After watching their teammate Artie Burns get picked 25th overall Thursday in the NFL Draft, then waiting fruitlessly Friday as the minutes melted away, the draft-eligible Miami Hurricanes had to be getting more jittery by the second on Saturday.
After watching their teammate Artie Burns get picked 25th overall Thursday in the NFL Draft, then waiting fruitlessly Friday as the minutes melted away, the draft-eligible Miami Hurricanes had to be getting more jittery by the second on Saturday.
Barring some late additions (which could very well happen), the Hurricanes 2016 Signing Class is pretty much set.
UM has 18 players it has added to its roster and now it's time to rank them based on the impact I think they'll make not only immediately but long term.
1. Shaquille Quarterman, LB, Orange Park Oakleaf, 6-1, 239
- The U.S. Army All-American and nation's fifth best inside linebacker according to 247Sports.com had been committed to UM since before his junior season and all I've heard across the board from scouts is how he's going to be the best linebacker Miami has had in years. Let's face it, Quarterman doesn't have much in the way of competition to see instant playing time. He's already physically bigger than senior Jermaine Grace (6-1, 221) and only a few pounds lighter than juniors Juwon Young (6-2, 245) and Darrion Owens (6-3, 247). If those three guys are your starters next season, Quarterman, an early enrollee, is your fourth-best linebacker ahead of junior Marques Gayot (6-1, 222) and a bunch of other guys that haven't really seen the field.
2. Sam Bruce, WR, St. Thomas Aquinas, 5-8, 180
- With only five returning scholarship receivers on the roster, the Under Armour All-American and 11th best receiver in the country according to 247Sports.com will probably end up being the most impactful freshman at UM. Outside of senior Stacy Coley who should be the No. 1 receiving option, there's no reason Bruce couldn't soar past junior Braxton Berrios and sophomore Lawrence Cager to become the second or third-best weapon in the passing game behind Coley and tight end David Njoku.
3. Ahmmon Richards, WR, Wellington (Fla), 6-1 1/2, 171
- The U.S. Army All-American was a Hurricanes commitment for over a year until Al Golden was fired. Wednesday, the Hurricanes beat out Alabama to get him back. Rated the nation's 28th best receiver back into the class, Richards had 73 catches for 1,278 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior. He's not going to do that at UM as a freshman, but he could very well be the second or third best receiver on the team behind Bruce by the time he's a sophomore.
4. Zach McCloud, LB, Lake Worth Santaluces, 6-2, 215
- Like Quarterman, McCloud has good size and not much in the way of overwhelming talent in front of him. Rated the nation's 18th best outside linebacker according to 247Sports.com, he figures to be a starter by the time he's a sophomore and will probably be the fifth-best linebacker on the team in 2016.
5. Romeo Finley, S, Niceville (Fla.), 6-1, 198
- He's not going to play a whole lot right away because the Hurricanes are bringing back seniors Rayshawn Jenkins and Jamal Carter at safety, but he's nation's 15th best safety according to 247Sports.com and will be starting by his sophomore year alongside Jaquan Johnson. He was a pivotal, late signee in this class for Richt.
6. Malek Young, CB, Coconut Creek, 5-9 1/2, 182
- A couple of scouts told me that although he wasn't the top recruit at Coconut Creek this season, he was the team's best player. The U.S. Army All-American was rated the 47th best corner by 247Sports.com and after switching from Georgia after Mark Richt was hired, I can tell you he'll see the field a lot as a freshman. Miami badly needed cornerbacks and outside of senior Corn Elder and sophomore Sheldrick Redwine don't have a lot in the way of returning experience. Young could very well start at nickel corner as a freshman and will immediately compete for playing time on kick returns and punt returns. Of the three-star recruits, he's the best in my opinion.
7. Michael Pinckney, LB, Jacksonville Raines, 6-0, 213
- Rated the 19th best inside linebacker by 247Sports.com, Pinckney is the type of playmaking outside linebacker the Hurricanes have sorely missed. Like McCloud, he'll be fifth or sixth on the overall linebacker depth chart right away and contributing on special teams for sure. Down the road, he'll be starting regularly and making big plays.
8. Jack Allison, QB, Palmetto (Fla.), 6-5, 200
- The nation's eight-best pro styler passer according to 247Sports.com and an Under Armour All-American, Allison could be the Hurricanes starting quarterback by 2017 if Brad Kaaya decides to leave early for the NFL. Is he as good as Kaaya? No. But experts will tell you he's good enough to beat out Malik Rosier after a year of learning under Richt.
9. Patrick Bethel, DE, Vero Beach, 6-3, 245
- The Under Armour All-American and 14th best strongside defensive end in the country according to 247Sports.com is going to end up being the best Hurricanes legacy player in a long list Miami has had recently. He's got the size to play immediately, though, there is talent ahead of him on the depth chart. The good news: he'll push Al-Quadin Muhammad, Chad Thomas and others to be better and more consistent than they have been. He could be a regular starter by 2017 when he's a sophomore.
10. Travis Homer, RB, West Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy, 5-11, 195
- Rated the nation's 10th best running back by 247Sports.com, Homer ran for 1,315 yards, 11 touchdowns as a senior and could fit in nicely as a freshman as a third down back. While Joseph Yearby had a nice sophomore season, Mark Walton didn't exactly explode (3.5 yards per carry) as a freshman. Homer has home run hitting ability and if Miami's running game sputters or someone gets hurt he could be given an early shot.
11. Joseph Jackson, DE, Gulliver Prep, 6-5, 245
- Rated the nation's 16th best weakside defensive end by 247Sports.com, scouts love the size and upside Jackson has. But they think he's probably a year to two years away from showing that on the college field. Long term, he could be the best NFL prospect in the class.
12. Dionte Mullins, WR, Gulliver Prep, 5-10 1/2, 179
- Under Armour All-American ranked the 34th best receiver by 247Sports.com has worlds of talent. But his academic issues -- he was ineligible to play as a high school senior -- give pause. If he's able to make it into the class, he could end up contributing right away as a freshman in a small role and help the team long term.
13. Jovani Haskins, TE, Bergenfield (N.J.), 6-4, 235
- Rated the nation's 19th ranked tight end according to 247Sports, the former high school quarterback has tons of athleticism and looks and feels a lot like current Hurricane David Njoku. But Haskins is probably a year to two years away from being a real contributor.
14. Cedrick Wright, S, Gulliver Prep, 5-9, 180
- Rated the 38th best safety by 247Sports.com, Wright has always been a bit undersized for safety. He's a tweaner and probably a candidate to at least experiment with a switch to corner.
15. Michael Irvin Jr., TE, St. Thomas Aquinas, 6-3, 220
- The son of Hall of Fame receiver and Hurricanes legend Michael Irvin has plenty of skills, but he's going to need to put on some weight and grow into the tight end position. In a year or two he should be ready to contribute.
16. Tyreic Martin, DT, Lanett, Ala. 6-3, 265
- Rated as a three-star recruit by both ESPN and Rivals, Martin was a necessary addition for depth at defensive tackle. But he's a high ceiling player who needs to develop. The Canes have had too many of those at defensive tackle. But if new defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski likes him, who am I to judge?
17. Tre Johnson, OL, Orlando First Academy, 6-7, 280
- Rated as the 148th–best player in the state of Florida by the 247sports, the former Illinois commitment played both offense and defense in high school and chose the Hurricanes over East Carolina. But he's very raw and doesn't have a lot of playing experience (16 games). He's a project at a position you can afford to have one for now.
18. Jeff James, S, Orlando Olympia, 6-1, 185
- The nephew of Hurricanes running back Edgerrin James, Jeff was ranked the 118th best player in the state by ESPN after totaling more than 1,000 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns as a senior. He had nine interceptions, among the most in the state. But it's unclear where exactly he's going to play for the Hurricanes. Some websites like 247Sports didn't even have him ranked.
With less than a week to go before National Signing Day, Hurricanes coach Mark Richt and his staff have been busy both keeping the 2016 recruiting class together and adding pieces.
Thursday night, they picked up four-star tight end Jovani Haskins of Bergenfield, N.J., giving quarterback Brad Kaaya yet another weapon to throw the ball to. The Hurricanes have six scholarship receivers expected back next season and three will be seniors: Stacy Coley, Malcolm Lewis and D'Mauri Jones.
Receiver, cornerback, linebacker and tight end were all areas Richt wanted to address. Three linebackers are already among the five early enrollees, and among UM's 10 commitments, five are pass catchers and two are cornerbacks.
The issue for Miami is that it could end up losing U.S. Army All-American cornerback Tyler Byrd of Naples, who is visiting Tennessee this weekend with his best friend and teammate.
That would be a devastating blow, Scout.com's Corey Bender told me last night. That said, Bender gives Richt good marks for the job he's done since taking over for the fired Al Golden in December.
Here's a look at where the Canes stand heading into the weekend:
EARLY ENROLLEES (5)
Shaquille Quarterman, ILB, Orange Park Oakleaf, 6-0 1/4, 233
- The U.S. Army All-American and nation's fifth best inside linebacker accoridng to 247Sports.com had been committed to UM since before his junior season (6/24/14). SENIOR HIGHLIGHTS. Twitter: @OgBoobie_Shaq
Jack Allison, QB, Palmetto (Fla.), 6-5, 200
- The nation's eight-best pro styler passer according to 247Sports.com and Under Armour All-American was committed to UM since prior to his junior season (6/23/14). Had offers from Alabama, Tennessee and UCF. SENIOR HIGHLIGHTS. Twitter: @Jackallison_11
Zach McCloud, OLB, Lake Worth Santaluces, 6-2, 218
- The nation's 18th best outside linebacker according to 247Sports.com first committed to UM back in Nov. 2014 as a junior and then de-committed when Al Golden was fired. He then recommitted to Miami a month later after a visit from Richt. SENIOR HIGHLIGHTS. Twitter: @chief__20
Patrick Bethel, DE, Vero Beach, 6-3, 249
- The Under Armour All-American and 14th best strongside defensive end in the country according to 247Sports.com committed to the Hurricanes Dec. 14, less than a week after receiving a visit from Mark Richt. Took visits to Tennessee and Auburn. SENIOR HIGHLIGHTS. Twitter: @Pat_Bethel93
Michael Pinckney, ILB, Jacksonville Raines, 6-1, 215
- Rated the 19th best inside linebacker by 247Sports.com, Pinckney was a longtime UM commitment. He had 85 tackles, 8 sacks and an interception as a senior and turned down offers from Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Nebraska, Notre Dame and West Virginia. HIGHLIGHTS ON HUDL
Sam Bruce, WR, St. Thomas Aquinas, 5-8, 180
- The Under Armour All-American and 11th best receiver in the country according to 247Sports.com has been committed to UM since before his junior year (7/8/14). He flirted with Ohio State late in the process but reaffirmed his commitment to the Canes this week. Had 46 catches for 427 yards and four touchdowns as a senior at Aquinas. HIGHLIGHT REEL. Twitter: @_QUICK6
Tyler Byrd, CB, Naples, 5-11 1/2, 194
- The U.S. Army All-American is rated the 10th best corner by 247Sports.com and has been committed to since 2/3/15. But he was set to visit Tennessee with his teammate and best friend Carlin Fils-aime this weekend, who is committed to the Volunteers. Had 38 tackles, 1 INT as a senior and 36 catches for 641 yards and 9 touchdowns at receiver. Former UM assistant Larry Scott, now on Tennessee's staff, is pushing for Byrd. SENIOR HIGHLIGHTS. Twitter: @D1fuzzymuffin17
Dionte Mullins, WR, Gulliver Prep, 5-10 1/2, 179
- Under Armour All-American ranked the 34th best cornerback by 247Sports.com. He's been committed since prior to his junior season (7/4/14). Did not play his senior season because his GPA was too low. He could end up being an academic casualty. HIGH SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS. Twitter: @dionte_mullins8
Joseph Jackson, DE, Gulliver Prep, 6-5, 245
- Rated the nation's 16th best weakside defensive end by 247Sports.com and committed to UM since 1/25/15. Had 46 tackles, six sacks and four forced fumbles as a senior. CAREER HIGHLIGHTS. Twitter: @joejackson919
Travis Homer, RB, West Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy, 5-11, 195
- Rated the nation's 10th best running back by 247Sports.com, Homer has been committed to UM since 5/31/15. Ran for 1,315 yards, 11 touchdowns as a senior. CAREER HIGHLIGHTS. Twitter: @Travishomer4
Jovani Haskins, TE, Bergenfield (N.J.), 6-4, 235
- Nation's 19th ranked tight end according to 247Sports became the Hurricanes' latest commitment on Thursday night, almost a week after taking an official visit to UM. A quarterback for his high school team, Haskins completed 39 of his 67 pass attempts for 785 yards, 2 INTs and ran for 639 yards and 4 scores as a senior. He had three catches for 90 yards at receiver. He had visited West Virginia and Virginia Tech through the recruiting process. SENIOR HIGHLIGHTS. Twitter: @leehaskins_
Malek Young, CB, Coconut Creek, 5-9 1/2, 182
- The U.S. Army All-American was rated the 47th best corner by 247Sports.com. A former Georgia commitment, he switched over to the Canes on Jan. 15 after being recruited by new cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph. Had 34 catches for 684 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior. SENIOR HIGHLIGHTS. Twitter: @MalekYoung
Cedrick Wright, S, Gulliver Prep, 5-9, 180
- Rated the 38th best safety by 247Sports.com, Wright has been committed to UM since 1/25/15. He tackles and 3 interceptions as a senior at Gulliver. HIGLIGHTS. Twitter: @_CedTooLive
Michael Irvin Jr., TE, St. Thomas Aquinas, 6-3, 220
- The son of Hall of Fame receiver and Hurricanes legend Michael Irvin is rated the 32nd best tight end in the country by 247Sports.com. He's been committed since 7/6/15. Had 29 catches for 291 yards and 2 TDs as a senior on Aquinas' state championship winning team. SENIOR HIGHLIGHTS. Twitter: @M_Irvin17
Latrell Williams, WR, Lake City Columbia, 5-11, 171
- Rated 110th best WR by 247Sports.com (Committed since 1/17/16). Former USF commitment was recruited by new receivers coach Ron Dugans to UM. Visited Tennessee on 1/22/16. Had 68 catches for 1,035 yards, 10 TDs as a senior. SENIOR HIGHLIGHTS. Twitter: @LastKingTrill
Ahmmon Richards, WR, Wellington (Fla)., 6-1 1/2, 171
- The U.S. Army All-American was a Hurricanes commitment for over a year until Al Golden was fired. Now, the Hurricanes are fighting with Alabama to get the nation's 28th best receiver according to 247Sports to recommit. He had 73 catches for 1,278 yards and 14 touchdowns. He's supposed to make his announcement at noon on ESPNU on National Signing Day according to Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post. HIGHLIGHTS. Twitter: @AhmmonR2
Romeo Finley, S, Niceville (Fla.), 6-1, 198
- The nation's 15th best safety according to 247Sports.com is supposed to visit UM this weekend. Clemson and Georgia Tech are the other finalists. Finley had 60 tackles, 6 PBU and an interception his senior year. HIGLIGHTS. Twitter: @RomeoFinley1
Javon Wims, WR, Hinds Community College, 6-4, 215
- Wims, a former high school standout at Jacksonville Ed White High School, has been committed to Georgia since Nov. 6 but Richt has been coming after him hard and the Hurricanes believe they have a chance to flip him. He had 47 catches for 775 yards and nine touchdowns this season. HIGHLIGHTS. Twitter: @Javon_Juice
Randrecous Davis, WR, Atlanta Mays (Ga.), 5-10 1/2, 169
- The former Georgia commitment dropped his pledge to the Bulldogs after visiting UM on Jan. 22. This weekend, Davis is visiting South Carolina. He's rated the 70th best receiver in the class according to 247Sports.com. He had 58 catches for 1,024 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior. SENIOR HIGHLIGHTS. Twitter: @Dreak_1
Kelvin Harmon, WR, Palmyra (N.J.), 6-3, 180
- The former South Carolina commitment is choosing between the Hurricanes and N.C. State on Monday. He visited UM on Jan. 22. Harmon had 66 catches for 1,111 yards and 14 touchdowns and 38 tackles, three forced fumbles and an interception as a senior. SENIOR HIGHLIGHTS. Twitter: @Wide_Receiver9
(That's how Hurricanes players feel about Mark Richt and probably Hurricanes beat writers now that the coaching search appears to be over)
Go back and look at the history on your own if you want to.
Either way, I'm going to provide a quick lesson.
Mark Richt, assuming there are no hiccups in the final contract negotiations with Miami, is something the Hurricanes have never had before when its hired a football coach. It's called a proven winner.
Although most people up Athens, Ga. might disagree with that sentiment because Richt, 55, never won a national title as a head coach, he's about as close as you can get to a guarantee when it comes to finding someone to lead your program out of irrelevance.
Richt's 145-51 record ranks seventh among all active head coaches in wins. Only Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer (237), Alabama's Nick Saban (193), Missouri's Gary Pinkel (191), Oklahoma's Bob Stoops (179), Cincinnati's Tommy Tuberville (155) and Ohio State's Urban Meyer (153) have more. Beamer and Pinkel are retiring after this season.
Richt's career .7398 winning percentage, by the way, ranks 41st all-time. Only Meyer (.855), Washington's Chris Petersen (.815), Stoops (.7991), Saban (.7618), TCU's Gary Patterson (.7513) rank better among active coaches with at least 10 years of experience. Richt, by the way, is right behind Bobby Bowden's .7402 win percentage.
The point is Miami has never landed a coach with such a sterling resume.
The Hurricanes have always opted to go the cheap route and find a coach who was looking to prove themselves on the job.
That worked in the 1980s and 1990s with Howard Schnellenberger (he spent one-plus years as the head coach of the Colts 4-13), Jimmy Johnson (29-25-3 at Oklahoma State), Dennis Erickson (18-16-1 at Wyoming and Washington State) and Butch Davis (no head coaching experience when Miami hired him). But that was before college football really started to make money.
That same, cheap approach really hasn't worked out since for Miami.
Larry Coker (no head coaching experience), Randy Shannon (no head coaching experience) and Al Golden (27-34 at Temple) were all inexpensive, we're-going-to-throw-our-hands-up-in-the-air-and-just-believe-our talent-will-carry-us-hires by Miami's administration.
Go back and look.
Want to know who landed new head coaching jobs in 2001 when Miami decided to turn things over to their offensive coordinator? Meyer at Bowling Green (they went from 2-9 to 8-3 in his first season), Gary Patterson at TCU, Les Miles at Oklahoma State, Pete Carroll at USC, Jim Tressel at Ohio State, Gary Pinkel at Missouri and some guy named Richt at Georgia.
A year after Florida hired Meyer from Utah to a seven-year, $14 million deal in 2005, the Hurricanes fired Coker and signed Shannon to a four-year, $4 million deal. Who else was hired then? Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, Mark Dantonio at Michigan State and Brian Kelly at Cincinnati.
In Dec. 2009, FSU hired Jimbo Fisher to take over for Bobby Bowden at $9 million over five years. A year later, when Shannon was fired, Miami spent less than $2 million to bring in a guy from Temple and then restructured his contract a year leater and extended him through 2019 because he was blindsided by the school's NCAA mess. In 2010, David Shaw took over at Stanford and Dana Holgorsen was named head coach at West Virginia.
Money doesn't always solve problems. But it doesn't hurt.
Richt, who was making roughly $4.1 million a season at Georgia before being fired Sunday, is expected to be paid at least $4 million a year by UM. And its almost safe to assume he would not agree to get to this point in the negotiations if he didn't believe the school would have enough money to pay for quality assistant coaches too.
Say what you want about Richt's record against Florida (5-10), his average record against ranked teams (39-36), but do you really want to go back and look at what Golden did against ranked teams and UM's rivals? I didn't think so.
What's happened between Miami and Georgia since Richt went from being Florida State's offensive coordinator under Bowden where he coached two Heisman winners in Charlie Ward (1993) and Chris Weinke (1999) to coaching the Bulldogs are two vastly different roads.
Yes, UM won a national title under Coker in 2001. But the Canes have been on a downward trend ever since.
** Georgia has had 79 players drafted since 2002 including 12 first round picks. UM during that same time had 81 players drafted including 23 first round picks. Georgia went 145-51 including 9-5 in bowl games. Miami went 124-64 including 4-7 in bowl games.
** UM has been ranked once in the final Top 25 poll since 2006 (19th in 2009). Georgia has been ranked in the final AP poll six times since 2006 including as high as 2nd in 2007 and 5th in 2012.
** Georgia by the way under Richt was ranked in the Top 10 of the AP poll at one point or another in 11 of his 15 seasons. Miami has been ranked in the Top 10 twice in the last 10 years.
** The Bulldogs' recruiting classes since 2002 were ranked no worse than 15th every season by Rivals.com and were in the top 10 a total of 11 times. The Hurricanes have had just two top 10 ranked classes by Rivals since 2006 (2008 and 2012).
You can say, well, Georgia is always loaded with talent. Of course Richt should have won.
In the 15 seasons before Richt arrived, the Bulldogs only had two double-digit win seasons. That happened nine times under Richt in his tenure and could again if he ends up coaching Georgia in the bowl game.
The Hurricanes haven't had a double-digit win season since 2003.
Now, Miami appears to have a coach who churns them out consistently.
That will get you in the Top 25.
That will make Miami relevant again.
That makes Miami a winner today.
By the way, he's a look at local recruits who have signed with Georgia since 2002:
CB Malek Young, Coconut Creek, 3-star (commitment)
ATH Shaq Wilson, Coral Gables, 3-star
LB Juwan Taylor, Hallandale, 3-star
DB DeAndre Baker, Northwestern, 3-star
RB Sony Michel, American Heritage, 5-star
WR Isaiah McKenzie, American Heritage, 4-star
WR Gilbert Johnson, American Heritage, 3-star
K Marshall Morgan, American Heritage, 3-star
LB Kent Turene, Boyd Anderson, 3-star
WR Rantavious Wooten, Glades Central, 4-star
K Blair Walsh, Cardinal Gibbons, 3-star
DE Jeremy Longo, Cardinal Gibbons, 3-star
DE Geno Atkins, St. Thomas Aquinas, 4-star
OL Kevin Perez, Killian, 3-star
DT Jeff Owens, Plantation, 4-star
WR Mike Moore, North Broward Prep, 4-star
DB Donovan Baldwin, American Heritage, 3-star
OL James Lee, Glades Central, 3-star
OL Max Jean-Gilles, North Miami Beach, 4-star
With the firing of Al Golden announced by UM Sunday evening, recruits reacted.
Wellington wide receiver Ahmmon Richards responded in the most extreme way. He decommitted Sunday night with this tweet.
— AR15 (@AhmmonR2) October 25, 2015
*Three-star cornerback out of Hallandale Deion Jackson said the firing won't affect his commitment, but did say he felt the move was "stupid."
He added: "Golden was a good coach. He had chemistry with the team. He literally used to go on the field and work with the players himself.
"Golden brought a family together. He always used to say, 'This is not just a football program, it's a family.' Half of these college coaches don't care. They don't care. They don't even look some recruits in the eye when they speak to recruits. Golden did and always stayed on top of me with my grades and things like that.
"Other college coaches don't care about building chemistry. If you're good, they want you just to win."
*Jackson's teammate at Hallandale, running back Zack Moss, says the change doesn't affect his commitment.
"I didn't commit to the coaches," he says. "I just look at rosters, mainly my position."
*Lantana Santaluces linebacker Zach McCloud will take a wait-and-see approach. He doesn't have much time as he plans to be an early enrollee in January for the spring semester.
"To be honest, I'm waiting before I make any big decisions. My biggest concern in this process is my future with only three months to decide since I'll be an early enrollee," he says. "I'm not comfortable at the moment, still being patient, though. I want to make an informed decision."
*Four-star St. Thomas Aquinas wide receiver Sam Bruce, who was in attendance to watch UM's 58-0 debacle against Clemson and has also recently taken an Ohio State visit, when reached said: "No comment."
But Bruce later made his opinion known with the tweets below.
I didn't commit to no damn coach! I committed to the U.— 6-3 (@_QUICK6) October 26, 2015
As long KB there, I'm there.— 6-3 (@_QUICK6) October 26, 2015
The latter of the two statements, of course, is in reference to UM wide receivers coach Kevin Beard who once coached Bruce at University School.
*Fellow Aquinas wide receiver and legacy Cane commit Michael Irvin II voiced his displeasure with the decision earlier Sunday.
Why would they do that to my dawg 😔— A1 (@M_Irvin17) October 25, 2015
*Teammate at Aquinas and 2017 linebacker Tyler Dunning had no comment but did post this to Twitter.
Still on board....😎 nothing changed.— Tyler Dunning (@44_dc_) October 25, 2015
*Dionte Mullins' mother posted this on Twitter, noting "#StillCommitted" at the end.
— keeper of 3 kings (@_QueenLioness_) October 25, 2015
*2017 safety out of Jacksonville Bolles Ahman Ross said, "Committed to UM. I will, of course, evaluate the staff, but I am committed to UM."
*Four-star athlete Tyler Byrd out of Naples posted this.
For anyone who might call or text me about coach golden being fired it doesn't effect my commitment it's still all about the U #loyalty— SAUCIN17 (@D1fuzzymuffin17) October 25, 2015
*Nick Roberts, 2017 defensive back out of Orange Park Oakleaf, expressed similar sentiments in this post.
Staying Loyal To Miami 🙌🏽🌴💯— BARTRAM TRAIL (@nr2__) October 26, 2015
*Deltona assistant coach David Williams said of senior tight end/defensive end Evan Hinson: "We're staying committed on our end."
*Fort Lauderdale coach Richard Dunbar said of committed defensive end Jaquwan Nelson, "Jaquwan will stay committed to UM but will take all of his visits. Just not sure what the university is thinking at this point. That's very critical for him."
Dunbar is referring to whether the new staff that comes in will continue to recruit his three-star defensive end, which has recorded 66 tackles and 15 sacks on the year.
*The latest UM commit, 2018 wide receiver Daquris Wiggins, said: "I'm still committed."
When UM released its depth chart Sunday night there were 55 players listed on offense (29) and defense (26).
While the Hurricanes have 80 scholarship players on the roster (79 if you don't count RB Gus Edwards who was lost for the season), the most coach Al Golden said he's had during his tenure, it's interesting to see who exactly is being counted on at least on paper to carry the bulk of the weight.
One way to look at it is by class: 11 seniors, 15 juniors, 14 sophomores, 14 freshmen.
I prefer to look at it a different way -- recruiting class: 2011 (3), 2012 (10), 2013 (12), 2014 (21) and 2015 (9).
A year ago at this time, after UM opened the season with an ugly loss at Louisville, I wrote a story on how player retention woes from Golden's first three recruiting classes were killing the Canes.
It still is.
Here's an update to some those recruiting stats I put out last year:
> Of the 71 players signed by Golden his first three years on the job, 11 finished their careers at UM (two were first round picks) and only 28 are still on the roster (16 are starters, 9 backups heading into 2015). Perhaps more frightening than that: nine of those 71 signees never got on the field (six never made it into school) and 23 have left the program (either dismissed or transferred). So only 39 of the 71 recruits in Golden's first three classes truly panned out.
Now, of the 55 players on UM's latest depth chart, only 25 are part of Golden's first three signing classes. That means the remaining 30 players are from his last two signing classes. So, he's relying more on his newest recruits than his older ones to deliver.
BREAKDOWN: CANES DEPTH CHART BY RECRUITING CLASS (55 players, 26 starters)
2011 (19 players signed, 8 finished their careers at UM, 3 are on the depth chart, 2 are starters): WR Rashawn Scott (starter); S Dallas Crawford (starter), LG Hunter Wells (backup)
2012 (33 players signed, 3 finished their careers at UM, 13 are still around, 10 are on the depth chart, 5 starters): RG Danny Isidora (starter), ILB Raphael Kirby (starter), CB Tracy Howard (starter), WR Herb Waters (starter), S Deon Bush (co-starter), WR Malcolm Lewis (backup), S Rayshawn Jenkins (backup) OLB Tyriq McCord (backup), TE Jake O'Donnell (backup)
2013 (19 players signed, 12 are still around, 9 are starters, 3 are backups): WR Stacy Coley (starter), LG Alex Gall (starter), RT Sunny Odogwu (starter), TE Standish Dobard (starter), DE Ufomba Kamalu (starter),ILB Jermaine Grace (starter), CB Artie Burns (starter), CB Corn Elder (starter), S Jamal Carter (co-starter), C Hunter Knighton (backup), RB Walter Tucker (backup), OLB Al-Quadin Muhammad (backup)
2014 (27 players signed, 26 are still around, 21 are on the depth chart, 9 are starters, 12 are backups): QB Brad Kaaya (starter), RB Joe Yearby (co-starter), LT Trevor Darling (starter), C Nick Linder (starter), H-Back Christopher Herndon (starter), NG Calvin Heurtelou (starter), DT Courtel Jenkins (starter), OLB Trent Harris (starter), OLB Darrion Owens (starter), QB Malik Rosier (backup), RB Trayone Gray (backup), WR Braxton Berrios (backup), LT Kc McDermott (backup), RG Joe Brown (backup), H-Back David Njoku (backup), DE Chad Thomas (backup), NG Michael Wyche (backup), DT Anthony Moten (backup), ILB Terry McCray (backup), ILB Marques Gayot (backup), OLB Demetrius Jackson (backup)
2015 (22 players signed, all are on the roster, 9 are on the depth chart, one is a starter): RB Mark Walton (co-starter), WR Lawrence Cager (backup), LG Tyler Gauthier (backup), RT Tyree St. Louis (backup), TE Jerome Washington (backup), DE RJ McIntosh (backup), NG Kendrick Norton (backup), CB Sheldrick Redwine (backup), S Jaquan Johnson (backup)
Sometimes a scholarship spot just opens up.
In the case of Pompano Ely cornerback Terrance Henley, a senior who didn't get the qualifying ACT test score he needed until National Signing Day, one finally did this week down at the University of Miami. Friday afternoon, the 6-foot, 170-pound senior became the latest addition to the Hurricanes 2015 signing class when he faxed over his signed national letter of intent to the UM offices.
Although UM has yet to officially announce his signing, it's expected Henley will take the spot of senior cornerback Antonio Crawford, whose mother told Canesport Friday her son had been granted his release. UM's sports information department said Friday at 3:30 p.m. it had no official news regarding Henley or Crawford as of yet.
As for Henley, he was happy.
"It's been a very emotional time of late," Henley said. "When I found out I passed my ACT on Signing Day I was extremely happy, tears of joy. But when me and [assistant principal Malcolm] Spence called schools and they told me they were full I felt like giving up. Mr. Spence just told me to be patient, my time will come. And it came. Miami said they had an opening because one of their seniors left."
Henley was an unranked, no-star recruit according to 247Sports. But he said he was always on UM's radar, having shined at their camp with one of the fastest 40-times (4.5 seconds). A two-year starter at Ely, Henley said he intercepted three passes as a senior and six as a junior.
"I had about five or six other offers," Henley explained. "All the colleges asked me for my scores and I didn't have the scores. So basically my offer was just sitting there and other players kept filling that spot. James Madison, UAB, FIU, Temple, Tennessee State, Miami and Southwest Baptist were the schools who recruited me and told me I had offers."
Henley, who runs track (he said his fastest time in the 100 meters was 10.7 seconds), said he will be enrolled at UM this summer.
"Like I told the defensive coordinator [Mark D'Onofrio], I'll play wherever they can put me to try and get us a championship," he said. "I've always worn orange and green -- from high school to pop warner with the Pompano Chiefs. Miami was always my favorite school growing up."
Henley's younger cousin is one of the area's top 2017 recruits -- Cardinal Gibbons receiver Leroy Henley, an All-Broward First Team selection with 52 catches for 730 yards and eight touchdowns in 2014. Miami is hot on his trail.
"The thing with me and my little cousin is we always wanted to play together," Terrance said. "By me going to Miami most likely, like 99 percent likely, my little cousin is going to end up coming to Miami too."
As for Crawford, he ends his career with 58 career tackles and two starts. He was in the rotation at cornerback and played a lot, but apparently unhappy with his role.
"I wanted him to stay, told him to stay, but it's his decision," Crawford's mother Shawanda Rogers told Canesport. "He said he wants to play somewhere else, wants to be a starter, doesn't want to be second [string]. He just feels that he's going to try to play somewhere else."
Here's what Crawford tweeted out this afternoon.
My next move will be my best move. It's been real Miami.— Tonio Crawford (@Team_Crawford21) February 27, 2015
> Meanwhile, UM picked up its fifth Class of 2017 commitment Friday when Miami Norland offensive tackle Kadeem Telfort (6-6, 310) announced on Twitter he was committing to the Canes.
Telfort wants to follow in the footsteps of former Norland grad Ereck Flowers, who is expected to be UM's first first round pick since 2007.
They've gotten so popular they have their own hash tag. They call themselves the #Swag16.
The Miami Hurricanes 2016 recruiting class is currently 18 commitments strong and tabbed No. 1 in the country in both sheer size of commitments and overall ranking.
And yet, as UM fans learned through a bevy of de-commitments last recruiting season, it all means absolutely nothing until those commitments sign on the dotted line and make it official on National Signing Day 2016.
So why should we care about commitments? Why should we believe this class will remain intact 12 months from now? There really is no reason. Really, it's just another barometer to measure the job Golden is doing. If he wins, the commits probably stick. If the Canes stink, they'll likely flee.
It's pretty simple really: 12 months is a really long time for a lot of things to happen.
"They committed early and that's a great thing. I just hope that it's a strong commitment and not for publicity or whatever," said receiver Braxton Berrios, who was part of a 2014 UM class (Brad Kaaya, Joe Yearby, Chad Thomas were other leaders) who bought into Golden's long term vision.
"With this whole social media, Twitter, Instagram, type era -- that's the big thing publicity, followers. From what I've seen, every commitment that we have is real. They're serious about it. They're diehard Canes or they want to be. So we love it. We love getting commitments and we want them to be here.
"They seem to be together kind of like we were [in 2014]. We want to know as the senior class leaves the next class is coming in. If we can get the snowball rolling now imagine what it can be going into summer and into winter."
UM, set to host another Junior Day this coming Saturday, is still dealing with NCAA sanctions from the Nevin Shapiro scandal.
We learned recently the Canes will still be three scholarships short in 2016. Football recruits also can still only attend one free game (football, basketball, whatever) while the program is on probation. Golden said this weekend's junior day will be "a little tricky because we have some guys coming that have been to a football game so they can't go to the [North] Carolina basketball game."
Still, the Hurricanes -- despite going 6-7 in 2014 -- have found a way to thrive in recruiting (the 2015 class aside). Although UM lost a 2016 commitment from Lakeland defensive tackle Keyshon Camp Wednesday, they've picked up a dozen other commitments between the classes of 2017 and even 2018 since their first Junior Day back on Jan. 25.
How in the world has that happened?
"I just think we've had a lot of guys that identified with what we're doing and who we are and are matches for us," said Golden, who said the fact UM has poured millions into upgrading its facilities -- practice fields ($7M), training tables ($3M), student center ($56M) -- has helped out tremendously.
"I don't look at it like it's a philosophy," Golden continued. "A lot of them wanted to do it and be a part of it. I think it's great. But it's a long way to go as you guys know. We'll just keep moving forward. We have a lot of work to do."
And nearly all of that work is on the field. Going from 6-3 to 6-7 last season certainly hurt the Canes down the recruiting stretch. The Canes have to prove in 2015 they can win from start to finish and really contend for the ACC title, not just flirt with it. Or, Golden, and most of his recruits, could be gone. At the end of the 2014 season, it was the top recruits who bolted.
"I don't think the Class of '16 having  commitments right now [can be] bad," Berrios said when asked how potential decommitments in the 2016 class could be more damaging in the long run. "Obviously that means people want to be here. When they go on Yahoo and see the class rankings they see we're ahead [that helps]. Obviously we want them to come here if they're committed here. If they don't, they don't.
"I think [how we play on the field ultimately] always plays a factor. You look at the last few years, not even with us, just other teams. I think how you close out the year [on the field] and how close it is to signing day -- that little sway -can influence kids. So I think it's always relative and it always matters."
A LOOK AT UM'S 2016, 2017 and 2018 COMMITMENTS
2016-Jack Allison, QB, Palmetto, Fla., 6-5, 181, 3-stars (Committed since 6/23/14)
2016-Mike Pinckney, LB, Jacksonville Raines, 6-0, 213, 3-stars (6/24/14)
2016-Shaquille Quarterman, LB, Orange Park Oakleaf, 6-0, 239, 4-stars (6/25/14)
2016-Dionte Mullins, WR, Gulliver Prep, 5-10, 175, 4-stars (7/4/14)
2016-Sam Bruce, WR, St. Thomas Aquinas, 5-8, 178, 4-stars (7/8/14)
2016-Ahmmon Richards, WR, Wellington, 6-3, 175, 3-stars (7/22/14)
2016-Zach McCloud, LB, Lantana Santaluces, 6-2, 215, 3-stars (11/17/14)
2016-Isaiah Johnson, WR, West Palm Beach Dwyer, 6-3, 190, 3-stars (12/15/14)
2017-Todd Centeio, QB, West Palm Beach Dwyer, 6-0, 190, NR (12/16/14)
2016-Cedrick Wright, ATH, Gulliver Prep, 5-10, 180, 3-stars (1/25/15)
2016-Joseph Jackson, DE, Gulliver Prep, 6-6, 245, 4-stars (1/25/15)
2016-Amir Rasul, RB, Coral Gables, 5-10, 188, 3-stars (1/25/15)
2016-Devin Gil, DB, Flanagan, 6-1, 195, 3-stars (1/26/15)
2016-Tyler Byrd, ATH, Naples, 5-11, 160, 4-stars (2/3/15)
2016-James Wiggins, DB, South Dade, 5-10, 185, 3-stars (2/13/15)
2016-Evan Hinson, DE, Deltona, 6-5, 210, 0-stars (2/13/15)
2016-McArthur Burnett, RB, Pahokee, 6-1, 180, 3-stars (2/17/15)
2016-Greg Simmons, LB, Fort Pierce Central, 6-2, 225, 3-stars (2/18/15)
2017-Bentavious Thompson, RB, Killian, 6-0, 183, NR (2/22/15)
2018-A.J. Blades, DB, University School, 6-1, 147 NR (2/22/15)
2016-Deion Jackson, DB, Hallandale, 6-1, 170, 3-stars (2/24/15)
THURSDAY'S PRACTICE NOTES
> Thursday's practice featured the return of linebackers Terry McCray and Jermaine Grace, who missed Tuesday's practice because of academic issues.
"His teammates are irate," Golden said of Grace, a projected starter, missing practice Tuesday. "Puts a stress on a lot of different components, whether it’s special teams or their position or the defense, it puts stress. Some guys have to learn two positions, some guys have to take more reps, nobody wants to, nobody should have to do that. You gotta handle your business.
> Running back Trayone Gray still hasn't returned from dealing with his academic issues. Cornerback Antonio Crawford, who has expressed his dismay on social media with the way he's being used at Miami, missed his second straight practice.
"I’m not pleased where that is and he knows what he needs to do," Golden said of Gray. "There’s no resolution [as far as Crawford]. When we have resolution I’ll share that with you. Again, we just always, we don’t live in the world that you guys live in. I’m sorry. But when they’re our student-athletes and it’s sensitive and everything, we’ve got to give them they’re time and space and their privacy."
> Offensive tackle Kc McDermott, who had knee surgery in late October, said Thursday he will be back on the practice field as a full participant starting March 17.
> With three NFL-bound skill players in Duke Johnson, Clive Walford and Phillip Dorsett already out the door I asked Mark D'Onofrio Thursday who on UM's offense he thinks will keep defensive coordinators on their toes in 2015.
“Obviously, our tailbacks that can carry the ball," he said. "They come in different shapes and sizes. Gus [Edwards] being really big and also fast. He’s going to be a guy, 235-plus pounds, really runs well, I think everybody’s going to have to deal with. Obviously, Joe [Yearby] has his skill set too to break big ones and make people miss. There are a few other guys over there doing that. On the perimeter, [Stacy] Coley, we all know what he’s capable of doing. We’ve seen that. Rashawn Scott has been really, really impressive. That’s not surprising to me because last year, he redshirted. He was able to come back, we saw him do some things. He’s been very competitive and going for the ball. We’re playing with multiple tight ends so, those guys are starting to get chances. Standish [Dobard] is a guy that’s improved every year. You’re starting to see Chris Herndon over there. These are the guys that you feel. Across the board, we still have that size and athleticism at the tight end position."
> D'Onofrio said rush-end Al-Quadin Muhammad has "to be a first and second-down player" for the Hurricanes in 2015.
"When he played for us as a freshman, what I tried to do with those guys is really -- like we did last year with Chad [Thomas], we give them that [third down] role first," he said. "Where can they impact the team, easiest, without having to learn everything and where they can just get their skill in the game and that’s usually where we’ve added those guys on third down. But in the case of both guys, Quan not being here last year and this being his second year, and Chad, they’re really going to have to be every-down players for us and we’ll feel their impact on the field because they’re both guys that can do a lot of good things.”
New University of Miami receivers coach Kevin Beard went on the Joe Rose Show Tuesday morning and Hurricane Hotline Monday night and made it pretty clear he's excited about his new job.
The Hurricanes could definitely use a spark.
Beard, 34, was promoted Monday from assistant director of football operations to coaching the position he once played for the Hurricanes from 1999 to 2003. For the past year, Beard said he served as "the bridge between the players and coaches" at UM. When someone would have a bad day, Beard said, he would be the guy coach Al Golden would send down to talk and mediate the situation, get the player to understand the reason he was being coached hard "was to make them better."
Now, Golden is looking to Beard to do the same as an assistant -- and as someone who could help mend relationships on the recruiting trail in South Florida.
Beard, a Plantation High graduate and former All-Broward star, definitely knows what it's like being on the other side of the fence from UM having served as an assistant coach at University School in Fort Lauderdale for four years and as a coach for the South Florida Express 7-on-7 team for six-plus years. For nearly a decade, Beard has worked with some of the most elite skill players to come out of the South Florida area.
Brett Goetz, the coach and founder of the South Florida Express, said adding Beard is a huge addition to the UM staff especially since he has great relationships with most of the star recruits in the area for 2016 and 2017.
UM has been criticized hard for missing out on local star receivers like Alabama's Amari Cooper (Miami Northwestern) and Florida State's Ermon Lane (Homestead High). Goetz said having Beard on staff might swing things in the Canes' favor now.
"They all know KB," Goetz said of the top recruits, high school coaches and 7-on-7 coaches. "He has great relationships that are going to help them be in the mix for a lot of kids like [2017 receiver recruit] Emmanuel Green, [2016 St. Thomas Aquinas receiver] Sam Bruce. If KB was hired prior to last year’s signing class they probably would have had a good shot with Ermon Lane, Chris Lammons [South Carolina] and Travis Rudolph [now at Florida State] because Beard had great relationships with those kids.
"It’s also different recruiting down here than anywhere else in the country. There’s middle men. I think that makes it a lot more difficult to recruit here. Kevin knows what he wants to do here. He wants to go directly to the kid and the parents and avoid talking to people you don’t need to talk to. Kevin knows who to go to."
UM has landed several South Florida Express stars over the years. The list includes Duke Johnson, Deon Bush, Malcolm Lewis, Herb Waters, Tyree Brady, Tracy Howard and most recently Jaquan Johnson. They've had a harder time landing commitments from other 7-on-7 teams.
Beard said Monday night he feels like he can be "a glue guy" between the community and the Canes.
"I know what the community is missing, lacking, wants to see, wants to hear [from UM]," Beard said. "That’s what I want to bring to the table. I want the community, I want them to be heard. Once that happens things will definitely start changing a whole lot faster. The community will start getting back to being for us and not so much against us because of what the record is. They’ll see we’re making moves in the right direction and Coach Golden is the right guy for the job.”
Beard said recruiting in South Florida has become "the hardest place in America to recruit for the simple fact that everybody else in the country is trying to come in your backyard and take what’s yours."
"They’re throwing offers out to all kind of kids from the time they’re in the 10th grade, and then a lot of kids are saying, ‘Well, I got 15 offers from everybody in America but UM.’ If you offer a kid and then you back out on it, you’re going to get ridiculed, you’re going to get ripped for it," Beard said. "We try to do things the right way. Pretty much right now no matter what you do, you’re doing it wrong. I’m trying to bring [the right] mindset to the table.”
Goetz said he expects Beard to have a profound effect on Coley, who slumped during his sophomore year, and to get the most out of other top players at Miami like Herb Waters who have been up and down most of their careers.
“I really am going to dive into the technique of this position," Beard told Rose of what he will teach UM's receivers. "A lot of people don’t understand. They feel like if a receiver is fast, explosive and they can catch, they’re good. And the thing that makes the difference in good receivers and great receivers are the ones those that pay attention to detail, that are technicians. You can be a 4.5, 4.6 and beat a 4.3 defensive back based off technique. Technique makes the game easier. You play smarter and not harder. I think that’s the game changer for us right now. We’re really going to dive into the technique, the art of the position.”
Of Coley, Beard said: “I just feel like he needs a better understanding of who he is and who he wants to be. I think he came in – you know how high school guys are, he’s the No. 3 receiver in the country coming out of high school, Under Armour All-American. You feel like you’re that guy. He had all the success he had his freshman year, he kind of felt like I can be this same guy and still have the same success and it never turned to the next level. I think he stagnant, where he was. And I think it kind of caught him by surprise. So I think he’s disappointed in the way the season went. So, he’s excited to get out there and have a great junior season.”
SPRING BALL SET TO BEGIN FEB. 21
> UM will begin its spring practice schedule two weeks earlier than last year when drills get underway on Feb. 21. All of the practices will be closed to the public except for the spring game, which is scheduled for March 28th (the site has yet to be locked down). The team will also scrimmage March 5th and March 21st.
COVER IT LIVE BLOG FOR REALTIME UPDATES ON TWITTER:
LATEST UPDATE: 11:50 a.m.
CANES NAB REDWINE, KING A PAIR OF THREE-STAR LOCAL RECRUITS LATE
It hasn’t been a five-star recruiting season for the Miami Hurricanes, but so far at least they’ve managed to pick up a couple of noteworthy additions on Wednesday morning.
Despite being late to the party with scholarship offers, UM was able to flip a pair of three-star local recruits and All-Dade First Team selections in Miami Killian cornerback Sheldrick Redwine (6-2, 190) and Booker T. Washington linebacker James King (6-2, 210).
Redwine had been committed to Louisville and King to Florida Atlantic University. Now, they’re staying home.
“There’s nothing like staying home and putting on for your home city,” Redwine said. “It’s a dream school growing up. The opportunity came. I just couldn’t pass it down.”
Both players had high profile high school teammates who were previously committed to UM’s signing class and signed: Booker T. Washington four-star running back Mark Walton and Killian four-star safety Jaquan Johnson.
Johnson, one of five early enrollees at UM, went back to Killian Wednesday, morning to support Redwine.
“Jaquan had a huge impact on me,” Redwine said. “He texted me ‘Come to the U’, we’re going to grind together. We’re going to shine together.’”
Redwine had three interceptions and was one of the best cover corners in the state as a senior. King racked up 65 tackles as a senior for the three-time defending state champion Tornadoes.
“UM came in last week and offered me,” King said. “I was expecting the U to come in, but things happen and now I’m going to Miami. I just have to work hard and try to become the next Denzel Perryman or Ray Lewis.”
From The K to The U. pic.twitter.com/luaGRg8lLB— David Furones (@DavidFurones90) February 4, 2015
A FEW SWINGS AND MISSES
UM’s two additions are being celebrated, but Miami did swing and miss at a handful of other recruiting targets.
Four-star cornerback Marcus Lewis out of Washington, D.C. signed with Florida State; three-star receiver Antonio Callaway of Booker T. Washington picked the Florida Gators, Orlando four-star running back Dexter Williams chose Notre Dame and Plantation American Heritage quarterback Torrance Gibson, who stuck with his commitment to Ohio State.
STILL WAITING ON
In all, Miami has officially announced the signings of 14 players not including five early enrollees.
The two commitments they had entering the day who had yet to have their names added to the signee list by 11:30 a.m. included four-star offensive lineman Tyree St. Louis (6-5, 300) of Bradenton IMG Academy and three-star receiver Terrell Chatman (6-3, 180) of Baton Rouge, La.
St. Louis, who visited the Florida Gators late, will stick with his commitment to Miami according to his school’s Twitter account. Chatman, meanwhile, has yet to announce if he will choose UM or TCU or Arizona State. He's expected to announce at 3:30 p.m.
Here is the tweet IMG Academy sent out.
MCINTOSH FIRST TO SIGN
Richard McIntosh, a burly 6-5, 278-pound defensive end from Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons, was the first Hurricanes commitment to get his signed National Letter of Intent through the fax machine in Coral Gables.
"I'm just excited to become a Hurricane and I'm ready to get this process done," said McIntosh, a three-star prospect who had 71 tackles and 11 sacks as a senior and passed on offers from Clemson, Florida, Georgia Tech, Louisville and Missouri to sign with the Canes.
"I didn't know I was going to be the first one, but I wanted to hurry up and get it in. It's special, something I'll remember the rest of my life."
McIntosh, committed to Miami since the summer, never visited any other schools. He said he didn't need to. Now, he's looking forward to enrolling in the first semester this summer and helping strengthen the UM defensive line.
"I'm just looking forward to bonding with all the players, getting to know the school," McIntosh said. "I'm a quick learner so I'm looking forward to learning the plays."
McIntosh was one of four Hurricanes commitments (they had 13 entering the day) to turn their signed National Letter of Intent in before 8 a.m. Wednesday. The others: three-star Venice offensive lineman Tyler Gauthier (6-5, 305), Miami Edison three-stary safety Robet Knowles (6-1, 185) and three-star defensive end Jamie Gordinier (6-4, 235) from Red Bank Catholic, N.J.
Aside from Johnson, a U.S. Army All-American, UM will have the nation's No. 1-rankd JUCO tight end Jerome Washington (6-5, 260), three-star JUCO offensive lineman Jahair Jones (6-5, 310), Royal Palm Beach three-star linebacker Charles Perry (6-1, 205) and three-star defensive end Scott Patchan (6-5, 237) of Bradenton's IMG Academy around for spring football.
UM COMMITMENTS STILL ON THE FENCE
1. Terrell Chatman, WR, Baton Rouge, La., 6-3, 180, 3-stars (Miami, TCU or Arizona State), 3:30 p.m. (TWITTER: @trellc66)
REMAINING RECRUITING TARGETS
Austrian Robinson, DE, Trinity-Pawling School, N.Y., 6-6, 255, 3-star (Miami, Maryland, Mississippi), noon (TWITTER: @UG_Aus)
Kendrick Norton, DT, Jacksonville Trinity Christian, 6-3, 305, 3-star (Miami or Auburn), 2 p.m. (TWITTER: @norton_kendrick)
Shelton Johnson, DE, Delray Beach Atlantic, 6-5, 220, 3-star (FSU, UM, Virginia Tech, Michigan), 3 p.m.
Kevin Scott, DT, Los Angeles Bishop Mora Salesian, 6-5, 280, 4-star (Miami, Mississippi, USC), 4 p.m.
> Coach Al Golden will host his usual National Signing Day press conference at 4 p.m. He will also make a radio appearance on 790TheTicket at 2 p.m. and will appear on ESPNU's Signing Day Coverage.
> For more on UM's 18 commitments heading into Signing Day including the opinions of scouts click on the link.
> Here's a link to the Top 150 recruits in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties.
> Here's the link to follow me on Twitter.
On Monday afternoon I caught up with 247Sports National Recruiting Insider Ryan Bartow to talk about the Canes, Seminoles, Gators and a lot more including Dade and Broward Counties.
Bartow is one of the best in the business at covering recruiting. He said he’s gone to 350 high schools from last signing day to December, visiting six and seven schools a day not only in Dade, Broward, Tampa and Orlando, but the Carolinas, Virginia Beach, all the way up to New York. He’s also in charge of recruiting information for Dallas and Los Angeles.
So, I felt it was best to cover a lot of bases. Here’s our conversation. Note: You’ll want to stick around to get his take on UM.
Q: It feels like the national story line this year are the high number of decommitments and kids being dropped. Am I wrong?
“In terms of verbal commits, sometimes these kids don’t have a strong home life or strong high school coach that really values the word commitment. Sometimes it's lacking unfortunately. It’s not all on the prospects. Some of it is on the colleges as well. They’ve cooled on kids. So it’s kind of a two-way street. Jordan Scarlett is on his third commitment. Jamile Johnson, a three-star safety out of Dallas, on Wednesday he’ll sign and that will be the fourth school he’s committed to. It’s more of a trend now in the last couple years than when I started this nine, 10 years ago. That was really rare. Now it’s more common.”
Q: There are more and more offers going out it seems but in the end it’s about who the schools continue to call.
Bartow: “The thing that changed that about three years ago was that they took away the written offer. They were able to give a binding, written offer on Sept. 1 of their junior year. But once they took that away college coaches in some places like Temple and Syracuse would fly into South Florida and offer more than 50 kids each in a week. It’s really hard for the recruit and high school coach because it’s all basically verbal offers. The colleges get to get away with that because they’re isn’t anything binding.
Imagine me trying to cover it. That’s why you have to use the terminology claimed verbal offer. Some of these coaches give them out left and right and some of them aren’t allowed to. It really varies.”
Q: Are there any schools having really strong classes that were unexpected?
Bartow: “I’ll give you two. North Carolina State. This year they’re going to get four of the top seven kids in North Carolina for the first time ever. That’s something that program has never done. They’ve already got four-star DE Darian Roseboro and the No. 2 all-purpose back in Nyheim Hines already enrolled. They got four-star running back Johnny Frasier to flip from Florida State, which is unheard of in their program. And they got Emmanuel McGirt one of the best left tackle prospects in the country away from Georgia and UNC. All those kids normally leave the state and go to Tennessee, Florida State or Clemson. So that’s definitely one of the bigger surprises nationally. Also, Arizona State. I love their class. Knowing all the kids in Los Angeles, all the guys USC isn’t getting in Los Angeles most of the second-tier ones are going to Arizona State. They’re doing a great job. A lot of those kids used to go to UCLA and Oregon. Now Arizona State is getting them. I think Arizona State and N.C. State are two programs trending upward.”
Q: Which program has really disappointed this year?
Bartow: “Florida. No doubt. They should never sign a class that isn’t Top 10 in the country. They don’t have to go outside their state to get a Top 10 class. They have this year. So, I think we have them 42nd. They’ll probably get a few more here to move them up. They’re definitely struggling. It will be a challenge for the new coach.”
Q: Are the coaching changes to blame for the struggles at UF?
Bartow: “Coaching change plays in. At the same time, this new staff hasn’t developed any real momentum yet. The guys they are taking probably aren’t on the previous staffs board. As one of the top five jobs in the country you never see them ranked that low in terms of recruiting.”
Q: Who closes the strongest nationally on Wednesday?
Bartow: “I think Auburn could close really strong late. They are in great shape with guys like Byron Cowart, potentially CeCe Jefferson. [Miami Norland cornerback] Carlton Davis they will get. Potentially [five-star offensive tackle] Martez Ivey. So I think Auburn is going to have a really good Signing Day. And overall I don’t think anybody is going to close better than the USC Trojans. They’ll get the top corner in the country in Biggie Marshall. They’ll get a five-star defensive tackle in Rasheem Green, four-star linebacker John Houston. The got four-star linebacker Porter Gustin out of Utah [Tuesday]. We’ve known for a long time it was going to be a great class for them and close strong because a lot of kids were going to announce on Signing Day. I think they’re going to close as good as anybody.”
Q: Your thoughts on FSU’s Class?
Bartow: “Their class is awesome. Last year’s class was just as tremendous. This year is just as good. They have probably the top big back in the country in Jacques Patrick out of Orlando. They got a couple really good receivers in Da’Vante Phillips and George Campbell, big, tall, explosive guys. They also got the quarterback of the future in Deondre Francois, an Orlando native. Then, defensively they could potentially land five-star defensive tackle Terry Beckner. They have five-star cornerback Tarvarus McFadden. Obviously they got the No. 1 recruit in the country in Josh Sweat, a freaky defensive end out of Chesapeake, Virginia. This class is pretty loaded for the Seminoles. They have a very bright future.”
Q: How much is FSU cashing in on UM and UF struggles or is this a credit to Jimbo Fisher and his staff being good recruiters?
Bartow: “It’s a combination of both. I think Tim Brewster does a good job in Dade County. Plus, their program is winning. Kids want to go where winning is at. They can get kids in. At the same time, they’re going and picking whoever they want in South Florida. They want a guy – they’re getting him. Whether it’s McFadden or Dalvin Cook or Ermon Lane, the list goes on. They’re even turning kids down that are four-star guys. So they go it rolling.”
Q: What about Miami’s class and losing Jordan Scarlett. Does Al Golden still get a pass because of the NCAA cloud and scholarship reductions? Next year’s class is rated No. 1.
Bartow: “I think sometimes they just make the job harder than it needs to be. It’s easy to hit up six, seven schools here a day – not two or three. Because they’re all close to one another. You shouldn’t be flying to the Mid-Atlantic or Louisiana or wherever, Washington, D.C. to get your skill talent or back seven on defense. That’s all here. You don’t even have to go north of West Palm Beach to get that. So, that’s one of the biggest reasons you take the job at Miami. You don’t take that job for the facilities. You take it for geography. It happens to be located where there are the most Division I kids in the country. So, you can go elsewhere maybe to get some linemen, but everything else is within an hour or two of campus. Until you make that a priority and get your share – if not more – you’re just going to be average. So, I think that’s something they need to really amp up. I would use the guys who have the connections in terms of James Coley, Ice Harris that need to be down here and signing guys more. Recruiting is similar to football you need to use good personnel use. And you need to put the guys – if you’re a recruiter – in the hot places where they have connections. You don’t need to put other guys in those places just so then maybe your guys get credit for getting these kids. It’s a long topic. But at the same time, the personnel you get down here is not big linebackers. It’s not 6-4, plus defensive linemen. It’s not tall wide receivers. It’s fast and small with a lot of speed. So when you see 3-4, read-and-react defense and you see power run offense those personnel schemes really don’t fit what you can get personnel wise in your own backyard.”
Q: So is it more of a philosophy problem, too much Big Ten style for South Florida?
Bartow: “I don’t think he plays Big Ten football. I think that’s what he knows. He came up under Al Groh, 3-4 read-and-react defense. So that’s all he knows. That’s what he’s going to implement. That’s fine in some places in the country. But in Florida, that’s not the consistent kind of personnel you can get.”
Q: Obviously there are still guys UM wants – Tavares McFadden, Dalvin Cook, Da’Vante Phillips – and they can’t get them. Do these kids look at the program and just say they’re 6-7, I don’t want to go there. Or is it scheme?
Bartow: “I think it’s a combination of both. They’re in a place where there’s a lot going on here. It’s not some Southern town, college town where nothing is going on. Some of it is personnel use. Some of it is home game atmosphere. Some of it is a disconnect in terms of the defensive staff and local high school coaches. You’re in a place with a lot to do. You have to appease to these kids senses. Some of that is playing in wide open offenses and wide open defenses like Miami traditionally used to do. Kids want to play in that. They want to have fun. I think they don’t see that fun level right now.”
Q: Locally, who are kids they should have been on that would have signed with UM if they recruited them the right way?
Bartow: “Where do I start? Sheldrick Redwine, the 6-1 corner they just offered a couple days ago. He’s got a ton of upside. He’s may end up going to Louisville, maybe Miami. DeAndre Baker, a four-star corner, U.S. Army All-American at Northwestern who ran a 4.4 at their camp and Miami never offered. He’s at a traditional Miami school and he’s on Georgia’s commit list and could flip to Texas. Shaquery Wilson who is going to West Virginia out of Coral Gables that was a Georgia commit. He’s 6-3 and could play either side of the ball. Juwan Taylor, a linebacker out of Hallandale, Miami didn’t offer and is going to Georgia. There’s a lot of other guys throughout Broward and Dade that they missed on. I mean everybody knew Da’Vante Phillips was going to Florida State for a year. You have guys like Chris Hart, the defensive end at St. Thomas that is going to Utah, that [assistant head coach] Dennis Erickson got and that I think will be a steal. To not really recruit Tarvarus McFadden, one of the top corners in the country, and the high school coach is Mike Rumph who played at Miami, that’s a head scratcher. I’m just trying to go school by school because there are two or three examples at every high school.”
Q: How many of these schools told you ‘Well, if Miami recruited me early it might have been different?’
Bartow: “Most of them when you talk to them and a lot of kids I’ve dealt with since they were sophomores – a lot of them grew up Miami fans. Until you put in the effort and stay on them everyday [it’s hard]. Now, South Florida is an interesting dynamic. A lot of them you don’t want to get their first verbal commit. You want to get their third. So, a lot of these kids can’t take unofficial visits. So they’re going to take official visits. A lot of them are good enough where they’re going to have spots open at these colleges. So, you have to kind of set some time back at the end of the class for some of these guys because they’re going to be late decisions. But then it’s worth it because they’re confident, they have speed and a lot of upside because all of their best football is down the road. That’s why everybody recruits South Florida.”
Q: How about the guys they did get? Your thoughts on Miami’s class overall (currently ranked 28th by 247Sports).
Bartow: “I think traditionally you want a Miami class that is 75 to 85 percent from West Palm Beach down if you’re doing it right. I only see a couple guys in there. I’m not saying it’s a bad class. But if you’re doing it right, you don't need to be going north of West Palm to get most of what you need. They have some good players. I think Charles Perry can be a good linebacker for them out of West Palm. Jaquan Johnson, even though at 5-10 and maybe not great speed, he does have good instincts. I think Mark Walton is the best player in the class. He has the most upside and will help them right away. Wide receiver, they went for size at receiver. So they went out of region for that. [Terrell] Chatman has a lot of upside. [Lawrence] Cager has a lot of upside. He’s long, has speed. I think [Hayden] Mahoney would be a good offensive line take. A lot of those offensive linemen they didn’t really beat anybody else out for. Then, defensive line is the biggest need in the program. [Richard] McIntosh has some upside scheme wise. But I didn’t really see them filling that need in terms of defensive tackle. That’s two years in a row they’re going on. That’s definitely a question mark for the future.”
Q: Which recruits does UM add here late?
Bartow: “I said this to a different publication too. For Miami’s class, it’s really about holding onto the guys they have. I don’t see them adding too much. I mean [cornerback] Marcus Lewis is going to choose between Miami and Kentucky. But he has some academic concerns. He could be a Prep School guy. But again, you’re going to Washington, D.C. to get a guy that is mass produced in South Florida. At the same time, they’re going to try to hold onto Chatman. At QB they hosted Torrence Gibson over the weekend. He’s not a fit for what they do at Miami or LSU. He’s more of a fit for what they do at Ohio State and Auburn as a dual-threat guy who wants to stay at that position. That’s going to be a hard one as well. And then some of these defensive linemen and linebackers they’re in on we’ll see if they can get any of them. I don’t see much of a splash. Antonio Callaway, even with all those connections at Booker T., I wouldn’t be surprised if he went elsewhere. Jordan Scarlett kind of added to [the downtrend]. I think they lead the country in decommitments. I don’t see much of a big close. If anything it might be the opposite.”
Q: Do you have a list of decommitments by school somewhere? You sure Miami leads?
Bartow: “I don’t think it’s even close.”
Q: So is Miami’s class still decent in your eyes?
Bartow: “In terms of what they want to do in terms of building it into a Virginia, Al Groh type of program you have guys that can fit into their read and react scheme and power game, a lot of developmental guys. But it is disappointing in terms of geography. I mean, why are you going to take the Miami job if you’re not going to over recruit these awesome counties of Broward and Dade? It’s kind of defeating the purpose of the job and the location.”
Q: Is there a coach out there you feel is a good fit for Miami?
Bartow: “No doubt. If they went for a Miami guy like a Mario Cristobal that understands, respects the talent here, that wouldn’t go chasing his tail out of region for guys, knows the second and third tier recruits in Broward and Dade are better than the first almost anywhere else in the country, and has a great rapport with the high school coaches, 7-on-7 coaches, the people on the street and would bring in a tempo, spread offense like Booker T., like Auburn and Oregon, that would put butts in the seats and points on the board that would make local studs want to again play there. And everyone in America knows what happens when the local studs stay home and play for the Canes. They are then the best of the best.”
|Hurricanes 2015 Recruiting Class (All rankings are 247Sports Composite)|
|Early Enrollment (5)||POS||School||HT||WT||Stars||POS/RK|
|Jaquan Johnson||S||Miami Killian||5'10||182||4||13|
|Jerome Washington||TE||Mercer County CC||6'5||260||3||1|
|Charles Perry||LB||Royal Palm Beach, Fla.||6'1||205||3||31|
|Scott Patchan||DE||Bradenton IMG Academy||6'5||237||3||22|
|Jahair Jones||OT||Brooklyn ASA College||6'5||310||3||12|
|Mark Walton||RB||Miami Booker T. Washington||5'10||179||4||10|
|Bar Milo||OT||West Hills Chaminade, CA||6'6||270||4||19|
|Tyree St. Louis||OT||Bradenton IMG Academy||6'5||300||4||31|
|Lawrence Cager||WR||Calvert Hall College, Mary.||6'5||195||3||40|
|Michael Jackson||CB||Birmingham Spain Park, Ala.||6'2||190||3||56|
|Terrell Chatman||WR||Baton Rouge Central, La.||6'3||180||3||69|
|Richard McIntosh||DE||Ft. Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons||6'4||270||3||43|
|Jamie Gordinier||LB||Red Bank Catholic, N.J.||6'4||235||3||42|
|Brendan Loftus||OT||Tallahassee Godby||6'7||270||3||88|
|Hayden Mahoney||OT||Malvern Prep, Penn.||6'5||280||3||94|
|Ryan Fines||DT||Bradenton IMG Academy||6'4||305||3||58|
|Tyler Gauthier||OT||Venice, Fla.||6'5||305||3||112|
|Robert Knowles||S||Miami Edison||6'1||185||3||105|
Before we hear coach Al Golden's take Wednesday on Miami's 2015 Signing Class, I sought the opinion of a handful of recruiting services and scouts to provide unbiased takes on the 18 players currently listed as commitments.
Let's get to it.
1. Mark Walton, RB, Miami Booker T. Washington, 5-10, 179
> Background: A Canes commitment since Sept. 29, 2013, the four-star recruit was bumped up from the Class of 2016 to 2015 so he only played three years of high school ball. He visited West Virginia late in the process but never swayed. He ran for 1,470 yards, 22 TDs and caught 24 passes for 282 yards and four TDs as a senior. Rivals.com rates him UM’s top recruit. ESPN, 247Sports also rate him a four-star recruit.
> Scout's take: "He's an every down back. I think he's a kid that can play right away and be part of the rotation, share carries with Joseph Yearby. Walton and [former Hurricanes commitment Jordan] Scarlett were different style backs. Scarlett was more Marshawn Lynch. He's more a Reggie Bush, Duke Johnson, move him around type of guys who can play in space, has more lateral quickness. Walton is a little more versatile. He's their guy for the next three years."
> My two cents: Hard to argue with the scout's take. I thought all along Walton was the best player in this class. To me, he's Duke Johnson with better hands.
2. Jaquan Johnson, S, Miami Killian, 5-10, 182 (already enrolled)
> Background: Committed since August and never made trips elsewhere. U.S. Army All-American finished his senior season with 41 tackles, 3 INTs, 2 fumble returns for TD and a 58-yard punt return for a score. Rivals dropped him from a four-star recruit to a three-star recruit recently. Two-way star at Killian most of his career and four-time All-Dade First Team selection. Killian coach Corey Johnson has compared him to former FSU safety Lamarcus Joyner, whom he coached.
> Scout's take: "He'll be a role player immediately in the secondary, gives you a guy that can provide depth. He's a smart football kid, has a high football IQ. It's not going to take him long to learn the system and play right away. I think he'll be an impact player on special teams. He can be a 2, 3-year starter and All-ACC defender down the line."
> My two cents: He's the best open field tackler I've seen at the high school level locally in quite some time. If he stays healthy, he'll be Miami's best all-around safety since Ed Reed.
3. Lawrence Cager, WR, Towson, Maryland, 6-5, 195
> Background: U.S. Army All-American visited Alabama, but secured his commitment to UM after his official visit to Coral Gables. Said he’s now 100 percent with the Canes after spending time with his future QB Brad Kaaya. ESPN, Rivals, 247Sports rate him a four-star recruit. Cager picked UM at the U.S. Army All-American on Jan. 3. Rivals said he had over 800 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns as a senior. Said on his Hudl page he runs a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash.
> Scout's take: "Watched him at the Nike Camp in New Jersey and also at the Rutgers camp. Big, long receiver, physical, who will fight for the football at its highest point. He’s not a burner, but gets good body position. He can jump, has good body control and concentration in the air. Any time he has a one-on-one matchup he goes up and gets the football. I want to say he’s underrated even though he picked up huge offers. He’s definitely a player and with his size you can expect he’ll have an opportunity to play from Day 1. He’s a full-grown receiver. I’m 6-4 and I look up to the kid when I talk to him. He reminds of Mike Williams, who played at USC."
> My two cents: Even if he ends up the only receiver in Miami's class it's not the end of the world. UM has already loaded up on receiver commitments in 2016. Cager looks like a No. 1 guy down the line.
4. Bar Milo, OL, West Hills Chaminade, Calif., 6-6, 270
> Background: Semper Fidelis All-American and four-star prospects didn’t take visits elsewhere. Brad Kaaya’s former left tackle trimmed down from 315 to 270. ESPN, Rivals rate him a four-star recruit.
> Scout's take on ESPN: "Milo comes across as an OL that will line up and battle defenders to try and get the job done. The method is not always pretty, but he is going to give effort and fight. Shows flashes to execute with technique and once he can more consistently blend that nastiness with the technique he can be a very effective OT at the college level."
> My two cents: I'd be surprised if he isn't in the rotation as a true freshman. Whether that's at guard or tackle remains to be seen.
5. Tyree St. Louis, OL, Bradenton IMG Academy, 6-5, 300
> Background: A Canes commitment since July, the four-star prospect visited Florida over the weekend and is considering flipping on Miami. The starting left tackle on his high school team, ESPN rates St. Louis as UM’s top recruit. Losing him at a position of such huge need would hurt.
> Scout's take: "He's young, but he's improved a lot. He went from a question mark to one of the better linemen in the state as a senior. He's more of an interior guy to me. I don't think they need him to start. He has a chance to backup though. He's long and pretty good prospect down the road for them."
> My two cents: I'm beginning to think he won't be a part of this class.
6. Jerome Washington, TE, West Windsor, N.J., 6-5, 260 (already enrolled)
> Background: Rated the nation’s No. 1 JUCO tight end by 247Sports. Should see immediate playing time with Clive Walford gone. Had 24 catches for 510 yards and TDs last season. ESPN rates him a four-star recruit.
> Scout's take: "He’s a big bodied kid with good athleticism for his size. Good hands. He can play in-line or be flexed out. Ultimately, if it didn’t work out at tight end the kid could be an ideal tackle. He could probably even play some H-Back. He can make some plays after the catch with his brute force and ability to break tackles by running through guys. He’s tough to bring down. He’s a big target. You can get a clear shot on him, but he keeps driving his legs and picks up the first down. He can beat defenders in zone spots, posting guys out. He can force mismatches against smaller linebackers. If you recruit a JUCO kid you expect them to come in and play right away for you. He definitely has the drive and skill set to do it. Physically, he’s ready. He’s a big strong kid that will force a lot of mismatches and be a huge outlet target for his quarterback."
> My two cents: I've seen No. 1 ranked JUCO tight ends come in here before and fall flat on their face. Miami can't afford that now.
7. Scott Patchan, DE, Bradenton IMG Academy, 6-5, 237 (already enrolled)
> Background: Hurricane legacy was injured his senior year of high school and is already enrolled at UM. ESPN, Rivals rate him a four-star recruit.
> Scout's take: "High energy kid, kind of how Anthony Chickillo came out from that area. He's a better athlete than Chickillo, has more speed on the edge. His only question mark is the knee injury. Does he overcome it or need a year? He understands the game. He's the type of kid that can be all-conference down the line. With the knee injury he may be a year away. He's a better version of Chickillo. I don't think he gets as big. He's more like 260. He'll be a starter at Miami for a few years."
> My take: All I see is Anthony Chickillo Part 2.
8. Terrell Chatman, WR, Baton Rouge Central High, La., 6-3, 180
> Background: UM is doing its best to hold onto the three-star receiver who took official visits to TCU, Arizona State recently. Miami will get his last official visit. Had a ridiculous one-handed catch in the back of the end zone his senior season dubbed “The Catch.” It has 23,484 views on Hudl.com. Rated a 4-star by ESPN and the 254th best recruit in its Top 300. Listed with 4.62-speed in the 40.
> Scout's take on ESPN: "We are a little perplexed that Chapman didn't receive more early attention. He's a naturally gifted pass catcher with innate hand-eye coordination and confidence. We wish he were a little more explosive in terms of top end speed, but he is fast enough and when you consider his playmaking ability once the ball is in the air he more than compensates."
> My two cents: Man it's going to stink losing this guy on Signing Day.
9. Jamie Gordinier, DE/LB, Red Bank Catholic, N.J., 6-4, 235
> Background: Committed to UM since June, he didn’t take any other visits. Finished season with 117 tackles, 1 sack, fumble return for TD and was New Jersey’s Defensive Player of the Year on state title team. Lined up at outside linebacker. Had offers from N.C. State, Syracuse, Purdue, Nebraska and Wake Forest.
> Scout's take: "The one area he can improve is using his length in his arms to extend and get off blocks, disengage better. But he will find the football and nail you. He’s long, athletic, runs well for his size. He has a good understanding of defensive concepts. But there’s still a little bit of rawness to his game simply because he’s played linebacker throughout high school and I don’t think that’s where he’ll be at the college level. He’s a 3-4 outside linebacker, defensive end. He’s so big he can probably put on weight and play tackle. He comes from a good high school program where he’s well coached."
> My two cents: If Al Golden and Mark D'Onofrio had a baby...
10. Charles Perry, LB, Royal Palm Beach, Fla., 6-1, 205 (early enrolled)
> Background: UM's longest-standing commitment in the class. Rated a four-star prospect by 247Sports, Perry was a two-way star in high school (1,081 yards, 10 TDs rushing as a senior). He had offers from Florida, FSU, Purdue, Nebraska and Cincinnati among others.
> Scout's take: " I've always been very high on him. He's similar to Jon Beason coming out of high school. Most underrated player in the class. He hasn't gone through the whole recruiting process like everybody else. He may end up the best linebacker in this class in the state anyway. I really like his ability to pop into coverage. High football IQ, understands the game. I think he won't just play on special teams. I think he has a chance to start. He's light now. But he'll be 230 soon enough. They can put weight on the kid."
> My two cents: Looks like a better version of Jermaine Grace to me.
11. Michael Jackson, CB, Spain Park Birmingham, Ala., 6-2, 190
> Background: Committed since late October. He said he was going to visit Clemson, but called it off and instead visited Middle Tennessee State. Rated the 56th best at his position by 247Sports.com. Scouts said Jackson’s size, physicality in press coverage is very good. Had 17 tackles, 2 INTs as a senior. Rivals.com rates him a 4-star recruit. His 40-time is listed as 4.67 seconds.
> Scout's take: "Jackson is a solid prospect and if he is not a corner he has the size to potentially help as a safety. He should make a lower level power conference school a good signee."
> My two cents: He's one of the kids I was actually impressed with on film. That said, with all the cornerbacks in South Florida this year it's a wonder why Miami had to go to Alabama to get their only corner.
12. Jahair Jones, OL, ASA College Brooklyn, N.Y., 6-5, 310 (already enrolled)
> Background: Passed on offers from Ohio State, Virginia Tech and could contribute immediately with left tackle Ereck Flowers leaving school early for the NFL Draft. Committed Dec. 15 and signed four days later.
> Scout's take: "He's one of the top JUCO linemen in the country. Big, athletic, has a bit of a mean streak. He should be plug and play right away. That's why Miami wanted him."
> My two cents: He has to be plug and play.
13. Richard McIntosh, DE, Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons, 6-4, 270
> Background: Committed since July the three-star prospect took his only official visit to UM. Had 71 tackles, 11 sacks as a senior. Had offers from Clemson, Florida, Georgia Tech, Louisville and Missouri. Has a younger brother, running back Deon McIntosh, a 2016 recruit, Miami is very much interested in. Made All-Broward First team. The only recruit from Broward currently in UM's class.
> Scout's take: "He's another kid that took his game to another level as a senior. I don't know if you want him to start next year, but he he'll have a shot too with their issues on the defensive line. He doesn't have to get bigger or more physical because he already has the size to play at the next level. He's further ahead than some of the other guys there now. I think he's an All-ACC type kid with NFL potential down the line."
> My two cents: With Miami's issues at defensive tackle I get the feeling they are going to try and put weight on him.
14. Ryan Fines, DT, Bradenton IMG Academy, 6-4, 305
> Background: Committed to UM back in February and never swayed or visited elsewhere. Had 55 tackles, eight sacks, a safety in 10 games in senior season. Played in both 4-3 and 3-4 schemes. Only other offers were from USF and Arizona.
> Scout's take: "I don't know if he'll be a starter until late in his career, but he'll be in the rotation. He's high-energy off the bench, a lunchpail type kid that goes to Virginia Tech and make plays for them. He's not a high-end, high-ceiling type of guy. But he'll be productive player at Miami like the Matt Walters kid they had a couple years back."
15. Robert Knowles, DB, Miami Edison, 6-1, 185
> Background: Former FIU commitment flipped to the Hurricanes on January 4 after a stellar senior season. He had 44 tackles, three interceptions, three fumbles forced and two sacks in 10 games. Played a lot of deep centerfield in coverage, but also showed plenty of closing speed and big hitting ability. ESPN rates him a four-star recruit.
> Scout's take: "The kid had a good senior year. I've always been one about production. He produced. This is one area where Miami is kind of deep so he'll probably redshirt and be a starter down the road. He's not a need player, more of a luxury. Down the road, he can be a better version of Rayshawn Jenkins. He's better than some of the guys they've had in the recent past for sure."
16. Brendan Loftus, OL, Tallahassee Godby, 6-7, 270
> Background: A commitment since July, Loftus is rated the 88th best player at his position according to 247Sports.com. Had offers from Kentucky, Cincinnati, Ole Miss, Missouri and Wisconsin.
> Scout's take: "I think he's a project -- very similar to Sunny Odogwu. He's kind of stiff, not a super athletic kid. He's more of a right tackle than a left tackle. The question with him is how much weight he can put on. He's not really big and he doesn't have the structure to put on that much. He's probably more like 295 long term. He's not a kid I'm in love with. He might be a starter as a redshirt junior or senior. He's a clear backup at Miami."
17. Hayden Mahoney, OT, Malvern, Penn., 6-5, 280
> Background: Committed to UM since March, he didn’t take any other official visits. Rated 94th best at his position by 247Sports. Started at right tackle in a primarily run-based offense. Had early offers from Akron, Boston College and Villanova.
> Scout's take on ESPN: "Mahoney is a good athlete with the toughness we look for when evaluating offensive linemen for the next level of play; this is a developmental prospect needing time and a red shirt year to mature physically while improving playing strength and explosiveness."
> My two cents: Sure sounds like another project.
18. Tyler Gauthier, OL, Venice, Fla., 6-5, 305
> Background: Committed to UM since June and never visited elsewhere. Two-year starter at left-tackle in high school. Did a lot of run blocking. Other early offers were from Toledo and UCF. Arizona, Purdue, USF also reportedly offered him.
> Scout's take: "I saw him last summer at their camp. He's a guard/center. He's very similar to Derrick Morse who played at Miami. He's not going to be the most athletic guy, but he will punch you in the mouth, be a physical kid. He's not a finesse kid. They'll run behind him on 3rd and 1 and he'll move people. He can be a two-year starter down the road. He's definitely better than a Shane McDermott, Nick Linder type."
> My two cents: Miami can't afford to have more than three redshirt offensive linemen -- especially if St. Louis bails to Florida. I can also hear Art Kehoe saying he loves this kid's punch him in the mouth attitude.
The wild ride that is recruiting strikes again.
St. Thomas Aquinas four-star running back Jordan Scarlett, the second-highest rated player in Miami's 2015 recruiting class before Sunday's news, decommitted from the Hurricanes following his visit to Florida State this weekend. He announced the news on Twitter.
Rated the 12th best running back in the country by 247Sports composite rankings, Scarlett (5-11, 222) was one of two highly-touted running backs in UM's class -- an important need after the loss of Duke Johnson, who is foregoing his senior season to enter the NFL Draft.
A scout told me Sunday Scarlett had tried to commit to the Seminoles on an unofficial visit early in the process "but they wouldn't take it" at the time. Now, after his official visit to Tallahassee and the decommitment of another running back in FSU's class it appears the Seminoles do have space for Scarlett.
Scarlett said at the U.S. Army All-American game his commitment to the Hurricanes was about 85 percent. He visited UM on Jan. 16 then followed it up with visits to Florida (Jan. 23) and then Florida State (Jan. 30). He said on Twitter he will choose between FSU, UF and Miami and announce his final decision on FoxSports Monday.
"Even without Scarlett Miami still has one of the best backfields in the ACC," a scout said this morning. "[2015 commitment] Mark Walton [out of Booker T. Washington] is a Reggie Bush, Duke Johnson type back and he can come in and split carries with Joe Yearby. Gus Edwards, who has improved a lot, can be your big physical back with Trayone Gray providing depth. And, they could still end up adding Dexter Williams to this class."
Williams, a four-star running back out of West Orange High in Winter Garden, Fla., was once one of four running back commitments in Miami's class along with Walton, Scarlett and Westminster Christian four-star running back Jordan Cronkrite. Williams told Canesport Sunday he will choose between the Hurricanes and Notre Dame at 11 a.m. on Signing Day.
"I'm still going back and forth in my mind with both of them," Williams told Canesport. "Both have great programs, great tradition, they both have great coaches, a great environment, great academics. They are both really great schools."
|Miami Hurricanes 2015 Recruiting Class|
|Early Enrollment (5)||POS||School||HT||WT||Stars||POS/Rk|
|Jaquan Johnson||S||Miami Killian||5'10||182||4||13|
|Jerome Washington||TE||Mercer County CC||6'5||260||3||1|
|Scott Patchan||DE||Bradenton IMG Academy||
|Jahair Jones||OT||Brooklyn ASA College||6'5||310||3||12|
|Charles Perry||LB||Royal Palm Beach, Fla.||6'1||205||3||31|
|Mark Walton||RB||Miami Booker T. Washington||5'10||179||4||10|
|Bar Milo||OT||West Hills Chaminade, CA||6'6||270||4||19|
|Tyree St. Louis||OT||Bradenton IMG Academy||6'5||300||4||31|
|Lawrence Cager||WR||Calvert Hall College, MD||6'5||195||3||40|
|Charles Perry||LB||Royal Palm Beach, Fla.||6'1||205||3||31|
|Michael Jackson||CB||Birmingham Spain Park, Ala.||6'2||190||3||56|
|Terrell Chatman||WR||Baton Rouge Central, La.||6'3||180||3||69|
|Richard McIntosh||DE||Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons||6'4||270||3||43|
|Jamie Gordinier||LB||Red Bank Catholic, N.J.||6'4||235||3||42|
|Brendan Loftus||OT||Tallahassee Godby||6'7||270||3||88|
|Hayden Mahoney||OT||Malvern Prep, Penn.||6'5||280||3||94|
|Ryan Fines||DT||Bradenton IMG Academy||6'4||305||3||58|
|Tyler Gauthier||OT||Venice, Fla.||6'5||305||3||112|
|Robert Knowles||S||Miami Edison||6'1||185||3||105|
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.
The Miami Hurricanes keep picking up commitments for their top-ranked 2016 signing class. If only that Signing Day wasn't 53 weeks away.
Monday, less than 48 hours after picking up four commits on Junior Day, UM added another in Pembroke Pines Flanagan's Devin Gil (6-1, 200).
Unranked among recruits by 247Sports, Gil was the Falcons' third-leading tackler last season (64, six for loss) and had three interceptions and 1 1/2 sacks while playing both outside linebacker and safety.
"[UM] saw the way he played on the ball at safety, saw him down in the box when my son Devin [Bush] got hurt," Flanagan coach Devin Bush Sr. said. "It shows you the type of versatility you're going to get. They offered Gil last week. Temple and Miami are his only offers. The kid grew up liking Miami. I guess he got real excited about it after he was there Sunday. Right now, they got him listed as an athlete. The kid is so versatile he can play anywhere for them."
Bush Jr. and Stanford Samuels, a 2017 recruit and cornerback, also have Hurricane offers according to their coach. Flanagan reached the Class 8A state semifinals last season before losing to Columbus.
"I give everybody a shot with my son," Bush Sr. said. "My son is completely wide open. Because of where I went [Florida State] that's not a deterrent. The idea is to pick the best place for him. Devin has about 30 offers. Stanford has a lot of big SEC offers."
Bush Sr. said he's not sure why Gil isn't more highly regarded. But he expects everyone to start jumping on him as he nears his senior year.
"Just versatile," Bush Sr. said of Gil. "Talented, talented kid."
The Miami Hurricanes on Sunday picked up four big commitments for its 2016 Signing Class, which climbed back to No. 1 in the overall team rankings according to 247Sports.
UM picked up verbal, non-binding agreements from Gulliver Prep four-star defensive end Joseph Jackson (6-4, 229) and three-star safety Cedrick Wright (5-9, 180), Lakeland Lake Gibson defensive tackle Keyshon Camp (6-3, 250) and Coral Gables running back Amir Rasul (6-1, 200).
Here's how UM's 2016 class looks now on paper.
|Sam Bruce||WR||St. Thomas Aquinas||5-8||160||4||3|
|Dionte Mullins||WR||Miami Gulliver Prep||5-11||179||4||12|
|Shaquille Quarterman||ILB||Orange Park Oakleaf, Fla.||6-1||225||4||3|
|Jack Allison||QB||Palmetto, Fla.||6-5||185||4||7|
|Zach McCloud||OLB||Lake Worth Santaluces||6-3||215||4||16|
|Joseph Jackson||DE||Miami Gulliver Prep||6-4||229||4||16|
|Ahmmon Richards||WR||West Palm Beach Wellington||6-2||172||4||55|
|Cedrick Wright||S||Miami Gulliver Prep||5-9||180||3||18|
|Michael Pinckney||ILB||Jacksonville Raines||6-2||215||3||12|
|Amir Rasul||RB||Coral Gables||6-1||200||0||0|
|Keyshon Camp||DT||Lakeland Lake Gibson||6-3||250||0||0|
While UM's 2016 class continues to thrive, the Hurricanes are looking to strengthen their 2015 class currently ranked 20th by 247Sports and ESPN and 22nd by Rivals.com with a little more than a week to go before National Signing Day on Feb. 4.
The Hurricanes remain at 19 commitments after hosting three non-committed visitors over the weekend -- three-star defensive tackle Kevin Scott (Los Angeles, Calif.), Delray Beach Atlantic three-star defensive end Shelton Johnson and three-star quarterback Evan Shirreffs (Jefferson, Ga.).
Scott told 247Sports' Ryan Bartow the UM visit was "amazing" but remains wide open with Miami, USC, Purdue, San Diego State and Ole Miss (his final recruiting visit this coming weekend) all in the running. Johnson (6-5, 220) is expected to choose Florida State and will make his last visit there this coming weekend. It's unclear yet if Shirreffs, who doesn't have an FBS offer but has intrigued schools like Miami because he had a stellar senior season, received an offer during his visit.
So what's left to sort out for the Hurricanes from here on out? A handful of visitors are expected this final weekend including Ohio State commitment and Plantation American Heritage star quarterback Torrance Gibson, a U.S. Army All-American. There's no telling yet how serious he's considering Miami, but he's scheduled to make the trip to Coral Gables along with talented four-star receivers Daylon Charlot (a former Alabama commitment) and Georgia commitment Jayson Stanley, three-star defensive tackle T.D. Moton, a former Alabama commitment who might still end up in the SEC at either Texas A&M or Mississippi State and little-known 6-7, 250-pound defensive end Simi Moala from Los Angeles. Moala also has a Fresno State offer which is close to home.
There are other previous visitors considering Miami. Here's a list and look at who the Hurricanes have a shot at landing before National Signing Day.
|Key UM Targets||POS||School||HT||WT||Stars||Rank|
|Marcus Lewis||CB||Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga||6-1||187||4||8|
|Antonio Callaway||WR||Miami Booker T. Washington||5-11||185||3||46|
|Kendrick Norton||OG||Jacksonville Trinity Christian||6-3||305||3||26|
|Fred Johnson||OT||Royal Palm Beach||6-6||301||3||147|
|Kevin Scott||DT||L.A. Bishop Mora Salesian||6-5||280||3||65|
|Shelton Johnson||DE||Delray Beach Atlantic||6-5||220||3||20|
|Evan Shirreffs||QB||Jefferson, Ga.||6-5||195||3||60|
|Davante Davis||CB||Miami Booker T. Washington||6-3||200||4||29|
|Austrian Robinson||DE||Trinity-Pawling School, N.Y.||6-6||255||3||34|
|Rasheem Green||DT||Junipero Serra Gardena, CA||6-5||275||5||5|
|John Houston||LB||Junipero Serra Gardena, CA||6-3||211||4||6|
|Quart'e Sapp||LB||Alpharetta Milton, Ga.||6-1||200||4||14|
|Arden Key||DE||Lithonia Charter, Ga.||6-5||230||4||4|
|Mohamed Barry||OLB||Loganville Grayson, Ga.||6-1||210||3||71|
A couple of notes on a few of the players mentioned above:
> Lewis said after his visit to UM the Hurricanes were his leader. Kentucky, also a finalist, will make an in-home visit this week along with Miami. The Hurricanes badly need another high-quality cornerback in this class considering Artie Burns, Corn Elder and Antonio Crawford will all be juniors next season and Tracy Howard a senior.
> Callaway, who visited West Virginia this past weekend, told me last week he's completely torn. Alabama is supposed to get his last visit and he said he's intrigued by how the Tide used former Miami Northwestern star Amari Cooper. UF, Callaway's favorite team growing up, could be a factor if they push harder than they have to now.
> Johnson is supposed to take his last official visit to the Gators this coming weekend. Considering teammate and Hurricanes recruit Charles Perry is already a part of this class and he loved his visit to Coral Gables Miami has a strong shot. What hurts Miami? They've already got six offensive linemen in the class.
> UM coaches -- including Al Golden -- visited both Green and Houston at home last week and neither eliminated Miami from contention. Both, though, are expected to stay on the West Coast barring a surprise.
> Sapp (6-1, 200) named Miami one of his four finalists last week along with Tennessee, Michigan State and North Carolina. He's taken official visits to Tennesse, considered the favorite, and Michigan State. Will he give Miami his last official visit? If he does that's a positive sign. If not, he's probably not coming here. Miami badly needs help at linebacker. Barry visited Nebraska this past weekend and told reporters there he was blown away by his visit.
So, as it stands, this is what Miami's current class looks like with 19 commitments after the de-commitment of Pompano Beach Ely receiver Therrel Gosier last week.
|Jaquan Johnson||S||Miami Killian||5-10||182||4||13|
|Jerome Washington||TE||Mercer County CC||6-5||260||3||1|
|Scott Patchan||DE||Bradenton IMG Academy||6-5||237||3||22|
|Jahair Jones||OT||Brooklyn ASA College||6-5||310||3||12|
|Mark Walton||RB||Miami Booker T. Washington||5-10||179||4||10|
|Jordan Scarlett||RB||St. Thomas Aquinas||5-11||222||4||12|
|Bar Milo||OT||West Hills Chaminade, Calif.||6-6||270||4||19|
|Tyree St. Louis||OT||Bradenton IMG Academy||6-5||300||4||31|
|Lawrence Cager||WR||Calvert Hall College, Mary.||6-5||195||3||40|
|Charles Perry||LB||Royal Palm Beach, Fla.||6-1||205||3||31|
|Michael Jackson||CB||Birmingham Spain Park, Ala.||6-2||190||3||56|
|Terrell Chatman||WR||Baton Rouge Central, La.||6-3||180||3||69|
|Richard McIntosh||DE||Ft. Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons||6-4||270||3||43|
|Jamie Gordinier||LB||Red Bank Catholic, N.J.||6-4||235||3||42|
|Brendan Loftus||OT||Tallahassee Godby||6-7||270||3||88|
|Hayden Mahoney||OT||Malvern Prep, Penn.||6-5||280||3||94|
|Ryan Fines||DT||Bradenton IMG Academy||6-4||305||3||58|
|Tyler Gauthier||OT||Venice, Fla.||6-5||305||3||112|
|Robert Knowles||S||Miami Edison||6-1||185||3||105|
The Hurricanes aren't home-free on all 19 of these commitments. Although U.S. Army All-American receiver Lawrence Cager said Sunday he's now 100 percent committed to the Canes after his official visit this past weekend, a handful of UM commitments are spending the final recruiting weekend of the year at other schools.
Scarlett is heading to Florida State. Walton is scheduled to go to Louisville after spending this past weekend at West Virginia. St. Louis said he's taking his final visit to Florida and Chatman is giving the Hurricanes one final hard look this weekend. Chatman took visits to TCU and Arizona State and is strongly considering both of those programs before making a final decision. As it stands, UM has just two receiver commitments.
S.C : Callaway_5 pic.twitter.com/BK6l3N6LPl— A.D (@Ripbobby_G) January 20, 2015
Booker T. Washington receiver Antonio Callaway, a four-star prospect who was one of 17 official visitors at the University of Miami last weekend, said Tuesday the Hurricanes are among the three finalists he will chose from on National Signing Day.
"I narrowed my list down to Alabama, Miami and West Virginia," Callaway said Tuesday afternoon after he visited the Miami Herald office to pose for his All-Dade First Team selection photo. "Sometimes my heart tells me Miami. Sometimes it tells me Alabama. And sometimes it tells me West Virginia. Wherever I feel comfortable that's where I'm going to go. But right now, I'm totally undecided."
Callaway (5-11, 185) said he'll visit West Virginia this coming weekend and then Alabama on the weekend of the 30th. The Florida Gators, once thought to be the front-runner for Callaway, have dropped out of the picture he says.
Callaway, who grew up a Gators fan because his favorite player was Percy Harvin, said he had a great relationship with former UF assistant Travaris Robinson. But since Robinson left for Auburn, Callaway said, his relationship with Florida hasn't been the same.
"I barely hear from them," Callaway said. "From the new staff, I haven’t even heard from them at all. Coach [Jim] McElwain will send me a picture of their old players. That’s the most I hear from them. I write them back and won’t get a response."
At this point, Callaway said, the Hurricanes "definitely" have a shot at signing him.
"Even though I was injured and missed eight games they didn’t slack off recruiting me or nothing," Callaway said of UM's coaches. "They recruited me the whole time the same way."
What did Callaway think of his official visit to UM last weekend? "I loved it," he said.
"I hung out with Tyree Brady, got a chance to kick it with him. We were friends from down south [in Homestead]. I got to meet Brad Kaaya, some of the other players. He was telling me it was a good program, just come in and work, be humble and stuff is going to go in your favor."
What are UM's coaches telling Callaway? "The same thing [as Alabama and West Virginia]. They said I could come in and play as a true freshman."
Callaway said playing time is important to him. He wants to have a role.
What else matters to him? "Family," he said. "What is it going to feel like outside of football?"
Callaway said he liked the atmosphere at Miami and the camraderie between players.
Now, he'll head to Morgantown and Tuscaloosa the next two weekends to see if it feels the same or even better there.
"I don’t really know much about Alabama, but I know from the looks of it, it will be a good fit for me," Callaway said. "I know Coach Lane Kiffin is a great coach."
Callaway said Alabama assistants Mario Cristobal and Billy Napier have been telling him they envision his role a lot like Amari Cooper's down the road. Cooper, a Miami Northwestern star, passed on the Hurricanes three years ago and became a star at Alabama and is expected to be one of the top receivers taken in the NFL Draft this coming May.
How is West Virginia assistant coach Jajuan Seider selling the Mountaineers to Callaway? "He tells me that they don’t really have what they need on the outside," Callaway said. "He said if I come in and work hard I can start because they need an outside receiver."
Callaway said whichever school he ends up signing with will get a hungry player looking to leave behind his mark. He did that this season at Booker T. Washington before tearing his meniscus and missing the final seven games of the season. In seven games, he finished with 31 catches for 818 yards and seven touchdowns.
The oldest of five siblings raised by a single mother, Callaway said he looks up to his cousin, Arizona Cardinals rookie receiver John Brown, who worked his way into being a third round pick after being a three-time All-American at Division II Pittsburg State.
"My cousin John Brown, his story is almost like mine," Callaway said. "His brother got killed. He used that as motivation to go on. We come from the same type of struggle down in Homestead."
Callaway said he's looking forward to a bright future in college next season.
"A new beginning," Callaway said of what his decision on National Signing Day will mark. "That’s really the start of changing around my life and where I want to go."
St. Thomas Aquinas running back Jordan Scarlett can see the recruiting finish line and the truth is he can't wait to get there.
Committed to the Hurricanes since July, the U.S. Army-All American and consensus four-star recruit opened some eyes late last month when he told reporters in San Antonio his commitment to UM was "85 percent."
Wednesday afternoon, I caught up with Scarlett at Aquinas after he posed for his Miami Herald All-Broward County First Team photo and asked him where he stands with UM with only three recruiting weekends left before National Signing Day on Feb. 4.
This weekend, Scarlett said he's going to visit Coral Gables. Then, he'll be off to official visits in Gainesville and Tallahassee the following two weekends.
I asked Scarlett what he's looking for on the visits. His response: "I'm just hoping to see how the lifestyle is at all those schools, and see what's going on."
What made Scarlett go from a 100 percent Canes commitment to 85 percent?
"How their season went," Scarlett said. "It wasn't the best season out of all my options of the schools. And I just feel like I don't want to miss on an opportunity of taking visits and seeing what's out there."
Booker T. Washington star Mark Walton, UM's other elite running back in its 2015 signing class, has developed a friendship with Scarlett this season. Last week, Walton told me the comments made by Duke Johnson's mother shortly after the bowl game (regarding how half the team would transfer out if not for NCAA rules) rattled a few recruits. Did it do the same to Scarlett?
"That didn't really rattle me at all because that's just the parents' point of view," Scarlett said.
Scarlett said he and Walton have talked often throughout the recruiting process. What has Walton's message been to Scarlett?
"We just talk about how it's going to be there, how we're going to be a good 1-2 punch, how things are going to be great," Scarlett said. "Hopefully it all works out."
I asked Scarlett if he worries at all about coaching changes at UM? Does possible coaching changes after the 2015 season (assuming Golden and his staff fail) enter is decision-making process at all?
"No. Not really," he said. "The coaches don't really make a factor in the school for me. I'm going to play football and get my education. The coaches are great people, but I wouldn't make my choice on that."
What did Scarlett like about UM to begin with? "It's a home school, they have a great education, and they run the ball. So it's a great opportunity for me," Scarlett said.
What has been UM's message to Scarlett throughout the recruiting process? "That's it's the place to be," he said. "That I should stay home and bring Miami back."
Is that something that still entices Scarlett? "Yes," he said. "That's why [I'm still committed to them]."
So are these trips basically to see if things might be better at UF and FSU? "Yeah," Scarlett answered.
What does Scarlett like about Florida and Florida State? "Florida is a good school. I feel like it's going to be a great school coming up because it has new coaches. I want to see what the coaches and the school is like," he said. "Florida State has just been a school of mine, part of the recruiting process since the beginning. They're a great school."
Scarlett said former Hurricanes coach Randy Shannon is his new recruiter for the Gators.
"I didn't know him before this," Scarlett said. "He's just saying he's the new guy and he just wants to show me how much of a good opportunity it is up there and to give Florida a chance."
So is Scarlett still "85 percent committed" to Miami? "Yeah," he said.
Scarlett said he's not planning anything special for Signing Day or some big announcement before hand. He said he's going to sign his National Letter of Intent on Signing Day and be done with the whole process.
So whoever gets Scarlett's fax is where he's going, I asked him. "Pretty much," he said.
Al Golden can’t win.
I don’t mean that in the literal sense, like the Hurricanes have yet to beat a high-end opponent under Golden's leadership.
I mean it in the sense of there’s nothing Golden can say at this point to overcome the mountain of negativity on top of him and this football program.
Al needs to phone a friend. And he needs you -- the Miami Hurricanes football fan –- to answer even if you don't want to.
I’ll admit it. I was a little angry late Monday night. About 10 days after a fourth consecutive loss to end the season, Golden’s first words weren’t delivered in a season-ending press conference (the way things are normally done) but through a one-on-one interview with Gary Ferman at Canesport. As a reporter, you get a little ticked off when you aren’t given equal opportunity.
Then, I read the Canesport interview and didn’t feel so bad. Golden's responses were what we expected. In the end, it hit me why Golden is going one-on-one with select reporters versus facing a firing squad at a press conference (there will be more one-on-ones by the way). He can control the message. He can keep tough questions private. We won't get to see him bristle.
That's smart from a public relations perspective. In the end, what is Al going to say publicly that’s really going to make anything better anyway? Will blaming himself put an end to the fire Golden chants? No.
Truth is, only actions will do at this point. And after 10 days of inaction, does it really look like coaching changes are going to be made –- forcefully by the administration, anyway? It would have happened already.
Which brings me back to my point: that mountain of negativity.
Al Golden can bunker himself in, ignore the noise and plead with his players and assistants to do the same. But the rest of us? We do live in that world. That includes recruits, parents, influential coaches, street agents, girlfriends, Ray-Ray on the corner, the woman who does Susan Miller Degnan's hair and a bunch of loud people on the radio and internet. And that’s where all this irreparable public relations damage is being done.
That’s where the University of Miami – the program you are supposed to be supporting – is losing a much bigger war.
It might look like a one man job, one man’s sole responsibility to clean up after himself, after Randy Shannon and Larry Coker. After all, Al's got the fat paycheck, those pillars and that orange tie. But this isn’t a one-man job. It’s on fans too. Even if it's a smaller role, you play one on Saturdays and all the days inbetween.
In case you didn’t know (I’ll put in capital letters to make it clear Canes Fam): WE’VE HEARD YOUR CRIES FOR CHANGE. We saw those banners fly over the stadium over and over again. We’ve read Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, seen the red cups form the phrase FIRE AL GOLDEN on the Palmetto Expressway overhang. We get it: You are not happy with the job Al Golden has done. We know you not only wanted Mark D’Onofrio gone before Christ was born, but you wanted him to legally change his name to Mark Onofrio too.
This voicemail box is full, people.
Now, it’s time to stop digging the hole even deeper for UM. You’ve got to lend the Canes a hand even if Golden can’t fix this mess himself; even if in the end he doesn't turn out to be the right man for the job. It’s time to give up on the dream of creating such a loud chorus of boos that it will result in Golden's firing, bringing Butch back or ending D'Onofrio's reign of terror.
Athletic director Blake James is not going to fire Golden anytime soon. He’s said it over and over again. James isn’t even forcing Golden to fire anyone on his staff. They are going to see this through – at least through 2015 in my opinion – whether you show up to No Life Stadium or not (and not that many of you were doing that before this 6-7 mess anyway).
Status quo is the message Golden Canes, the donors, have been receiving for weeks when they’ve voiced complaints and concerns or threatened to pull funds if changes aren’t made. One Golden Cane told me James and others have told them "to keep holding on, nothing will happen until Signing Day.”
So, there. Something might happen after Signing Day. There's a ray of sunshine, a glimmer of hope. But that's all it is for now.
That aura of negativity permeating 24 hours a day? That's not doing anyone any favors. Nobody in their right mind, who could be part of fixing the future at Miami, is looking at UM and saying ‘Man that place is sexy. Look at all the support that school gets. Those fans are the best.’
And I don’t mean coaches. You can throw money at any coach and they'll lie through their teeth about anything. They are mercenaries paid to put their heart into something.
I’m talking about kids -- from seniors on down to Pee Wee football players. I’m talking about the future. I’m talking about all those people who don’t live in Al Golden’s world. I’m talking about the people who can see, smell, taste, hear and feel the negativity and have it push them away. And right now on the nasty scale, that storm is a Category 5.
Blake James, the aforementioned athletic director who took over after Golden had already received his contract extension through 2019, tried to wish fans a Happy New Year on Twitter a few days ago. The Rated-R responses to James were sickening. These were some of the PG-responses:
@CanesAllAccess Whatever, Loser. We just went from 9 - 4 to 6 - 7 & U said, "We Are Making Progress." U R the worst AD ever. FIRE YOURSELF— RealMenTalkLive (@RealMenTalkLive) January 1, 2015
@CanesAllAccess from alum: I see a lot of flashy graphics coming from canes athletics but awful performance. Turn it around. Embarrassing.— Kellen (@NYKellen) January 1, 2015
I can't imagine what the response would have been had Golden or D'Onofrio tweeted something.
Wait, I can.
Brad Kaaya’s mother, Angela Means, has tried to stem this tide of negativity on Twitter and Facebook, urging fans to stick by the side of the players and the team. So has UM. Somehow, they've come up with another clever marketing campaign sure to win folks over.
The public relations machine in Coral Gables has been on overdrive promoting positivity and unity left and right. It’s obviously a direct rebuttal to what Duke Johnson’s mother and Clive Walford were putting out there in the aftermath of the bowl loss –- that there was a division among players and that players would transfer out if they didn’t have to sit out a year per NCAA rules. You know, all the kind of stuff that makes recruits feel warm and fuzzy this time of year.
In the end, though, it’s clear UM is fighting a huge uphill battle. A really, really, really big one. And one they likely won't win on Signing Day either. Recruiting wars for 2015 have already been lost long ago. More could be on the way in more decommitments.
Golden and his staff deserve a lot of that blame. Did you know Miami-Dade and Broward County produced 16 seniors this season that played in the three major All-American games? Do you know how many are headed to UM? Two: St. Thomas Aquinas running back Jordan Scarlett and Miami Booker T. Washington running back Mark Walton.
Not all of that failure can be traced solely to Golden or the results on the field. Some of it can be traced to the black cloud of negativity surrounding the program, the one fans have helped create.
Michael Irvin, the face of The U, the man who supports Miami through thick and thin, Mr. Positive, Mr. It’s going to get better -- even he couldn’t blame his nephew, Miami Westminster Christian All-American safety Tim Irvin, for skipping out on UM to head to Texas.
Pinning blame on fans for the program’s current state of affairs isn't the idea here. The players and coaches deserve all that blame –- Golden the biggest chunk of that.
You can’t have fewer wins over FBS schools (5) in 2014 than potential NFL Draft picks in 2015. You can’t keep pointing to an NCAA cloud that “devastated the program” when the basketball team won an ACC title while said cloud was hanging over its head too. And you just can’t keep harping on a convenient argument (we improved from 90th in 2013 to 15th in total defense in 2014) to show signs of improvement.
Nobody cares. Nobody wants to hear it because they’ve heard it all before. Fans want action. They want results. And if not, they want blood.
But in this case, there doesn’t look like there will be blood. No matter how loud the chorus gets, Blake James doesn’t look like he’s changing his mind or his coach.
So, my advice, take a step back and put your energy toward something you can help change. And that’s making the cloud over Coral Gables -- the real one -- a little smaller each day. Turn down the noise a little. Al Golden can pretend he doesn't hear it. It's what he does. But just remember everyone else in this world can hear it loud and clear.
The Hurricanes landed one of the most prized safety recruits in the nation Tuesday night when Miami Killian's Jaquan Johnson called coaches to inform them he was committing to their 2015 signing class.
Johnson (5-11, 192) is rated a four-star prospect by 247Sports.com and the ninth best safety in the nation. He's a three-time All-Dade First Team selection and a U.S. Army All-American.
Johnson told The Miami Herald last week his top five college choices were Miami, Florida, Florida State, South Carolina and Louisville and that he might be making a decision soon. He also told The Herald he planned on taking official visits to LSU, Alabama and Louisville during the season.
There is no word yet if he still plans to, but Killian coach Cory Johnson said Jaquan, no relation, told him Johnson informed UM coaches "Coral Gables is where he plans to play his college football."
"He's going to walk in there trying to be the man right away," Cory Johnson said.
Johnson missed the first four games of his junior season at Killian last year with a lower back injury. He said he contemplated having surgery to shave a disc in his back but decided against it. Johnson said he still experiences some tightness in his back.
Johnson finished his junior season with 75 tackles, an interception, five fumble recoveries and eight catches for 122 yards and three scores. As a sophomore he collected 94 tackles, 7 INTs and ran 88 times for 646 yards and 17 touchdowns. As a freshman he had 45 tackles, two forced fumbles, 1 blocked field goal, 417 yards rushing and eight rushing touchdowns. He also scored on two touchdown catches.
"One thing I know about Quan is if you put the ladder up six feet higher than he can reach he's going to find a way to climb it," coach Johnson said. "He'll go as high as he can to get to the top of that ladder."
The Hurricanes have 23 commitments in the 2015 signing class. Johnson is one of six who is considered a four-star recruit.