« June 2013 | Main | August 2013 »

24 posts from July 2013

July 31, 2013

New depth chart released for fall camp. Are you ready for some football?

The Hurricanes released their first depth chart entering fall camp, which begins Saturday morning in Coral Gables.

Among the changes, most of them minor:

On offense --

* There's an "OR" between Ereck Flowers and Malcolm Bunche at left tackle.

* Right tackle has three co-starters: Seantrel Henderson or Ereck Flowers or Sunny Odogwu. Odogwu is a 6-8, 316-pound freshman no less. According to one of my sources, he is coming off minor foot surgery.

* At tight end it now says Asante Cleveland or Clive Walford, as opposed to just Cleveland as the starter.

* One of the two wide receiver positions has Phillip Dorsett ahead of Herb Waters. However, a slot position has been added to the depth chart, which has Waters as the starter there. The other wideout first-team Cane is Allen Hurns.

On Defense, listed as "4-3" --

* David Perry was added as the third-team defensive end behind starter Anthony Chickillo and second-teamer Jelani Hamilton.

* Thurston Armbrister is now listed as a co-backup to freshman Alex Figueroa at outside linebacker with fellow backup Tyriq McCord.

On Special teams --

*It's now listed as Pat O'Donnell or Matt Goudis, as opposed to Matt Goudis first team and O'Donnell backup (the way it was after spring camp ended).

* There's an "OR'' between Goudis and O'Donnell for kickoffs.

* The first-team holder is now backup quarterback Ryan Williams or O'Donnell. Note that former quarterback David Thompson, who was formerly  listed as a co-starter at holder, has left the team to pursue Miami baseball full-time.

* At kick returner, it's Phillip Dorsett or Duke Johnson "and'' Malcolm Lewis

--SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

#CANESCAMP DEPTH CHART
OFFENSE (PRO)
WR 1 ALLEN HURNS 6-3, 195, Sr.
80 Rashawn Scott 6-2, 203, Jr.
LT 74 ERECK FLOWERS -OR- 6-6, 312, So.
79 Malcolm Bunche 6-7, 327, RJr.
LG 79 MALCOLM BUNCHE 6-7, 327, RJr.
70 Jon Feliciano 6-5, 318, RJr.
C 62 SHANE MCDERMOTT 6-4, 296, RJr.
75 Jared Wheeler 6-5, 319, Sr.
RG 65 BRANDON LINDER 6-6, 319, Sr.
63 Danny Isidora 6-4, 308, RFr.
RT 77 SEANTREL HENDERSON -OR- 6-8, 345, Sr.
74 ERECK FLOWERS -OR- 6-7, 327, RJr.
66 Sunny Odogwu 6-8, 318, Fr.
TE 82 ASANTE CLEVELAND -OR- 6-5, 260, Sr.
46 Clive Walford 6-4, 259, RJr.
85 Beau Sandland 6-6, 255, Jr.
FB 33 MAURICE HAGENS 5-11, 247, Sr.
QB 17 STEPHEN MORRIS 6-2, 214, Sr.
11 Ryan Williams 6-5, 223, Jr.
RB 8 DUKE JOHNSON 5-9, 196, So.
25 Dallas Crawford 5-10, 196, So.
SLOT 6 HERB WATERS 6-2, 193, So.
9 Malcolm Lewis 6-0, 187, RFr.
WR 4 PHILLIP DORSETT 5-10, 185, Jr.
6 HERB WATERS 6-2, 193, So.

SPECIALISTS
P 16 PAT O’DONNELL 6-5, 222, Gr.
18 Matt Goudis 6-0, 172, So.
FG 16 PAT O’DONNELL -OR- 6-5, 222, Gr.
18 MATT GOUDIS 6-0, 172, So.
KO 18 MATT GOUDIS -OR- 6-0, 172, So.
16 PAT O’DONNELL 6-5, 222, Gr.
H 11 RYAN WILLIAMS -OR- 6-5, 223, RJr.
16 PAT O’DONNELL 6-5, 222, Gr.
LS 61 PAUL KELLY -OR- 6-1, 262, RSr.
60 SEAN MCNALLY 5-10, 205, RJr.
SS 61 PAUL KELLY 6-1, 262, RSr.
65 Brandon Linder 6-6, 317, Sr.
PR 4 PHILLIP DORSETT 5-10, 185, Jr.
8 Duke Johnson 5-9, 194, So.
KR 4 PHILLIP DORSETT -OR- 5-10, 185, Jr.
8 DUKE JOHNSON -AND- 5-9, 196, So.
9 Malcolm Lewios 6-0, 187, So.
DEFENSE
DE 71 ANTHONY CHICKILLO 6-4, 275, Jr.
99 Jelani Hamilton 6-5, 285, So.
95 David Perry 6-7, 277, RSo.
DT 93 LUTHER ROBINSON -OR- 6-3, 303, RSr.
96 CURTIS PORTER 6-1, 316, Sr.
DT 91 OLSEN PIERRE 6-4, 305, Jr.
67 Corey King 6-1, 292, So.
DE 51 SHAYON GREEN 6-3, 264, Sr.
94 Kelvin Cain 6-3, 250, Sr.
OLB 36 ALEX FIGUEROA 6-3, 233, Fr.
17 Tyriq McCord -OR- 6-3, 235, So.
34 Thurston Armbrister 6-3, 233, Jr.
MLB 59 JIMMY GAINES -OR- 6-3, 240, Sr.
56 RAPHAEL KIRBY 6-0, 235, So.
OLB 52 DENZEL PERRYMAN 6-0, 240, Jr.
31 Tyrone Cornileus 6-2, 225, Sr.
CB 37 LADARIUS GUNTER -OR- 6-2, 196, Jr.
3 TRACY HOWARD 5-11, 184, So.
S 30 AJ HIGHSMITH -OR- 6-0, 208, Sr.
26 RAYSHAWN JENKINS 6-1, 215, So.
S 2 DEON BUSH 6-1, 203, So.
22 Kacy Rodgers II 6-2, 212, Jr.
CB 21 ANTONIO CRAWFORD -OR- 5-11, 187, So.
35 NATE DORTCH 5-11, 173, RFr


 


Miami Hurricanes pre-camp depth chart released

Here is the pre-camp depth chart released by the University of Miami sports information staff a little after 9 p.m. Wednesday. Fall camp begins Saturday.

UM FB 2013 Preseason Camp073113

 

> In case you missed it, our Barry Jackson had a stellar preview of the top position battles heading into the start of fall camp in Wednesday's edition of his Sports Buzz.

July 30, 2013

Coach Al Golden on Hurricanes D: "The biggest thing was to not change...''

I watched and listened to Al Golden as part of ESPN's "Car Wash'' today, and I was impressed by his answer to Samantha (Steele) Ponder, when she asked him...

"Defensively I know you wanted to make some changes this last year. What are the things you think need to change in order to get the defense where it needs to be?"

Golden's response:

"I think the biggest thing was to not change, was just to take all the young kids, the 14 or 15 freshmen we played over there and just to quiet their minds down, settle them down a little bit. I felt different about the defense in the spring – there was a calmness, they were communicating more. And then of course getting [defensive tackle] Curtis Porter back and then giving everybody another year in the weight room.

"[Linebacker] Denzel Perryman grew up on the stage for us, played at 208 and then 212. He’s 243 now. [Linebacker] Jimmy Gaines is 240. [Linebacker] Alex Figueroa is 238. [Defensive end] Anthony Chickillo is another guy who played for us at 45 and 50. He is now 275. So those kids had to grow up and were forced to play before they were ready. Now, they’re settled in, they know the system and we’re excited about who we have coming back on defense."

The Canes ranked 116th (of 120 FBS teams) in total defense last season, allowing an average of 486.4 yards per game. They ranked 112th in rushing defense (217.9 yards allowed per game), 102nd in pass defense (268.5), 105th in tackles-for-loss and 113 in sacks.

We'll see this season if Golden's patience pays off and if the D-linemen get free to attack the quarrterback. That will make all the difference to a team that appears to be offensively gifted.

 SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

July 29, 2013

UM Hurricanes just got their 24th oral commitment for the Class of 2014!

Miami just nabbed a preseason victory over the Florida Gators.

The Hurricanes just picked up their 24th oral commitment for the 2014 season: 6-2, 221-pound defense end Trent Harris, a three-star athlete according to rivals.com and 247sports.com, and a four-star athlete according to ESPN.com. (The list of 24 signees doesn't count holdover signee Ryheem Lockley, who is is in prep school and is expected to join the 2014 class).

Harris, who had 50 tackles and 11 sacks as a defensive end last season as a junior at Winter Park, chose the Canes over the Gators and Ohio State.

Earlier in the process, he had narrowed his finalists to UF, Georgia, OSU, Alabama, FSU and Vanderbilt.

He grew up a Gators fan. 

"That was my dream as a kid,'' Harris told the Orlando Sentinel, where he announced his decision at about noon Monday. "But I grew up, and I've got to realize what's going to help me the most in my future, and that's the University of Miami.

"Yes sir, the U!'' he concluded in a video.

Before the announcement, he told 247sports.com that he knew what team he was choosing and that he had made up his mind recently. 

Oral commitments are non-binding. They do not become official until National Signing Day.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

July 26, 2013

Sellout alert! UM Hurricanes vs. Florida Gators single-game football tickets are sold out.

We knew this game was hot from the start -- and we're not talking about the noon kickoff.

The University of Miami has announced that "following an unprecedented surge in ticket sales, all seats allotted for single-game purchases for the September 7 game vs. Florida are now sold out. The only remaining opportunity to buy a ticket to the Florida game is via a season ticket."

Season tickets begin at $20 per game for the least expensive package, according to UM.

The seven home games: FAU in the season opener at 8 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 30; the Gators at noon Sept. 7; Savannah State on Sept. 21; Georgia Tech (the Atlantic Coast Conference opener) on Oct. 5; Wake Forest on Oct. 26; Virginia Tech on Nov. 9; and Virginia on Nov. 23. 

Tickets are still available on a single-game basis for all other home games, according to HurricaneSports.com. "Hurricane Club members may purchase seats now through their online account. Season-ticket holders may first purchase single-game tickets on Monday, July 29. Seats become available to the general public on Monday, August 5."

For more information or to order by phone,  call the UM ticket office at 305-284-2263.

 SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

Alabama lists secondary NCAA violations -- former UM assistant Joe Pannunzio linked

The University of Alabama released an annual report of secondary NCAA violations on Thursday, including one by an unnamed football staffer who "provided impermissible benefits to a prospect and his family and introduced prospects to a booster while at another institution.''

That staffer, according to an Associated Press source: Joe Pannunzio, a former UM tight ends coach/special teams coordinator and current Crimson Tide director of football operation.

Al.com first reported the release of Alabama's public report, which did not identify the person involved.

A source told The Miami Herald earlier this year that neither Pannunzio nor former Alabama offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland -- now the O-line coach with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles -- were charged in the NCAA's Notice of Allegations in the case involving former UM booster Nevin Shapiro.

"The penalties levied against the staff member, which also included a trip to a NCAA regional rules seminar and 90 days without any permissible recruiting communications, were self-imposed by Alabama,'' cited the al.com story. "Pannunzio, who makes a $170,000 salary has not received a raise during the past two years."

UM hopes to receive its sanctions from the NCAA in that case sometime before the season begins (Aug. 30 against FAU).

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

Alabama lists secondary NCAA violations -- former UM assistant linked

The University of Alabama released an annual report of secondary NCAA violations on Thursday, including one by an unnamed football staffer who "provided impermissible benefits to a prospect and his family and introduced prospects to a booster while at another institution.''

That staffer, according to an Associated Press source: Joe Pannunzio, a former UM tight ends coach/special teams coordinator and current Crimson Tide director of football operation.

Al.com first reported the release of Alabama's public report, which did not identify the person involved.

A source told The Miami Herald earlier this year that neither Pannunzio nor former Alabama offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland -- now the O-line coach with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles -- were charged in the NCAA's Notice of Allegations in the case involving former UM booster Nevin Shapiro.

"The penalties levied against the staff member, which also included a trip to a NCAA regional rules seminar and 90 days without any permissible recruiting communications, were self-imposed by Alabama,'' cited the al.com story. "Pannunzio, who makes a $170,000 salary has not received a raise during the past two years."

UM hopes to receive its sanctions from the NCAA in that case sometime before the season begins (Aug. 30 against FAU).

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

July 25, 2013

UM Canes fans should be happy. Here's why...

If you don't already know, the University of Miami reversed its former stance today by opening CanesFest to everyone -- not just season-ticket holders, Hurricane Club members and the parents of the players.

I've been covering CanesFests for years, and they really are fun for fans of all ages.

I thought it was strange that they had recently changed the policy to leave out so many of the loyal fan base. You don't have to be a season-ticket holder or Hurricane Club member to love the team. That was a bad move, so it was smart to bring back the usual format.

Canes Fest is from 4 to 7 p.m. on August 17 at BankUnited Center.

Here's the story I wrote:

http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/07/25/3521209/canesfest-now-open-to-the-public.html

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

July 24, 2013

Former Canes coaches Larry Coker and Curtis Johnson part of new-look Conference USA

Hi everyone,

Andre Fernandez here covering the Conference USA Media Day in Irving, Texas.

The morning sessions, however, had a distinct UM flavor with former Canes coaches Larry Coker (Texas San Antonio) and Curtis Johnson (Tulane) in attendance.

            Coker, who was proudly sporting his UM 2001 national championship ring, is in a much different coaching situation these days than he was at UM.

Coker

            Coker is in his third season at the UTSA, which joins C-USA this season after a season in the WAC. The Roadrunners are still not a full FBS member school and bowl eligible until 2014.

            UTSA went 8-4 and finished fourth in the WAC last season and Coker is 12-10 in his two seasons at a relatively new program that despite its infancy gets to play in San Antonio’s Alamodome (65,000 capacity) and averaged 38,000 in attendance over the past two seasons.

“I talked to Howard Schnellenberger before I got the job about building a program from scratch,” Coker said. “He said it’s one of the greatest things I’m ever going to do. But it’s definitely a challenge. I think the fertile recruiting environment in Texas and the Alamodome give us a big advantage.”

            Coker talked about the differences between the high-pressure environment he coached at while he was with UM as opposed to the “everything’s brand-new” feeling at UTSA. In a market where the only other big-ticket sports team is the San Antonio Spurs, Coker said when it comes to football, the San Antonio fans have embraced the fledgling program.

            “My athletic director said I’m on honeymoon right now,” Coker said. “We won eight games last year. In Miami, if you win eight games, you get fired. But that’s part of the pleasure of [coaching at UTSA]. It’s a tough task, but a good task.”

            Coker, who turned 65 last month, has no plans on retiring soon, but hopes to see the program through to a point where it can establish itself competitively on an annual basis.

            “I feel great and I love what I do and as long as I do,” Coker said. “I hope to stay. What I hope to do when I leave this is leave the program in great shape and [in a position] where they can really take the next step. I don’t have any illusions that we are going to be a national power while I’m the coach there, but I’d like our players to get a chance to play in a bowl game.

“I’d love to see these guys get that chance and to see good facilities built. Our practice fields and weight rooms we just put a half million into the whole weight room. We have a new lighted practice field on-campus. We didn’t have lights in Miami on practice field. Those are the things, I’d love to see continue to happen.”

Sitting at the Tulane table set across from Coker was his former assistant coach Curtis Johnson. Johnson was not sporting his UM bling Wednesday, however.

“I usually have my Super Bowl ring on one finger and national title ring on the other,” Johnson said. “My wife told me to wear my wedding ring to this so that’s what I brought to this.”

Curtisjohnson

            Johnson, who is in his second year at Tulane, is coming off a 2-10 season and is preparing the team for its final season in Conference USA. Sitting across from Coker at Media Day, Johnson reflected on what he learned from his time at UM and what he still applies to his coaching at Tulane.

“We took a program on probation with the leadership of Butch Davis and Larry Coker and we were bad for one year. We started Reggie Wayne, Santana Moss and Dan Morgan and went 5-6 and were almost run out of town.

“But we built a program and once you do that, you develop toward winning a national championship.

“Miami had a great atmosphere, but I think the biggest mistake was not figuring out how to keep them in the Orange Bowl. When we walked on that field, we knew we’re going to win. That’s the kind of environment and culture you want to create and what we’re trying to build at Tulane.”

            Johnson and Coker will coach against each other Nov. 9 when Tulane visits the Alamodome to take on UTSA. It will be a rare chance for them to face each other since Tulane is set to move to the American Athletic Conference in 2014.

            “Larry’s like my dad so it’s going to be hard,” Johnson said. He’s got a tough, hard-nosed team. It’s going to be a competitive game and a big challenge.”

Miami Hurricanes' Duke Johnson and Brandon Linder on ACC Preseason Team

The Hurricanes will have to prove their worth on the field, which is all that counts. Two of them were selected on the Atlantic Coast Conference Preseason Team: tailback Duke Johnson and guard Brandon Linder.

Here's the list:

2013 Atlantic Coast Conference Preseason Team                                           

Offense

Pos.  Name (Votes)                                                         Ht        Wt          Class                   Hometown

WR    Sammy Watkins, Clemson (57)                        6-1       205         Junior                 Fort Myers, Fla.

WR    Michael Campanaro, Wake Forest (20)        5-11     190         Senior                Clarksville, Md.                

TE      Eric Ebron, North Carolina (35)                         6-4       245         Junior                 Greensboro, N.C.

T                                           James Hurst, North Carolina (37)               6-7                       305         Senior   Plainfield, Ind.                  

T                                           Morgan  Moses, Virginia (35)      6-6          325                      Senior   Richmond, Va.

G       Tre’ Jackson, Florida State (36)                        6-4       330         Junior                 Jesuup, Ga.                       

G       Brandon Linder, Miami (28)                              6-6       317         Senior                Southwest Ranches, Fla.

C                                           Bryan Stork, Florida State (29)    6-4          298                      Senior   Vero Beach, Fla.

QB     Tajh Boyd, Clemson (59)                                    6-1       225         Senior                Hampton, Va.

RB     Duke Johnson, Miami (58)                                 5-9       194         Sophomore     Miami, Fla.

RB     James Wilder Jr., Florida State (23)                6-2       229         Junior                 Tampa, Fla.

 

Defense

 

Pos.  Name (Votes)                                                         Ht        Wt          Class                   Hometown                    

DE     Jeremiah, Attaochu, Georgia Tech (39)        6-3       242         Senior                Washington, D.C.

DE     Kareem Martin, North Carolina (37)              6-6       265         Senior                Roanoke Rapids, N.C.

DT     Nikita Whitlock, Wake Forest (35)                  5-11     250         Senior                Wylie, Texas

DT     Timmy Jernigan, Florida State (34)                 6-2       294         Junior                 Lake City, Fla.

LB      Jack Tyler, Virginia Tech (42)                             6-1       236         Senior                Oakton, Va.

LB      Christian Jones, Florida State (38)                  6-4       232         Senior                Winter Park, Fla.

LB      Kevin Pierre-Louis, Boston College (21)       6-1       215         Senior                Norwalk, Conn.

CB     Ross Cockrell, Duke (48)                                     6-0       180         Senior                Waxhaw, N.C.

CB     Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State (32) *           5-8       190         Senior                Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

S                                           Tre Boston, North Carolina (30)                6-1                       205         Senior   Ft. Myers, Fla.

S                                           Jason Hendricks, Pitt (18)             6-0          180                      Senior   Brooklyn, N.Y.

 

Specialists

 

Pos.  Name (Votes)                                                         Ht        Wt          Class                   Hometown

PK     Chandler Catanzaro, Clemson (41)                 6-2       195         Graduate          Greenville, S.C.

P                                           Will Monday, Duke (41)   6-4       210         Sophomore     Flowery Branch, Ga.

SP      Stefon Diggs, Maryland (34)                             6-1       185         Sophomore     Gaithersburg, Md.

 

* Florida State’s Joyner also received 11 votes at the safety position

 ALSO, HERE'S HOW THE VOTING WENT BY POSITION

The Voting By Position:

(Top Four in Voting Only)

 

Quarterback

1.   Tajh Boyd, CL............................... 59

2.   Logan Thomas, VT........................ 2                  

3.    Bryn Renner, UNC....................... 2

4.    Stephen Morris, UM.................... 2

 

Running Back (Top 2)

1.   Duke Johnson, UM...................... 58

2.   James Wilder Jr., FSU................... 23

3.   Jerome Smith, SYR....................... 17

4.   Devonta Freeman, FSU................ 8

 

Wide Receiver (Top 2)

1.   Sammy Watkins, CL......................                      57

2.   Michael Campanoro, WF.............. 20

3.   Stefon Diggs, MD... ..................... 19

4.   Rashad Greene, FSU.................... 10

 

      Tight End

1.  Eric Ebron, UNC..... ..................... 35

2.  Nick O’Leary, FSU........................ 12

3.  Jake McGee, UVa........................ 11

4.  Braxton Deaver, DU.....................                      4

 

Offensive Tackle (Top 2)

1.  James Hurst, UNC........................ 37

2.  Morgan Moses, UVa.................... 35

3.  Brandon Thomas, CL.................... 28

4.  Seantrel Henderson, U................ M                 17

 

Offensive Guard (Top 2)

1.  Tre’ Jackson, FSU......................... 46

  1. 2.   Brandon Linder, UM.................... 28

3.  Will Jackson, GT........................... 20

4.  Tyler Shatley, CL.......................... 9

 

      Center

1.   Bryan Stork, FSU......................... 29

2.  Macky MacPherson, SYR.............. 15

3.  Jay Finch, GT.......... ..................... 9

4.  Andrew Miller, VT........................ 6

 

      Defense

 

      Defensive End (Top  2)

      1.  ............................ Jeremiah Attaochu, GT    39

      2. Kareem, Martin, UNC..................                      37

      3.  ............................ James Gayle, VT                               20

      4.  Mario Edwards, FSU. ................. 10

 

 

      Defensive Tackle (Top 2)

1.   Nikita Whitlock, WF..................... 35

2.   Timmy Jernigan,FSU.. ................. 34

3.   Aaron Donald, PITT.....................                      32

4.   Derrick Hopkins, VT..................... 7

 

Linebacker (Top 3)

1.  Jack Tyler, VT.......... ..................... 42

2.  Christian Jones, FSU.....................                      38

3.  Kevin Pierre-Louis, BC. ................. 21

4.  Steele Divitto, BC.......................... 18

 

      Cornerback (Top 2)

1. Ross Cockrell, DU.......................... 48

2.  Lamarcus Joyner, FSU.................. 32

3.  Antone Exum, VT......................... 21

4.  Kyle Fuller, VT.............................. 7

 

      Safety (Top 2)

1.  Tre’ Boston, UNC......................... 30

2.  Jason Hendricks, PITT................... 18

3.  Kyshoen Jarrett, VT.....................                      15

4.  Travis Blanks, CL........................... 13

 

      Placekicker

1.  Chandler Catanzaro, CL................ 41

2.  Ross  Martin, DU.......................... 14

3.  Cody Journell, VT......................... 5

4  Nate Freese, BC........................... 2

5.   Ross Krautman, SYR...................... 2                  

 

      Punter

1.  Will Monday, DU.......................... 41

2.  Tommy Hibbard, UNC.................. 11

3.   Matt Yoklic, PITT......................... 4

4.  Cason Beatty, FSU....................... 3                  

 

      Specialist

1.  Stefon Diggs, MD......................... 34

2.  Duke Johnson, UM...................... 9

3.  Jamal Golden, GT......................... 6

4.  Sammy Watkins, CL...................... 6

 

July 23, 2013

McCray talks Canes commitment, training with Patrick Peterson, evading Ely pipeline to LSU

Blanche Ely linebacker Terry McCray took an unofficial visit to UM Tuesday morning where he met with coaches and became the 24th commitment in the Hurricanes' 2014 recruiting class.

For McCray, a 6-3, 220-pound All-Broward Third Team selection as a junior, picking the Canes over Minnesota and West Virginia was an easy decision. 

"I always liked Miami, always liked the school," McCray said. "I really feel like the team they're putting together is going to be one of the best in the country. I didn't want to miss out on the opportunity for that and to play with my favorite college team."

By picking UM, McCray became the 15th commitment from South Florida to pick the Hurricanes and the first from Ely since 2003 when four members of the Tigers' state championship team including his cousin, defensive lineman Teraz McCray, opted to head to Coral Gables. 

"Our tradition for awhile there was sending guys to LSU -- Patrick Peterson, my cousin Rashard Robinson," said McCray, who has received interest from Florida State and LSU throughout the recruiting process. "I just didn't want to follow everybody else."

McCray, who turns 19 in January, said Hurricanes coaches have wanted him since October because of his ability to rush the quarterback and defend in pass coverage.

"On the internet it says I'm an inside linebacker, but I'm really an outside linebacker," McCray said. "UM wants me to be a part of their 3-4 scheme, rushing in and as a drop back linebacker. At Ely we play 3-4. So I'm basically just rushing and dropping back half the time."

McCray said the reason he's solid in pass coverage is because he actually grew up playing defensive back alongside his cousin Robinson and under the tutelage of Peterson. McCray said he's trained with Peterson every day in the mornings during the summer.

"I've known Patrick for almost 10 years. He used to live right by me," McCray said. "That's why I think I'm a good coverage linebacker. I always did DB stuff. He has a few linebackers he's played with here at Ely and other places that come out there and show me a few things. We just do like speed training, sometimes drills, individual drills."

McCray said he moved to linebacker as a sophomore at Ely and has been learning the position year-to-year while adding weight to his body. He's gained about 10 pounds since the end of last season, but still feels just as quick. He said he's also begun to study film a lot more than he did in the past.

"I feel like I have to watch it. I don't like to go out unprepared," McCray said. "It helps me read the snaps. I watch film so much now I know when they're going to snaps. I just started doing it this year. I want to be the best on the field."

McCray said he's done with recruiting and he plans on attending UM. But asked if he might take some trips at the end of the year, he said he probably would go on at least one -- to Minnesota, which like UM has been recruiting him a long time.

"I know this is the school I want to be at," McCray said. "I might go just visit some more schools to get out and go somewhere, just to see something new.

"My parents wanted me to be close to home anyway. They love Miami. We all love Miami."

Canes reel in another 2014 commitment from their own backyard -- Ely LB Terry McCray

Blanche Ely football coach Charles Hafley has been around Broward County for about a decade, long enough to see how the University of Miami has been run differently under its last three head coaches.

Terry McCrayWhen it's come to building relationships in the Hurricanes' backyard, it's the current guy in charge -- Al Golden -- whom Hafley said has figured out the best way to establish real meaningful connections, one that netted UM another commitment Tuesday morning in Ely linebacker Terry McCray.

Listed at 6-3, 220-pounds according to Hafley, McCray is ranked a three-star recruit according to 247Sports.com and the nation's 58th-best inside linebacker. Although rated just a two-star recruit by Rivals, McCray had BCS offers from Syracuse, Minnesota, Cincinnati and West Virginia and is a player the Hurricanes have been on since last October, Hafley said.

A Third Team All-Broward selection by The Miami Herald, McCray finished his junior season with 89 solo tackles, 13 sacks and 20 tackles for loss. Hafley said McCray has a 2.5 GPA and recently took the ACT, but still hasn't received the test score. He believes McCray will qualify at UM.

"They're recruiting him as an outside linebacker," Hafley said. "They really like his hybrid ability there, the way he rushes the quarterback and makes plays. What separates Terry is his knack and ability to be a student of the game. He comes in and watches film. He does what it takes to be a better leader. He's a 305-pound bencher, 200-pound power cleaner and 505-pound squatter. Runs a 4.6 [in the 40]. He's a phenomenal football player. We're going to move him around so teams can't get a beat on him.

What makes McCray's commitment significant for the Hurricanes is that he's the first player from Ely since four players from the Tigers last state championship team (2002) -- Tyrone Moss, Andrew Bain, Teraz McCray, and Cyrim Wimbs -- decided to head to Coral Gables. UM tried unsuccessfully to recruit others from Ely after that including star cornerback Patrick Peterson and most recently Rashard Robinson a year ago. Both went to LSU.

McCray's commitment gives the Hurricanes 24 total in the Class of 2014 including 15 from the South Florida area. Ten are from Miami-Dade, three from Broward and two from Palm Beach.

"Coach [Paul] Williams and Coach Golden did a great job of recruiting Terry," Hafley said. "South Florida has always been and always will be UM territory. Coach Shannon, Coach Coker knew that. But at the end of the day, Coach Golden is just going beyond the call of building relationships. His coaching staff and his support staff as well.

"To me, it's community service projects, the camps. They had Stephen Morris, [Denzel Perryman], [Tracy Howard] at the park down here in our neighborhood recently. The players are the ones really selling the program. Howard did a great job communicating and telling the kids what UM is all about, about it's family atmosphere. It's something that is big for the high school kids and younger kids to hear it from someone from their own backyard."

Hafley said Golden, who took over in 2011 after coming over from Temple, has built stronger relationships with head coaches and programs in South Florida.

"When Coach Golden came to recruit a previous player from here last year [Robinson] he took time to speak to staff members so he can build those relationships," Hafley said. "He's really winning over the South Florida coaching community by doing those things and the clinics they have.

"He's invited myself down to speak with him one-on-one. He's done that with a lot of other head coaches. It's that personal relationship he has with all the coaches that helps them in the long run."

Rivals.com currently ranks UM's class third behind Tennessee (24 commitments) and Florida State (22 commitments). 247Sports.com ranks UM's class fifth behind Tennessee, FSU, Georgia (16 commitments) and Alabama (15 commitments). ESPN, which moved UM up five spots after last week's commitments from Miami Booker T. Washington defensive end Chad Thomas and cornerback Nigel Bethel, had UM ranked seventh prior to Tuesday's commitment from McCray.

July 22, 2013

Corn Elder alert: UM's newest football-hoops prep star could end up bouncing from FB to hoops before end of FB season

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Two-sport star Corn Elder, Mr. Tennessee Football as a running back, will play cornerback, kick returner and punt returner with the Canes, UM football coach Al Golden told us today at the ACC Football Kickoff. A two-time hoops state champion for Ensworth High in Nashville, there’s a good chance the freshman could bounce over to Jim Larranaga’s UM basketball team for practice before this football season ends – especially if he redshirts.

    Elder is enrolled and on campus and has been working out with the football players.

    “Absolutely,’’ Golden said of the possibility of Elder leaving football for basketball early should he redshirt. “Jim and I have a good relationship on that. The first week [Elder] was there we wanted to indoctrinate him to football and get him used to the schedule. The second week we took two or three days and got him acclimated to basketball. I wanted to make sure that he went through that orientation, if you will, how they lift, how they practice, their locker room, their video setup – all that, so he’s not doing it after our season in January.

   “So, certainly if he’s not part of that, we’ll be able to expose him to basketball a lot sooner.’’

   Golden said Larranaga “did not’’ ask him to redshirt Elder. “I know Jim is excited about the young man. He watched him practice this summer and he’s excited about him as a basketball player, which is great to hear.’’

   Regarding football, Golden described Elder as "very talented. Quick feet. Good lateral mobility. He's very smart. I'm not saying he won't be a slot receiver at some point, but he certainly looks very comfortable at corner, and given his speed and quickness...''

   SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

Former Hurricane Ryan Braun becomes first player tied to Biogenesis to be suspended by MLB

Former University of Miami Hurricane Ryan Braun, who won the National League MVP award in 2011 and defended himself vehemently when accused of using performance enhancing drugs, was suspended without pay for the remainder of the season by Major League Baseball Monday after shifting course and acknowledging he broke baseball's rules regarding its joint drug prevention and treatment program.

“As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect," Braun said in a statement released by MLB. "I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it is has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization.

"I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in Milwaukee and around the country. Finally, I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed – all of the baseball fans especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization, and my teammates. I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love.”

Braun, 29, is the first player linked to Biogenesis -- Tony Bosch's Coral Gables-based anti-aging clinic that allegedly supplied PEDs to roughly 20  baseball players -- to be suspended by baseball.

Last week at the All-Star Game in New York, union executive director Michael Weiner said he expected MLB — which has built its case on phone records, receipts and other information provided by Bosch - to present its findings to the players association “within the next month” and for disciplinary action and appeals to likely remain unresolved until the winter.

But Braun, who successfully appealed a 50-game suspension from baseball last season after a positive test for testosterone, apparently sped the process up after he met with MLB investigators recently and decided to admit he broke rules. He will miss the Brewers final 65 games this season. Milwaukee just swept the Marlins over the weekend.

“We commend Ryan Braun for taking responsibility for his past actions,” said Rob Manfred, Executive Vice President, Economics and League Affairs for Major League Baseball. “We all agree that it is in the best interests of the game to resolve this matter. When Ryan returns, we look forward to him making positive contributions to Major League Baseball, both on and off the field."

UM baseball coach Jim Morris, reached by phone after learning of the news, declined comment. 

Hurricanes picked by media to win the ACC Coastal Division -- then lose to Clemson in the ACC Championship game

So much for compliments.

The Miami Hurricanes were selected by media members at the ACC Football kickoff to win the Coastal Division, but lose in the league title game to expected Atlantic Division champ Clemson.

 Clemson also had the preseason pick for ACC Player of the Year -- in a landslide. Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd got 105 votes, with Hurricanes running back Duke Johnson earning 4 votes as the runner-up.

The preseason prediction garnered 102 first-place votes for Clemson --which leads all ACC teams with 14 conference titles -- in Atlantic Division balloting. Defending ACC champion Florida State placed second with 18 first-place votes.

  Clemson was named on 95 ballots to win the ACC title, with FSU getting 15 championship votes and Georgia Tech, Miami and UNC each getting 3.

  Miami was chosen by 65 voters as the expected Coastal winner, while Virginia Tech got 27 first-place votes and North Carolina, 22.

  Predicted order of finish:

Atlantic Division

1. Clemson (102 first-place votes and 815 total points)

2. FSU (18 and 731)

3. NC State (490)

4. Wake Forest (392)

5. Maryland (373)

6. Syracuse (320)

7. Boston College (211)

Coastal Division

1. Miami (65 first-place votes and 736 points)

2. Virginia Tech (27 and 654)

3. North Carolina (22 and 649)

4. Georgia Tech (6 and 522)

5. Pitt (313)

6. Virginia (230)

7. Duke (228)

 

  SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 


News from UM Canes coach Al Golden: highlights from my one-on-one interview at ACC Football Kickoff

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Just finished speaking with UM coach Al Golden in a solo interview at the Grandover Resort. He's here for the ACC Football Kickoff.

Some quick hits before he speaks in the late afternoon to the masses:

* He said he has no idea exactly when the NCAA penalties will be announced or are coming. He did not want to comment on the hearing. I asked him to "fill in the blank. If the NCAA penalizes UM another bowl game, I will....''

Golden's answer: "That's a great question. I will refrain from answering that as I have the last two years. I don't want to come this far with the investigation and then start commenting on something. We've shown a lot of restraint and discipline throught the whole process and I don't want to screw that up now.''

* Golden said he has not decided whether freshman quarterback Kevin Olsen, already on campus and working out with his teammates, will redshirt. "We'll see,'' he said. "They all deserve an opportunity to prove themseslves. I'm not into predicting someone's status in the future. It sets a bad precedent. We're then telling someone not to compete, which is contradictory to what we're trying to do in our culture.''

 * He said no one has been punished or suspended for the beginning of the season.

 

* Golden expects newcomer defensive linemen Ufomba Kamalu and Al-Quadin Muhammad -- "we call him Quan,'' Golden said -- to arrive in time for the first day of fall camp on Aug. 3.

* He also expects DL Julio Derosier, a jr-college transfer, to arrive on time.

* The verdict is still out on RB Eduardo Clements, who had neck surgery and missed spring. "He's seeing the doctor this week. He's been working out with the team. We're all praying it's a clean bill of health.''

* DL Dyron Dye (Achilles' tendon surgery) is not ready to practice.

* TE Clive Walford is recuperating from an injury, as is S Deon Bush.

* OL Sunny Odogwu had minor surgery and will be OK.

* DL Kelvin Cain and WR Rashawn Scott, who have been in and out of the dog house under Golden, are "doing really well,'' Golden said. "Kelvin is stronger and heavier and is closing in on 250 pounds.''

* Two-sport star Corn Elder, Mr. Tennessee as a RB, is playing cornerback, kick returner and punt returner with the Canes.

* Ray Lewis III is now a cornerback.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

July 21, 2013

UM QB draws a crowd: notes from opening day at ACC Football Kickoff

GREENSBORO, NC -- Stephen Morris was surrounded by a steady flow of media members Sunday at the Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff. He was unfazed -- the same cool, calm, personable player he is on most days at the University of Miami.

He is not easily intimidated, if ever, thinking back over the past few years. 

Morris talked about his recent experience at the Manning Passing Academy at Nicholls State in Thibodaux, La., where more than 40 college quarterbacks served as counselors, including Alabama QB A.J. McCarron, UNC QB Bryn Renner, Michigan QB Devin Gardner and Gators QB Jeff Driskel.

Driskel was a finalist in the camp's air-it-out quarterback challenge, along with Nevada QB Cody Fajardo and Morris. But it was Morris who won the competition.

He said the competition "changed a lot of things'' for him. "I think the biggest thing for me was just to get that exposure. It helped me tremendously.'' He also said he had a great time getting to know his fellow quarterbacks. Morris said he was "six for six'' in a competition that had the QBS zipping the ball at a moving golf cart with a target attached. "20, 30, 50 yards down the field,'' he said of his precise throws.

Morris' accuracy, poise and by now, mastery of the offense -- even if it is led by a new offensive coordinator in James Coley -- should give the already offensively loaded Canes a great advantage heading into the season.

He said he wants to focus on "staying in the pocket'' while "being active in the pocket'' and getting his feet planted correctly when he makes his throws. "I noticed I rushed a lot last season,'' he said.

Morris wouldn't divulge any specifics on the Coley offense. "I guess you guys have to find out. Not much has changed. We got some new aspects. He brought some new passing concepts, but other than that,'' he said, it's much of the same.

More Morris comments:

On the Florida game Sept. 7 at Sun Life Stadium: "It's definitely one of those games where you cannot go in the offseason and not talk about it. Everytime I'm out there working with my guys I'm telling them, 'Take this rep as if you're playing Florida.'"

How much was he recruited by Florida? "Not much. That's why I'm a Cane. I think this is the best decision of my life, coming to the University of Miami.''

"The Key to our whole offense is everybody on the offensive line is back.''

On Texas A&M QB and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel being sent home from the Manning Passing Academy: "At first I didn't know anything about it until campers started coming up to me and telling me about it. But whatever happened with that situation is between him and Texas A&M.

   "Very cool guy, man. Very down to earth. He has all these accolades and he still is talking to everybody who was coming up to him.. All the fans. He spent time to sign autographs and take pictures with him. He's a very humble guy. He's a funny guy to be around. The media really wants to put it certain ways but Johnny is a great guy.''

  On Coley being from Florida State: "Nothing surprises me in this world. It's truly a business.'' Coach Coley "is a player's coach.''

   On his last 139 passes being throw without an interception, and the pressure that presents: 

   "You just have to go out and play and have fun. If you start thinking about throwing interceptions or second guessing this and that, then you're going to start playing slower and you're going to have to worry about interceptions. Those last four games I wasn't worried about anything. I knew my receivers were going to have my back. I knew my offensive line was protecting me every way they [could], my running backs were running great routes and my tight ends really emerged. Everything just clicked. We're going to pick up where we left off.''

   On the still-pending NCAA case: "It's just a cloud that has been looming over the University of Miami. ...But any decision that is being made right now is completely out of our hands. ...Let that be their decision; Let that be their fight,'' he said of UM president Donna Shalala, coach Al Golden and the UM administration.' 

  On starting the season against FAU: "I think that's a great game. I know a couple of my [high school] teammates went there. They've already started trash-talking with me.''

  On freshman quarterback Kevin Olsen: "Kevin Olsen is an amazing talent. He has a strong arm. Obviously he comes from a family that's very football oriented.''

  SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

Day One at the ACC Football Kickoff: Stephen Morris, Shayon Green & the commish among those to appear

GREENSBORO, NC -- Welcome to the 2013 college football season.

It sure feels like it's close from our vantage point at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro, N.C., where all 14 Atlantic Coast Conference teams are represented at the ACC Football Kickoff. Syracuse (Atlantic Division) and Pittsburgh (Miami's Coastal Division) are the new ACC members this season, with Louisville coming on board next season.

For those who forgot, UM plays at Pittsburgh in the regular-season finale the day after Thanksgiving, on Friday, Nov. 29th. Brrrr. 

Today, Miami quarterback Stephen Morris and defensive end Shayon Green meet us at 1:30 p.m. -- along with players from Boston College, North Carolina and Wake Forest.

Clemson, Duke, and UVA players speak from 2:29 to 3:39 p.m.

FSU, Maryland, Pitt and Syracuse players speak from 3:50 to 5 p.m.

And Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and NC State players speak from 4:40 to 6 p.m.

Coaches speak tomorrow, with UM coach Al Golden slated for 2:59 to 4:09 p.m.

I already chatted briefly with Stephen (who is getting plenty of exposure) and Shayon (who will be relied on to help carry the defense), and they're refreshed and ready for their final seasons.

We'll hear ACC Commissioner John Swofford today, as well. 

FYI, there are seven QBs, six defensive linemen, four wide receivers, four defensive backs, three offensive linemen and four linebackers repping their teams.

Be back later.

Enjoy your Sunday.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

 

 

July 20, 2013

Canes reel-in another one from Booker T., land highly-touted DE Chad Thomas

This was the big fish the Hurricanes really wanted.

Defensive end Chad Thomas, the defensive line MVP at The Opening combine in Oregon two weeks ago and a consensus four-star recruit according to Rivals and 247Sports.com, committed to the University of Miami on Saturday morning -- a day after Miami Booker T. Washington teammate and star cornerback Nigel Bethel did the same.

Like Bethel, Thomas (6-4, 245) used his team's trip to Alabama and Florida State this past week to make sure that Coral Gables is where he really wanted to be.

"I added everything up and Miami had the best offer," said Thomas, who chose the Hurricanes over Florida State, Alabama, N.C. State, Louisville and LSU. "Florida State and Alabama are both great programs. But Miami has got what I’m looking for in terms of opportunity and academics too."

Thomas earned All-Dade and All-State First Team honors last season in helping lead Booker T. to the Class 4A state championship. He racked up 57 tackles and six sacks and along with Bethel and fellow Hurricanes commitment and defensive end Demetrius Jackson will anchor this year's nationally-ranked Tornadoes team on defense.

"I've been to Miami like 50 times," Thomas said. "Coach [Micheal] Barrow has been recruiting me hard since my sophomore year. Coach Barrow was a great player in the NFL and he's been telling me I can be the same down the road."

A two-year starter at Booker T., Thomas said he's gained over 40 pounds since the start of his junior year and the added muscle helps his body recover a lot faster than it did before.

"I work out three times a day with a trainer and basically I eat more," Thomas said. "I used to miss breakfast a lot. Now I eat my breakfast everyday. In fact, I eat four times a day. I’m gaining muscle."

Thomas said he's bench-pressed 225 pounds a total of 16 reps (UM aims for its college linemen to produce at least 20 reps) and was timed at 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

He said he learned a lot at The Opening from Ndamukong Suh, his position coach at the combine and plans to show off what he learned there this season.

"I feel like I'm not only bigger, but faster," Thomas said. "I just can't wait for the season to get started.

As for his college decision, Thomas said: "That's it. I'm done. Now I can just focus on football and school."

Thomas is the 23rd commit in Miami's 2014 class. As of Saturday morning, Miami had the No. 3 ranked recruiting class in the country for 2014 according to 247Sports.com.

July 19, 2013

Booker T. speedy cornerback Nigel Bethel commits to Canes on bus ride back from Alabama, FSU

Although he grew up a UM fan and had an inkling his future was in Coral Gables, Miami Booker T. Washington star cornerback Nigel Bethel wanted to confirm his feelings.

So, he took a trip with his high school teammates and head coach up to the University of Alabama and Florida State this past week to make sure there was no doubt in his mind he wanted to be a Hurricane.

It didn't take Bethel long to make up his mind. On the bus ride home from Tallahassee Friday, Bethel called UM coaches and announced his intentions. He's Coral Gables bound.

"I committed to Miami because I didn't want to leave my family and I wanted to be teammates with guys like Artie Burns and Tracy Howard," said Bethel, ranked a four-star recruit and the nation's 28th best cornerback according to Rivals.com.

"Miami is the only place I feel comfortable."

At 5-9, 175 pounds, Bethel has been a two-year starter for the nationally-ranked Tornadoes and is one of the fastest corners in the country. He ran the secod leg on Booker T.'s state championship 4x100-meter relay team and also placed second at state in the 200 meters (21.13) to earn All-Dade First Team honors. His coach Ice Harris said Bethel ran a low 4.4 the last time he timed in the 40-yard dash.

"A lot of the time our kids need to go out and see different things so they realize the best opportunity for them is at home. That's what happened in this case," Harris said. "Alabama, FSU, those are national championship programs just like Miami. Looking at where he was at and his situation, going to Miami in this case was his best fit."

The Hurricanes now have 22 non-binding oral commitments as part of the 2014 recruiting class and four defensive backs in all. Bethel is the most highly touted alongside Miami Northwestern's Ryan Mayes.

"He's a player that has a great upside," Harris said. "He's shown his development to keep getting better from year to year and is a true cover corner. We want to keep developing him. The next thing he's working on is continuing to show he can tackle going to the next level."

Bethel picked the Canes over offers from Tennessee and Kentucky according to Harris. Bethel said he has a 2.7 GPA and scored a 19 on the ACT. He wants to major in sports medicine at UM.

Bethel, who announced his commitment on Twitter, is already having a little fun with Booker T. quarterback Treon Harris, a Florida State commitment.