Larry Hope didn't know what to expect when he went to Al Golden's football camp on May 29.
The 5-11, 170-pound cornerback from American High in Miami had heard the University of Miami's new football coach had a reputation for working his players hard. But how hard could a one day summer camp really be? Hope, who has 15 offers (Nebraska, Louisville, West Virginia and Wisconsin among them), found out it was more demanding than any other camp he'd been to.
"Man, I was real tired afterward," Hope said. "I've been to Duke's camp, the Nike SPARQ camps, speed camps, 7-on-7 Badger camps, the National Underclassman, I don't think I worked as hard as I did at UM.
"It was good too because it was different. This was the first camp where you started playing on the other side of the ball. Offensive guys played defense. Defensive guys played offense. I guess they wanted to see your coordination, your athleticism and overall ability. Then, we played defense, did one-on-one, did a bunch of drills. We worked hard, tested ourselves. We found out how we performed when we are tired and if we could overcome the tiredness.
"I'm glad I went to the camp. I learned Coach Golden is a good guy. He's trying to get everything organized, trying to get it back to the old UM. He's more accessible to everybody than any other coach I've been around. He teaches DBs, offensive line, receivers. He doesn't just teach one thing. It's good to know your coach just isn't some coordinator, but somebody who really knows football."
Hope came away impressed and so did Golden, who offered Hope a scholarship before he left the camp. A few days later, Hope said he called Golden back and told him he was committing. Hope said they've spoken everyday since, relaying messages to each other on Facebook.
"Like Coach Golden said for $55, I got a $250,000 scholarship," Hope said. "That's a pretty sweet deal."
Hope hasn't been the only high school player to commit to the Hurricanes after attending the coach's camp. UM landed ESPN Top 150 quarterback Preston Dewey (Austin, Tex.) and most recently 6-5, 235-pound defensive end Jake O'Donnell (Doylestown, Penn.) after they camped.
The Hurricanes now have 13 commitments as part of their 2012 signing class. More could be on the way. Golden has four more camps scheduled: Saturday, Sunday and June 18 and June 15.
Golden announced on twitter that he's expected former Hurricanes Bryant McKinnie, Brett Romberg and Andre Johnson to be at the camp this weekend. Hope said former receiver Leonard Hankerson and a whole host of current Hurricanes were at his camp on May 29.
"It's definitely good to see the former players and current players out there," Hope said. "It makes it feel like a real family."
It's always easy to take shots at what Randy Shannon did when he ran the show at UM. But in this case, it's obvious Golden has made some smart decisions and changes to the camp structure at UM. For starters, his camps are cheaper ($55) and they're spread out over various weekends.
Randy Shannon's football camp, which cost $130 for one-day participants and $390 for overnight campers, took place over just one weekend in June.
According to UM's sports information department, over 600 middle and high school athletes have participated in Golden's first two camps. For more information on the camps, visit www.algolden.com.