This isn't the type of finish UM coach Al Golden had in mind.
With less than a week before National Signing Day, the Hurricanes have pulled a scholarship offer from a top recruit at a major high school power in Miami-Dade County and angered its head coach.
Booker T. Washington coach Tim "Ice" Harris said Thursday it was grossly unfair for the Hurricanes to pull their offer from All-American offensive lineman Denver Kirkland right after the team's state championship parade through Overtown.
Harris, who himself worked on UM's staff under Randy Shannon and whose son Brandon was a standout cornerback at UM, said he had assured UM coaches privately Kirkland had decided to sign with the Canes and was simply waiting until National Signing Day to announce. But because Kirkland wasn't willing to commit before then and make the announcement public, Harris said, assistant Micheal Barrow told him the program "was moving in a different direction."
"This had nothing to do with academics and everything to do with UM doing something unfair to a local kid," Harris said. "Denver has a 2.8 GPA and has the test score.
"Coach Golden visited the school today before our parade and told Denver everything he wanted to hear. Then, a couple hours later, everything changed. I told them Denver was all set to go there for the academics. This isn't the way UM should be doing business, not with the kids in their own backyard."
Harris said Barrow asked for a private meeting following the parade and asked Kirkland flatly if he would commit. Harris said Kirkland told Barrow UM was in the top three, but he wanted to wait until Signing Day to announce.
"I just don't understand why they couldn't wait," Harris said. "The same way [linebacker] Matthew Thomas is a big-time kid, Denver is the same big-time offensive lineman. Let the kid enjoy his moment. If they were going to do this to him, why not let him know well ahead of time so he could plan another visit. Don't come to us in the end and say you're going in another direction because of a defensive lineman."
Asked if this would affect Thomas' recruitment, Harris said: "I just look at this from a loyalty perspective. If we commit to something and show you love and tell you we're going to do something, just wait for it to happen. I've never seen anything of this magnitude. I'm not sure what this does for UM in Miami as a whole... I'll never tell a kid not to go somewhere, but it's tough for me to tell my kids to trust UM at this point.
"They don't know when an offer is going to get pulled, if they're going to do what they did to Denver today. He's an All-American. I just don't understand how they let him get out of here. I won't stop anybody from going to UM, but I can tell you I'll never help them again."