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.