Here's a quick preview of what could be in store next Wednesday, National Signing Day.
> NOTE: I wore the old Cubs jersey in honor of the late great Ernie Banks.
Still need to get this confirmed tomorrow from UM, but two sources told me Hurricanes running backs coach Terry Richardson is leaving UM to take the same position with the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars.
Richardson would join former UM offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch, the Jags' new OC.
Richardson has been at UM for two seasons, coaching Lamar Miller, now with the Dolphins, in 2011 and freshman All-American Duke Johnson this past season.
The Broward County native returned to South Florida, according to his UM bio, after spending 12 seasons at UConn as the RB coach.
That's all for now. More tomorrow I hope.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
UM coach Al Golden discussed the 2013 signing class and other topics Wednesday evening.
Among the first questions asked was if the Canes were done. Golden's response: "I can't really comment on a specific story percolating. But we may have room for one more but that's about it."
Asked about report that running backs coach Terry Richardson is expected to be hired by the Jaguars, Golden said it was an issue he still had to discuss with his assistant.
Opening statement: "It's a class we're proud of. It was a class we really had to fight hard for. I don't think it's something anybody outside of this room understands what we were up against the entire year, fight for this class. I'm proud of our coaches for not making any excuses, hanging in there and bringing in a class that is not only excellent, but a great compliment to the class that played so well and so often for us a year ago."
"We started out targeting 16 guys, which is a really low number. Some of that is in part because of the self-imposed penalties. So, it was a tight number to begin with. But as you break it down we out searching for a big-time pro style quarterback and I think we got the best, if not the best in Kevin Olsen. We started out looking for one receiver in this class -- and that's tough when you're in South Florida and you got to let some of the best ones go -- but we felt we got the best one down here in Stacey Coley. That was a real great get for us. He's one of the more fluid receivers we've seen in a long time. We sought out to get one to two running backs. Obviously we're still uncertain of of Eduardo Clement's future because of his injury, but that number was set at one or two based on that. We needed a big back and brought in Gus Edwards and feel Gus fulfills that at 6-1, 230 pounds, a guy that can run between the tackles. We sought out to get two tight ends and we did that. I think we have two of the best in the country. We got one of the best in junior college in Beau Sandland. He's 6-4, 255 pounds. He's here right now. And Standish Dobard, also in this class from Louisiana -- two big time tight end prospects and real proud of coach Caroll. We sought out to get three offensive linemen. We got Alex Gall from Moeller High School, Hunter Knighton who will play center or guard for us, and one we're really pleased in Sunny Odogwu.
"On the defensive side we sought to get two defensive end and I think we accomplished that. No. 1 a pass rusher on the open side. Al-Quadin Muhammad from Don Bosco Prep we think he's one of the premier pass rushers in the country. He's 6-3 1/2, 240 pounds, long, rangy, animated, plays with passion. The other young man I'm equally excited about -- Ufomba Kamalu, 6-5, 275 pounds -- also a defensive end prospect. We needed some with a little more maturity so we went to Butler Community College to get Ufomba. We wanted to get three or four linebackers in this class and obviously we missed out on a highly sought after young man locally, but we did get Jermaine Grace who was the best linebackers, one of the premier two linebackers in the state of Florida. We also got Devanta Bond, a sam linebacker from Sierra Community College, and Alex Figueroa enrolled with us mid year. We got three of the fourr needs. We sought to get three defensive backs and we feel we got two guys who are proven defensive backs in Artie Burns, who can play corner or safety, and Jamal Carter. We also got a guy in Ray-Ray Lewis who can play corner, slot receiver or running back. We're excited about that. There's no question we lost our defensive tackle and that's something we have to address here moving forward. I think that should give you the overview of the class because you can get caught up in the numbers. We didn't take 23 or we took 28 guys. We took 32 last year. We're very pleased with that group. Out of the last two years 30 of the 48 or 63 percent hail from the state of Florida. I think we're right on wit that."
How concerned are you about the defensive tackle spot?
"We're going to have some options there. Again, it is what it is. You want to stay in there with the best kids in the country and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Getting Gus Edwards today, Stacy Coley and Jermaine Grace, those are three big-time football players we got down the stretch. We're in a business where everybody focuses on the guys you didn't get. But the reality is make sure the guys you get help your program, make sure they fit. In this case because we were so tight on numbers, again, this is as tight as you can be from a football standpoint. We're happy with the guys we ended up getting today."
You lost Jedd Fisch, added Mario Cristobal late. How did that affect things?
"I think it does. There's no question relationships are formed and then obviously dissolve at different times. I think that pales in comparison to what we've encountered from the sheer cloud or the presence of the word sanctions. It's something hopefully we can get resolved here in the near future and move on. We had one junior day a couple weeks back. We have another junior day Saturday. That's our third class where we're having to deal with an unknown. As long as we have known we can all deal with. The unknown is what's killing us. The unknown is what is allowing us to be exposed to attack."
You only signed five kids from Florida guys, four from South Florida. Is that what you want?
"Clearly I would have loved to hit on a couple more today, I don't think there's any question. Again, it's just the way it worked out. We needed tight ends. If there were 10 tight ends from down here going places then I would be concerned. We went out of state to get a quarterback. We went out of state to get offensive linemen. That's not uncommon. I always try to look at different rosters and make sure we're doing things the right way. The 2001 [national champion] roster was 55 percent in state. The rest was out of state. We're somewhere between 57 and 60 percent. I like to stay at 60-65, 70 percent. But again, you can't always predict how it's going to turn out."
So you operated on need base?
"It had to be. With 16-17 spots it was all about need. Obviously down the stretch here today we lost a couple Florida kids. You're not going to get them at all. But I really like the guys we're bringing in."
Were you disappointed with the Miami-Dade kids who went elsewhere?
"I'm a competitor like everybody else. I'm more proud of the guys we did get. Artie Burns, Jamal Carter, Stacy Coley, Jermaine Grace is an incredible talent. It's just the way it shakes out sometimes. We just got to move forward and hopefully get this NCAA thing behind us so we can roll. Right now we're fighting with one arm behind our back."
Can you talk about the situation with Booker T. Washingto and Denver Kirkland?
"The only thing I'll say and I don't believe in airing that out publicly so I'm not going to that. Again, there is a difference between pulling a scholarship and having none left. It's tough when you get to this point in the year. If it's any normal year, I can absorb going over one. But we had a hard ceiling this year because of the self imposed penalties and I was up against it. The commitments that i had gotten a run on commitments Wednesday, Thursday and you're out. So, that's all I can say to that in terms of just making sure we're on the same page. I was against a hard ceiling and I had no room."
How many scholarships were self imposed?
"Can I answer this question? I feel like I'm in court. I've been at this for two years. I can't answer that."
How many kids were silent commitments and how many were you sort of sweating it out for?
"All of them. That's the game we're playing right now. We're not coming from a position of power or leverage right now because of the sanctions. If we can get that lifted, we'll move forward. Again, it's really important the communication is good. I think we have a great relationship with the high school coaches in South Florida. We've got to continue to do that, continue to communicate. This is just an anomoly -- I hope it is because I hope we can move on from the NCAA -- it's an anomoly in such that this was out of my control. This wasn't like last year where we thought we were going to get 31 or 32 and signed 33, whatever the case may be. You can absorb one. I had no room to absorb one as we went into the day today and obviously when we went into the weekend last weekend."
Talk about the emotions of the Kirkland-Thomas announcement before Coley-Grace announced
"It's like the Godfather, right, it's the business we've chosen. It's up, it's down. It's the way it is. Don't worry about the ones you don't get and worry about the ones you do get can play and match your core values, the things you want to do. I know everybody is disappointed about the ones we didn't get today. But we're here to celebrate the Quan Muhammads and the Stacy Coleys, the Jermaine Graces and how about this Artie Burns. Nobody talks about him because he didn't do a hat show. This guy is a superstar. Let's talk about those guys and the impact they're going to have on Miami football."
What time did Gus Edwards send in his signed letter of intent?
"7 a.m. That was a good start to the day. We needed that."
Were the self imposed limits on visits?
"Obviously to some degree. I just can't say what.
"We visited 27 guys. We had to self impose penalties there. We visited 27 guys. What's our hit ratio? That's an incredible hit ratio. We're not allowed to visit 45 guys. Some in the coaching community that didn't understand the impact these things were going to have in recruiting and this was not in our control. Just to say you're going to take one receiver should say it all. I think we got the best one down here."
What happens if one or two recruits want to come in on signing day and you don't have space?
"If you have 25 you're not worried because you already filled your needs, so the guy who is doing the signing day thing is obviously - I don't want to say the bonus ball - or you have good information way in advance that he's coming. You put five hats out there, there's really not five schools waiting. You know or you have a 50 percent chance of getting it."
So if you think a kid is coming and he goes elsewhere you have one spot open then. Do you go after someone else to fill that spot at that point?
"It was late in the day, late in the process to do that."
How much more imperative is the development of the tackles you have here now?
"It's huge. With the cloud over our head to try and get a JUCO defensive tackle who already has a condensed time period on your campus, many weren't interested because of how tenuous it was."
How important is the defensive tackle position?
"We have to get better at that position. That starts with the guys on campus developing and continuing to develop more competition and keep our eyes and ears open for guys that become available."
How often do recruits ask about NCAA stuff?
"Just about every other question."
Is it hard to answer the questions?
"I can't even answer them in here."
Ray Lewis could be around the program now with his son at UM. Like that idea?
"It's exciting. To end like that, that's a story book ending for Ray [winning the Super Bowl]. And for Ray Ray to not only have passion and be disciplined and have a great work ethic and everything - but he kind of looks like Ray. It'll be fun to have him around."
Ray Lewis III comes to UM with the shadow of his father hanging over his head. How do you think he will deal with that?
"When I went to he house [for a visit] I told them Ray Ray was an incredible gentleman, took in the garbage can, did the dishes. This young man, you think he'd have every opportunity to be entitled and he wasn't."
Last year a lot of newcomers played right away. Do you expect that with this class?
"Last year was about signing basically a two deep everywhere because we lost so many seniors the year before. This group is more filling in now, giving us some symmetry and competition. … everyone gets a chance to compete for a starting job, it doesn't matter if you're a freshman or senior. There'll be a great number of these guys that will ultimately help us I'm sure."
Are you getting back to the symmetry you want in terms of the depth chart?
"We're moving in that direction. We're hamstrung a little because we have to artificially keep our numbers down."
You have 20 starters returning, was that an issue convincing guys to sign?
"We have 20 starters back on a 7-5 team. We get 10, 11 wins then you can say there's a little bit of hierarchy. We have a long way to go as a program. With a target of 16 or 17 we weren't going to be a top 10 recruiting class. That seldom if ever happens just because of the way the formula is. As I go down this list, I'm taking Sunny, Ufomba, Al-Quadin, Kevin Olsen any year. Grace is a fabulous player, Artie Burns. I'm thrilled about this group, can't wait to get them on campus."
Do you expect recruiting will only get easier now?
"If I say it now I may have to say it again when the (NCAA) cloud is removed. I don't know where we are in the process. I think all of us feel like there's closure coming, that it's there, that it's going to be a great day. I haven't had that experience yet at the University of Miami. I'm looking forward to going into homes and communities and not answer that question because it's either the first or second question. The first is how you doing, the second is how is the NCAA thing going."
What has Mario Cristobal's edition meant?
"Wisdom. He's got a poise about him, is connected to the community, South Florida high school coaches. A wisdom to see things like a head coach. I'm excited about him. I've leaned on him a couple of times [already]. We're excited about being here together. Now it's time to move forward."
You have an associate head coach and assistant head coach on your staff in Mario Cristobal and defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio. What's the difference?
"I don't know. I honestly don't know. But they have different roles in helping me with the administrative side. Mark deals with the weight room, Mario helps with the social, behavioral, discipline side. He's a good guy to have on the discipline side."
Did UM's academic standards impact recruiting at all?
"No. We just have to get to the point where we keep building this thing."
The NCAA released a brief update Wednesday regarding the external review of its enforcement program in the UM investigation, saying Kenneth L. Wainstein has completed the necessary interviews and review of information and is now in the process of preparing a final report.
That report, the NCAA release said, is expected to be received "by the end of next week."
"We will release the results of the review following the completion of the report," the press release said.
NCAA President Mark Emmert said on Jan. 23 once the external review of his enforcement staff was completed the parties involved in the UM case would receive its notice of allegations.
Here is the list of 16 names we've received upon arriving here for Al Golden's press conference.
Stacy Coley, WR, Oakland Park Northeast High, 6-1, 173
Jermaine Grace, LB, Miramar High, 6-1, 210
Augustus Edwards, FB, Staten Island (N.Y.), 6-2, 230
Sunny Odogwu, OT, Hargrave Military (Va.), 6-8, 311
Beau Sandland, TE, Los Angeles Pierce College, 6-6, 255
Artie Burns, S, Miami Northwestern, 6-0, 183
Alquadin Muhammad, DE, Bosco Prep (N.J.), 6-3, 230
Kevin Olsen, QB, Wayne Hills, N.J., 6-3, 200
Jamal Carter, S, Miami Southridge, 6-1, 190
Standish Dobard, TE, New Orleans Edna Karr, 6-4, 255
Ufomba Kamalu, DT, Butler CC (Kan.), 6-5, 280
Alex Gall, OT, Cincinnati Moeller, 6-6, 280
Hunter Knighton, DT, Princeton Hun School, 6-5, 265
Alex Figueroa, DE, Fork Union (Va.), 6-3, 225
Ray Lewis III, RB, Lake Mary Prep, Fla., 5-9, 190
Devante Bond, Sierra College (Calif.), 6-3, 230
The University of Miami ended the round of televised announcements Wednesday by landing All-American Miramar High linebacker Jermaine Grace, a four-star recruit tabbed the 17th-best outside linebacker in the country by Rivals.com.
He picked the Canes over Sugar Bowl-champion Louisville. Getting Grace gives UM two recruits from Broward County and two from Dade in this 16-player class.
Grace said he made his decision "a week ago" and is looking forward to reuniting with his Miramar teammates at UM: cornerback Tracy Howard and receiver Malclolm Lewis.
"I feel like we're going to stay together, stay tight," Grace said. "They were telling me I have chance to get on the field right away just like them.
Despite the addition, UM struck out adding a defensive tackle to its class. The Canes missed out on Keith Bryant, who announced shortly before Grace he was heading to Florida State. UM also missed out on Jaynard Bostwick and Terrell Brooks in the last 24 hours.
In the end, I still like UM's class a lot. The Hurricanes landed their QB of the future in Kevin Olsen, the nation's top fullback in Augustus Edwards and JUCO tight end in Beau Sandland, a standout receiver in Stacy Coley, a top-flight defensive end in Al-Quadin Muhammad, an All-American linebacker in Grace and two standout defensive backs in Artie Burns and Jamal Carter. That's pretty good in a small class.
> So why did Denver Kirkland opt for Arkansas and Matthew Thomas pick Florida State instead of Miami? Here's what they talked about Monday morning.
"I have a better bond with Arkansas coaches than any other coaches that recruited me," Kirkland said. "Miami came in second place because of the things that have been happening these past couple weeks. That's the only reason they came in second. After that I was leaning toward Florida State and Arkansas."
UM pulled Kirkland's scholarship last Thursday, but met with him and his mother Saturday, putting the offer back on the table. Kirkland said while it was tough to leave his parents, heading off to college was the best decision for him.
"He wanted to make the decision for himself and do something different," offensive coordinator Tim Harris Jr. said of Kirkland. "We were surprised by his decision. I was personally. I knew Arkansas was in the thick of it and heard about the relationships he built with the offensive line coach you started thinking it may be spot for him. But I thought it was going to be Miami.
Miami never really rose to the top, meanwhile, for Thomas.
"I think second place was USC, he said. "I liked USC a lot. Things work out for a reason, happen for a reason. I think its a family atmosphere at Florida State. It's not that far away. My whole family can come watch and see me."
Did UM have a chance? "They had a chance," Thomas said. "The bottom-line: I don't think what I was looking for was at Miami so I took my talents somewhere else."
Asked if he thought the pulled scholarship deal with Kirkland would affect Booker T.'s relationship with UM in the future, Harris Jr. said: "Our relationship is just as what it was before this recruiting season started. They're going to come in here and recruit Chad Thomas, Treon Harris, Nigel Patten and Lamar Parker. There's no bad blood between us. These guys just decided this was the best decision for them. We look forward to a future relationship with them. UM is my school. I put in four hard years there. That will never change."
> Northwestern cornerback Artie Burns, ranked No. 2 overall in Miami-Dade County, signed his National Letter of Intent to UM Wednesday with a smile on his face. Burns had four interceptions this past season and has been the fastest high school hurdler in the nation each of the past two years.
“It’s my hometown team and I knew for a longtime it’s where I wanted to be at,” Burns said. “A day like this means a lot because a lot of us have been together since the 10th grade. There’s a lot of talent at UM and looking forward to accomplishing my goals.”
Wearing a UM hat with the word Swag draped across the front of it, Oakland Park Northeast wide receiver Stacy Coley -- the top player in Broward County -- announced he was signing a National Letter of Intent with the University of Miami Wednesday.
Rated the fourth-best player at his position by ESPN, Coley said he chose the Hurricanes over schools such as Florida State and South Florida after sitting down with his family and talking it out on Sunday.
"I thought it was just beneficial for me and my family," he said. "Just stay home. I just hope I have the same success in high school and just help the U out with a national championship."
Coley, a two-time member of The Miami Herald All-Broward first team, finished with 29 catches for 513 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. He runs a 4.57 40-yard dash.
The 6-1, 173-pounder said he appreciated the fans he had in current Canes Tracy Howard and Deon Bush and was looking forward to playing with them rather than against them like he did in high school. Coaching changes at FSU did not affect his decision, he said.
His high school coach, Donnell Bennett, is a former UM fullback.
"It feels good," said Coley, who was crying during the ceremony. "I relieved a big stress off my shoulder and I can be an average kid again."
-- HERALD WRITER CHRISTINA DE NICOLA
Al Golden was hoping for a big finish on National Signing Day.
So far, it hasn't panned out that way for the University of Miami -- even though the Hurricanes' biggest recruiting battles are happening right in their backyard.
Booker T. Washington All-American linebacker Matthew Thomas, the top player in Miami-Dade County and a consensus five-star recruit, picked Florida State over Miami, USC and Georgia Wednesday morning, a decision announced in front of a national cable TV audience on ESPNU, family, friends, coaches and teammates in the school auditorium.
Five minutes later, All-American offensive lineman and teammate Denver Kirkland announced he was going to Arkanas and passing on UM, which six days prior appeared to be the leader for his services before they pulled his scholarship following the team's state championship parade through Overtown. Two days later, UM invited Kirkland and his mother down to campus to smooth things over and put the scholarship offer back on the table. But it apparently wasn't enough to divert him away from Tallahassee.
Miami, which swayed offensive coordinator James Coley away from FSU last month, was hoping Coley might provide some help in the important recruiting battle. Coley had been Kirkland's and Thomas' prime recruiter for the Seminoles. But FSU and Arkansas -- where former UM coach Randy Shannon is now an assistant -- got the last laughs in the end.
Thomas (6-3 1/2, 210) produced 70 tackles, 10 sacks and two blocked field goals for the Tornadoes en route to All-Dade and All-State First Team honors. Kirkland (6-3, 333) anchored an offense that averaged 416 yards and 49 points a game on its way to a 13-1 record and the Class 4A state championship.
Miami came into the day in the running for seven highly-touted prospects.
Earlier in the morning, the Canes got some good news when Staten Island Tottenville (N.Y.) running back Augustus Edwards, ranked the No. 1 fullback in the nation by Rivals.com, announced he had picked Miami over Florida State.
Edwards, a 6-1, 222-pound three-star prospect according to Rivals, was previously a Syracuse commitment. He visited UM recently and came away impressed. He ran for 868 yards and 10 touchdowns on 107 attempts this past season for Tottenville. He also produced 11 tackles and three sacks on defense.
Tailback was a position of need for UM, which lost out South Plantation blue-chip running back Alex Collins when he committed to Arkansas on Monday. Although the Hurricanes are heading into the 2013 season with Atlantic Coast Freshman of the Year Duke Johnson as the star tailback UM had just three other scholarship running backs on the roster. The Canes are hoping Edwards can provide depth along with senior Eduardo Clements (5-9, 192), redshirt sophomore Dallas Crawford (5-10, 190) and redshirt freshman Danny Dillard (6-2, 225).
About an hour after Edwards' announcement Wednesday, UM lost out on Port St. Lucie Centennial four-star defensive tackle Jaynard Bostwick (6-4, 280). Rated the 286th best prospect in the country regardless of position, Bostwick chose Florida over Miami and Alabama. Bostwick is the cousin of UM linebacker Thurston Armbrister. He tallied 65 tackles and two sacks his senior season.
The Hurricanes have been in dire need of an upgrade at defensive tackle. UM finished 112th in run defense last season out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision programs, allowing 217.92 yards per game. Tuesday, three-star Navarro junior college (Corsicana, Tex.) defensive tackle Terrell Brooks (6-4, 300) passed on the Canes to sign with Baylor.
How much has the two-year long NCAA investigation hurt Miami's class this year? ESPN recruiting analyst Corey Long said he doesn't think it "plays as much of a factor on a day-to-day basis" and some people think.
"I just think they hit on some and missed on some," Long said. 'I'm just really surprised Miami didn't focus more on defensive linemen. Maybe the NCAA forced them to keep their numbers down so they kind of have to pick and choose where they go. But I would have expected more defensive lineman."
UM is still in the running for three more highly-touted prospects -- including one defensive tackle.
The top player in Broward County Oakland Park Northeast receiver Stacy Coley (6-1, 175) is set to announce his decision at 11:05 a.m. on ESPNU. His coach, former UM running back Donnell Bennett, said Coley was choosing between Miami, Florida State and South Florida. Coley, rated the 13th best receiver in the country by Rivals.com, caught 29 passes for 513 yards and 10 TDs his senior season en route to All-Dade First Team honors.
Delray Beach Atlantic defensive tackle Keith Bryant, an Under-Armour All-American and four-star recruit, will announce his college choice at 1:45 p.m. on ESPNU. Bryant (6-1 1/2, 302) was a UM commitment but pulled back on it and has since flirted with South Carolina and Florida State.
Miramar High four-star recruit and U.S. Army All-American linebacker Jermaine Grace, once thought to be a strong UM-lean, will choose between the Hurricanes and Louisville at 2 p.m. on ESPNU. Grace (6-1, 195) racked up 115 tackles, four sacks and two interceptions his senior season.
The Hurricanes came into National Signing Day with 14 commitments as part of its class including five early enrollees (four-star JUCO tight end Beau Sandland out of California; three-star tight end Standish Dobard from New Orleans; three-star pass rushing specialist Alex Figueroa out of Virginia; three-star lineman Hunter Knighton from New Jersey; Three-star offensive tackle Sunny Odogwu from prep school in Virginia).
Of the remaining nine non-binding commitments who were supposed to fax over signed national letters of intent, the school had announced the arrival of seven of them on Twitter as of 9:45 a.m.
Those were: Miami Northwestern All-American cornerback Artie Burns; All-American defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad of New Jersey's Don Bosco Prep; Four-star quarterback of the future Kevin Olsen; Miami Southridge four-star safety Jamal Carter; Cincinnati Moeller three-star offensive tackle Alex Gall; Lake Mary Prep athlete Ray Lewis III, whose father is former Hurricane and recent Super Bowl winner and Butler Community College (Kan.) three-star defensive tackle Ufomba Kamalu.
Those that haven't arrived yet: California JUCO three-star pass rushing specialist Devante Bond and Virginia three-star athlete Ryheem Lockley.
National recruiting analyst JC Shurburtt of 247Sports.com, who ranked UM's class 27th coming into Wednesday, said while the Canes needed to do better in their own backyard Golden and his staff still have put together a solid class.
"They did go get a quality player out of New Orleans in [tight end] Standish Dobard," Shurburtt said. "I like Hunter Knighton a lot. I think Sunny Odogwu is going to be a very good player. Alex Figueroa is a guy I saw in a camp who I thought had tremendous physical upside. Sandland is the top JUCO tight end in the country.
"Kevin Olsen is the perfect quarterback to go in there and distribute the ball to speedy playmakers like Miami always had. They really haven't had a quarterback with his type of upside in quite awhile.
"But then you look and you've got Artie Burns and Jamal Carter holding down the fort as the only South Florida kids and Ray Lewis III, a legacy kid, being the third kid from Florida. If you are Miami you like to see more guys from South Florida."
Charles Fishbein of EliteScoutingServices.com said he thinks the best player in UM's class is Muhammad.
"He's fills a major position of need," said Fishbein, who pointed out UM finished 113th in the country with just 13 sacks last season. "He's somebody who could get pressure on the quarterback. He's probably their top player along with Jamal Carter and Artie Burns. They're probably the most elite of their class. Artie has the potential to be very good. He has size and speed. He has the physical attributes to be a very good corner. If he works hard he has the potential to play at the next level.
"I think Olsen is the best quarterback they've signed in five, six years. He's got a good arm, can make most of the throws, has been brought up in a football family. In Miami's system they don't need the super physical skills. They just need the guy who can get them the ball. He's going to get them in the right plays, make good throws. He's been trained very well."
UM coach Al Golden will hold a press conference at 4 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the 2013 signing class.
UM's sports information department is hosting a show with UM assistant coaches on HurricaneSports.com and ESPN3 throughout the morning. The show concludes at 12:30 p.m.
UM is hosting a Fan Signing Day party at Buffalo Wild Wings in Sunset Place (across US-1 from the UM campus) from 5 to 7 p.m.
Good morning it's National Signing Day.
The Hurricanes have gotten off to a rough start over the last two days missing out on South Plantation blue-chip running back Alex Collins (Arkansas) and three-star JUCO defensive tackle Terrell Brooks (Baylor). But today could be a big day for the Canes if they finish strong.
Here is a checklist for all your pertinent Hurricanes' NSD information:
> UM enters the day with 14 recruits (five already signed and enrolled) in their 2013 signing class. The program is hoping to land between four and six more Wednesday. National Letters of Intent begin being sent at 7 a.m.
> Follow @HurricaneSports on Twitter for the release of all names once those signed National Letters of Intent arrive. Herald Sports Writer @Manny Navarro will be at Booker T. Washington High for the announcements of linebacker Matthew Thomas and offensive lineman Denver Kirkland shortly after 9 a.m. A list below includes all the announcement times for all undecided UM recruits as well as TV information (ESPNU) if it is available.
> HurricaneSports.com will host a live Signing Day show with UM assistants from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. on its website. The show will then continue from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on ESPN3. Coach Al Golden will hold a news conference at 4 p.m. which will be streamed live on HurricaneSports.com. Herald Sports Writer Manny Navarro will be there tweeting as well.
> UM is hosting a Fan Signing Day party at Buffalo Wild Wings in Sunset Place (across US-1 from the UM campus) from 5 to 7 p.m. thereafter.
UNDECIDED RECRUITS ANNOUNCEMENT TIMES
> 7 a.m. - Staten Island (N.Y.) three-star running back Augustus Edwards (6-0, 215) is scheduled to make his announcement at a private event on his high school campus. Edwards is ranked the No. 1 fullback in the country according to Rivals.com. The former Syracuse commitment is said to be a Miami-lean, but is also considering Florida State. VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
> 8 a.m. - Port St. Lucie Centennial four-star defensive tackle Jaynard Bostwick (6-4, 280) will make his announcement live on ESPNU. A cousin of UM linebacker Thurston Armbrister, Bostwick is choosing between UM, Florida and Alabama. His coach said late last week he thought Bostwick's mother preferred he went to Florida and stayed away from Miami Beach. He's been recruited by defensive line coach Jethro Franklin. VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
> 9:15 a.m. - Miami Booker T. Washington five-star linebacker Matthew Thomas (6-3 1/2, 210) will make his announcement live on ESPNU from his school auditorium. Thomas, long considered a Florida State lean, will choose between the Canes, Noles, USC and Georgia. He was recruited by linebackers coach Micheal Barrow and new offensive coordinator James Coley before he left Florida State. VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
> 9:20 a.m. - Miami Booker T. Washington four-star offensive tackle Denver Kirkland (6-5, 333) will make his announcement live on ESPNU just a few minutes after Thomas makes his announcement. Once considered by his coach to be the leader, UM yanked a scholarship offer away from Kirkland last Thursday only to kiss and makeup over the weekend. His stepfather told The Miami Herald last Friday UM was out of it. But the Canes are still a contender according to Booker T. coach Tim "Ice" Harris along with FSU and Arkansas. Kirkland was recruited by linebackers coach Micheal Barrow. VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
> 11:05 a.m. - Oakland Park Northeast four-star receiver Stacy Coley (6-1, 175) will make his college announcement live on ESPNU from his school library. Broward County's top player has long been considered an FSU lean but has UM and USF in his final three his coach Donnell Bennett said. VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
> 1:45 p.m. - Delray Beach Atlantic defensive tackle Keith Bryant (6-1 1/2, 302) will make his announcement live on ESPNU from his school. Once a UM commitment, Bryant has flirted with South Carolina and long been considered an FSU-lean. Miami fans are hoping he was just enjoying the recruiting process and comes back to the Canes on Wednesday. VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
> 2 p.m. - Miramar High linebacker Jermaine Grace (6-1, 195) will make his announcement in his school auditorium live on ESPNU. Grace was long considered a UM lock, but entertained Louisville and Tennessee. He is now said to be deciding between the Hurricanes and Cardinals. Grace is close with current UM cornerback Tracy Howard and receiver Malcolm Lewis. VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
THE COMMITMENT LIST
> TE Beau Sandland (6-6, 260, 4-stars): Already enrolled at UM, Sandland was considered the top JUCO tight end in the country according to 247Sports.com. At Los Angeles Pierce Community College he caught 24 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns, earning first-team All-Pacific Conference honors as a sophomore. As a freshman, he had 20 catches for 265 yards and two touchdowns. He had 25 offers including from several SEC schools including UF, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Mississippie and LSU. He was recruited by recruiting coordinator Brennan Carroll. SANDLAND'S VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
> CB Artie Burns (6-1, 183, 4-stars): The nation's fastest high school hurdler, Burns was named All-Dade First Team as a senior at Miami Northwestern and an Under-Armour All-American. In addition to his 83 tackles, four interceptions and four sacks as a senior, he ran back two kicks for scores and figures to be given a chance to return kicks at UM. He was recruited by linebackers coach Micheal Barrow. Here's a link to a recent feature on Burns by our Manny Navarro.
BURNS VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
> DE Al-Quadin Muhammad (6-4, 230, 4-stars): Some feel he's the best player in UM's class. A U.S. Army All-American, Muhammad led Don Bosco Prep (N.J.) with a team-high 12 sacks in 2012. He also forced four fumbles. Muhammad, who made a last second visit to Rutgers last weekend (but came away unimpressed), should help a UM pass rush which finished 113th out of 120 FBS schools with 13 total sacks. He picked the Canes over Notre Dame, Alabama and Rutgers. VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
> QB Kevin Olsen (6-3, 195, 4-stars): An Under-Armour All-American, Olsen is the younger brother of former Hurricanes tight end Greg Olsen and the quarterback of the future at UM. He broke a bone his right foot in the season opener of his senior year and played in just three games. But as a junior As a junior, he threw for 1,686 yards and 20 touchdowns, with five picks. He was recruited to UM by former offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. Here's a link to a recent feature on Olsen by our Susan Miller Degnan. OLSEN'S VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
> S Jamal Carter (6-1, 175, 4-stars): An All-Dade First Team standout at Miami Southridge, Carter tallied 89 tackles, one interception and averaged 34 yards per kick return for the Spartans as a senior. He was also being recruited by Oklahoma, LSU and Clemson before a visit to UM in January shut the door. He was recruited by linebackers coach Micheal Barrow. VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
> TE Standish Dobard (6-4, 241, 3-stars): Already enrolled at UM, Dobard helped lead New Orleans Edna Karr to the Louisiana Class 4A state title. He finished with 53 catches for 723 yards and four touchdowns. He committed to UM last April and never wavered. He was recruited by recruiting coordinator Brennan Carroll. VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
> OT Alex Gall (6-5, 295, 3-stars): A two-time All-Greater Cincinnati League First Team selection, Gall picked UM over Wisconsin, Kentucky, West Virginia, Indiana, Cincinnati, Duke and Pittsburgh back in June. Recruited by offensive line coach Art Kehoe, Gall led his high school team Moeller to a state title. VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
> RB Ray Lewis III (5-10, 192, 3-stars): The son of Hall of Fame-bound former UM linebacker, the 5-9, 175-pound Ray Lewis III was a Semper Fidelis All-American at Lake Mary Prep in Orlando. He rushed for 2,321 yards and 29 touchdowns on just 177 carries during his junior season and led his team with 92 tackles and one sack. He committed to UM 11 months ago and passed on offers from Tennessee and USF. He ran for 1,898 yards, 20 TDs and caught 31 passes for 676 yards and 4 TDs as a senior. Defensively, he racked up 78 tackles, two sacks and four INTs. If UM lands a running back in its class, it's likely Lewis could end up over at cornerback. VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
> DE/LB Alex Figueroa (6-4, 215, 3-stars): An academic casualty his senior year of high school in 2011, Figueroa picked up his grades and then an offer from the Canes in December. His senior year he posted 107 tackles with nine sacks and caught 54 passes for 612 yards and six touchdowns. Maryland, Rutgers, Temple, and West Virginia showed interest. VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
> OT Sunny Odogwu (6-8, 307, 3-stars): Rated the No. 2 prep school offensive tackle in the country by 247Sports.com, the native Nigerian from Hargrave Military Academy (Va.) visited Mississippi State, Texas Tech and West Virginia after receiving a UM offer back in September. He committed to UM in December. VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
> OT Hunter Knighton (6-6, 265, 3-stars): An early enrollee, Knighton committed to UM early December out of the Hun School in Princeton, N.J. He had 75 tackles and 10 sacks as junior, but is expected to start out on the offensive line for UM. Knighton said he took official visits to Boston College, Boise State and Purdue. He cancelled a recruiting visit to West Virginia. VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
> LB Devante Bond (6-3, 230, 3-stars): As the Defensive MVP of the Valley Conference racked up 77 tackles, 27 for loss, with 17 sacks and three forced fumbles this past season at Roseville (Calif.) Sierra Community College. He picked UM over Houston, Syracuse and Kentucky. Bond was recruited to UM by defensive line coach Jethro Franklin. VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
> ATH Ryheem Lockley (6-4, 210, 3-stars): A two-sport star at Middlesex (Va.) High, Ryheem Lockley gave UM a commitment last weekend but it's unclear if he will be part of the 2013 class or 2014 clsass. He could end up at prep school. He finished his senior season with 1,034 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns with 598 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. On defense he totaled 50 tackles with two sacks and one interception. He is also considered a good high school basketball player. VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS
> DT Ufomba Kamalu (6-5, 280, 2-stars): Born to Nigerian parents, Kamalu led Butler Community College (Kan.) with 7.5 sacks and finished the 2012 season with 54 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. Reportedly canceled planned visits to West Virginia and Auburn when he committed to UM two weeks ago. He is an early enrollee. VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS