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Dade, Broward coaches say Canes doing good job recruiting backyard

Here is a longer version of my Sunday story with more quotes and content collected over the past two weeks from interviewing local high school coaches in the Dade-Broward area about how the Hurricanes are recruiting their backyard. I interviewed more than a dozen head coaches and assistants across both counties... 

Miami Norland coach Daryle Heidelburg, who won a state title two years ago with current Hurricanes Duke Johnson and Ereck Flowers, endured a rough 3-7 football season in 2013.

And yet, even though his roster wasn’t littered with major 2014 recruits, Heidelburg said he still heard from University of Miami coach Al Golden often – via email or a text. He also said he had a UM assistant coach at his school every opportunity NCAA rules allowed for colleges to make visits and contact.

Same deal for Columbus coach Chris Merritt, Cypress Bay coach Mark Guandolo and a number of other coaches in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, who didn’t have one of the 246 seniors UM offered a scholarship to according to 247Sports.com.

The coaches of the 30 local seniors who did have offers – like at Booker T. Washington, Central, American Heritage, South Dade, Northwestern, St. Thomas Aquinas, Champagnat and Deerfield Beach – said UM coaches recruited those players as hard as anybody else in the country, with assistants Michael Barrow and Hurlie Brown taking the lead on most.

“I personally don’t see how they can do a better job recruiting South Florida than they already are,” said Merritt, who had U.S. All-American safety Deon Bush sign with UM two years ago. “You’re talking about the most recruited, talent-rich area in the country. There’s no way you’re going to get them all.”

Yet, come Wednesday, when fax machines get busy sending and receiving signed National Letters of Intent, the natural instinct for all UM fans will be to look at the recruiting rankings and begin taking account of the big timers Golden was able to keep home and the ones that get away.

This year’s Dade-Broward class is as rich as any in recent memory with 13 of the state’s top 30 consensus players calling Dade or Broward home, most of whom were All-Americans. UM’s backyard yielded only six top 30 recruits in 2013 (Miami signed Stacy Coley and Artie Burns) and seven in 2012 (UM landed five: Johnson, Flowers, Bush, Tracy Howard and Jelani Hamilton).

This year, UM has five of the state’s top 30 recruits committed including four locals: Booker T. defensive end Chad Thomas, Aquinas defensive lineman Anthony Moten and Central running back Joseph Yearby and offensive lineman Trevor Darling. The fifth, Palm Beach Central offensive tackle Kc McDermott, is already enrolled at UM along with Yearby and Darling.

Overall, Miami’s class is ranked eighth nationally by ESPN, Scout and Rivals and 11th by 247Sports.com. And 11 of UM’s 26 commitments hail from Dade or Broward.

“I think Miami has done a good job down there, but I wouldn’t say a great job,” said Chris Nee, who covers recruiting in the state of Florida for 247Sports.com. “You see a guy like Johnnie Dixon [from Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer] who they really valued, [Champagnat defensive tackle] Travonte Valentine, [Homestead receiver] Ermon Lane, who early in the process they really valued. Missing on those guys, that doesn’t make you a better football team and it’s going to cause disappointment.

“But it’s not like they’re not putting in the effort. They were in it late for Dixon, Valentine and a few others. It’s just a matter of you have to close. And that’s the big thing with Golden. He’s improved that program. But for them to take the next step they have to close on those guys. They have to get those kids to make them a better program.”

Central running back Dalvin Cook (Florida State), American Heritage running back Sony Michel (Georgia), Chaminade defensive tackle Khairi Clark (Florida) and undecided recruits Lane and Valentine (he’s still considering UM, but LSU is the favorite) were all players Miami was in on early and hard. Assuming they all get away, they’ll join a list of recent UM big misses that include linebacker Matthew Thomas (FSU), running back Alex Collins (Arkansas), receiver Amari Cooper (Alabama), linebacker Keith Brown (Louisville) and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville).

Outspoken Hurricanes fan and rapper Luther Campbell, who has deep ties to Miami’s innercity and was named defensive coordinator at Norland earlier this week, thinks UM coaches are doing a good job recruiting locally but said they need to “be a little more aggressive and take the approach as if they’re from out of town.” In the end, Campbell said players like Lane and Cooper grew up wanting to be Canes and had to be convinced to go elsewhere.

 “I don’t think there’s a lot of coaches pushing kids away from Miami – because you can’t tell a parent not to send a kid to Miami,” Campbell said. “I just don’t think Miami goes the extra mile. These other schools are like vultures. They come in hard to the park, Pop Warner games, coaches who raised these kids, track coaches, they come in and find out about everything. They’re sitting in there having breakfast where the parents eat. You got guys like [Alabama assistant Mario] Cristobal, T-Rob [Travaris Robinson] from Florida hitting these guys up on Facebook every day.”

Heidelburg agrees, and said he’s told Golden with “brutal honesty.” Heidelburg said he’s also stressed to Golden how other programs are beating UM to the punch when it comes to offering kids early in the process.

“In my last conversation with Coach Golden he explained to me they don’t just throw out offers,” said Heidelburg, who has a 2015 defensive back in Carlton Davis the Canes are very interested in but have not yet offered (South Carolina, UNC, Kentucky and Arkansas have). “Golden wants Miami’s offers to be valid. They have a strenuous process of selecting kids. But I told him it might hurt them at times because the kid remembers who was in on them first and early.”

Nee points out, though, the Hurricanes appear to be getting more aggressive of late in terms of early offers and already have 119 out for the 2015 class -- including 52 in state and 21 locally.

Booker T. Washington coach Ice Harris said not offering his son -- star quarterback Treon Harris -- a scholarship early is the only mistake UM made this season. Last year, Harris was upset when UM pulled its offer from highly-touted offensive lineman Denver Kirkland (Arkansas) late in the process. But he said the fences have long been mended, and credits Barrow and former Hurricanes coach Randy Shannon (assistant at Arkansas) as being the two recruiters who have been at his program the earliest and most often over the last year.

Champagnat’s Mike Tunsil and American Heritage’s Mike Rumph, a former Hurricane, were the only local coaches interviewed by The Miami Herald who thought Miami could have done a better job evaluating and recruiting other players on their state championship teams. But when it came to recruiting the players UM did go after from those schools – Michel and Valentine -- “Miami did its due diligence,” Tunsil said.

“I think Coach Golden does a great job making a strategic plan and sharing his positional philosophy with coaches and letting people know who fits what they’re looking for,” said former University School coach Roger Harriott, who was hired by FAU in late December. “Some of our guys just didn’t fit what they were looking for the last two years. But that doesn’t mean the relationships were bad. Al and I texted each other after every game. They were recruiting and had offers out for our 2015 and 2016 kids.

“If you ask any coach around South Florida, all of Miami’s coaches have done a great job cultivating great relationships. From an outsider’s perspective, it’s always going to look like you’re letting kids get away. But they’re doing a good job. Sometimes it’s just a kid’s decision to leave.”


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They are getting some good ones but the truly elite players from Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties are getting plucked out of here. Of course you are not going to get all the players down here but you need to keep the elite guys here and let the other schools battle for the second tier guys but the truly elite ones they are not keeping them home. Golden needs to step up!!!!

D stands for *douchebag*:

1) Someone who has surpassed the levels of jerk and as@hole, however not yet reached f%cker or motherf%cker. Not to be confuzed with douche.

2) An individual who has an over-inflated sense of self worth, compounded by a low level of intellegence, behaving ridiculously in front of colleagues with no sense of how moronic he appears.

3) Somebody who you think is a complete retard and doesn't know anything about what they're talking about.

Good job by AG of convincing Wyche to stick it out and keep his commitment!

Hey Huh, if I'm not mistaken, you copying and pasting a comment to different articles screams #2 on your list.

You just want someone to notice you.

You're part of the reason I can't let my kid read articles about his favorite team online. Stop spouting your low-class trash in public.

Not good enough, these kids that stand out at the optimist level should be close to UM. It must start early. These kids should be watched closely by UM. Look at them and see them grow and mature. That's an advantage you have against these outsiders.

We lost Reilly Gibbons to Stanford. We can't afford to lose anymore committed recruits especially this close to NSD. I'm glad Michael Wyche is going to stick it out and finish his last semester at JUCO and become a Cane in May!

Gibbons gone, that's okay, it's all trending up. What a joke.

Good post Don

Of the 88 roster players on the 1987 National Championship team, 63 (or 72%) hailed from Florida. Of the remaining 25 non-FL players, I count only 6 that one could really say were impact players that season:

Greg Mark, DE (NJ)
Russell Maryland, DT (IL)
Matt Patchan, OT (PA)
Daniel Stubbs, DE (NJ)
Mike Sullivan, OT (IL)
Steve Walsh, QB (MN)

Jimmie Johnson knew where to spend his time recruiting and it wasn't out of state. The kids that came to UM from out of state were probably recruited lightly, if at all. They wanted to come based on the program's elite status.

Of the 119 offers for class of 2015 recruits, 67 (or 56%) are out-of-state offers! Are you kidding me! Why? Does anyone really believe that blue chip juniors from out of state are coming to UM? Waste of time. Golden, get real!

Riley Gibbons is gone........ Al is closing strong, 6 kids in the last 3 weeks gone, but its not the coaches fault...... LMFAO

Of the 119 offers for class of 2015 recruits, 67 (or 56%) are out-of-state offers! Are you kidding me! Why? Does anyone really believe that blue chip juniors from out of state are coming to UM? Waste of time. Golden, get real!

Posted by: Kinetic Cane

Dude where do you get your info, how about some links? 119 offers already? Nothing on Rivals or Scout show that. I'd be curious to see it

Quoting this article dude.

Riley Gibbons is gone........ Al is closing strong, 6 kids in the last 3 weeks gone, but its not the coaches fault...... LMFAO

Posted by: Rick
6 commits? Am I missing something here? Is it 6? Dude we've got an awesome class, and we still have an outside chance at TV. Hated losing Gibbons, but OL isn't a priority as much as DL. We'll be fine.

Yeah I see it Kinetic, my computer is really sluggish and I couldn't read it yet. Yeah that's a lot of out of staters.

They can get all the top talent they want. If they keep our DC around what difference will it make. Another year like last year tbey wont come to the anyways. If gour good you go to schools that play for championships not talk about its a process. I think golden is a good coach but he haz to get a real DC instead of friends.


It's true that UM is losing out on too many of the elite players in S. Fla. It's not due to a lack of effort by the coaches. Until UM puts a better team on the field, they will continue to miss out on too many local elite players. Winning solves everything.

Michael Strahan into how is well deserved. No thanks to Warren Sapp who completely lacks any class and grace.

I am a 30 yr Cane fan, I have never ever witness this many kids de committing from the U, this program is in the shitzzzzzz, Al FAKE Golden chose not to change nothing, They are almost dead last, in every single category in the ACC on Defense, they are 100th in the nation of TIME OF POSSESSION, THEY HAD THE EASIEST SCHEDULE IN SCHOOL HISTORY..... AND THEY STILL SUCKED, >>>>>>>> Hmmmmmmmmmmm woder why kids are leaving.... IDIOTS

Don is right...we need to get the elite guys. This coaching staff just isn't doing enonough. No threat of sanctions this year, no excuses either.

Reilly is a smart kid, he set back all yr and watch the U, run the shot gun formation and the guard would tap the center one time and the ball would be hiked, Miami ran the shotgun formation in the Bowl game and Loserville was laughing, the D line was up walking around watching for the tap, they would be 2 yards off the ball, as soon as the guard raised his hand for the tap, THE D LINE WOULD GET A RUNNING START, AND U WONDER WHY THE KID LEFT..... ROFLMFAO.... IDIOTS

The only idiots on this blog have spoken and removed all doubt....starting with Rick!

Wow there are some real tards on here.

Kid wants to go to Stanford law school morons.

Rick great last post.. Even the espn analysis said the same thing about the L dline during the bowl game.

With hold judgement until NSD,that's when it counts!

I have been saying this all along, we need to Close the Deal!!
Most of these top recruits grew up Cane fans that's advantage number 1. We need to use our influence in the community and with ex players as well as coaches to Close. All of the below mentioned grew up as Cane fans.
Sony- Coach Mike Rhump ex UM player and National Champ
Roudolph - decommit, Coach Steve Walsh ex UM player and National Champ.
Valentine - decommit
Bethel - decomitt
Harris - His 2 brothers went to UM
Cook = Brother plays BB at the U
We had a legit chance to get all these guys and they slipped away. Even if you Close on half of these kids you would be contending for the top recruiting class in the Nation.

It is time to take a deep breath and relax a bit. I guess no other school in America has kids who have changed their minds and decided to go elsewhere. Five star, four star bores me, U still has to develop them once they get here.

There is nothing boring about those guys that I mentioned. Those guys are instant contributors to a program and game changers.
Every player need to develop regardless of talent and rankings. There are always guys that are going to get away. but that group is too valuable to let all of them get away. Like I said, adding half of that group to the existing class puts us at the top of the class.

As I posted after this story's shorter version, Bradenton has a 6'2", 234-lb running back named Bo Scarbrough. College Football News says he's the 3rd best in the country. He's a big, fast, talented, bruising back. He's undecided. Go get him, coach.

Either that or go after some quality D linemen.

The NCAA probe left residual affects on the U's program. Its like a hangover. Really damaged the U brand. Hell, if I were the head couch, I would've bolted the first chance I got. Gotta be patient, at least another year.

There's no ncaa residual affect, we got a slap on the wrist.

The coaching staff is what had damaged the brand. Every nationally televised game is a commercial for why kids shouldn't come here.

Why would any kid play for Miami when goldie and d'o are intent on setting them up to lose with their lack of knowledge about defense??????????????

Seattle Seahawks, number one defense in the NFL used a four down linemen, LBs up close, attacking defense against Denver. Denver used morons d'o and goldie's three down def. linemen, LBs off the los, zone prevent NO defense, and lost badly.

Seattle did not even need their offense. Seattle's defense outscored Denver.

A defense can win championships using four down linemen, LBs up close, man to man pass coverage and blitzes.

Pete Carroll has handfuls of championship rings at USC and now Seattle while Miami has morons goldie and d'o, empty stadiums and invites to the toilet bowls.

And NOOOOOOOO, it is not the players. Denver had just as good of players as Seattle. But Seattle had a head coach and a DC who knew good defense and stuck with it. What is funny is that Denver beat New England using a four down linemen def while NE used a three down linemen NO defense just two weeks earlier.

You can not fix stupid, changing the defensive set every play or using 3 down linemen.

Ask yourself which super bowl team do we resemble more?

That game looked a lot like our bowl game.

If Miami is to return to national championship status they have to get the top defensive tackle talent as well as get bigger defensive ends. They are relying too much on the old recruiting philosophy where they brought in 225 pounders an developed them into top pass rushers. That no longer works because offensive tackles are more athletic than they were back in the 80's. Your ends should be about 250 pounds before they even leave high school. Make your 210 to 225 pounders into line backers or safeties if they have speed.

Also, from what I have been reading the team has the worst facilities in all of college football and that is pathetic when you consider where the campus is located as well as the players that have came through the program. Next, they need more fan support, I guess there is too much to do on Saturday afternoons in Miami because fan support is also pathetic. How can a team with this much talent get obliterated by a sorry team like Duke? That was a disgrace.

Finally, get your offensive linemen in better shape, it would be a good thing if they all lost about twenty to thirty pounds each since they basically lied down against Louisville. That performance should not have happened.

Another thing, I was hoping Al Golden would have gotten the Penn State job because although he has recruited fairly well, the coaches have not been able to develop NFL caliber talent. The future coach of the program will be either Rob Chudzinski or some defensive coordinator from I hate to say some SEC team who is a strong recruiter. Or try to get the Seahawks defensive coordinator, but the "U" is not going to pay him the kind of money that will await here after the 2014 season from the NFL.

There are a lot more issues than what is apparent including getting someone else to coach.

Posted by: Kinetic Cane | February 01, 2014 at 08:15 PM

I don't know. Maybe the []_[] was more attractive back then. Over a decade and 1 bowl win isn't really going to make recruits beat the door down, ya know?

Canesjunkie you hit the nail on the head!! denver looked alot like our neloved Canes of late....deer in the headlights and zero fire or aggression.

sam what is the focus of your post?.

All the points you mentioned are nothing new to this party..
Repeating the same old, same old, does not address the byline.

Recruiting by weight is conjecture because we do not know what the Coaches need for their players optimal performance. Apparently you do.

Facilities....have you walked on Campus recently?. Please do, and when the practice field goes in it will continue to get better..Visit don't just read.

Coach Swaze has been doing this for so long that his NC rings would dazzle you. You are going to tell him how to work out athletes?...ROFLOL

Get over it, CG is here no one else. ( Old news)
Check out his contract (Reality)

The issues you imply are remedied by wins.. Last year 9 and with expectations this year will do as well if not better.

So getting back to the original premise..The Coaches at the U are doing a very good job recruiting.
Some prospects seem to want what we offer, others more, but if you WANT to be a 'Cane, you will be a 'Cane.
Go 'Canes

I agree with Sam on fan support. That stadium is consistently empty.

you could argue that the product isn't up to par, but still, there are plenty of empty seats. The stadium isn't that far away and we don't all live in coral gables. Tickets prices are also very reasonable.

Junkie we all agree on that..

If the right game is set )(Fla. State/ Florida etc.) that place is jumping.

Go 'canes


Yes on uf and fsu, but partly because of their fans.

We need to accept our responsibility on the recruiting failures. What kids wants to play in an empty stadium?

The Canes used to fill up the OB against all teams when we had coaches who knew attacking defenses.

Now, for a pres, we have a troll and an AD and BofT who are morons about coaching talent.

Sam is right on. There was a story about a Bball coach who was recruiting a no body bball player. The kid said, but I can't shoot or defend or run or dribble. Why do you want me to join your team? The coach said we can teach you to shoot, defend, and to dribble. But we can't teach a player to be big.

BTW, you can use a zone in bball, but not in football. The gaps in the zones in football are huge and make for easy completions. Of course, stupid d'o and goldie never will figure that out or that a man to man DB only has to guard his receiver for a lousy three seconds IFFFFFFF he has four down linemen and a blitzer against the QB.

Hmmm...not getting elite kids out of South Florida? I think many think Chad Thomas is the best player in the state. Yearby is one of the top three running backs in the state and top five in the country. McDermott and Darling are top ten nationally at tackle. We still get plenty of the top talent.

Losing Gibbons? Kid was as solid publicly as they come, we were on him early and he was committed for nearly a year. He gets a late offer for Stanford and flips. Stanford is one of the elite academic schools in the country and he evidently sees more of a future for himself as a lawyer than in the NFL.

We lost Powell. There was a holdup on his academics in admission just as there was with Yearby and Darling. Both of them were patient and were admitted in a day or two. Powell obviously wanted to be a Gator and ran. Good riddance. If he is that easy to flip he doesn't deserve to be a Cane.

Bethel? Who cares.

Valentine? If he commits to LSU it will be his 4th commitment. He said he decommitted from Miami because he though Golden might be leaving. That was settled in days and he didn't recommit now did he? I don't believe there is anything more the staff can do there.

The other elites, like Michael or Cook? What more could they do? Kids grow up loving the U then can't wait to get away from the city.

Bottom line, recruiting has turned so many of these kids into media stars before they have done anything. You have thirty, forty and fifty year old men checking the Internet several times a day to see if anything has changed. I personally wish the NCAA would say you can sign anytime. No verbal commitments. If you decide you are going to one school, sign a contract that day and you are done. If you want out you have to sit a year or two. That would end a lot of the silly games these children love to play during recruiting now days.

"I am giving [Alabama] a good look. They gave me a lot to think about this weekend. Alabama is just different from Miami. Everything is different... It's different in a good way."

For those of you in Coral Gables, what I mean is this:

Alabama is a winning program
Alabama has competent coaches
Alabama has passionate fans that support the team
Alabama is serious about football
Alabama knows how to play defense

I hope Golden watched the super bowl and had a revelation about the value of physical defense.


good points. These kids are divas. It's so laughable to see how much hangs on the decisions of some of these kids.

Chad Thomas is like a hot girl with low self esteem. You give her a couple of complements and it's on.

I watched the superbowl, but I could not see anything that would make me want to change defenses NOR my boyfriend DC. I am happy to go 9-4 or 8-5 or 7-6 or 6-7 as long as I am getting my big paycheck and enjoying the weather in south florida. Fear the Tie.

I agree with Darrel and Junkie, it's not about the kids. It's about The Great Golden, and The Process.
Only our Golden Coach has the 300 page manual on how to run a mayor football program. Only he can bring us back to glory. Players come and go, The Golden Rule lives on. So who cares if our "top" recruits flip on NSD, we have the coach and the system in place. Who can argue with his record. Remember he was the best MAC coach while at Temple and now he is the best ACC coach. If you believe Ron Zook, he is the best coach in America, and who can really argue with that.
So sit back and enjoy The Process, doesn't matter who we sign on NSD, we already have The Golden One.

You certainly don't agree with me. I understand the ton of disadvantages that Golden has had to deal with since coming to Miami. Unfortunately made worse by the small but vocal group of Canes fans who are totally clueless. And Junkie, as for Chad, that kid is tight. He hasn't played games at all like so many of the others. I wish they were all like him.


He's going to like every program he visits. I don't blame him, he's just a kid.


Did i say golden wasn't to blame?


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