at about 4:30 Wednesday. "He called me and said 'Dad, I'm going to transfer to Miami. It just felt too comfortable. I went ahead and committed. I hope you and mom will respect my decision and support it. And I love you.'"

As a freshman in 2009, he started all 12 games and completed 165-of-281 passes for 2,050 yards and 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He was named to the All-Freshman Big Ten team in 2009, but lost his starting job last season to former Deerfield Beach star Denard Robinson. This past season, Forcier appeared in eight games as a backup and completed 54-of-84 passes for 597 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions.

The 6-foot-1, 192-pound native of San Diego, Calif. was ruled academically ineligible to play in the Jan. 1 Gator Bowl. Mike Forcier said his son still has a couple online courses to complete before he can begin taking classes at Miami, but he will likely enroll at UM in the summer.

"His grades are fine," Mike Forcier said. "He has to make up some classes and take care of that. But he's already taken care one of the classes that was incomplete, turned in a paper and got an A on it. He has another class he still has to get done. If he falls short, he'll probably have to take a few online classes. But he'll get it done."

Forcier announced last month on Twitter he was leaving Michigan. Mike Forcier said his son was not taking classes at Michigan this semester and was living with his girlfriend in Grand Rapids.

"We want him living as close as he can to school," Mike Forcier said. "One of the problems that happened with the other school was he was living too far away from the school, counting on others for rides, spending his money on taxis. I think we're all on the same page. We want him focused on academics and football."

Forcier was lined up to visit a few other schools in the coming weeks. According to his father, he had 41 offers -- most from Football Bowl Championship programs (formerly Division I-AA). Kansas State, Washington and Arizona were also interested.

"I thought he was going to sit on it for a day, wait to decide. That's what I recommended," Mike Forcier said. "But joining Miami was like buying a Ferrari. You can't wait."

Mike Forcier said his son arrived in Coral Gables Tuesday afternoon, met with coaches and had dinner with offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch and national recruiting coordinator Brennan Carroll, whom the family has a prior relationship with. Mike Forcier said his son then had lunch with senior Jacory Harris on Wednesday afternoon and the two hit it off. He thinks his son will be a perfect fit with the Hurricanes.

Harris and former walk-on Spencer Whipple are both seniors who won't be with the team past 2011. UM's other scholarship quarterback is sophomore Stephen Morris.

"Some of the criticism he got in the past are from people who misunderstand him as cocky," Mike Forcier said. "Really all he has is a lot swagger. I know the players at Miami are all about that. He's just misunderstood. He's confident, he knows he can play. He's played since he was a little baby. This is his dream."

February 07, 2011

UM releases spring football schedule

UM released the dates for spring practice Monday night:

- The spring game date as well as the policies for fans and media being able to watch these practices remain unresolved.

- Coach Al Golden has extended an open invitation to former Miami football players and high school coaches.

> Saturday, March 5
> Tuesday, March 8
> Thursday, March 10
> Tuesday, March 22
> Thursday, March 24
> Saturday, March 26
> Tuesday, March 29
> Thursday, March 31
> Saturday, April 2
> Tuesday, April 5
> Thursday, April 7
> Saturday, April 9 – Potential Spring Game date
> Tuesday, April 12
> Thursday, April 14
> Saturday, April 16 – Potential Spring Game date

Brissett signs with UF; Canes focus on other QBs

The Miami Hurricanes' chase of Palm Beach Dwyer quarterback Jacoby Brissett is officially over.

Tate Forcier Three days after announcing at a basketball he wanted to play for the Gators, the U.S. Army All-American quarterback faxed his signed National Letter of Intent to Gainesville on Monday despite the efforts of his mother to sway him back toward the Canes.

Brissett (6-5, 225) was the top remaining unsigned quarterback in the country and said on Friday that he narrowed his choices down to UM and UF. But he chose to follow his heart -- and three former Dwyer teammates -- to Gainesville, against his mother's wishes.

Former Michigan standout Tate Forcier and Rutgers freshman All-American Tom Savage remain transfer possibilities for the Hurricanes at quarterback. Both would have to sit out the 2011 season if they picked UM per NCAA transfer rules. Forcier is reportedly going to visit UM sometime this week.

Just my opinion, but of the two, Savage is more likely to end up a Hurricane. Forcier had academic issues before leaving Michigan and is more likely to end up closer to home on the West Coast. Savage's grandparents own a home in South Florida.

> As the Canes look for a quarterback of the future, here is an interesting read from Rivals about Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers, who had zero offers coming out of high school.

> The Hurricanes could end up adding another defensive tackle to their 2011 signing class sometime this week. According to InsideTheU.com, Bradenton Manatee senior Quinton Pompey (6-3, 275) still remains unsigned and is waiting on Miami according to his high school coach. Pompey's other offers are from Georgia Southern and Eastern Kentucky. Pompey was lightly recruited because of academic struggles, but has apparently worked them out according to his coach.

> Men's basketball coach Frank Haith, whose team pulled out two close home wins last week to keep their faint postseason hopes alive, said it looks like his two leading scorers Durand Scott and Malcolm Grant, and starting swingman Garrius Adams, finally appear to be getting past the flu.

The bigger concern? Sophomore center Reggie Johnson, who continues to battle issues with his right foot. Johnson, averaging 12 points and 9.9 rebounds a game (third most in the ACC), had bone spurs in his foot earlier this season. He played a season-high 34 minutes in Saturday's overtime win over Virginia.

"He has a reaction in his foot," Haith said during Monday's ACC teleconference. "We got to see that goes. He didn't practice Friday and I think he's going to be tabled at practice. We'll wait to see what the doctors say today."

> ESPN's Bruce Feldman said former UM coach Randy Shannon is supposed to interview for the vacant defensive coordinator job at Maryland later this week. Shannon interviewed for the same position with UCLA last month.

> Looks like another former Hurricanes assistant has landed at Alabama. Joe Pannunzio, who coached the special teams and tight ends under Shannon the last four years, has reportedly been hired in an "off the field role" by Nick Saban. Alabama hired former offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland last month.

> Just a reminder: the Hurricanes baseball team will have its team banquet Friday night at 6 p.m. and Fan Fest Saturday at 3 p.m. Jim Morris' team opens its season at home a week from Friday (Feb. 18) against Rutgers.

> Also, in case you missed Jorge Milian's blog from last week, UM is in talks with Florida State about scheduling next season's game as the season-opener on Labor Day. It's still not finalized.

February 04, 2011

Mom says 'it's not over yet', but Brissett does

Palm Beach Dwyer quarterback Jacoby Brissett was so worried about how his mom might react to the news of him picking the Gators Friday he decided to text message her two hours before his basketball game. It didn't make his announcement any easier to take.

His mother, Lisa Brown, didn't hide her emotions after Brissett told a gym full of spectators his future was in Gainesville. But like it or not, the 6-5, 225-pound U.S. Army All-American said after his game, he's sticking with his decision whether it hurts mom or not.

"I feel good about my decision," Brissett said. "I've thought to myself since Wednesday where I could see myself next year? It came down to UM and Florida. And I just had to follow my heart. And my heart [was] with Florida."

For what it's worth, Brissett said he went back and forth over his decision "about 25 times." Then, he made a final decision on Wednesday during school."

Still, Brown, a long-time Hurricanes fan, said she will try to sway him to pick the Hurricanes before he faxes his National Letter of Intent on Monday.

"I'm going to try to talk him out of it," she said. "He hasn't signed it yet. He's just orally committed right now."

Brissett said he was planning on sending his letter of intent on Saturday.

So why wasn't mom happy with her son's decision? It seems while she felt good about Gators offensive coordinator Charlie Weis, she was upset by the fact she hadn't met coach Will Muschamp yet.

Brissett said he's not worried about the impeding competition with Jeff Driskell at Florida. In fact, he's looking forward to it. "He just has to show me he's better than me," Brissett said. "That's all it is."

The Gators are scheduled to come to Sun Life Stadium to face UM in 2013.

Brissett to announce -- probably for UF -- soon

PALM BEACH GARDENS -- Al Golden said last month the thought of not having enough depth at quarterback scared him to death before going to sleep every night.

Jacoby Brissett before the decision on Friday night Barring a surprise, it looks like there will be a few more restless nights for the Hurricanes football coach.

U.S. Army All-American quarterback Jacoby Brissett will announce shortly if he's decided if he looks better in orange and blue or orange and green. UM, once thought to be the favorites in the Brissett sweepstakes, now looks like the underdog to Florida after a long day of rumors and unconfirmed reports on the internet.

The 6-5, 225-pound high school senior is expected to make his announcement at halftime of his basketball game here on Senior Night. The gym is near capacity.

The Hurricanes, who led all Football Bowl Subdivision schools in interceptions thrown last season, have senior Jacory Harris, senior Spencer Whipple and sophomore Stephen Morris on their current roster at quarterback.

As a senior at Dwyer, Brissett completed 63.5 percent of his passes for 2,473 yards, 32 touchdowns and only one interception. He rushed 63 times for 368 yards and seven touchdowns. As a basketball player this season, he is averaging 15.9 points per game for the Panthers (20-2).

Brissett was ranked the third best quarterback in the country by Rivals.com, ninth best by Scout.com and 25th best by ESPN.

The fact he may opt to sign with the Gators is a bit surprising. Florida already signed Oviedo's Jeff Driskel, rated by numerous recruiting services as the number one quarterback in the country. But, the Gators did sign three Dwyer players last season -- tight end Gerald Christian, receiver Robert Clark and safety Matt Elam. Plus, Dwyer coach Jack Daniels is a Florida grad.

"I'm not saying he can't compete and do well at Florida, but Jeff Driskel is going to be the man there," said ESPN recruiting analyst Corey Long, who said Thursday he heard Brissett was headed to Florida.

"The kid had two chances to really play in my opinion -- at Miami or Wisconsin."

Before UM coach Randy Shannon was fired, the Hurricanes had a commitment from Miami Northwestern's Teddy Bridgewater, also considered one of the nation's premier quarterbacks. But Bridgewater de-committed and signed with Louisville in December. The Hurricanes have been looking for a replacement ever since.

Brissett, who remained uncommitted through the recruiting process until Friday, didn't begin getting recruited by UM until Golden took over as coach. He visited UM on the final available recruiting weekend before National Signing Day "and loved it" according to his mother Lisa Brown, who is a huge Hurricanes fan.

"He can make any throw," Daniels said last week. "He can lose people in the pocket. He's just such a winner. I'll never have a quarterback like him."

With or without Brissett, the Hurricanes could still end up with another quarterback. Former 2009 freshman All-American Tom Savage left Rutgers and has expressed interest in Miami. If Savage were to transfer to UM he would have to sit out the 2011 season per NCAA rules.

"He's a kid that can come in and play as game manager, but I don't think the kid is a great quarterback," said Charles Fishbein of Elite Scouting Services. "He's not very mobile and will need a lot of guys around him to make plays. He struggled at Rutgers."

Even with a transfer or another pickup, the Hurricanes will most likely still sign at least two quarterbacks in their 2012 class. Long said he expects national recruiting coordinator Brennan Carroll to use his West Coast connections from his days at USC to land the Hurricanes a top-flight California quarterback.

Dade Christian's Bilal Marshall (6-3, 180) is considered the best 2012 quarterback in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. Marshall, who threw for 1,600 yards and ran for 1,100 yards last season, said Friday he grew up a Hurricanes fan. UM receivers coach George McDonald visited Marshall last week, but UM has yet to offer him according to Dade Christian coach Mike Sonneborn.

"I'm looking for a school that fits my personality, a program that likes to win," said Marshall, who already has scholarship offers from Wake Forest, Duke, Rutgers, Boston College and Kansas among a collection of nearly a dozen.

"But it's not always about what school was your favorite school was growing up. You have to look at the best interest in your future life."

Golden's quest to solidify state of Miami has begun

If you listen closely enough, at around 7 p.m. tonight you'll either hear a roar of celebration coming from Coral Gables or Canes fans across the country cussing up a storm.

Al Golden Tonight is the night U.S. Army All-American quarterback Jacoby Brissett will announce where he's going to college. He will choose between Florida, Miami or Wisconsin. Although he can't say it publicly, UM coach Al Golden desperately wants Brissett to be the 17th member of the Canes' 2011 signing class.

There's been a lot of speculation over the last couple days about where Brissett will be going to school. Dwyer coach Jack Daniels said he thought Miami had a great shot, especially since Brissett's mom is a huge Canes fan. Then, yesterday, we began hearing Brissett may now be favoring Florida. Brissett will announce his choice before his basketball game scheduled for a 7 p.m. start.

The Hurricanes, quite frankly, shouldn't be in this mess. After leading the country in interceptions thrown last season, finding and landing a quarterback should have taken place a long time ago. But this isn't Al Golden's fault. It's Randy Shannon's. And the clean-up of his mess continues.

Golden spoke for nearly 40 minutes on Wednesday about his first signing class. Between talking about how happy he was to land the 14 recruits he did in a matter of five weeks (15 real recruiting days) -- and the eight he was able to steal from others -- Golden made sure to apologize plenty too. Being a thief is something Golden didn't like having to be to sign players. Being the new guy on the job was difficult enough. What was even tougher was being seen as a total stranger in his own backyard.

You see Golden didn't just have to introduce himself and his new staff when he went out recruiting. In many instances, he had to introduce The U to coaches and players that hadn't seen anybody come around with that U in a long time.

Brissett? The previous staff gave him an offer when every other school in the country did. But once Miami Northwestern's Teddy Bridgewater committed to the Canes, Shannon pulled back the reigns. No need for a Plan B right? Apparently, Shannon and his staff took this approach more often than most of us realized. 

Want to know how many times UM went to visit Miami Central, a school that won the Class 6A state title this year and produced 17 Division I players on Wednesday (and as Golden pointed out produced more D-I talent than the entire state of Connecticut)?

Telly Lockette "They came out once in the spring," Rockets coach Telly Lockette said Thursday night, shortly before Golden hosted nearly 100 head coaches and assistant coaches from Miami-Dade County at UM's basketball game against Georgia Tech.

"I remember the recruiting coordinator [Aubrey Hill] and the [defensive backs] coach [Wesley] McGriff came out to see us. McGriff came one other time. I'll say they came three times total to be safe."

Lockette, one of three on the board of the Miami-Dade County Coaches Association, doesn't want to take shots at Shannon or his staff. He's known Shannon since he was a teenager, grew up playing at the same park where Shannon frequented up in Northwest Dade. But Lockette still isn't sure why the Hurricanes didn't come around to recruit his players more often or other local players many thought were good enough to play for the Canes but ended up elsewhere.

The thought process here isn't that the Canes need to get every local kid. The thought process is at least come and make your presence felt so if you have to offer a kid late in the game, you don't come in as a total stranger.

"I remember Randy coming in personally about a year ago, we sat down and talked," Lockette said. "From then on, we thought it was going to be better. I'm not trying to throw Randy Shannon or his staff under the bus. I just thought they were recruiting a different type athlete. They would say, 'Well this guy can't play at Miami.' Jeffrey Godfrey? He can't play at Miami? You look at the guys who are going off to Louisville and what they're going to do. You know and I know you've been watching football for a long time -- that's sickening.

"At the end of the day, if you look at the track record, I've been here for three years. You mean to tell me I'm sending 53 kids off to school from here, 38 are D-I and only one is going to UM? I don't know what the deal was. They have to answer that."

That player UM got from Central, cornerback Thomas Finnie, wasn't even recruited by Shannon or anybody on his staff. Golden came down and swooped him away from South Carolina -- right under Steve Spurrier and Lockett's nose. Lockette was a little bothered at first that Golden nor anybody on his staff called to let him know they were meeting with Finnie on the morning he was set to leave for South Carolina.

But that's ancient history now.

Jacoby Brissett "He came in and we sat down a week ago Tuesday," Lockette said. "He wanted to apologize for the whole ordeal and how everything went down. I told him I understood. I was telling him at this point if he wants to recruit my kids I don't have any problems with him doing it. That's when they jumped on [offensive tackle] John Miller. Once coach [Art] Kehoe got in and saw John Miller, he was ecstatic, wanted the kid bad, but it was too late.

"Coach Golden is a good guy, a straight up guy. I don't blame him for coming after the kids the way he did late in the game. It's unfortunate they were caught in that situation. I just would have liked a courtesy phone call saying coach I'm going to go after your kid. But I understand they were under the gun. That's called recruiting. I didn't have a problem with that."

Golden promised Wednesday the Hurricanes won't ever be under the gun or strangers in their own backyard again as long as he's coach. His plan to change htings: put all nine of his coaches to recruit what he calls 'The Eye Of The Storm' -- Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

"All of Florida is vitally important ot us. We’ve got to get back to our roots...," Golden said. "We’re going to get back to being really strong in those areas. We’re talking right now about which areas we’re going to allocate. Not only do we have all nine coaches within two hours of where we are right now, which is what we call the Eye of the Storm, we have all nine coaches in-state, which is really important to us. If we take care of our home state, we’re going to be in great shape. We’ll have all nine guys in the state and all nine guys here in the eye, which I think is a departure from what they’ve done before. We want to make sure we get it right here.

"There are too many kids signing late, too many kids that are the next Ed Reed or the next Ray Lewis who was the last player taken, or the next Reggie Wayne. There are too many of those kids locally to go all over the country when they’re right here in our backyard. We want to make sure our central focus is here and then go out of state to get kids that want to be a part of this tradition.

"The number of kids that come out from down here and play Division I football is the reason whywe’re developing our recruiting philosophy... if there’s 350 or 400 kids that sign Division I scholarships in Florida, we only need 18 to 20 a year to be a great team. Not to compete, but a great team. So let’s get it right at home and go from there."

Golden isn't just taking a new approach to recruiting, he's taking a new approach all around. Among other things on tap: junior days, camps, coaching clinics. In essence, he's extending his hand out and shaking hands with people who often wondered why that old football powerhouse down the street was ignoring them.

"We are the University of Miami, the University of all of South Florida," Golden said. "And we want to make sure we are giving kids an opportunity to learn, to be exposed to the University of Miami, our mission on campus. And clearly we want an opportunity to evaluate to see which ones are good enough to be Hurricanes and who wants to be Miami Hurricanes.

"Our last four years at Temple, 78 percent of the kids that we signed attended [our] camp. So obviously you have a chance to evaluate them in the camp. There’s nothing like seeing a student-athlete live. There’s nothing that compares to it. If you can take that, plus the academic transcript, plus the film and then the intangibles, you have a chance to mitigate risk."

UM's camp used to cost $390. Golden has slashed it down $55.

"We're going to keep that price low," Golden said. "It's $40 through President's Day weekend, then will go up to $55. It's not a money maker for us. It’s about getting to know the high school coaches, giving kids an opportunity. The camp is designed so if you don't get a scholarship offer from Miami – FIU, FAU, Bethnue Cookman, MAC schools, a bunch of 1-AA schools – all those schools will be here and represented so there's a safety net in there. It's not just going to benefit you if you want to go to Miami, but it will benefit you if you want to go to one of those other institutions as well."

How does it work? "You show up at 8, you get introduced to the staff, we break you down into groups and you do a bunch of drills on offense, then you do a bunch of drills on defense, then you have a chance to go to lunch on campus - inside, for a barbecue," Golden said.

"We'll finish up with some one on ones and some competition at the end. It's really an 8 to 4 deal. We coach the heck out of them. We have it down cold. We’re going to develop them. They're going to learn. Hopefully, the goal is to get them back again. We have six of those dates in June."

Of course, Golden still isn't done with 2011.

The Hurricanes, ranked as having the 36th-best recruiting class in the country by Rivals.com, could end up moving up a few more notches tonight if Jacoby Brissett decides UM (which didn't begin recruiting him until three weeks ago) is really the best place for his future.

But gain a quarterback or watch him go elsewhere tonight, we've learned at least one thing over the last six weeks: Al Golden is not going to be a stranger in his own backyard very long.

February 02, 2011

Golden Signing Day press conference (audio/transcript)

UM coach Al Golden addressed the local media about his first recruiting class with the Hurricanes. We'll be back later with the transcript.

Al Golden's Signing Day press conference


Opening statement: "Thank you all for coming out. Obviously this is an exciting day for the University of Miami football program and our coaching staff. It's a culmination of 5 or 6 weeks of intense recruiting to get to this point and I feel we've accomplished our specific targets. Namely, to make sure we secure a kicker and punter that can compete in the coming year. Speifically on defense to make sure we have linebacker depth that can come in and compete for jobs. Ccorners, defensive linemen and obviously wide receiver depth that we most certainly needed. It's a heavy defensive class. If anything, that should give you an indication of my evaluation of our offense relative to our defense right now. With one offensive lineman in this class, that should give you and indication that I'm very pleased with not only our production but the direction of our offensive line. We didn't sign but one offensive lineman [Taylor Gadbois] and we didn't sign any tight ends. So, most of our emphasis was on the defensive side.

"I would like to thank President Shalala. Kirby Hocutt, all the athletic administration, our staff, our coaches and all the support staff, all the deans and professors on campus that did an incredible job assisting us with all the students with work studies. We couldn't have done it without you. Again, it was a hectic time for everybody from where we started on Dec. 13 with three commitments and I think we were ranked 85th at the time. To come nearly 50 spaces in a short period of time, only 15 days I could go out, it's something we're proud of, and it should be a precursor of what we can do at the University of Miami moving forward."

Everyone had a year head start on you. What was it like playing catch-up in 20 days?
"It was hard. I think the thing the staff and I became maybe a little bit frustrated at the end was how many kids that said A) It was either their dream school or B) Committed to us down the stretch or gave us a real strong indication that they just loved it. But they just didn't know us.

"That was frustrating. But that will never happen again at the University of Miami. Our staff will not let it. For that we apologize to be quite all honest to all the high schools in South Florida. We will make that sure that we make that connection now moving forward. I've already entertained calls from the 2012 class today. We're going to move forward and develop those relationships and repair the ones that weren't as strong as they needed to be. That was frustrating because it is a great brand and is so much to offer young people. Many of them, you could see felt compelled to come, but there was no [long term] relationship in the end. For example, many of the kids that came on the last two official visits weekends, the first time I met them was when they came on that official visit weekend and that's tough doing business that way."

Can you talk about Gionni Paul and who was his primary recruiting?
"For us it's always about staff recruiting. Coach D'Onofrio and Micheal Barrow. But Gionni Paul to me personifies, along with Chickillo, along with some of the other young people in this class, personifies what we're looking for. Smart, tough, he's disciplined. He's plays with energy, has a motor. So we're so fortunate to have Gionni in this class. Again, we appreciative of the young people that really have shown faith in such a short period of time. That's why we'll be linked forever as our first recruiting class. Gionni is a big part of that."

A lot of coaches downplay the value of recruiting rankings. But do you have a different approach?
"I don't get into the rankings other than someone told me `coach, do your realize…' For us, if it's 33, it's not good enough. It's not good enough. We're going to continue to move forward. Someone indicated we had come up 50 spots, that's the only reason I referenced it. For us, it's not about the rankings, but just to give you some measurable of how far we came in a five-week period."

Did you feel coming in it was a dire situation?
"Well, yeah. If you take over a job and nobody is scheduled for an official visit, that's quite alarming. There's nobody scheduled in the month of January at all for an official visit. I took the job on a Monday, was processed on Tuesday, was out Wednesday and Thursday, came back Friday for an official visit weekend. We had five kids in. And then we went dead [period] for two weeks, then we were back out for three days and then went dead again. During those three days, most of the players we were recruiting happened to be at one of the two All-Star games. If you want to recruit a level of a Miami athlete, most of those athletes were in San Antonio and Orlando and off limits. All said and done, I'm excited about this group because there's something to be said for guys that want to be Miami Hurricanes. We had eight kids that flipped. Imagine where we would be if eight kids didn't flip and join the Miami Hurricanes. Then we also had other guys like Anthony Chickillo, [who] was exactly what we're looking. If you want to know what we're looking for, look at Anthony Chickillo. Tough, energy, just a football player, moxie, leadership, weight room guy. All those thing some people call intangible, we think are very tangible and they have a say in how we make our team."

What's your level of satisfaction compared to past signing days?

"For us, I love, I think the coaches feel the same way, we love the expectation. To do what we did in a short period of time, but we want more, and we know we're not done. We're still recruiting. This class is not complete. So we know with one or two more of the right guys here, it could finish off on an incredibly high note. But irrespective of that, you have to understand whether its the graduate assistants, the operations, the coaches, the administrative staff, it was an incredible job to pull this off in what was two official visits weekends when no students were around and two when they were around. My hat goes off to those guys. I'm greatful to have them on the staff."

We've seen other teams with lesser recruited classes suceed. Where does player development factor in with this recruiting class?
"It's always the acquisition and development of talent. You just said it. You can't win without talent, but you also have to have a plan in place for which you develop talent. I think we have that and we'll continue to do that. We've had a great response already in three short weeks with our current student athletes. They know it's different. They've embraced the change and they've really responded. I know I speak for all the staff, we just can't wait to be around them. Because there is talent on campus. What this group [coming in] is going to do, will be a blue collar unit. It's going to be a group that will challenge for jobs in certain areas, raise the intensity and the performance and execution of the guys that were in place. And obviously they're going to have a chance to compete. This is going to be an interesting spring for us. And when these kids start to come about, it will make for great competition, improve our team."

If someone was going to rank you as a recruiter for UM, would next year's class be your first true measuring stick?
"You can measure me right now, you can measure me right now. Measure me today. Measure me next week. Measure me next year, four or five years from now. Because we're here only to do it one way. And if you could see the energy that everyone in this building put forth to get this class. Again, I'm talking turning eight kids, flipping eight kids. There are a lot of schools that can't do that in three or four years. We flipped eight kids from Jan. 2 on. That's something I'm not afraid of. You have to be the judge of how you think we did, but I am grateful for what the coaches did in a short period of time."

Was there a common thread in how you flipped them?
"Long before I got here -- incredible tradition from a football standpoint, whether its players in the NFL, national championships, whatever the case may be, bowl games, BCS bowl games, award winners. You couple that with an incredible Coral Gables campus, international city, world class city right next door, the No. 1 institution in the state of Florida, top 50 institution in the country. The difference is they reacted to our core values, they reacted to our people, the way they were recruited, that was the difference. It has nothing to do with the previous staff. It just has to do with a transition class that was tough on a lot of people. It's not just tough on the coaches and the current players. It's tough on recruits. And a lot of kids just got lost in the shuffle. As you guys know what precedes the transition is the tidal waive. What precedes it is the drawback. That's kind of what it was. They could sense something was happening to that staff and the previous coach. A lot of them either pulled back -- on both sides -- the coaches and the prospects. So, when we kind of re-ignited that relationship, I think a lot of them were very excited about that."

How much were you blown away by that talent you did recruit? Were you stunned those players weren't recruited by the previous staff?
"Uh? I'm very excited about the talent of some of those kids."

You had to do a lot of evaluation on tape instead of in person. Did that make it more difficult?
"It's a little bit harder and that's why we proceeded with so much caution early on. I think I said this to you the first week in January. It's not so much the ones you don't get; it's making sure you get the right ones. I really believe that. You don't want to be there on Aug. 8 saying `Does anyone know why we recruited this kid?' Is it because he was offered by eight other schools? Does anybody know if he fits in our system? So again [the credit] goes to all the staff here that took their time and evaluated. To be honest, we probably had spots for a couple of more kids but we didn't want to drop down, didn't want to lower our expectations. So we stayed at a high level and wanted to battle it out from there on."

What was it like when you realized Jalen Grimble had chosen you?
"Big Jet [Jethro Franklin] was [pounding his chest]. [Jethro] had a great relationship with that family. If we didn't have that relationship, which happened in a lot of cases. We didn't have a previous relationship the kid may not be here. But the relationship plus what we offer at the University of Miami, which I think is unique, enabled that young man to come. What a great family. We're so pleased to have Jalen with us."

Normally, you would have seen all of these guys in person?
"Yeah. I’m used to seeing kids in camp. I’m used to seeing kids play basketball and those types of things. Our last four years at Temple, 78 percent of the kids that we signed attended the camp. So obviously you have a chance to evaluate them in the camp. There’s nothing like seeing a student-athlete live. There’s nothing that compares to it. If you can take that, plus the academic transcript, plus the film and then the intangibles, you have a chance to mitigate risk."

How hard was it to recruit with such a short time period while you were hiring new coach? How did the process work?
"It was difficult, certainly. We were trying to do so many things at once, whether it was establish the organization, evaluate the current players, recruit, set the staff. We were doing so many things. It’s so much more critical to be patient and get the right staff here. And I can tell u whole-heartedly we have the right staff. We have an incredible staff….we were willing to sacrifice a little bit to get it right the first time."

What were your emotions today?
"We were excited. There was a moment there where [with] maybe one or two other kids we go over the top. We were really close. We were in it and we’re still in it with some of those kids. It’s not over yet. But I think I speak for all of the staff. This has been physically taxing. Not that it’s not normally physically taxing, but this was get back in town Friday morning, try to see a couple of local schools because we want to build and repair relationships with the local schools, get over here by noon, have a new official visit starting, end that at noon Sunday and then go right back out. Not even have a chance to go home and sleep in your own bed Sunday and then go out Monday morning. We would go right back out and we did that for 31, 30 days straight now."

Are you going to be able to take a break? You must be exhausted.
"I’m not worried about this. I’m worried about my wife that’s sitting over there. You put me behind the eight-ball. I’m going to have to negotiate. But no, there’s got to be time. Family’s important to us. A lot of these coaches, and I know this personally, a lot of these coaches did research on me, and what’s important to me. What are my core values. That’s why we were able to put this kind of staff together. Thye understand family is important to us. But I think they also know these next 3 months it’s going to be a little catch-up. We’ve already had a junior day. When the official visit weekend ended on Sunday, we had a walk-on day. Our hope is that we’re back to where Miami should be, come the middle or end of June."

How important is it to recruit in central florida?
"It is important to us. All of Florida is vitally important ot us. We’ve got to get back to our roots and Central Florida is a big part of that. We’re going to get back to being really strong in those areas. We’re talking right now about which areas we’re going to allocate. Not only do we have all nine coaches within two hours of where we are right now, which is what we call the Eye of the Storm, we have all nine coaches in-state, which is really important to us. If we take care of our home state, we’re going to be in great shape. We’ll have all nine games in the state and all nine guys here in the eye, which I think is a departure from what they’ve done before. We want to make sure we get it right here. There are too many kids signing late, too many kids that are the next Ed Reed or the next Ray Lewis who was the last player taken, or the next Reggie Wayne. There are too many of those kids locally to go all over the country when they’re right here in our backyard. We want to make sure our central focus is here and then go out of state to get kids that want to be a part of this tradition, this great city of Miami and attend a top 50 institution."

You said it was important to sign a quarterback, that it kept you up at night. You don't have any right now.
"We’re still actively pursuing quarterbacks. I’ve got to be careful here because you guys know some of them haven’t committed yet. We want to make sure we sign the right guy that can fit our system. We want to be sure we sign a guy that matches our core values, that’s a leader. I still think we’re going to do that. We’re just trying to be patient there. I hope u can understand -- we don’t want to just take a guy to take a guy and we don’t want to drop down. We have a plan. We have a specific mold we’re looking for and I still believe we’re going to fill that need."

How do you feel about football players playing other sports?
"I’m ok with it. I want kids who want to compete and have the discipline to do that. There’s so something to be said about the type of athlete they are if they can do that and perform like Travis [Benjamin] is doing right now [in track]. Why wouldn’t u want Travis on your team?

"Is that going to be a deal-breaker? If you say you don’t want a Santana Moss or Travis Benjamin on your team to run track and play football -- I’m all for that. Not to mention we’re pretty good in those sports. If it helps them, that’s great for the University of Miami. I’m also of the beliefe we’ve become to specialized in high school sports. I really believe you can learn a lot and develop if you’re playing multiple sports."

Going back to evaluating film, are you a big part of that?
"In person validates or invalidates the film. The in-person is a supplement to what you see on film. But ultimately u are what u put on film. We say it all the time to our players. Why wouldn’t we say it to our recruits. You are what u put on film. Coach Parcells used to always say, ‘What you say you are is your philosophy, but what we see on film is your identity.’ And that’s the truth.

"But toughness is also part of our profile and foundation. The only way to really measure that is when they’re in pads and they’re competing."

What did you like about Eddie Johnson?
“This is a real hard-core linebacker group that we brought in. Eddie Johnson is a physical kid, 230 pounds. So he’s ready-made. That means he's not one of these 195 pound or 200 pound linebackers. He's a weight room guy. Clearly, he’s made a lot of sacrifices in his life to get to that point in terms of social things because clearly he, like Gionni and Denzel are really weight room guys that really get after it. So we’re excited about him. He can run and strike. He can play multiple positions. He plays running back on offense. So he’s a big athlete that we could put at multiple positions. He probably has third down value as a rushe as well."

How did you deploy Art Kehoe in recruiting?
“I think the kids gravitate towards Art. There’s a real connection that Art makes with people, period. Forget about just offensive linemen. And there’s a genuineness there. When we had a chance to sit down, not only his energy and his passion and his love for this place but there was a genuineness there and a good-hearted person would fit in perfect with where we’re at. The new kids have responded well to him. His reputation precedes him. I think they know they’re in for a spring, the Tazmanian devil coming through. But I think they get it. They’re responding well.”

Is there comfort now in the thought that you’re on a level playing field with everybody else?
“Yeah, perhaps. We don't think we're quite level yet. It's time to get back to work. There's probably a sense of relief, you're right, because it's been a no break zone for quite a while. The coaches probably feel that way too. We can't rest too long, we have to get ready for this next group. We have a couple of junior days and spring ball coming up, but it'll be great to be in here working with our kids, have one or two prospects watch spring ball. We can’t wait for that and we can't wait for the camp, because when high school coaches and the high school community see the type of camp that we are going to administer, they're going to love it. Just as they did in Philadelphia. We went from no camp to 1,868 campers in four years which was the No. 1 day camp in America. And we didn’t have nearly the setup that we have here in terms of field space and the tri-county talent level.”

What do you think about South Florida talent level compared to what you had in Philadelphia?
"The number of kids that come from down here and play Division I football is the reason why as we’re developing our recruiting philosophy we want nine guys just in the three counties, really in four or five counties within two hours we’re going to have nine guys. That says it all. Like this year in Connecticut. There’s seven players probably that go Division I. Miami Central had 17. How can we identify and evaluate all those kids. If there’s 350 or 400 kids that sign Division I scholarships in Florida, we only need 18 to 20 a year to be a great team. Not to compete, but a great team. So let’s get it right at home and go from there."

You lowered the camp price to $55. What did it used to be?
“It was $390. Let’s be fair, it was apples to oranges. It was a overnight camp. It’s as much a civic thing as anything.We are the University of Miami, the University of all of South Florida. And we want to make sure we are giving kids an opportunity to learn, to be exposed to the University of Miami, our mission on campus. And clearly we want an opportunity to evaluate to see which ones are good enough to be Hurricanes and who wants to be Miami Hurricanes. We're going to keep that price low. It's $40 through President's Weekend, then will go up to $55. It's not a money maker for us. It’s about getting to know the high school coaches, giving kids an opportunity. The camp is designed so if you don't get a scholarship offer from Miami – FIU, FAU, Bethnue Cookman, MAC schools, a bunch of 1-AA schools – all those schools will be here and represented so there's a safety net in there. It's not just going to benefit you if you want to go to Miam, but it will benefit you if you want to go to one of those other institutions as well."

How many scholarships do you have available?
"It’s fluctuating. The reason I’m saying it’s in flux is because we’re getting medical reports back on our current kids – is there someone that has to be declared a medical? Other kids have other interests, whatever the case may be. So it’s in flux. It wasn’t going to be a big class to begin with but we are only going to have room for a couple of more and we’ll have to see how that shakes out here.”

Is Kevin Nelson returning to the team?
“I’m not going to comment on that right now. It wouldn’t be air to him or his family or for our program to comment on him right now.”

What do you get for $40 at the camp?
“You show up at 8, you get introduced to the staff, we break you down into groups and you do a bunch of drills on offense, then you do a bunch of drills on defense, then you have a chance to go to lunch on campus - inside, a barbecue. We'll finish up with some one on ones and some competition at the end. It's really an 8 to 4 deal. We coach the heck out of them. We have it down cold. We’re going to develop them. They're going to learn. Hopefully, the goal is to get them back again. We have six of those dates in June."

Any interesting stories with kids you flipped?
“Gionni Paul probably is our favorite. He didn't' want to talk to us to getting a tattoo. I told my wife about the tatoo and I said `I think we'll get this LOI a few days from now.’ It's a great story because the kid wanted to be a Hurricane. We faced a lot of`You weren't recruiting me,’ during the recruiting process`We just kept saying, ‘We weren't here, There’s nothing I can do about that. Just give me an opportunity.' Jalen Grimble is a big story. He’s a tremendously talented player who has ties to USC but chose to come to Miami. That's a big story.”

Canes ink 16 recruits; Brissett watch begins

At 4 p.m. UM coach Al Golden will meet with local reporters to talk about his signing class. You can watch it online at Hurricanesports.com

For all intent and purposes it feels like the Canes are done for today. There is still at least one possible addition out there:

> Encino Crespi (Calif.) receiver Devin Lucien could still end up picking UM when he announces his choice at 6 p.m. EST. But the expectation is he will stay out west at either Arizona State, Colorado, UCLA or Utah.

So, for now, it appears, the next big news will come from Palm Beach Dwyer quarterback Jacoby Brissett, who will make his announcement on Friday during halftime of his basketball game. Brissett is said to be deciding between UM and Wisconsin. 

"I'm hoping he's the last big surprise," said Tampa Alonso defensive end Anthony Chickillo, who signed with the Canes Wednesday. "Jalen Grimble was the one I knew about. I thought there might be a few others. Right now, I've got my fingers crossed for Jacoby."

NEW VIDEO: Coral Gables LB Denzel Perryman spoke with our Andre Fernandez this morning. Here is the interview.

DUBOSE SWITCHES: Northeast defensive end Bryant Dubose said he started having second thoughts the moment he left his official visit from the University of Miami last Sunday. Now we know he probably should have never committed to the Canes in the first place.

Dubose, an All-Broward First Team selection, switched his commitment to Louisville during a ceremony in front of his teammates, coach and mother. He's the first Canes commitment to flee the class. The 6-4, 245-pound recruit, rated the 24th best defensive end in the country by Rivals.com, said he just felt more comfortable with the Cardinals.

"We have a great recruiting class there," Dubose said. "I love the environment there, the coaching staff. I feel like that's where I will be best at in my future."

Dubose still needed to qualify academically at UM. I believe grades definitely played a factor.


Ricardo Williams was so jacked up about signing with the Miami Hurricanes on Wednesday he woke up eight minutes before his alarm clock was set to go off at 5:30 a.m.

The 6-6, 218-pound defensive end from Homestead High wanted to be the first player to fax his signed National Letter of Intent in to coach Al Golden. Unfortunately for Williams, who sent his fax through at 7 a.m., here was a slight glitch. He had forgotten to send his financial aid form in along with his signed letter of intent.

"Coach [Micheall] Barrow called and told me I had to resend it," Williams said. "I guess you can say we were a little too excited."

When UM finally received all of his necessary paperwork at 8:20 a.m., Williams was the sixth recruit to become an official new member of Golden's first recruiting class. Melbourne Central Catholic receiver Rashawn Scott was the first to get his letter in at 7:10 a.m.

As of 11 a.m., UM had recognized 14 signees as part of its 2011 class. The others: St. Thomas Aquinas receiver Phillip Dorsett; Coral Gables linebacker Denzel Perryman; Lakeland Kathleen linebacker Gianni Paul; Tampa Alonso defensive end Anthony Chickillo; Dallas, Ga. offensive tackle Taylor Gadbois; Hargrave Military Academy (Va.) linebacker Antonio Kinard; North Atlanta Ga. linebacker Eddie Johnson; South Fort Myers cornerback Dallas Crawford; South Broward running back Kevin Grooms; Las Vegas defensive end Jalen Grimble; West Hills, Calif. kicker Matt Goudis; and Taft, Calif. punter Dalton Botts.

The big surprise for UM: Grimble, a 6-2, 280-pounder from Bishop Gorman who was rated an ESPN Top 150 recruit and a four-star prospect by Rivals.com.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Grimble told the Las Vegas Review Journal. “The coaching staff is great. The school’s in a nice area. The student-to-teacher ratio is 11-to-1. You could go across the country and that’s hard to find.”

The other surprise was Johnson, a player most Canes fans hadn't heard of until Wednesday. A three-star prospect according to ESPNU and Rivals.com, the 6-1, 230-pounder had originally committed to UCF. He had 90 tackles on defense and scored four touchdowns on offense.

Golden went after several other recruits -- and didn't land them all:
> Jacksonville Ed White offensive tackle Kaleb Johnson opted for Rutgers.
> Lake Butler Union County Lonnie Gosha took a late visit to UM, but opted to stick with his commitment to Arkansas.
> Osbourne (Va.) athlete Dominique Terrell decided to stay home and play at Virginia. He was set to choose between the Canes and West Virginia.
> Inglewood (Calif.) receiver Patrick Onwuasor chose Arizona over Miami, Arizona State, Washington and Hawaii.

Canes Signing Day blog

Good morning, it's National Signing Day. Here is what's on tap:

> I will be on the move starting at 6 a.m. -- driving up and down Miami-Dade and Broward County -- to visit schools and talk to Canes recruits until coach Al Golden discusses his signing class in Coral Gables at around 4 p.m. Throughout the day, you can follow me and all updates regarding the Canes commitments on my Twitter page. The plan is to post as much content -- video, audio, stories -- as possible here and The Herald's website throughout the day. Be sure to check out our Recruiting page for stories. We've already contacted sports writers around the country to be on the scene when players considering UM make their announcements throughout the day (check the schedule below).

> Associate AD for Communications Chris Freet and his staff will announce on Hurricanesports' Twitter page when those signed Letters of Intent have officially arrived through the schools' fax machine.

> For those of you who want to hear from UM's coach, Al Golden's press conference will be carried live on Hurricanesports.com at 4 p.m. You can also see Golden and his assistants talk about those recruits after they their sign National Letters of Intent throughout the day on UM's site. Golden is also supposed to join ESPNU and CBSCollegeSports for interviews some time in the afternoon.

> Our Larry Blustein will host an interactive live blog starting at 9 a.m. on The Miami Herald's high school page. Blustein, who also hosts a radio show on WQAM, will be on the radio throughout the day providing analysis and thoughts.

So what else will this day bring?

Anthony Chickillo said there would be surprises. We'll see. One won't be Palm Beach Dwyer quarterback Jacoby Brissett. He's waiting to make his announcement on Friday night at halftime of his basketball game.

Here's a list of UM's 15 commitments heading into Wednesday (only Northeast defensive end BJ Dubose was thought to be considering switching out on the Canes for Louisville or Syracuse).

DB Thomas Finnie, Miami Central, 5-10, 170 VIDEO LINK
DL Olsen Pierre, Fork Union Miltary Academy (Va.), 6-6, 280 VIDEO LINK

COMMITMENTS (Check Twitter updates for when they actually sign)
> Dalton Botts, Moorpark CC (Calif.), P, 6-3, 200 VIDEO LINK
> Anthony Chickillo, Tampa Alonso, DE, 6-4, 235 VIDEO LINK
> Dallas Crawford, South Fort Myers, CB, 5-10, 185 VIDEO LINK
> Phillip Dorsett, St. Thomas Aquinas, WR, 5-10, 170 VIDEO LINK
> Bryant Dubose, Northeast, DE, 6-4, 240 VIDEO LINK
> Taylor Gadbois, Dallas East Paulding (Ga.), OT, 6-8, 295 
> Matt Goudis, West Hills Chaminade (Calif.), K, 6-0, 165 VIDEO LINK
> Kevin Grooms, South Broward High, RB/CB, 5-10, 165 VIDEO LINK
> Antonio Kinard, Hargrave Military Academy (Va.), LB, 6-4, 215 VIDEO LINK
> Gionni Paul, Lakeland Kathleen, LB, 6-0, 227 VIDEO LINK
> Denzel Perryman, Coral Gables, LB, 5-11, 217 VIDEO LINK
> Rashawn Scott, Melbourne Central Catholic, WR, 6-2, 198 VIDEO LINK
> Ricardo Williams, Homestead, DE, 6-5, 210 VIDEO LINK


OL Kaleb Johnson, Jacksonville Ed White, 6-5, 280
- Set to announce at 9 a.m. Rated 47th best offensive guard in the country by Scout.com. Met with UM offensive line coach Art Kehoe on Tuesday and hit it off. Other schools that remain in the picture are North Carolina, Louisville, Rutgers and Iowa State. MY PREDICTION: Hurricane.

DT Elkino Watson, Miami Booker T. Washington, 6-2, 265 VIDEO LINK
- Set to announce at 9 a.m. Rated 23rd best DT by Rivals.com; 97th best DT by Scout.com. Has UF, USF and Louisville in the mix. MY PREDICTION: Not a Cane, but will probably stay in-state.

CB/WR Dominique Terrell, Osbourne (Va.), 5-10, 165 VIDEO LINK
- Supposed to announce at 11:30 a.m. Finished as his area’s leading rusher (272 att., 2,077 yards, 30 touchdowns) and leading scorer (192 points) and second-leading passer with 1,430 yards and 15 touchdown passes. Will decide between UM, West Virginia and Virginia. MY PREDICTION: He's a Hurricane. Golden's relationship with his family, knowing older brother pays off.

DT Lonnie Gosha, Lake Butler Union County, 6-2, 260 
- Set to announce at 12:15 p.m. ESPN Top 150 player committed to Arkansas but visited UM and liked it a lot. Former FSU commitment, Rivals.com ranks him as the nation's 169th-overall prospect. PREDICTION: Arkansas. But wouldn't be surprised if he also chose the Canes.

DT Jalen Grimble, Las Vegas Bishop Gorman, 6-3, 255
- Set to announce at 5 p.m. EST. Considered 7th best DT in country by Scout.com. A long-time USC commitment, he will decide between the Canes and UCLA. Cousin, Xavier Grimble, signed with USC last year. Family grew close to Brennan Carroll and Jethro Franklin. PREDICTION: Hurricane. This is the guy I believe Chickillo was talking about when he said a surprise was in store.

WR Devin Lucien, Encino Crespi (Calif.), 6-1, 189 VIDEO LINK
- Set to announce at 6 p.m. EST. Rated 44th best WR in country by Scout.com. As a senior, Lucien caught 71 passes for 1,259 yards and 17 touchdowns. Will choose from Arizona State, Colorado, Miami, UCLA and Utah. MY PREDICTION: Not a Cane. He's staying out West.

WR Patrick Onwuasor, Inglewood (Calif.), 6-2, 190 VIDEO LINK
- Set to announce at 6 p.m. EST. Rated 56th best safety in country by Scout.com. Caught 37 passes for 745 yards and 7 touchdowns as a senior and had 46 tackles and 6 interceptions from his safety spot. Will choose between Miami, Arizona, Arizona State, Washington and Hawaii. MY PREDICTION: Not a Cane. Will end up somewhere in Arizona.

February 01, 2011

Previewing Signing Day for the Canes

WIth less than 24 hours before National Signing Day, the Miami Hurricanes are at 15 commitments (two players have already enrolled) as part of their 2011 signing class.

So what will transpire when fax machines start spitting out signed National Letters of Intent on Wednesday? Nobody is really sure. But I caught up with Canesport.com's Matt Shodell, who has covered UM recruiting since the 18th century, to get the latest in what turned out to be a half-hour podcast. If you love recruiting or don't know anything about it, Matt did a great job breaking things down position by position with me. Not only did he review the players UM already has committed, but he gave us some quality info on who they might add and are considering.


If you don't care to listen, here is an abbreviated/written version of what Matt and I talked about (FYI, National Signing Day is just the start of the signing period. Players have until April 1st to sign with schools):



Jacoby Brissett > At quarterback, the Hurricanes don't have any commitments yet, but are obviously hot on the trail of Palm Beach Dwyer's Jacoby Brissett (who may end up waiting until halftime of his basketball game Friday to announce his choice between UM, Wisconsin and Florida). Former Rutgers quarterback Tom Savage remains an option as a transfer. Matt thinks if UM doesn't end up with Brissett or Savage, UM could end up offering Steve Weatherford (committed to Cincinnati) or end up with another option.

> At running back, UM has only one commitment in South Broward's Kevin Grooms and they are fine with it -- especially with 2012 standout Duke Johnson of Miami Norland already committed. Grooms could end up switching to cornerback, an area where UM may not end up signing enough players in this class.

> At receiver, an obvious area of need, the commitments remain St. Thomas Aquinas' Phillip Dorsett and Melbourne Central Catholic's Rashawn Scott. The Canes could end up adding California's Devin Lucien (he will announce at 6 p.m. EST Wednesday) or Patrick Onwaussor (6 p.m. EST Wednesday). But Matt thinks the fact those kids didn't commit on their visits probably hurts UM. Former Aquinas and Ohio State Duron Carter, the son of ESPN analyst Cris Carter, who is attending Palm Beach Community College, also remains an option if he can get his academics in order.

> At tight end, UM already has USC transfer Blake Ayles on campus. Barring a major surprise, he will be the only tight end in this class. Northeast defensive end Bryant Dubose, one of UM's commitments, could end up switching to tight end. He could also end up not being a part of this class at all. Matt said Dubose could be having second thoughts with heavy pressure from Syracuse and Louisville.

> On the offensive line, the Hurricanes have big Taylor Gadbois (6-8, 295), a player Matt compares favorably with former Canes offensive tackle Jason Fox. The Hurricanes are expected to land two players on the offensive line -- Jacksonville Ed White's Kaleb Johnson (6-5, 280) will likely be the other. Matt said Johnson (will announce at 9 a.m. Wednesday) hit it off with Art Kehoe during his in-home visit last week. Johnson is also considering North Carolina, where a family member is currently employed.


Lonnie Gosha > On the defensive line, the Canes have four commitments -- all at defensive end. We told you about Dubose, the others are Tampa Alonso and Under Armour All-American Anthony Chickillo, Fork Union Military Academy (Va.)'s Olsen Pierre (a former Temple commitment already enrolled) and Homestead's Ricardo Williams.

If the Canes add any linemen at this point it will be defensive tackles. UM's best shot according to Matt is Lake Butler Union County's Lonnie Gosha (an Arkansas commitment and ESPN Top150 player). Gosha will announce at 12:15 p.m. at his high school. Las Vegas Bishop Gorman's Jalen Grimble, who was a USC commitment, could also be a big surprise addition. He will decide between UM and UCLA (5 p.m. Wednesday). The Hurricanes are also still after Miami Booker T. Washington's Elkino Watson (9 a.m. Wednesday). But we both think Watson will end up going elsewhere. The Hurricanes have invited a couple recruits to hold off on making a decision and taking a possible visit -- Bradenton Manatee's Quinton Pompey being one of them.

> At linebacker, the Canes seemed to be settled with their three commitments: Coral Gables' Denzel Perryman, Hargrave Miltary Academy (Va.)'s Antonio Kinard and Lakeland Kathleen's Gionni Paul. Matt likes Perryman the best of the bunch.

> In the secondary, UM took a bit of hit late Monday night when Los Angeles-area JUCO cornerback Byron Moore opted for Tennessee instead of the Canes. Matt said UM was expecting to land Moore, but it didn't happen. As it stands, the Canes have two commitments -- Miami Central cornerback Thomas Finnie (who is already enrolled) and South Fort Myers' Dallas Crawford. California's Marqise Lee visited UM, but is expected to remain on the West Coast. Virginia's Dominique Terrell (11:15 a.m. Wednesday) remains a possiblity after his visit, but isn't likely. But who knows, there might be another late surprise.


> On special teams, the Canes have landed two highly regarded prospects in kicker Matt Goudis and punter Dalton Botts. Both should do a good job replacing the departed Matt Bosher.