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15 posts from January 2012

January 31, 2012

VIDEO: Canes' National Signing Day Preview

RECORDED TUESDAY, JAN. 31 at NOON at the Miami Herald

With less than 24 hours before fax machines around high schools across the country start sending over signed National Letters of Intent, the Miami Hurricanes appear to be on the verge of landing a pretty good recruiting class (32 new players at the moment).

It will only get better if Miramar All-American cornerback Tracy Howard does what some considered a few weeks ago to be a longshot: pick the Canes. Howard will announce his choice at approximately 9:50 a.m. Wednesday on ESPNU. I'll be there for the festivities and will provide live updates on my Twitter account.

Where is Howard, the No. 1-ranked cornerback in the country, headed? Late last night I got word Florida coaches were no longer confident Howard was headed their way. Does that mean he's a UM lock? I'm not going to go that far. Kids change their minds all the time and the fact he built a close relationship with UF secondary coach Tavares Robinson over a long period of time is something he has to be weighing and will up until the last moment.

Outside of Howard, UM has had flirtations with a lot of other top-tier recruits: Palm Beach Lakes offensive tackle Avery Young (UF, Auburn, Georgia), Georgia-are linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons (Georgia, FSU, UF), New Jersey-area Darius Hamilton (also likes Rutgers, UF) and Lake City Columbia defensive tackle Dequan Ivery (Louisville commitment).

From other reports and conversations I've had with recruiting analysts and coaches, Howard, Ivery, and West Boca Raton linebacker Jawand Blue (Virginia Tech commitments) are likely the only players UM will add. Jacksonville First Coast outside linebacker Reggie Northrup, who has long wavered on his Canes commitment, is the only player counted in the class the Canes will likely lose. Many expect him to end up at FSU.

> For more in depth perspective on the class, check out the previous blogs I had with Rivals.com state of Florida recruiting analyst Chris Nee.

> Nee by the way thinks the last player UM received a commitment from over the weekend, Tampa Plant athlete Antonio Crawford (5-11, 180), is a nice pickup for the Canes and "an excellent athlete." Crawford was previously committed to Georgia Tech.

"He can play on both sides of the ball, slot receiver on offense or corner or safety on defense," Nee said. "He will have to be groomed at whatever position he ends up at, be taught the position, the ins and outs of it. But he has really nice top end speed. He has a really nice burst. I think on defense he'd be a great guy in nickel dime schemes. On offense, he would be great in the slot, take that quick pass and make something happen in the open field. Just a really nice athlete. It sounds like they're going to play him at corner. That's probably the best place to put him. He's also going to be very good on special teams both as a cover man and return man."

Crawford ran for 471 yards and 5 TDs, caught 10 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown and had 45 tackles, 4 INTs and 19 pass deflections at corner. He averaged more than 32 yards on kickoff returns and brought one back for a score for the Class 8A state champs.

> We'll have coverage on MiamiHerald.com throughout the day as we'll send writers to all the local high school. Expect to see video interviews and much more here. Hurricanesports.com will provide updates on recruits once they officially receive those signed National Letters of Intent. Be sure to follow them as well.

> American High cornerback Larry Hope said Tuesday he will be enrolling in classes at UM as early as Wednesday. Hope said he was "waiting on a clearinghouse issue" to get in. "I'm excited, but I've got to go," Hope said. "I'm walking around campus now."

Hope gives UM nine early enrollees for the spring. 

January 27, 2012

Cardinals OF, former Cane Jon Jay to host celebrity bowling event Saturday on Miami Beach

Despite always being a profoundly good left-handed hitter for average and very good defensively, Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay said he's never played on a team where he's been the best or even the second-best player in the lineup. 

Jon Jay"I mean you look at the teams I played on at [Miami] Columbus [High] and the University of Miami -- we had so much talent," said Jay, who hit .297 in 159 games last year for St. Louis.

"But you don't always have to be the best to be successful. You just have to believe in yourself, work hard and good things can happen for you. I've been very blessed."

A lot of good things have certainly happened for the 26-year old Miami native who recently became engaged. After leading Columbus to its first baseball state championship in 2003 and earning All-ACC First Team honors at UM, Jay helped guide the Cardinals last October to the World Series in just his second big-league season.

Now, he's hoping to give back some of the good fortune he's received by hosting a charity bowling tournament featuring other major leaguers with local ties Saturday night from 6 to 9 p.m. at Lucky Strike Lanes in Miami Beach, 1691 Michigan Avenue.

The event, called Jon Jay's Celebrity Bowling Challenge, will raise money for the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust and will feature about a dozen big league ball players. Among those expected to attend: Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez, Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez, Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, Indians pitcher Chris Perez, Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia and Rays infielder Sean Rodriguez. Tickets ($100 per person and available at jonjaychallenge.com) include food and drinks, plus the opportunity to bowl and hang out with players.

"I've done a lot of [community service] during the season when I've played in St. Louis and when I've come home I've visited homeless shelter and hospitals before. But I wanted to do an event where I could give the money to charity and have it be a community thing with the guys down here who are sort of the next generation in the big leagues."

Jay, who scored the tying run in the bottom of the 10th inning on Lance Berkman's two-run single with two outs in the Cardinals come-from-behind win in Game 6 of the World Series, got a chance earlier this month to shake hands with President Barack Obama when the Cardinals were invited to the White House.

"It was crazy man and a lot of fun," Jay said of St. Louis' run from 10 1/2 games out of a wild card spot heading into the final month of the season to winning it all.

"It's going to be a lot different with [manager] Tony [LaRussa] leaving and then Albert [Pujols]. But when you look at our roster I still think we have a great team. We have Matt Holiday and Lance Berkman and Yadier [Molina] who is one of the best catchers in the game and we got [Rafael] Furcal back. I mean we played the whole season last year without Adam Wainwright. People don't realize how important he was our team. I mean the guy won 20 games. So we're getting him back and Jaime [Garcia] is coming back. The whole team is pretty much coming back except Albert. Our bullpen has some good young guys who are coming back. I think we're all excited about coming back."

The Cardinals, who share their spring training facility in Jupiter with the Marlins, will open the season at the Marlins new ballpark April 4.

"I drive by it everyday on the 836 when I'm home," Jay said. "It's beautiful. I'm excited I'll get to be a part of history when it opens."

News: Hurricanes men's hoops coach Jim Larranaga gets 3-year contract extension

This was just released by the University of Miami.

Jim Larranaga is a keeper, and UM struck before the season even ended.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami and head men’s basketball coach Jim Larranaga have agreed to terms on a three-year contract extension that will run through April 30, 2019.

Larranaga, who took over the UM program in April of 2011, has led the Canes to an 11-7 record during his debut season. “Jim Larranaga is a tremendous basketball coach and an even better person,” said Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst. “He has been a great teacher and leader of our student-athletes and he has continued to passionately expand the brand of our men’s basketball program both on campus and in the community. Jim is a first-class representative of our University and we look forward to having him at the helm of our program for many years to come.”

Larranaga’s extension adds three years to his existing five-year contract which began in April 2011.

"My staff and I are very happy to be a part of the Miami Athletic Department family. There is such a great athletic foundation here," said Larranaga. "We are also very excited about competing in the ACC against some of the best basketball programs in the country. I'm thrilled with this three-year extension and the commitment it shows to our program. My staff and I are confident we can build the type of program that will be a source of pride for the entire University."


January 26, 2012

Sizing up UM's 2012 recruiting class with Rivals analyst Chris Nee (Part 2)

In this installment with Rivals.com recruiting analyst Chris Nee we cover what he thinks of UM's three incoming quarterbacks, their defensive linemen, if UM took players it shouldn't have and if they missed out on guys in their backyard they should have gotten.

Q: What are you thoughts on the three QBs UM has lined up? Any of them really have the potential to be big time?

Is Preston Dewey not the answer at quarterback"Preston Dewey got banged up during Under Armour and prior to getting banged up he really didn't show much. I thought he struggled. He had a couple nice passes on the week, but not anything that grabbed your eye or caught your attention. David Thompson always has question of baseball hanging over his head. But he has good talent. It's tough to grade him against his level of competition. He didn't do anything or play anywhere that showed us what he could do against different players. Gray Crow has great arm strength, looks great in camps. But in games he's inconsistent, throws a lot of interceptions. His feet are a huge concern for me. I don't know how he's going to handle a pass rush at the D-1 level. He's got really heavy feet. I think it's something he understands. I just don't know how much room for improvement there is."

Q: What about on the defensive line, did UM address its needs?

"[St. Thomas Aquinas'] Jelani Hamilton will end up on the inside. Early on he'll play on the outside. But when he's healthy Jelani is a great football player. [Tampa Jefferson's] Tyriq McCord is a great speed rusher. You want to line him up as an outside rusher, put him in space. The up position is kind of what he was made for. [Vero Beach's] Dwyane [Hoilett] is a bit of project in that he has to add strength and improve as a football player. But I like him a lot because he has a good first step and he does a good job getting in the offensive backfield. He just has to develop physically. [Palm Beach Central's] Gabe Terry is a pass rushing specialist. I don't know if he can defend the pass. He's a little bit small to play defensive end. So if you put him at linebacker I don't know if he's a liability. All of the film I saw of was he was a speed rusher of the edge, which is what he's good at. I don't know if they got a guy on par with an Anthony Chickillo. I don't think they got that complete dominating force at defensive end. But a guy like Dwyane Holiett is a guy you shouldn't grade after this year. Grade him after 24 to 30 months."

Q: Who ultimately makes an immediate impact on defense as a freshman?

"Jelani Hamilton assuming he recovers from knee surgery. I think he can. [Safety] Deon Bush, [Linebacker] Raphael Kirby can. [Tampa Jefferson defensive end] McCord can if you put him as an outside linebacker type. If you want him at defensive end he will need to add weight. I think Rayshawn Jenkins can make plays at safety. He'll be raw back there. But athletically speaking, physically speaking he's ready to contribute."

Q: All in all, a good job by UM recruiting or did they miss?

"I think they did a good job. The one thing about Miami is when all the [Nevin Shapiro] news broke they kind of rushed a little getting some commitments. At that time they may have taken a guy or two they may have not needed -- [Leesburg receiver] D'Mauri Jones -- that they could have gone out and gotten that was better. But all in all I grade them as doing a pretty good job. Getting [Miramar cornerback Tracy] Howard -- if they can -- would be a nice cherry on top. But getting [Palm Beach Central receiver Angelo] Jean-Louis back in March or April was good. And they definitely added depth. A guy like D'Mauri Jones is a toss up. He may develop into a really good player. He may develop into nothing. I don't think it's always bad to take a guy like that."

Q: Still, and I've heard this from a few scouts, did UM take recruits who aren't supposed to be Miami guys? Do you think that was panic setting in with the NCAA investigation?

"I don't know if it was so much panic. They just had some really deep needs. They had to load up on DBs. [Hialeah American cornerback Larry] Hope is a D-1 player. I don't think he's a bad player. I just don't know if he's a Miami-caliber player. I think at that point they did have to take some risks. A guy like [Tallahassee Godby tight end Brandon] Holifield they took him after he came to their camp. That's personal evaluation. That is what it is. He's only played one year of football and he wasn't even a primary contributor. He played off the bench a lot. He's extremely raw, more of a basketball prospect than a football prospect. But hey, Jimmy Graham was a basketball prospect and look what he's doing on NFL Sundays."

Q: Who would you say are the biggest risks, maybe not Miami guys that they took a chance on?

"[Countryside quarterback] Gray Crow. His feet are just really a concern as far as being able to evade anything in the pocket. I'd say [American High cornerback] Larry Hope falls in that category, [Leesburg receiver] D'Mauri Jones, [Tallahassee Godby tight end] Brandon Holifield, and then [Cypress Bay linebacker] Josh Witt. Witt's kind of a specialist at linebacker. I don't think he has a whole lot of versatility. It is what it is. But one thing Miami made evident in this class was they're really going to trust themselves. They do their own evaluations. They don't go after a kid if they truly believe they shouldn't have him. I don't think they recruit off a list. And I think that's what a lot of schools fall into. A lot of schools will go recruit a kid because a lot of people say he's really good, even though he doesn't fit what they're trying to do. You need glue guys to make you a better team even if they're not a superstar."

Q: Who did they miss out on in their own backyard?

"Well, if they don't get him, Tracy is a guy Miami has to keep home. I think Tracy arguably is the best player in the entire state. We consider him the top corner in the country. Now, they did a good job because they kind of started on the back of the bus with him and worked his way up. The fact they're getting him to visit is unbelievable. I think that's a real credit to how Al Golden is willing to recruit until the final minute and give his program a chance. Honestly, outside of him, Miami was a bit down this year. I'd say [Miami Beach athlete] Ricardo Louis is a guy you want to get. He'll end up at Florida State or Auburn. I know this is going to sound a bit crazy, but considering they needed three quarterbacks I'm surprised they didn't give more of a look to [Miami Northwestern's] E.J. Hilliard. He's a bit raw and has to develop. He's only started one year. But I thought that was a steal by FIU personally. [Northwestern receiver] Amari Cooper is probably the biggest miss, him going to Alabama. I think the world of Amari. He's got a ton of talent. He's a huge receiver. If he can stay consistent he's going to be unbelievable. They had [South Miami cornerback] AJ Leggett for the longest time. That had to do with academics. I wouldn't fault Miami for that."

Q: Is this a Top 10 Signing Class?

"I don't think it's one of the top seven, eight classes in the nation, but I think they did a good job building depth, getting some really good players. I think the top 10 players in their class are some very good football players. I'd say top 15, top 20 class for sure without a doubt. I think some of the inflated rankings has to do with having 31 kids committed. But guys like Duke Johnson, Reggie Northrup, Jelani Hamilton, Deon Bush, Angelo Jean-Louis, Ereck Flowers, Malcolm Lewis, Tyriq McCord, Danny Isidora are great players. Those are guys a lot of schools in the country wanted and they did a really good job bringing in some top tier talent that's going to help them next year because they have voids to fill."

Q: Surprised they've done as well they have?

"I think when you take everything into account, the mediocre record, guys leaving to NFL, the whole investigation and possible sanctions I think they did a good job. Anytime you get a guy like Duke Johnson to stay home -- I know he's a die-hard Cane -- but that's still a huge get in light of everything. I'd give the class a B, B-plus for sure. Tracy Howard pushes them up a letter grade because that would be a huge get. At that point it would be tough to argue against a class with two five star kids and 10 kids who were four stars or higher. And some of their three stars -- Danny Isidora, Dwyane Hoilett, Rashawn Jenkins are going to be major contributors as well."

Sizing up UM's 2012 recruiting class with Rivals analyst Chris Nee (Part 1)

As of midnight Thursday -- six days before National Signing Day 2012 -- the Miami Hurricanes had eight early enrollees and 23 other commitments expected to sign National Letters of Intent next Wednesday. Outside of a handful of kids who could either be added to the class or leaving it, Al Golden's first full-year worth of recruiting work appears to be over. 

How did he and his staff do with a class Golden himself said they couldn't afford to screw up? By most accounts, pretty good considering the Canes are coming off a 6-6 season and the Canes have been recruiting since August with looming NCAA sanctions hanging over head.

With 24 of the 31 UM recruits having played their high school ball in-state, I figured a good person to talk to about the class Golden has lined up was Rivals analyst Chris Nee. He's covered the state for quite some time and has been to All-Star games, playoff and regular season games, camps, just about everywhere in the state. If Larry Blustein is the Mel Kiper of high school football in Florida, Nee has to be Todd McShay. What I like most about Nee is he keeps it real -- no sugar-coating.

In this installment we cover if UM met its needs, where he thinks Miramar cornerback Tracy Howard will end up and who the Canes could end up losing from this class as well as if Palm Beach Central receiver Angelo Jean-Louis will get into school.

Q: Did UM address all of its needs -- cornerback, receiver, defensive line, linebacker -- in this recruiting class?

Cypress Bay OL Danny Isidora"I think they're on the way to addressing it. They've addressed some issues that they had, but not all. They still need to get a great cornerback. Obviously, Tracy Howard is the big name that's still out there that they're still involved with. And that's a spot where they need to improve. But they did get guys in the secondary that are going to help them get better, led by [Columbus defensive back] Deon Bush. Deon's an excellent player. He can be a corner. He can be a safety. So he can provide some help there. Then you have guys like [Coral Reef's] Vernon Davis, [South Fort Myers'] Nate Dortch. They're kind of a second level have to develop some and have to improve before they can really contribute. But they'll still help with depth, which is something Miami needs.

"Offensively, They did a great job. Obviously, [Norland running back] Duke Johnson is a beast. But they got a great offensive guard in Danny Isidora -- really talented kid. [Norland's] Ereck Flowers is a future NFL offensive tackle in my opinion. He's obviously going to help anchor one side of the line. Then, on the outside offensively they went out and got some really good wide receivers in Malcolm Lewis from Miramar. Excellent player. They did a great job keeping him home and then they plucked [Virginia prep school receiver formerly of West Boca Raton] Robert Lockhart who was a longtime Virginia Tech commitment. So they did a good job improving some things and they've done a good job overall adding some good top level talent and a lot of depth, which is two things they needed."

Q: Is Miramar All-American cornerback Tracy Howard the only non-commitment they're really still in the running for with a week to go?

"They are bringing in a few kids this last weekend to try and help sure up some spots, so they have a Plan B in case somebody changes -- like a Reggie Northrup. It wouldn't shock me if they looked at another linebacker. I know they were looking at Iowa State commitment Darius White. But he's decided to stick with Iowa State. So, it wouldn't shock me if they did bring in a linebacker. But it does seem like the only big fish left on the pond for Miami is really going to be Tracy Howard. They're in the picture with [Palm Beach Gardens offensive tackle] Avery Young, had him on campus last week, but I think he's SEC bound. [Daytona Beach Mainland defensive end] Leonard Williams is a kid they're bringing in this weekend. They'll have a puncher's chance, but I also think he'll end up in the SEC. So the biggest name out there for Canes fans to pay attention to is definitely Tracy."

Q: So what is your take with Tracy Howard? Where does he end up?

"He recently said he was down to the three in-state schools: Florida, Florida State and Miami. For a long time it seemed like Florida State had the upper hand and then in the last couple months it seemed like Florida turned the corner as the top school. At this point, I think Florida is the top school. But it's really a testament to Al Golden and his assistants that they're getting him on campus for a visit. They were persistent, stuck with it. For a long time they seemed like an after thought with the kid, but when he's the best player arguably in the entire area of South Florida there with the Duke Johnson's you have to stick with him. The fact they're getting him on campus for a visit. His best friend is going there in Malcolm Lewis and I mentioned earlier how Miami has a major need at that position -- they have a chance. It wouldn't shock me [that he picks Miami] despite the fact for so long they were the least likely school of any in-state school to land the kid. At the end of the day right now I still think he'll end up at Florida. But I don't think he's put this to bed. I don't think Tracy Howard has made his final decision."

Q: So if you had to make a prediction it's Florida for Howard?

"Yeah, if I had to put a prediction on paper it's Florida for Howard. But I don't think it's done by a long stretch. I don't think Tracy really has sat down and made the final decision of what he's going to announce."

Will the Canes lose Jacksonville First Coast LB Reggie NorthrupQ: Now, there are a couple guys they could end up losing, guys who are taking trips elsewhere. What's the latest on the guys who could possibly stray?

"[Jacksonville First Coast linebacker] Reggie Northrup's dad went on the record [Tuesday] saying they're pretty frustrated by everything, they're kind of tired of the whole process. Word is Florida State made a really good impression on him in the last visit. He may visit Ohio State this weekend. I think what it comes down to in the end is it's between Miami, Florida State and Ohio State. Right now, I personally think he'll stick with the Canes. But Florida State does have a need at linebacker. They have a couple of other targets on the board. It's kind of domino effect. If they miss on some other kids they make one last big push on Reggie and they have a chance. Florida State has had a lot of success at Jacksonville First Coast over the years. But if I had to predict, I think he sticks with the Canes."

Q: What about as far as U.S. Army All-American defensive end/outside linebacker Tyriq McCord from Tampa Jefferson?

"It was quite a surprise when he picked Miami at the All-American Game. South Carolina had been his longtime leader and his family and himself were very high on the Gamecocks. But he decided Miami's proximity was nice. Miami's need for him was nice and he did like Miami in general. He is supposed to visit USC this weekend. As of right now what he told me in a text recently he's probably going to stick with Miami. But both Southern Cal and South Carolina are going to put in nice work. Southern Cal always pulls off one Florida kid. But I don't think it's going to be Tyriq this year."

Q: Anybody else UM really has a chance of losing?

"I don't think so. I'm looking up and down their list. [Louisiana defensive tackle] Jacoby Briscoe, I don't know much about him. But I do know Tennessee is trying to make a move on him. Texas A&M was trying to make a move on him. He's supposed to visit A&M this weekend. But I don't know a great deal about Jacoby."

Q: Under Armour All-American receiver Angelo Jean-Louis from Palm Beach Central is a kid who has loads of talent, but his academics are a concern. What have you heard regarding that and if he'll be able to get into UM?

"I chatted with him at the Under Armour game about the academics. He said he did have some more work to do, but he thought he would be able to make it. I think it's one of those things that's going to play out late into the summer and see if he'll be able to be cleared. Hopefully he does because he's an extremely talented kid. He could play on either side of the ball. He has great hands, great body control. He's a big kid. He can help them stretch the field. But he's one of those guys if you need a tough route, seven yard out, he's going to bump the guy with his hip and make the catch. He does a real good job of stretching out and making the catch. I was honestly surprised. In the system he played in high school he didn't get a whole lot of opportunities to get the ball thrown at him. I was honestly surprised what a well groomed receiver he was at Under Armour. Him and [Miami Beach receiver] Ricardo Louis are bigger type of receivers, good body thickness. They're going to be really tough on those outside routes."

January 25, 2012

Miramar All-American CB Tracy Howard giving hometown Canes 'a shot' this weekend

When it came to recruiting All-American cornerback Tracy Howard nobody was quicker on the draw than the hometown Hurricanes.

Miramar WR Malcolm Lewis (#1) and CB Tracy Howard (#3)"UM was the first team to offer me," Howard recalled Wednesday. "I think it was the summer after my sophomore year. I can't even remember who it was that offered me. I know he's not there anymore."

The Hurricanes -- once first in the chase for the senior widely considered the No. 1 cover corner in the country -- are now hoping they can pull off a last-second come-from-behind victory for Howard's services. UM coach Al Golden secured an official visit from Howard for this coming weekend, the final recruiting weekend before National Signing Day next Wednesday.

While getting arguably the best player in UM's backyard to take a visit probably shouldn't be newsworthy, it is in this case. Until two weeks ago, Howard said he wasn't considering the Canes at all. LSU, Alabama, Florida and Florida State were the front runners. UM? They were that team coming off a 6-6 season and about to get hit by NCAA sanctions. Who in their right mind wanted to go there? Well, Howard's closest friends for one -- Miami Norland running back Duke Johnson, Miami Columbus safety Deon Bush and Miramar receiver Malcolm Lewis.

Suddenly, with a little added push from them and Hurricanes coaches, who visited Miramar on Tuesday, Howard said he now has something to think about.

"I see the guys they're getting, hometown guys, guys that can make an immediate impact. We could have freshman fever, if I happen to go there," Howard said. "I'm familiar with a lot of those guys, Duke Johnson, Malcolm [Lewis], Deon [Bush], Vernon [Davis]. Why not give my hometown a shot?"

Before the green and orange blood in your veins leads to hyperventilation and hyper-hope, realize first that Howard (5-11, 175, 4.4) has spent a long time building a relationship with his other finalists: Florida and Florida State.

While the Hurricanes clearly could put the nation's No. 1 high school cornerback right to work, right away (beyond senior Brandon McGee and sophomore Thomas Finnie there wouldn't be much competition), the Gators are just as needy when it comes to cornerback. And Howard knows it.

"I love Florida. I love the coaching staff. I love the opportunity to play early there. I love the players. Even the recruits, we get along very well," Howard said lovingly Wednesday. "Me and [Gators recruit] Brian Poole, we became close on my visit and things like that. The town of Gainesville is a nice fit. I'm a laid back guy. I wouldn't mind a small town like Gainesville, me being a chill guy."

Florida State, once considered the front runner for Howard, appears to have played itself out of the mix -- although Howard won't say it and says he'll choose between UM, UF and FSU next Wednesday. You can read between the lines of his comments in the video below (I did). Seems clear to me Tallahassee didn't make a great impression on him, no matter how much he likes the Noles staff and players.

Ultimately, after talking to him for close to 30 minutes Wednesday, I believe it comes down to the Canes and Gators for Howard. He'll make his announcement on ESPNU next Wednesday morning, roughly around 9 a.m. Florida is clearly the leader -- and the Gators earned it. It appears they've worked hardest to get Howard to like them, visiting Miramar High far more than any other team according to Howard.

"UM recruited me, but they weren't recruiting me as hard as Florida or Florida State," Howard said in a conversation not recorded on the video below.

"I'm not talking about calling all the time. I hate that. I don't answer the phone. Florida was always coming to the school, [defensive backs] coach [Travaris] Robinson. I was always seeing him. We built a bond, just got to know him a lot. I wasn't doing that with [UM defensive backs] coach Williams. I feel more comfortable with Coach T-Rob than I do with Coach Williams. If I had to go somewhere and made that choice two weeks ago, I would have gone to Florida because I feel more comfortable with that coaching staff. I know UM players just because some of them went to Miami, but I had better relationships with the coaches and things like that. I don't go to places where me and the coaches aren't real tight or I don't really know them."

But the Canes have earned their shot -- this final recruiting weekend. Howard said his relationship with Williams is "getting better and better by the day."

"We sat down and talked football yesterday. I like what he's coaching," Howard said.

He also likes what his Canes friends are willing to do for him. Duke Johnson, considered the Canes' top recruit, messaged Howard on Facebook Tuesday and offered up the No. 3 jersey Golden was saving for him (Howard wore No. 3 in high school too). Howard said he was blown away by the gesture. "I respect that, a guy to sacrifice a number he's had since he was 6 years old. For a player to do that is special, that's big for me. I liked that," Howard said.

Now, it's up to the Canes and Golden to blow Howard away Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Howard said he's visiting UM to see if the bond between players and coaches is strong, "see if they're really family."

Miramar coach Damon Cogdell -- accused by some of funneling too many of his players to his alma mater West Virginia -- will visit UM Saturday, too. "I just want to be there for Tracy," Cogdell said. "Coach Golden is a good man. I really like him and what he's doing."

After his visit, Howard said he plans to reach a decision by Monday or Tuesday at the latest.

"I didn't really think it was going to be this hard," Howard said. "Honestly, I'm not going to put any pressure on myself. I'll never let the pressure get to me in life, especially the football field. When I line up against the best receivers I'm not going to be panicking, 'God, I've got to live up to the hype, let me lock this guy down.' Just go out there and play loose. It's just like the recruiting process, be loose with it. I don't feel like I'm going to let nobody down. The only people I can let down are my parents, my little brother, my uncle and my head coach. Those are the five main people I look to for advice.

"My little brother, we've shared a room for 17 years. He knows me the most of anybody in the world. He knows what's best for me, just like I know what's best for him. Even my dad. He's a UM fan. He wants me to go to UM. But he respects my decision and he will if I decide to leave. My mom, she's always going to be there for me. Coach Cogdell will never steer me wrong.

"Fans, people don't understand how much work goes into this. Me and Malcolm [Lewis] were out at the park at 11 o'clock at night, battling, doing one-on-ones when the lights of the park went off every night. We lifted weights, ran bleachers when we didn't feel like it. We did sprints with my sprint coach, film studies for three hours every night, plus homework. Then, we woke up and did it all over again. The recruiting process is the easy part. You're just making a choice.

"They say if I don't go to Miami, Miami fans are going to be acting crazy and all that. Or if I don't go to Florida, those guys are going to be mad. I honestly don't care. They really don't know me. They weren't with me when I was there doing all the things I needed to do to get to where am. This is a selfish decision. You have to do what's best for you at the end of the day."

Another early enrollee for the Canes: DE Dwayne Hoilett


More good news for Miami. Another early enrollee has joined the Hurricanes' ranks. Following is the news release from UM.

Hope you all enjoyed the Duke Johnson story I wrote for yesterday's paper. I will have more for you soon with some leftover stuff I got from those interviews. Really enjoyed talking to Duke and his mom.

Here's the UM release:

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami has announced that Vero Beach, Fla. product Dwayne Hoilett has enrolled early and will join the Hurricanes football team as a student-athlete.

Hoilett is a three-star prospect according to national recruiting services, and is ranked as the No. 24 defensive end in the state of Florida by Rivals. The 6-3, 223-pound lineman is on campus and has begun classes for the spring semester.

While at Vero Beach High School, Hoilett made 52 stops, recorded seven sacks and also registered a fumble recovery during his senior campaign. As a junior playing behind three college-bound linemen, Hoilett recorded totals of 34 tackles and three sacks in eight games.

Hoilett joins seven other early enrollees in Gray CrowPreston DeweyEreck FlowersTaylor GadboisLadarius GunterRaphael Kirby and Josh Witt. All eight of the newly minted canes will participate in spring practices beginning March 3.


January 24, 2012

Canes have 'four-year starter' in All-American linebacker Raphael Kirby, coach says

When it comes to producing quality talent at linebacker, few have as good a track record lately as Corey Johnson, the linebackers and special teams coach over at Stephenson High in Stone Mountain Ga.

Raphael KirbyThe 40-year old assistant has sent 19 of his linebackers to Division I schools over the past nine years including three who are currently in the NFL. They are: the Bills' Kelvin Sheppard (played at LSU, third round in 2011), the Redskins' Perry Riley (played at LSU, fourth round pick in 2010), and the Patriots' Jermaine Cunningham (played at Florida, second round pick in 2010). Johnson said he's confident he'll have another one headed to the NFL soon -- Hurricanes early enrollee Raphael Kirby.

Kirby, a U.S. Army All-American and one of seven players to sign with UM and begin taking classes last week, has all the tools according to Johnson to play right away and make an immediate impact.

"I think he's going to walk in and start right away. He's a four-year starter in my book," Johnson said of Kirby, who had 122 tackles, 20.5 sacks, 26 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and fumble recoveries and an interception return for a touchdown for 9-2 team that was upset in the first round of Georgia's state high school playoffs.

"A lot of times you get guys who kind of get stuck because of the changes to the formation or scheme. He's well versed on football, an extremely good athlete, very bright kid, quick learner. All of those things make him an asset to Miami.

"We ran both the 3-4 and 4-3 at times. We've got coaches who have played in college, a few had pro experience. We do a good job preparing the kids on what to expect at the next level. The system we run is pretty comparable to a lot of schools because we run college type defenses. That's why a lot of scouts spend time at our school. They know our kids are ready. The fact he's already down there, learning the system, he's going to learn what they do quickly. I can tell you this -- the last three years we've sent six kids to school early and all of them have played early."

Kirby, who played mostly middle linebacker and and at times weakside linebacker for Johnson, is listed at 6-foot, 208-pounds by Rivals.com and 6-1, 215 pounds by ESPN.com. So how big is he really?

"He's bigger than that," Johnson said. "He's more like 6-2, 220 pounds. He's got a nice frame too. As far as what he can work on, I'd say pass coverage, body control. But in terms of run play, strength and size, I think he has all that now. He's a guy that can run with running backs. He has all the tools. I think he's going to go into practice, learn the plays and get playing time as a freshman."

Johnson said Kirby, who was rated the fifth-best outside linebacker in the country by Rivals.com and 13th best by ESPN, had more than 30 scholarship offers by the time he began playing his senior season. Johnson said Kirby thought about straying from the Canes and going to the same school with his best friend and teammate Darreon Herring (a linebacker headed to Vanderbilt), but said Kirby opted to stick with UM and ultimately chose them over Vanderbilt, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina.

"He pretty much had the same opportunity to play right away at Vanderbilt and South Carolina, but he really liked UM and what Coach [Al] Golden was selling," Johnson said. "He's a unique kid. He's going to do well on special teams, be all over the place for them. Miami got a four-year starter."

The Hurricanes have plenty of youth and opportunity available at linebacker. Outside of the four returning veterans -- sophomore Denzel Perryman (second leading tackler, five starts), fifth-year senior Ramon Buchanan (14 career starts) and juniors Kelvin Cain (3 career starts) and Jimmy Gaines (8 starts, 58 tackles as sophomore), the other two returning scholarship linebackers -- sophomore Gionni Paul and redshirt freshman Eddie Johnson -- have only played on special teams if at all. 

> With a little more than a week left before National Signing Day (Wednesday, Feb. 1), UM has seven players already enrolled (their scholarships count backward, toward the 2011 class) and 24 other players committed to sign as part of their 2012 class.

 The other six besides Kirby already in are quarterbacks Preston Dewey (Austin, Tex.) and Gray Crow (Clearwater Countryside), offensive tackles Taylor Gadbois (East Paulding, Ga.) and Ereck Flowers (Miami Norland), defensive back Ladarius Gunter and linebacker Josh Witt (Weston Cypress Bay).

Of the 24 players committed to sign next Wednesday, two appear to be hedging -- Miramar receiver Malcolm Lewis, who will take a trip to UCLA this coming weekend according to his coach and Jacksonville First Coast linebacker Reggie Northrup, who took a trip to Florida State last week and will visit Ohio State this coming wekeend. Both are considered among UM's Top 10 overall recruits. 

> UM will get a visit from highly coveted All-American cornerback Tracy Howard of Miramar High this coming weekend. Odds are though Howard will opt for Florida or Florida State. He will announce his decision at 9 a.m. next Wednesday on ESPNU.

January 21, 2012

Schnellenberger, Bowden saddened by Paterno news

BOCA RATON -- With Joe Paterno's health reportedly taking a turn for the worse Saturday night, two longtime college football colleagues -- Bobby Bowden and Howard Schnellenberger -- shared their concern for the 85-year old former Penn State coach.

Paterno, hospitalized since Jan. 13 for observation of what his family had called minor complications from lung cancer treatments, has experienced further health complications according to a family spokesman and his status is now considered serious.

Bowden and Schnellenberger, coaching in the inaugural Battle of Florida all-star game at FAU Stadium, were surprised and saddened when told of Paterno's condition about an hour before kickoff.

"I'm distraught that this is happening to him," said Schnellenberger, 77, who went 2-1 against Paterno when he coached against him at the University of Miami.

"All of this happened to him so fast. I hope he can pull through it if he has the ability or the chance to improve. The University of Miami's successes are tied real closely to him, the games we played together. We played three times. Everyone of them was a big struggle knowing we were going up against the best coach in America. The last two months have been a terrible thing [for him]."

Paterno, Division I's all-time winningest coach, was diagnosed with cancer in November, days after getting ousted as head coach in the aftermath of the child sex abuse charges against former assistant Jerry Sandusky.

"Oh, I hope not," Bowden, 82, said when he was told Paterno's health had worsened.

"I've known Joe forever. I've known him personally since 1966. The first time I met him was 1962. We've always been very close. We're close to the same age. He's just one of the best coaches ever. I felt like he would go down as probably the best ever, but after this little thing it kind of tainted it. But I'm sorry it happened. I hate it happened. I hate to see something happen to Joe."

Paterno won two national championships and a Division I record 409 games over 46 seasons at Penn State and the family has donated millions of dollars to the school.

This was his second trip to the hospital in a month. He's also recovering from a broken pelvis that required a weeklong stay to make it easier for cancer treatments. Paterno first hurt his pelvis in August when he was accidentally bowled over by a player in preseason practice. The injury forced the Hall of Famer to spend most of the season coaching from the press box - until trustees dismissed him Nov. 9, four days after Sandusky was first charged.

Asked what he will remember most about Paterno, Bowden said: "Just remember the good things. I don't remember the bad things. He didn't have many bad things. I would only remember the good things. He and I spent a lot of time together. We played him 10 times at West Virginia and played him twice when I was at Florida State in bowls. I never beat him in Pennsylvania. He had too many good players."

Said Schnellenberger: "The thing you remember about Joe is that even though he had a lot of good things going for him at that particular school and that particular state and that particular level of football, until they got into the Big Ten, he was always a winner with class. You very seldom found some reason to get upset with him. He was kind of a model citizen as a coach."

January 20, 2012

Senior catcher Peter O'Brien's appeal accepted by NCAA -- huge boost for the Canes; Also, National Signing Day party for football

Great news today on the UM baseball front.

The NCAA approved former Bethune-Cookman star catcher Peter O'Brien's appeal to compete for the Hurricanes during the 2012 season.

O'Brien, 6-5 and 225 pounds, is a senior, so he needed the OK to be able to finish out his career with the Canes without having to sit out the customary season. He was drafted this past summer in the third round -- 107th overall -- by the Colorado Rockies, but did not come to terms with the Rockies on a contract offer by the Aug. 15 deadline.

O'Brien is a big-time Major League prospect. He was never recruited by UM, and flourished with the Wildcats. He grew up in Miami Gardens and played at Braddock High.

His numbers last season at Bethune: .304 batting average with 14 home runs and 69 RBI. He was named Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 2010, and was a freshman All-American from Louisville Slugger in 2009.

 "It was awesome,'' O'Brien said of the decision during a UM news conference Friday. "Such a relief. It felt like a ton of weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I had been thinking about it the whole fall.

   "Basically, what [the appeals committee] had to do was hear the truth. I spoke to them from the heart and they were really helpful with everything they did... From Day one when I enrolled here [in the fall] I was getting ready for the season. I was giving everything 100 percent to the team, to the university here. I'm always thinking positive and that's the way I felt. ...Honestly, I didn't think about what would have happened if I got denied. I only thought that I couldn't see myself doing anything else [but] in a game here wearing orange and green.''

  UM Coach Jim Morris, who called O'Brien a leader, is naturally ecstatic about the decision. The Hurricanes badly needed a catcher of his caliber, and he should make a huge difference this season.

     "You get a guy who's a veteran that's one of the best players at their position in the country,'' Morris said, "it's got to help you. We expect him to be our opening day catcher from watching him all of fall practice, hit somewhere in the middle of the lineup, and be a guy who drives in runs.''

    The Canes open their 2012 baseball schedule at home against Rutgers the weekend of Feb. 17-19.


National Signing Day Festivities

    UM announced Friday that it will host a National Signing Day party on Wednesday, Feb. 1, from 6-8 p.m. at the BankUnited Center multi-purpose room. The event is free to Hurricane Club members and admission is $1 for fans who are not members of the Hurricane Club.

    UM coach Al Golden and his staff will introduce the newest players to fans, and will play a highlight reel of their talents. Food and beverages will be sold.

    Fans attending the party are eligible to purchase a ticket to the men's basketball game vs. Maryland for $5. Tipoff is 8 p.m. that night.




January 17, 2012

Miami Hurricanes officially announce seven early enrollees

So, we've heard all along that up to eight, nine -- even more -- young pups would enroll this semester to take classes and participate in spring football practice. The Hurricanes announced seven this afternoon.

Others might be announced in the near future. In these situations, it usually comes down to paperwork involving academics.

For UM's sake, the more the better, because the school can only sign 25 newcomers on Feb. 1, known as National Signing Day. The kids who come in for this spring semester will be counted among last year's signing class.

Here's the release we just received from the University of Miami:


CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The University of Miami and head football coach Al Golden announced Tuesday that seven student-athletes have enrolled early and joined the Hurricanes' football team as participants for the upcoming spring semester.

Gray Crow (Clearwater, Fla.), Preston Dewey (Austin, Texas), Ereck Flowers (Miami, Fla.), Taylor Gadbois (Dallas, Ga.), Ladarius Gunter (Montgomery, Ala.), Raphael Kirby (Stone Mountain, Ga.), and Josh Witt (Weston, Fla.) have all begun classes for the spring semester, which commenced today, Jan. 17.

The early enrollee positional breakdown is as follows: two quarterbacks (Crow, Dewey), two offensive linemen (Flowers, Gadbois), two linebackers (Kirby, Witt), and one defensive back (Gunter).

Crow hails from nearby Clearwater, where he graduated early from Countryside High School. He stands 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs a solid 230 pounds. He was ranked a three-star prospect, and threw for more than 1,600 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior.

Dewey enters the university as a highly-recruited prospect at the quarterback position. He was a four-star prospect and No. 133 overall regardless of position in ESPN's Top-150. Though he lost the bulk of his senior year to a wrist injury, he shined at the Elite 11 Camp hosted by TCU.

Flowers joins the Hurricanes from nearby Miami Norland High School, where he helped lead the Vikings to a 15-0 season and a 2012 Class 5A State Championship title. Flowers earned a four-star ranking at offensive tackle from both Rivals and Scout, and earned a No. 200 overall ranking regardless of position from Rivals.

Gadbois arrives at Miami after a half-season spent with Fork Union Military Academy in Fork Union, Va. The Georgia-native stands at an impressive 6 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 300 pounds. He was ranked a three-star prospect by both Rivals and Scout.

Gunter begins his career as a junior after two seasons spent at Fort Scott Community College in Fort Scott, Kansas. Originally hailing from Montgomery, Ala., Gunter had 24 tackles through seven games played at Fort Scott this past season. He had three tackles for loss, forced two fumbles and returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown.

Kirby enrolls as one of the most decorated players in Head Coach Al Golden's 2012 recruiting class. The Stone Mountain, Ga. native transferred to powerhouse Stephenson High School for his senior season, where he finished with 121 tackles, 18.5 sacks and 23 tackles for loss. He was the fourth-ranked outside linebacker according to Rivals and earned an overall ranking of No. 89 regardless of position.

Witt makes the short trip to Coral Gables from his native Weston, Fla. where he starred at Cypress Bay High School. After playing quarterback through his sophomore season, Witt made the switch to linebacker and finished his junior season with more than 100 tackles. He earned First-Team All-Broward County honors from the BCAA after a 100-plus-tackle, 14-sack senior season with the Lightning.

The spring schedule officially begins on March 3, when Coach Golden and staff host their first practice of 2012.

 Stay tuned.



January 14, 2012

UM Hurricanes Spring Football dates

By now you likely know that UM's spring game/CanesFest is April 14 at Sun Life Stadium. Just learned that it's from noon to 3 p.m.

Nice to know that the Canes don't have to compete with the Marlins anymore to play in their own stadium.

UM released the other two scrimmage dates as well.

The Canes will play their first scrimmage on Saturday, March 24th "in South Florida'' according to a UM release. The Canes are thinking Miami-Dade County, but I'll let you know the location as soon as they let us know.

The Canes will play their second scrimmage in the Fort Myers area on the Southwest Coast of Florida on the evening of Friday, March 30. No times or specific locations have been released for the first two scrimmages.

All three scrimmages are free and open to the public.

The UM release says that "High school coaches, prospective student-athletes and former football players are invited to attend ALL spring football practices.''

Fans? Nope. They're all closed to the public (and I assume media).

During the spring game, which also serves as CanesFest, there will be a stadium wide Select-A-Seat for season tickets.

The home games this season are FSU, Va Tech, North Carolina, NC State, USF and Bethune-Cookman. Love the home games this year.

UM's full schedule with dates won't be released until early next month.

Enjoy your weekend everyone.




January 12, 2012

Al Golden interview re: off season thus far -- surgeries, recruiting, Jedd Fisch, quarterbacks, etc.

Just talked to Hurricanes coach Al Golden by phone.


* He's very pleased with UM's recruiting efforts, and feels strongly that "the majority'' of kids that have verbally committed "will honor their commitments and stay with us.''

He said among the positions UM needs, the Canes need cornerbacks "terribly.'' He said the Canes are "still looking ahead at a big-time linebacker, we're still looking ahead at a big-time defensive lineman and we're still looking to see if there's a tight end that fits what we're trying to do out there.''

Golden said re: recruiting, "There's not any position not represented now other than kicking and tight end. We're not quite Noah's ark. We're not getting two of everything but we're getting one of everything and in many places we're getting two. We need to do that.''

* He said at least seven players will enroll early, including junior college transfer Ladarius Gunter, a cornerback out of Fort Scott (Kansas) CC. There could be more early enrollees, but he just wanted to give the minimum amount he expects. Some who are academically deficient could go to prep school. You guys likely already know that the two young qbs, Preston Dewey and Gray Crow, are ready to go for spring. But Golden wouldn't name anybody other than Gunter.

* He said QB Stephen Morris has an advantage going into the spring quarterback competition, but that the competition is wide open for all four quarterbacks, which include Ryan Williams, the Memphis transfer who is eligible to play this season. "It's always going to be open with me. It's always going to be earn-it-on-the-field. End of story,'' Golden said.

*OT Seantrel Henderson came back early on Jan. 3 to campus so he could get extra treatment for his back. "It was a good idea,'' Golden said. "It was a good sign for us.''

*C.J. Holton has moved from linebacker to fullback. Former receiver Davon Johnson, per the roster, is now a defensive back.

*Has Golden learned anything new about the ongoing NCAA investigation? "No.''

* He said the newest surgeries were to receiver Rashawn Scott (shoulder), RT Jon Feliciano (knee scoping; cleaning out).

* Golden said Jedd Fisch told him he would be there for next season. Fisch's name had been mentioned in relation to an opening with Chicago Bears.

*What has been the best thing about the offseason, Golden was asked. "For the student-athletes it's been an opportunity to get stronger and become a more physical and more explosive team in the weight room. For the coaches it has given us an opportunity to catch up and really immerse ourselves in the recruiting end of things.

The most frustrating thing? "Watching it all unfold in front of you -- the bowl games. I get the sense from the staff and many of our players who text me during games that it's also providing fuel for us. It's providing motivation and direction.''

The coach admitted that he was "surprised'' at the five players who left early for the NFL. "I was surprised at how quickly the decisions were made and that many of them signed prior to getting any feedback from the NFL Advisory Committee, which I had never seen before in my 17 years.

"Obviously they felt comfortable with their status and where they would fall in the draft and made their decisions.''

*LB Ramon Buchanan is back, though he is still recuperating after knee surgery and will likely miss spring.

*The spring game, April 14th, will be at Sun Life Stadium, finally! There also will be a scrimmage near Fort Myers and one in Miami area. Spring practice begins Saturday, March 3, according to Golden.

In closing, Golden made it clear that although in a perfect world you hold open at least a spot or two for any surprise signees after signing day, he "would be more inclined at this juncture to go ahead and try to finish this class off, given the momentum and strength that we've received here in the last couple of weeks. I would strike while we're hot. We're on a roll right now. We're doing very well.''






January 07, 2012

Canes land 2 U.S. Army All-Americans during recruiting spree

It's been a pretty special 24-hour span for the University of Miami's football recruiting efforts.

Deon BushThe Hurricanes, who lost a handful of key underclassmen last month who announced their intentions to enter the NFL Draft early, picked up four commitments including two U.S. Army All-Americans on Saturday -- Miami Columbus safety Deon Bush and Tampa Jefferson defensive end Tyriq McCord.

Bush (6-1, 185) is ranked as a consensus top five safety in the country by ESPN and Rivals.com and picked UM over Alabama and Auburn. McCord (6-3, 222), ranked 7th by Rivals at weakside end and 13th nationally at his position by ESPN, chose UM over South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

Bush is said to be done with his recruiting. McCord said before his announcement he still plans on taking an official trip to USC on Jan. 20.

Both are huge gets for coach Al Golden, should they still sign a National Letter of Intent with Miami on Feb. 1. Oral commitments are non-binding.

Bush will probably be able to help right away. While the Hurricanes return safeties Ray-Ray Armstrong and Vaughn Telemaque and veteran cornerback Brandon McGee, there are plenty of openings elsewhere in the secondary. Although Bush is tabbed as a safety, Columbus coach Chris Merritt, who was in San Antonio for Saturday's Army All-American game with his star pupil, said Bush is more than capable of playing cornerback and probably will start his career there with the Canes.

"What the Canes are getting is a very well prepared, long athlete. He is what people want in the secondary, a long tall body who can play corner or safety," Merritt said of Bush, who finished his senior season at Columbus with over 60 tackles, 11 pass breakups and four blocked kicks.

"People make a lot about how he didn't have any interceptions. Well, there weren't many people who threw his way. For us, he probably lined up at about 40 percent of the time at corner and did a good job when we had him there. He shut down [Miami Northwestern's] Amari Cooper [Alabama commitment] and did a nice job against Miramar's receivers in the state semifinal game. He's a big reason we held them to 14 points."

Bush, who will graduate in June, is the first player from Columbus High to head to UM since offensive tackle Joaquin Gonzalez walked on and eventually earned himself a scholarship.

Bush announced his decision, along with McCord, during Saturday's game.

"It was a hard decision," Bush said. "A lot of them were great schools. But I think I have to put my city back on the map right now."

He then put a Hurricane hat on his head.

McCord, who won the Class 3A state championship as a junior at Jefferson, did the same when he made his announcement for UM. "I am going to take my talents to South Beach," said McCord, who finished his senior season 6-4 on the field and with 59 tackles, 11.5 sacks, an interception and three forced fumbles.

"Coach Golden is leading that program in the right direction. I just want to be a part of it and they have a great broadcast communications program that I want to study in."

The other two commitments UM picked up were defensive tackle Jacoby Briscoe (6-4, 290) of Lafaeytte, La. and Fork Union Prep, Va. receiver Robert Lockhart (6-2, 180), who played his high school ball at West Boca Prep.

Lockhart was a Virginia Tech commitment and the prep school roommate of offensive lineman Taylor Gadbois, who is also headed to UM.Lockhart becomes the sixth receiver UM has in its recruiting class. Briscoe, unranked by Rivals and ESPN, is the second defensive tackle to join the class.

UM now has 31 commitments. Eight (including three prep school or JUCO recruits) have said they will attempt to enroll in school now in January and will count toward last year's signing class. Per NCAA rules, UM can only sign 25 on Feb. 1.

UM's recruiting class is ranked 12th by ESPN and 10th by Rivals.com.

January 05, 2012

Seven former Canes to play in All-Star Classics Jan. 21

Saturday, Jan. 21 will be a busy day for seven former Miami Hurricanes who have been invited to play in three different senior all-star games showcasing the nation’s top talent.

At 4 p.m., wide receiver LaRon Byrd and tight end Chase Ford will be playing in the East-West Shrine Game, the longest-running all-star game in college football. The Shrine Game will be played at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, and will be broadcast on the NFL Network.

At 6 p.m., quarterback Jacory Harris and linebacker Jordan Futch will play in the sixth annual AstroTurf NFLPA Collegiate Bowl at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. The game, which pits the best players from Texas against the rest of the nation, will be broadcasted on NBC's new sports network.

At 8 p.m., cornerback Lee Chambers, offensive lineman Joel Figueroa and defensive tackle Micanor Regis will play in the inaugural Battle of Florida All-Star Game. The game will feature former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden and UM legend Howard Schenellenberger on the sidelines at Florida Atlantic University Stadium. The game will be broadcast nationwide by Fox College Sports.