February 03, 2015

Q&A covering Canes, FSU and UF with 247Sports National Recruiting Insider Ryan Bartow

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.”

Scouts provide take on Hurricanes recruiting class

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
Commitments (13) POS School HT WT Stars POS/RK
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.

February 02, 2015

Report: former Hurricane Warren Sapp arrested for soliciting prostitute, suspended by NFL Network

Former Hurricane and Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp was arrested at a Phoenix hotel Monday morning -- not long after the Super Bowl -- for soliciting a prostitute.

According to TMZ Sports, which broke the story, police said two women told them they were at the hotel "as escorts" and went to Sapp's room, where an argument broke out over money. The women claim the argument turned physical and spilled out into the hallway. Officials say when cops questioned Sapp,"he was questioned and admitted involvement in the act of prostitution, but denied assaulting the females."

Sapp, a color analyst for NFL Network, has reportedly been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the investigation.

Former Hurricane Jeremy Shockey, once accused by Sapp of being a snitch in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, appeared to take a shot at Sapp with the following tweet on Monday: 

Coach L on Angel, Louisville, etc...

Checking in with a very hoarse UM basketball coach Jim Larranaga Monday morning as he prepares team for Tuesday night game vs. No. 10 Louisville. The 23rd-ranked Canes lost back-to-back games to Georgia Tech and FSU, and will probably fall back out of the Top 25 after rejoining the rankings last week. Here's what he had to say on the ACC teleconference:

On the week: "It's been a rough week for our team.''

On the team mood: “Kids are pretty resilient. They bounce back pretty quickly. I think it’s harder on the coaches. But it’s hard on everybody. Nobody likes to lose. Everybody wants to win.’’

On inconsistency: “The whole key is consistency and we’ve been a team that’s very, very capable on some night, but because of our inconsistency, some nights we don’t play well at all.’’

On Angel Rodriguez shooting 33 percent overall and 29 percent in ACC games: “Some of it is shot selection. Some of it is he’s got too much responsibility. He needs his teammates to step up and play a little better themselves so he doesn’t end up having to take and make every big shot. One of our problems is we don’t have an inside presence, like most of the teams in our league have. Tonye Jekiri is a very good defender and rebounder, but he’s not someone we can just throw the ball to and he’s going to score with his back to basket. In fact, we don’t have a back to the basket player. So defenses are able to extend and put more pressure on us on our 3-pt shooting. We haven’t shot the three particularly well, neither Sheldon nor Angel. Defenses are now playing them a little differently than earlier in the season.’’

More on Rodriguez: “He needs help form his teammates. What made him so successful early is Sheldon was also playing great, and so was Manu, making all kinds of shots. What opens it up for Angel is when Manu’s on one wing making threes, and Sheldon’s on the other wing making threes. That opens it up for Angel to do his thing. We’ve gone thought a stretch where we’re not making threes, and it puts pressure on all of them, not just Angel, but Sheldon, Manu and Davon, too.’

On who can step up and make big shots at crunch time: “Some teams you absolutely know which guys are going to get the ball at the end of games. We don’t really have that. Angel is 5-11. It’s not so easy for him. Even if he beats his man, it’s hard to score over the big guys.’’

On facing No. 10 Louisville Tuesday: “They’ve very different. They press. They have four or five different presses. They play zone, man to man. What’s hard on us, we only have this one day to prepare. I’d like to have 2-3 days to go over what we want to do.’’

On whether he uses Snapchat in recruiting:  “My assistant coaches do. I don’t use it myself. My communication is through texting and phone calls.’’

By Michelle Kaufman

 

February 01, 2015

Miami Beach morning with Kaaya, Kamalu, other Canes -- on flag football, Super Bowl & Deflategate

   Gorgeous Super Bowl Sunday in Miami Beach.

   Got back from the “JAFCO Bowl’’ at Flamingo Park, organized by 16-year-old Jake Sokol, the Ransom Everglades student who five years ago initiated the annual flag football tournament between Miami-Dade County youngsters as his Bar Mitzvah project to benefit JAFCO – the Jewish Adoption and Family Care Options non-profit organization that provides services to abused and neglected children in South Florida.

    Sokol and the young players seemed to have great fun Sunday, but not as much fun as the six Hurricanes who did community service and repped the University of Miami in coaching them up.

    The Hurricanes represented: quarterback Brad Kaaya, offensive lineman Hunter Wells, receiver David Njoku, defensive tackle Ufomba Kamalu and walk-ons Grant Coffman (kicker/punter) and Collin Alford (running back).

   “Every one of these kids love UM,’’ said Sokol, who said the game has raised about $25,000 since its inception. “It’s just a great charity and a great thing to see these players represent the University of Miami in doing something for the community.’’

   Kaaya ran back and forth on the field as if his future hung on every play. Midway through the event, Kaaya already had lost three members of his flag football team.

Kaayaflagfb

   “One broke his finger,’’ Kaaya said, “one tripped another kid and got kicked out, and then the other one didn’t show up. We’re getting blown out right now, so we’ve got to come back. I’m real competitive. I hate losing anything.’’

    Said Kamalu: “I’m just coaching kids, showing them plays. This is my first time doing this. When the kids make big plays we’re so invested in it. It’s just so fun coaching them.’’

Photo 2

   So, now the most pressing subject of the day: The Super Bowl.

   I asked Brad Kaaya, “Tom Brady or Russell Wilson?”

   Kaaya: “Tom Brady. In the game today, Tom has played in a lot more of these, so I’m thinking Tom.

   “Overall, Tom. I mean, he makes more happen. Whereas Russell Wilson, he’s still a good quarterback, but a lot of times I feel like the guys he has in place around him often times can really help him out a whole lot. Tom Brady, over the years he’s made it happen. He’s had six different receiving corps and he still makes it happen.’’

    Kaaya said he’s picking the Patriots to win but “it’s going to be a really good game. I think it should be.’’

   Kaaya said he’ll probably watch the game with all his “boys.’’

   Greg Golden, “Coach Golden’s nephew,’’ Kaaya said, has “a real nice ’’ TV setup for viewing games, though he said he wasn’t sure where he’d watch the Super Bowl.

   Kamalu said he wanted the Seattle Seahawks.

   “They make plays,’’ he said. “They have a lot of playmakers on offense and defense. I think they’re going to find a way.’’

   Njoku predicted the final score Sunday would be 31-26, Seahawks.

   Wells is going with the Pats.

    Photo 4

   Finally, on “Deflategate, ” the recent NFL controversy involving the New England Patriots being accused of underinflating footballs used in the AFC Championship against Indianapolis, Kamalu and Wells called it, basically, a bunch of hot air.

    “Does it really matter, two PSI’s? How does it matter? Two PSI’s is not that much – if it were five or something, alright.”

    Wells: “A deflated ball is not going to help them tackle. Deflategate. They trying to say it’s like Watergate? Come on!”

    Lots of laughter – and a morning well spent.

    SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN 

  

One of Hurricanes top recruits Scarlett decommits; Williams in play as replacement at RB

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

6'5

237 3 22
Jahair Jones OT Brooklyn ASA College 6'5 310 3 12
Charles Perry LB Royal Palm Beach, Fla. 6'1 205 3 31
Commitments (13) POS School HT WT Stars POS/Rk
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

January 29, 2015

Just announced: Miami Hurricanes and FSU Seminoles will play Oct. 10, 2015 in Tallahassee

 

   In 2014, the Miami Hurricanes got thrown into the furnace by not only playing their first football game on the road, but playing it against a talented Louisville team making its debut in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

   The ACC released its 2015 composite schedule Thursday, and next season the Canes can breathe a bit before they face their first ACC opponent – defending league champion Florida State on Oct. 10 in Tallahassee.

   UM opens Sept. 5 at home against Football Championship Subdivision member Bethune-Cookman (9-3), travels up the road Sept. 12 to FAU (3-9) in Boca Raton, hosts Nebraska (9-4) on Sept. 19 and rests with a bye week Sept. 26.

   After their first road game at Cincinnati (9-4) for a Thursday-night, ESPN telecast  Oct. 1, the Canes can start really sweating.

  Miami (6-7, 3-5 ACC) will meet FSU more than a month earlier than it did this past season. The Seminoles were 13-1 in 2014 after losing to Oregon in the College Football Playoff semifinal on New Year’s Day.

   The Canes will have nine days to prepare for the Seminoles, who defeated them 30-26 Nov. 15 in the final three minutes at Sun Life Stadium.

   After FSU there’s Virginia Tech (7-6) on Oct. 17 and Clemson (10-3) on Oct. 24 at home. Then the Canes play at Duke (9-4) on Halloween, return home Nov. 7 for Virginia (5-7) and go to UNC (6-7) on Nov. 14.

   The end of the season will be tough, with Orange Bowl champion Georgia Tech (11-3) coming to Sun Life on Nov. 21 and UM finishing the regular season at Pittsburgh (6-7) in the cold on the day after Thanksgiving – Friday, Nov. 27.

    UM’s 2015 opponents had a combined 97-58 record in 2014.

    Of the teams they will face next season, the Hurricanes lost to Nebraska, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Virginia and Pittsburgh. They defeated Duke, Cincinnati, Virginia Tech and North Carolina.

    FAU athletic director Pat Chun told the Miami Herald late last year that the three-game series between the teams is part of a “two-for-one’’ contract. “Two games at their place [UM] – in 2013 and 2016 and home [at FAU] in 2015. Part of the deal is there is no change of funds in the contract for the home game at our place in ’15.

   “The biggest game in the history of our stadium will be for sure Sept. 12, 2015, and our campus is excited to host our neighbors from the south,’’ Chun said.

    Game times have not yet been assigned.

 

Miami Hurricanes 2015 Schedule

 

Saturday, Sept. 5 -- Bethune-Cookman.

 

Saturday, Sept. 12 -- AT FAU.

 

Saturday, Sept. Sept. 19 -- Nebraska.

 

BYE WEEK Saturday, Sept. 26

 

Thursday Oct. 1 -- AT CINCINNATI

 

Saturday, Oct. 10  -- AT FSU*

 

Saturday, Oct. 17 -- Virginia Tech*

 

Saturday, Oct. 24 -- Clemson*

 

Saturday, Oct. 31 -- AT DUKE*

 

Saturday, Nov. 7 -- Virginia*

 

Saturday, Nov. 14 -- AT UNC*

 

Saturday, Nov. 21 -- Georgia Tech*

 

Friday, Nov. 27 -- AT PITT*

 

 * ACC game

  SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN   

January 28, 2015

Miami Hurricanes legend Michael Irvin to angry football fans: "Calm'' your "asses down''

So by now, we all know that Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin's nephew Tim Irvin (Miami Westminster) committed this month to play at Texas -- then decommitted from Texas and switched to Auburn -- instead of for the Hurricanes or his other finalists. Michael wanted his nephew to, reportedly, follow his heart.

On Tuesday, at the Super Bowl's Media Day, UM great Michael Irvin was asked by NBC-6/WQAM sportscaster Adam Kuperstein his thoughts on the UM football program sticking with coach Al Golden and his not making any changes in his coaching staff (after a 6-7 season and major fan wrath).

"I thought it was the right move, and guys, I've said this over and over again and I'll say it here again: Al Golden -- Coach Al Golden -- has earned this opportunity, has earned the right to see this through. With what he's done, to jump there and fight, that was not his fight, and he stayed through the fight. He recruited well and he kept us in the fight.

* He had us up to, I don't know, ranked as high as fifth last year.

"We started a freshman quarterback. Where's the smarts? Tell me this: Where's the smarts in saying, 'Hey freshman, we know we started you. We know you learned a lot. But right now we're going to snatch all of that from under you and make you start all over again next year.'

"It would be absolutely stupid, absolutely ignorant to do it to him, so it would be absolutely the right thing to let this man get one more year to finish and make it right. Building a championship takes time and there's a process to it. And we're in the midst, I think, of a very good process. 

"And I surely hope that people, in Miami, can calm their asses down and let the process see itself through.''

Irvin has repeatedly said that Golden deserves another season to steer UM in the right direction after staying with the Hurricanes through the NCAA mess.

*As far as Irvin saying Miami was ranked as high as fifth last year, I'm thinking he meant 2013 (otherwise, he's clearly out of touch), when the Canes were ranked seventh by the Associated Press after a 7-0 start. They then lost to FSU (lost Duke Johnson in the process) and collapsed from there to finish 9-4. 

 SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

January 26, 2015

Make it five 2016 commitments for Canes in 48 hours with addition of Flanagan LB Devin Gil

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."

UM back in Top 25

They're baaaaaaaaack. In the Top 25.

By Michelle Kaufman

mkaufman@MiamiHerald.com

The 31,000 fans at the Carrier Dome apparently weren’t the only ones paying attention as the University of Miami men’s basketball team knocked off Syracuse Saturday afternoon. Voters in the Associated Press and USA Today polls put the Hurricanes back into the Top 25 on Monday. They are ranked No. 23 in both polls.

UM had broken into the Top 25 on Nov. 24, got as high as No. 15, slipped to No. 18 on Dec. 15 and then dropped out after losing to Eastern Kentucky. But ever since the ACC season started, the Canes have been gaining respect. They had big wins at Duke and at Syracuse, home wins over Boston College and North Carolina State and their two losses were in double-overtime to undefeated No. 2 Virginia (19-0) and by five points to then-No. 12 (now No. 8) Notre Dame.

The Canes (14-5, 4-2 ACC) face Georgia Tech at home Wednesday at 9 p.m. Coach Jim Larranaga said re-entering the Top 25 doesn’t change the team’s approach to the game. He does not want his players wrapped up in rankings. But he recognizes that being a Top 25 team has long-range benefits.

“(It’s significant) as far as getting name recognition out there, having others think we’re good,’’ he said. “We’re always going to think we’re good. But it’s earning respect from other people that’s always been important. It helps in recruiting to have high school players and coaches think you have a good program, and the way they judge that is, `Who’d you beat?’’’

 

 

Hurricanes pick up four 2016 commitments, look to hold onto key '15 recruits & finish strong

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.

2016 Commitments POS School HT WT Stars Rank
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.

2015 Class      
Early Enrollment POS School HT WT Stars Rank
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
Commitments POS School HT WT Stars Rank
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.

January 23, 2015

UM apologizes for fan shoving NC St. player

During Miami's 65-60 win over NC State Thursday night, a UM fan shoved Wolfpack player Anthony Barber. It was captured on video. UM athletic director Blake James released this statement:

After tonight’s game I was made aware of an incident involving one of our fans and a North Carolina State University student-athlete. First I want to apologize to the student-athlete involved, Coach Mark Gottfried and North Carolina State University.  This type of behavior is not representative of the University of Miami or our athletic program, and will not be tolerated. We will review the video and discuss with the ACC the appropriate actions in addressing this issue. 

 

January 21, 2015

Coach L kicks players out of practice

Most interesting nuggets out of Wednesday afternoon presser with Coach L and Sheldon McClellan:

1. Coach L did not like the energy of some players at yesterday's practice, so he made them run and then he kicked the entire team out of the gym and told them to go home. "He was pretty angry,'' McClellan said. "Rarely have I seen him like that. It wasn't the first time he was mad at us, but it was the first time we've been sent home.'' They plan to show up hungrier today because "We don't want to make coach mad.''

2. Coach L said fans should expect to see more of 6-10 Spaniard Ivan Cruz Uceda against NC State Thursday night than they saw of him vs. Notre Dame. The Wolfpack pack some heavy players in the paint, so Jekiri, Uceda, Sherman and Thomas will play a big role.

3. The Canes have had trouble guarding the perimeter, and they will be tested big time against NC State guards Trevor Lacey (17.1 ppg) and Ralston Turner (13.7), whom Coach L called a "Ray Allen kind of player'' who looks for a moment of daylight and launches threes.

4. Coach L said NC State (which beat Duke, as did UM) is "Maybe the most talented, athletic team in the league. Their backcourt is as hard to guard as any in the country.''

5. Coach L on Angel Rodriguez's 1-for-10 shooting against the Irish: "Some nights you have the juice, sometimes you don't.''

BY Michelle Kaufman

Former Hurricane Calais Campbell provides UM with $1.6 million gift, largest ever by former player

Former Hurricane Calais Campbell, NFL Pro Bowler with the Arizona Cardinals and founder of the CRC Foundation, made a gift of $1.6 million to the University of Miami's athletic department Wednesday to fund The Calais Campbell Football Defensive Lineman Endowed Scholarship.

The endowment marks the largest gift from a former UM student athlete ever, a little more than the recent $1.5 million gift from former running back Ken Hunt the school announced. 

“Calais’ generosity will create opportunities for young men for years to come and on behalf of the University, I want to express our gratitude for his commitment to Miami,” UM athletic director Blake James said in a statement released by the school. “Calais is an incredible man and along with his family, understands the importance of education and the impact a positive environment can have on a student-athlete.  We are excited by the benchmarks set by Ken Hunt and now Calais, which will serve as catalysts for former student-athlete giving in the future.”

The Calais Campbell Football Defensive Lineman Endowment will fund a full scholarship annually, in perpetuity, to a defensive lineman on the Hurricanes football team. In recognition for this historic gift, the defensive linemen meeting room in the Hecht Athletic Center will be renamed The Calais Campbell Defensive Line Meeting Room.

An all-ACC defensive end, Campbell recorded the ninth best single-season sack total in Hurricanes history with 10.5, on his way to being named the Hurricanes’ 2006 team MVP. Campbell was a four-year letter winner, and graduated in 2008 with a degree in advertising and marketing.

“While running through the smoke as a Miami Hurricane will always be one of the great honors of my life, I am equally as proud of the education I received while a Hurricane student-athlete” Calais Campbell said in a statement released by UM. “Through my parents, I learned the value of earning a degree and through the University of Miami I was able to achieve it. The University of Miami continues to strive for the best in both academics and athletics, and it’s my honor to be a small part of that effort.”

Campbell was himself the named recipient of an endowed scholarship from Robert and Connie McGee, longtime supporters of UM athletics. 

“The McGees were very inspirational in my life and I’m honored to now stand beside them as a fellow donor to Hurricane Athletics,” Campbell said. “I hope that through this gift I can inspire others to think about how they can continue to positively impact the lives of Hurricane student-athletes, just as the McGee family has done for many years.”

Campbell and the McGees formed a strong bond during his time at UM, and they remain close today.

“Our family has enjoyed attending University of Miami football games for many years. When we lost our son, Shane, at age 13, we created an endowed football scholarship in his memory,” Bob and Connie McGee said in a statement released by UM.  “Our first recipient was Calais Campbell. It was a wonderful experience to meet Calais as an incoming freshman and to watch him grow as a player and a man.

"Our relationship with Calais has helped us both understand the impact that a scholarship can have on a young person’s life. Calais is an exceptional young man. We are so pleased that he has decided to carry on the tradition of investing in the young men who will play football at University of Miami by giving an endowed football scholarship. We feel that our family’s scholarship has come full circle,” they added.

In 2008, Campbell was selected 50th overall in the second round of the NFL draft by the Arizona Cardinals, and has continued to excel in the NFL, becoming a Cardinals team leader and being named to his first Pro Bowl. Campbell has twice won the Cardinals “Man of the Year” award for his work in the Arizona community through his CRC Foundation.

With Campbell's gift, the school announced it has surpassed $106 million toward its fundraising campaign known as Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami.

January 20, 2015

Canes 'definitely' in it for Booker T. star receiver Antonio Callaway after official visit

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."

Miami Hurricanes baseball season approaching, with UM quarterback Malik Rosier officially on roster

Baseball season is closing in, and I, for one, am happy about that. 

Great kids, and the heart of the Hurricanes' batting lineup -- ACC Rookie of the Year Zack Collins in the 3 spot, David Thompson at cleanup and sophomore outfielder Willie Abreu the likely No. 5 hitter -- appears to be a terror for opponents. 

The Canes open the season Friday night, Feb. 13, at home against Rutgers, with a double-header on Feb. 14 and the series finale on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 15.

Collins was recently named to the Perfect Game Preseason All-America first team, with reliever Bryan Garcia a third-team selection. They also were recognized by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper.

On Tuesday, UM made its debut in Perfect Game's top 25 at No. 10.

According to the UM release we just received, the ranking was Miami’s third top 15 mark of the preseason; Collegiate Baseball Newspaper slotted Miami at No. 14 in its preseason poll released in December, while D1Baseball rated Miami No. 15 in its rankings released Monday.

Miami, which finished 44-19 in 2014 and earned one of 16 NCAA postseason Regional host sites, ended the season atop the ACC with a 24-6 record in conference play. Head coach Jim Morris' team also took home their second ACC Regular Season Championship in program history en route to a top seed at the ACC Baseball Championship in Greensboro, N.C. 

The Hurricanes, who in 2014 extended their postseason streak to a college baseball-record 42 consecutive years, return a number of key contributors from last season both on the mound and in the field.

Collins was named 2014 Baseball America National Freshman of the Year, left-handed pitcher Andy Suarez was the highest drafted college player (second round, Washington Nationals) in the nation to return to school, while Garcia earned NCBWA All-America honors after delivering a dominant season as the team's closer.

 Also note that quarterback Malik Rosier, a rising redshirt freshman in football, is now officially on the baseball roster as an outfielder and will wear No. 28. He's listed as 6-1 and 208 pounds .Word is that Rosier, who will continue to play football, has been impressive so far in early practices. He's fast, too.

Malik rosier

UM's recruiting class was ranked No. 2 nationally by Perfect Game, highlighted by speedy freshman outfielder Carl Chester, junior college transfer George Iskenderian (likely the opening-night third baseman) and outfielder Justin Smith.

The Hurricanes will open the season with the First Pitch Banquet on Feb at the Marriott Miami Dadeland. The Canes will host FanFest and its annual Alumni Game at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field at 4 p.m. Feb. 7. Admission to FanFest is free.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

January 15, 2015

On second thought, Elder and Jones stick to football

UM basketball coach Jim Larranaga, tickled to see a crowded interview room after the Canes' huge road upset over No. 4 Duke, opened by announcing that, upon further review, football players Corn Elder and D'Mauri Jones decided to stick to football and not play for the basketball team.

"Despite how excited myself and my staff were about having Corn Elder and D’Mauri Jones join us, those guys realized the amount of work they have to do academically and still with football, and the time commitment was just going to be way too much, so neither will be with us any further. Corn was with us two practices, D’Mauri just watched, and realized, `Well, maybe I need to just concentrate on the football.'’’

(My translation: Perhaps they realized just how serious college basketball is, how skilled the players are, how hard the practicees are, and it would be hard to just dabble in it. It requires a bigger commitment than they have time or energy to give)

--Michelle Kaufman

January 14, 2015

Scarlett still committed to the Canes, but going into final three visits with an open mind

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. 

Miami Trustee Bob Mann gives $1 million bucks, says he's also disappointed in football, but wants to "help build the program up''

   As I said in my last post, Bob Mann is a very generous person.

   I spoke with him today about being that generous when so many understandably disgruntled football fans are saying they won’t renew their season tickets or give any more money to Hurricanes athletics until changes are made in the football program, which finished 6-7 this past season.

  If you hadn’t heard, Mann, 68, a UM alum and Trustee, gave $1 million to establish the Robert A. Mann Endowed Fund for the Department of Athletics.

 The gift will support UM football, basketball, baseball and emergency needs for all student-athletes as determined by the athletic director and is “in support of Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami.’’

UM said Mann’s gift means as of now, the athletics department has raised more than $104 million toward its Momentum2 goal of $125 million.

 Mann has been very generous financially and otherwise over the years to support Hurricanes athletics – and other areas of UM as well. He said he chooses to keep giving, despite being upset about football’s downward trend.

“The contribution is to help build the program up,’’ he said. “There are so many needs. I continue to give every year anyway. A lot of people do. We’re really happy with the basketball program and some of the other programs are doing well and we’re all looking for the football program to turn around again.

  “Everything in football seems to go in cycles, whether it’s Ohio State or Alabama or Oklahoma. All these schools have up or down periods . I just know that everybody in the university is committed to winning. And I’m sure the resources will be there at the university to do it. So much has gone into athletics in the last decade.

   “Over the last year we put $2.5 million worth of high definition scoreboards in the BankUnitedCenter and that was to increase the fans’ experience.”

  Mann, an avid football fan who attends all the games, including the Duck Commander Independence Bowl, said he believes it’s a misconception that the administration does not care about football.

   “I think the person who wants to win more than anyone else is Donna Shalala. She’s a very competitive person. We all want to win. Losing is not fun.

   “I think fans will be very happy with what they see in the future. There will be a commitment by the administration to athletics and things will only get better.’’

    SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN