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Props Slaps
 9 years ago '04        #4861
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UM football coaches asked senior basketball player Jimmy Graham to play football for the Canes next season -- they envision the 6-8, 256-pounder as a tight end. Graham, who is considering it, has good hands and played football in high school. Graham would have one season of football eligibility...Robert Marve will visit Purdue, Texas Tech and Nebraska this month, then decide where to transfer, his father said.
 9 years ago '04        #4862
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Miami Hurricanes' alumni reason why football team keeps attracting attention
BY LARRY BLUSTEIN


Having attended just about every University of Miami spring game for the past 20 plus years, I have had the opportunity to watch the way the Hurricanes have always commanded the respect of high school football players -- locally and throughout Florida.

While a 12-13 record is never something you want to showcase to your recruits, the reputation that follows this program is as easy as picking up a pro football magazine on the shelf of the local supermarket. Last Saturday, I found out that it makes little difference what the Hurricanes have done in the immediate past, it's what has gone on here since the late 1970s and early 80s that brings kids in from as far away as New Jersey and as close as Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

While I have always had the answer to why football recruits pay little or no attention to the record of the Hurricanes, it's those alumni that might hold the key. Watching an Alonzo Highsmith, Jon Vilma, Ed Reed or Leon Searcy on the sideline, mixing with 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds is something you rarely see any place else in the country.

IT'S ALL CLEAR WHY

As I sat in the stands last Saturday watching the the Hurricanes play in front of just about 10,000 fans at Lockhart Stadium, it all came into focus why they attract throngs of high profile players to come watch. It's something that doesn't exist when 90,000 fans pack into Tuscaloosa for an Alabama spring event. It's not present when the Florida Gators bring in 55,000 to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium or when Ohio State gets 60,000 to come into the Horseshoe in the middle of April.

As I watched Lamar Thomas trot back and forth with Danny Stubbs, Dave Heffernan and others along the sideline, it reinforced that the past of this program is so strong, and the mystique is still so vivid, having a Brandon Linder, Jeff Luc, Lamarcus Joyner, Ivan McCartney, Jakhari Gore and James White in attendance was a given.

Whether many recruits are looking at Miami as an option or not, it's that attraction -- like a strong magnet -- that pulls these budding stars in the direction of the University of Miami football program, and it's not likely to change as this program is certainly on the verge of producing more stars who will only add to that mystique and aura that four decades of winning and churning out professional talent brings.

To see a Vinnie Mauro, Mike Anderson, Mike Palardy, Turner Baty, David Perry, Tommy Heffernan, Brandon Doughty and Justin Birkenholz in the stands, watching the spring game only adds to the lists that have been in attendance throughout the years to be a part of that tradition and take part in something that Miami has been known for during the past 35 years.

Perhaps no program in the nation boasts more players returning to give back than the ''U'' does. That is something that was started back with Michael Irvin and the Blades brothers and has continued.

GIVING BACK TO UM

Much of the talk at a post game party last Saturday afternoon at Miami Prime Grill in North Miami Beach centered around the very fact that Miami players have always given back. That event, put on by 790 The Ticket, truly backed that up.

From Joe Mira to Don Soldinger, Art Kehoe, Gerard Daphnes, Twan Russell, Bobby Harden, Eddie Edwards, Wesley Carroll, Don Smith, Willie Smith, Kenny Calhoun, K.C. Jones, James Burgess, Melvin Bratton, Yatil Green, Ryan Collins, Chuck Hirschenson, Anthony Hamlett, Kelvin Harris, Duane Starkes, Carlos Huerta, Edgar Benes, Don Bailey Jr. and Donnell Bennett, these standouts came out to show how special the program has been through the years.

It's little surprise why Brian Robinson, Tony Grimes, Keion Payne, Max Belieau, Desmond Bozeman, Gideon Ajagbe, Reginald Moore, Alec Ogletree and Louis Nix were on hand as well!
 9 years ago '04        #4863
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Scouting the ACC's special teams

April 7, 2009 9:00 AM

Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

Coaches often emphasize it, but the casual football fan often underestimates it -- the importance of special teams. It was a phase of the game Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson agonized over last season and resolved to fix, starting this spring. It was also a priority of UNC coach Butch Davis this spring.

Considering the numerous specialists who have graduated, it's an area of concern for several teams across the conference this spring. The biggest names gone from a year ago are: FSU's Graham Gano and Michael Ray Garvin, UNC's Brandon Tate, Wake's Sam Swank, and Virginia Tech's Dustin Keys.

Here's a quick breakdown of the top specialists returning from a year ago:

PLACEKICKERS

Matt Bosher, Miami -- He is a frontrunner for this year's Lou Groza Award, as Bosher is the leading returning placekicker in the nation in field goal percentage. He made 18 of his 20 attempts last year and was a semifinalist for the award.

Josh Czajkowski, NC State -- He made 16 of 19 field goals last year (84.2 percent), his longest being 42 yards.

PUNTERS

Travis Baltz, Maryland -- He led the ACC with a 41.1 yard average and had 24 land inside the 20-yard line with 18 result in a fair catch. Baltz ranked 43rd in the NCAA.

Bosher -- His double duty included a 40.3 yard average with 19 inside the 20, and he led the ACC with 24 that resulted in a fair catch.

Brent Bowden, Virginia Tech -- His longest was 57 yards, and he averaged 40.4 yards per punt. He'll be a senior this year.

Kevin Jones, Duke -- In his second season as a starter, Jones led all ACC punters in pinning opponents deep inside their own territory. At least 27 of his punts landed inside the 20-yard line, and he ranked second in the conference in punting with a 40.8 average. Duke allowed only 5.7 yards per punt.

KICK RETURNER/SPECIALIST

Torrey Smith, Maryland -- Smith set an ACC single-season record last year for kickoff return yardage, with 41 returns for a total of 1,089 yards. He broke the record during Maryland's bowl game when he returned one 99 yards for a touchdown against Nevada in the Humanitarian Bowl.

Travis Benjamin, Miami -- He was an exciting player to watch and led the ACC in punt returns with 11.3 yards per return. His longest was an ACC-best 44 yards. He averaged 22.5 yards on kickoff returns.

Bruce Carter, UNC -- The Tar Heels' third-leading returning tackler made a name for himself last year when he blocked an ACC-record four consecutive punts. The first three came against then-ranked No. 25 Connecticut and the fourth came against Miami.

T.J. Graham, NC State -- He came close to setting an ACC record in kickoff return yardage, as his 974 yards on 41 returns was the third-best single-season total in ACC history. He also ran one back 100 yards for a touchdown.

Dyrell Roberts, Virginia Tech -- He finished fifth in the ACC in kickoff returns as a freshman, with an average of 24.8 yards.

C.J. Spiller, Clemson -- He racked up an ACC-high 1,170 all-purpose yards, helping the Tigers on both punt and kickoff returns.
 9 years ago '05        #4864
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 Cap Peeler said:
UM football coaches asked senior basketball player Jimmy Graham to play football for the Canes next season -- they envision the 6-8, 256-pounder as a tight end. Graham, who is considering it, has good hands and played football in high school. Graham would have one season of football eligibility...Robert Marve will visit Purdue, Texas Tech and Nebraska this month, then decide where to transfer, his father said.
lol funny story how i meet jimmy graham...it was my dudes 21st birthday and we went to the hardrock i forgot the name of the club but it wasnt passions, it was the other one...ne ways im there getting drunk and theres this tall a.ss dude with our party and it just happend to be him, but before i was all like who the f**k are you, thought he was just some random dude
 9 years ago '04        #4865
booie4 
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props on the article's Cap
 9 years ago '07        #4866
Kinglew88 13 heat pts13
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it must be quiet in miami

but props on all the articles

im tired of mediocre seasons but this season should be better because our depth is 10x better.

our season rests on the offense tho
 9 years ago '04        #4867
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Miami Hurricanes’ First-Round N.F.L. Draft Streak Nears a Likely End

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By JUDY BATTISTA
Published: April 11, 2009

The streak lasted so long that during its span, Warren Sapp crafted a Hall of Fame-caliber professional career, retired, finished a season on “Dancing With the Stars” and began a second career as an analyst on the NFL Network.
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It wound through so many generations of football players that Sapp stumps people with a trivia question: who was the highest-drafted University of Miami player the year before the streak started? (Running back Donnell Bennett, second round in 1994, by Kansas City.)

The streak has hung on for so many years that when Sapp spoke to Kenny Phillips, who saved the streak when the Giants chose him with the final pick in the first round last year, he welcomed him to an extraordinary Hurricanes club.

“I said, ‘Way to keep the streak going,’ ” Sapp recalled recently. “It’s a common bond with someone who is 13 years removed from me.”

Sapp and Phillips are the bookends of a singular period of Miami football dominance: at least one Hurricanes player has been selected in the first round in 14 consecutive N.F.L. drafts. But Miami’s fortunes on the recruiting trail and the football field have suffered in recent years — no national championships since the 2001 season, and a losing season in 2007.

Even if Miami’s absence from college football’s loftiest ranks is just temporary, as most recruiting experts and N.F.L. personnel executives believe, it will take its toll this month. The streak — and one of the Hurricanes’ favorite trash-talk fodder — will almost surely end. When the college draft begins April 25, cornerback Bruce Johnson could be the only Hurricane drafted, and probably not before the fourth round. Years of the draft being colored in orange and green will fade to black.

“My streak ends,” Sapp said, sighing. “It’s something we took immense pride in.”

Still, with the dispersal of talent to more colleges than ever — players from football lesser lights like Troy (Leodis McKelvin), Delaware (Joe Flacco) and Tennessee State (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) were selected in the first round last year — Sapp may not have to worry about Miami’s record being matched. Elias Sports Bureau found Louisiana State has the next-longest current streak of first-rounders (five). Recruiting powers like Southern California (one) and Florida (two) are well off Miami’s pace.

And it is unlikely that any program will touch Miami’s mind-boggling run early this decade, when it had four first-rounders in 2001, five in 2002, four in 2003 and an N.F.L.-record six in 2004.

Miami nearly scuttled football in the 1970s, and it still fails to sell out games against anybody but its biggest rivals. But Howard Schnellenberger, the coach who revived the program in the 1980s, laid the groundwork for the streak by eschewing most out-of-state recruiting and mining talent-rich South and Central Florida.

From those areas came Michael Irvin, Bennie Blades, Jerome Brown, Ray Lewis, Phillips and Sapp. All were first-rounders. Schnellenberger started a slogan: “Pipeline to the pros.”

“We caught all kinds of flak,” Schnellenberger, now the coach at Florida Atlantic, said. “The university hierarchy thought it was guff because it was emphasizing pro football as an end to the means.”

Without the lavish facilities and tradition of Texas and Michigan, Schnellenberger encouraged a culture that emphasized college and regional pride, binding the players to the campus and to one another. Its most obvious manifestation is that players, even deep into their pro careers, still return to Coral Gables to work out in the off-season.

With one coach after another leaving for pro jobs (Schnellenberger, Jimmy Johnson, Dennis Erickson and Butch Davis), those players provided continuity at Miami, filling, Schnellenberger said, the institutional role that coaches like Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden do at Penn State and Florida State.

The pros provided a powerful recruiting pitch on national television when they stood on the sideline at Miami games. And once the prospects came to Miami, the pros helped prepare them for their next step. When Sapp was there, Russell Maryland and Brown showed up. When Phillips was a freshman, he worked out with safety Ed Reed and running back Edgerrin James, both first-rounders.

When Ernie Accorsi, the former general manager of the Giants, visited the campus, Alonzo Highsmith, Micheal Barrow and Jessie Armstead were working out with Miami players.

“They give you tips — they teach you how to watch film,” Phillips said. “It does a lot for a guy who is 18 years old. My junior year, Ed said: ‘The way is paved for you. All you have to do is play.’ ”

Sapp and Phillips credit the influence of former Hurricanes for fostering sustained excellence.

“We were not going to bend those standards,” Sapp said.

Accorsi saw the not-so-subtle pressure up close when he went to campus to “box” the players (teams used a battery-powered reaction box to test quickness, explosion and change of direction). It was so hot that the dry-cell battery melted. Two players found a store that sold the hard-to-find battery. The test was on.
 9 years ago '04        #4868
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(Page 2 of 2)

“They were going to make sure we were able to test them, a test players generally would duck, but not them,” Accorsi said. “Then they competed against each other like it was an Olympic trial. All the players put pressure on each other, current and past, to be relentless competitors.”
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But just as the decrepit Orange Bowl stadium crumbled a few years ago, so did Miami’s supremacy. There are many theories why Miami did not produce a top pro prospect this year. Schnellenberger says coaches tried to recruit too much nationally, forsaking their backyard. He also notes that Miami’s decline has coincided with a failure to find a top-flight quarterback.

And as bowl games and cable channels showing college games have proliferated, more teams play on national TV. That has helped put lower-profile teams on the recruiting map. On national signing day in February, Miami Pace defensive back Kayvon Webster, who had committed to Miami, signed with South Florida.

Tom Luginbill, the national recruiting director for ESPN’s Scouts Inc., says Miami’s recruiting dip started after the 2003 season. For years, Miami had its pick in South Florida. But then Florida, Florida State, South Florida and others in the Southeastern Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference began plucking their share.

“They just weren’t getting the same caliber of player as they had gotten before,” Luginbill said. “I don’t attribute it to anything other than maybe they had a little dip in effort, but more than anything else, streaks come to an end.”

Larry Coker, fired as coach after the 2006 season, has been blamed for what is perceived as lackluster recruiting. He won the national title in 2001, his first season after replacing Davis, and the Hurricanes lost to Ohio State in the title game the next season. Then the slow slide began.

“The overall talent in South Florida wasn’t as good as it has been as far as really great talent,” said Coker, the coach for the new football program at the University of Texas at San Antonio. “The key for Miami is always the talent level in South Florida. When I left, I think there was good talent. Were there six first-round draft choices? Obviously not, but the talent was good.”

The recruiting analyst Tom Lemming says he suspects Coker’s efforts were also hampered when Miami moved to the A.C.C., from the Big East, in 2004.

“They dominated everything before that, and they had trouble after that,” Lemming said. “They helped elevate the rest of the A.C.C. They started losing more than they did. Miami would still be Miami if they’d stayed in the Big East.”

But everyone agrees that Florida Coach Urban Meyer has hurt Miami the most. Meyer arrived in Gainesville in 2005, and the Gators have won two national championships since. They play in a raucous stadium and on national TV. That has helped Meyer make inroads into what had been Miami recruiting territory. He has in turn elevated the rest of the SEC.

The most startling example of how things have changed: Bryce Brown, a running back from Wichita, Kan., considered by many the top recruit this year, committed to Miami last year but continued to visit other colleges. In February, he signed with Tennessee — even though his older brother plays for Miami.

Sapp was outraged by Brown’s about-face — “What an idiot,” he said — but Lemming blames something else.

“It’s no longer the place to be,” Lemming said of Miami. “Now, U.S.C. is the place to be.”

Maybe, but perhaps not for long. When he replaced Coker two years ago, Coach Randy Shannon adopted Schnellenberger’s strategy of recruiting in South Florida. In 2008, more than half of his class of 33 signees was from the area, and it finished near the top of nearly every recruiting class ranking. This year’s class ranked as high as 11th, landing 6 of the top 150 recruits, according to ESPN.com rankings.

“They have some good young guys,” Baltimore Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome said. “They’ll be back.”

He should know. Newsome’s hand is all over the streak — the Ravens drafted Lewis and Reed.
 9 years ago '04        #4869
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his story appeared in the April 20 issue of ESPN The Magazine.

After finishing his final 40-yard dash attempt, Miami cornerback Bruce Johnson lets his momentum carry him to the far end of the Hurricanes' practice field. There, in the shadow of a parking garage, he glances back at the school's pro day setup. What he sees are the unmistakable signs of the end of an era. Aluminum bleachers, once bulging with 100 scouts reeking of rental-car living, are not even half full on this late-February afternoon. The large section roped off for agents contains only seven people, four of whom are university employees. In the nearly deserted area behind the end zone—which most years overflows with family, friends and students—a woman with her back to the field talks on her cell about her cousin's canine-allergy medication. The VIPs, once a who's who of NFL royalty, are limited to a pair of big-name former Canes: Panthers linebacker Jon Beason and Cardinals running back Edgerrin James, who wrapped Johnson in a hug before the day began and implored him to "represent the U."

As Miami's best pro prospect, Johnson, 22, does in fact perfectly embody the state of the Hurricanes, who have gone 12—13 since 2007. Undersized (5'9") and a step slow (40 time: 4.42), the soft-spoken Johnson is ranked as the draft's 25th-best corner by Scouts Inc. and will likely be a late-round pick. That means that for the first time since 1994, the program dubbed NFLU won't have a player taken in the first round, ending a streak that changed both college and pro football. The last year a Hurricane wasn't selected in one of the first three rounds? Try 1986. "I guess it's kind of a sad day," Johnson says after his workout.

In many ways, Miami is a victim of its own success—it became so good at producing NFL players that everyone stole the school's formula. Dennis Erickson, who took over for Jimmy Johnson, cranked up the pipeline while winning national titles in 1989 and 1991. The coach wooed players to his program by promising what they really wanted: a paved path to the pros. Unlike most college teams then, Miami became NFL-friendly, giving scouts ample access to game film, prospects and facilities.

That open attitude most noticeably manifested itself in a souped-up pro day that had the intensity of a bowl game and the star power of South Beach. While the Canes performed the same drills and underwent the same measurements as prospects elsewhere, they did them in front of stands packed with family, recruits and ex-players. The day was a can't-miss event rather than an obligatory exercise. Allured by the hoopla and wealth of talent, all 32 NFL teams sent their GM, their coach or often both, and a few dispatched up to seven scouts. "It was like a festival, a celebration," says Titans GM Mike Reinfeldt. "You knew there'd be so many good players you might discover someone you weren't even looking for."

The results are staggering. Over the past 14 years, Miami produced more first-round picks (33) than any other school, beginning with defensive tackle Warren Sapp, who went 12th overall to the Bucs in 1995. (Ohio State ranks second, with 25 over the same period.) The following year, picking 26th, the Ravens selected Ray Lewis. The pipeline reached its peak after the Hurricanes won the 2001 national championship. Over the next three drafts, 23 players from the title team were selected, including 11 in the first round. It was a group of players—featuring safety Ed Reed, wide receiver Andre Johnson and running back Clinton Portis—who set new standards for speed, attitude and pro-level preparedness. "You knew what you were going to get with a player from Miami," says Giants GM Jerry Reese. "Tough guys who played hard and loved football."

There are whispers in the scouting community, punctuated by Vince Young's breakdown in Tennessee, that players at many high-profile programs are coddled, soft and illprepared for the next level. That was never a concern with the Hurricanes, and it's one reason why no school had more players on NFL opening day rosters last year than NFLU (44). Under Miami's system—one that Reed has called The Crucible—hardened players from rough urban high schools are pushed to the limit, not just by coaches and teammates but by past generations of greats. In the main hallway inside the team's facility is a massive wood display that has the feel of an altar, honoring all the former Canes now playing in the NFL. Many of those alums, like Reed and Portis, work out at the school during the off-season and make a habit of staying in touch and mentoring the current Canes with tough love. Word is passed down that there are no promises or guaranteed roster spots at the U. Each week the best play—period.

Few players represent the self-perpetuating, competitive furnace better than Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey. As a Cane, if he ever felt practice lacked proper pop, he'd run downfield and cheap-shot a defensive back, sparking a brawl. Drafted 14th overall by the Giants in 2002, Shockey pushed himself hard in order to live up to predecessor Bubba Franks (taken 14th by the Packers in 2000), while setting a good example for Kellen Winslow (sixth by the Browns in 2004). "That's why we're NFLU," says Johnson. "If you don't make plays, they will sit you, forget you and move on to the next guy, just like in the NFL."

Of course, as Johnson has discovered, the scouting game is just as ruthless. As Miami waned, so did interest in its players. The burnout started when coach Butch Davis took his scouting smarts to the NFL after the 2000 season. Although successor Larry Coker led the team to title games in 2001 and 2002, he ultimately couldn't restock his ranks quickly enough to keep up with all those Canes going pro. By the time the team fell out of the national rankings four years later, several key components of its can't-miss recruiting formula were no more. The crumbling Orange Bowl no longer impressed prospects; the school instituted much tougher admissions standards; a focus on national recruiting cost the Canes their monopoly on talent-rich South Florida. Perhaps most critical of all, there's nothing unique about Miami's pro day or scout-friendliness now. It's the standard. "The playing field leveled," says Lions coach Jim Schwartz.

Getty ImagesRemember the days when Miami regularly produced NFL talent like this guy?

That's made Miami an optional stop, not a must-see, on the scouting calendar. Only a dozen or so teams showed up for this year's pro day, including reps from the Lions, Giants and Titans, all of whom have shown interest in Johnson. Even late in the draft, a prospect from NFLU is a worthy choice.

And Johnson, even at 167 pounds, represents what teams are looking for in a second-day pick. He plays with fluid hips that allow him to change direction and accelerate with power in the open field, where he craves contact. "That's the dog in me," he says. "That f!ght, that's the U right there."Sitting on a high-jump pad, Johnson slowly unties the fluorescent-green cleats he wore during his workout. As is the Miami tradition, he plans on passing the shoes to a younger teammate, maybe even one of the recruits in the Hurricanes' freshman or sophomore class, who are expected to restart the school's first-round streak in 2011 or sooner. Finally, it appears, third-year coach Randy Shannon is turning the program back around.

A linebacker on Miami's 1987 title team, Shannon has put together three straight top-10 recruiting hauls the Erickson way, by focusing on local talent. In fact, eight members of the 2008 class, widely considered the nation's best, played for prep power Northwestern High, located just a few miles from Miami's campus. "The future is bright," Miami AD Kirby Hocutt said in January.

In the meantime, it's up to Johnson to represent. As he stuffs the cleats into his bag, students walking past on their way to class recognize him and yell out, "Bruuuuuuuce!"

He waves back, but without looking up. Instead, his eyes remain fixated on the tongue of the neon cleats, labeled by the manufacturer with a 40 time—4.2—that he'll never come close to running. Not that it matters.

Teams already know what they're going to get.
 9 years ago '04        #4870
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Intruders breaching UM's local recruiting wall

Cover your eyes Canes fans, or just turn away. What you are about to read might burn your eyes and cause your blood pressure to rise. Consider this your final warning.

Outsiders are beginning to make serious recruiting inroads into South Florida. Did you hear me? There's been a breach in the Great Wall of Canes. The green and orange protective layer that used to shield the hearts of players born in the area codes of the 954 and 305 is beginning to disappear like the ozone. And if the University of Miami isn't careful, the hole could get bigger. The intrduers could end up becoming permanent residents.

No, I'm not hitting the Hurtt Alert button because the Gators picked up their first commitment from a Miami-Dade player since 2005 in Ransom Everglades linebacker Gideon Ajagbe earlier this week. I'm sounding the Shannon Siren because I'm starting to hear a change in the voices of the kids from just around the corner. I'm starting to get the feeling the Miami magnet -- the one that always seemed to yank kids in South Florida naturally toward Canes nation -- is losing its pull.

Thursday, The Miami Herald hosted a media day for local 2010 recruits. We filmed interviews, took pictures and I got a chance to sit down and talk with many players (and their coaches) who are part of what is expected to be a loaded local signing class this coming February. One by one, I heard the same answers from the recruits I've heard for years. Hialeah defensive end Corey Lemonier, running back Jakhari Gore, Booker T. Washington offensive lineman Jose Jose and Miramar receiver Ivan McCartney all told me they grew up huge fans of the Canes. But what was different listening to these recruits was that there was no longer that overriding sense that their childhood love for UM is going make the Canes the team to beat in the end. What I sensed was a greater awareness from our local players, that there are more choices out there and just because you are from Miami doesn't mean you have to play for the Canes. It sounded to me like many of them have been listening to the other guys.

And the fact local players are beginning to realize that, should scare the heck out of the University of Miami. It may only be the second week of April -- 10 months before anything becomes official on the next National Signing Day. But there are serious signs the old Miami mystique is evaporating. The truth is outsiders have been working hard to make advances for years, and they aren't just knocking on the door anymore. They're busting through it and really are getting into the mind of local players once considered untouchable.

How else can you explain how a player like Booker T. Washington running back Eduardo Clements (the top RB on UM's board) has Georgia as his leader despite the fact his former high school coach works at UM and three of his former teammates are in Coral Gables? How else can you explain why receiver Quinton Dunbar, who committed to UM last month, decided recently he made a mistake and was reopening his recruiting? What started out with the University of South Florida stealing Monsignor Pace's Kayvon Webster on National Signing Day last February is beginning to smell a lot to me like just the start of a fire.

Don't take my word for it. Listen to the kids themselves. The first school out of Lemonier's mouth Thursday was Florida. He said the Gators speak to him more than any other team. Same for about 20 other kids. With two national titles in the last three years, the Gators have the attention of both Dade and Broward -- something they couldn't achieve before. Even FIU is gaining steam. Miami Springs receiver Willis Wright and 2011 recruit Rakeem Cato both told me, "Mario Cristobal is the truth. He recruits you the way you are supposed to be recruited. We can believe him when he says we can go to FIU and be stars there."

Believe me, I'm not relaying this message so guys like Canesrule and FIUFanatic come over to the blog,(which they will) beating their chest and telling the Greens and SarasotaCanes of the world I told you so (which they will). I'm just saying as a guy who has stood on the recruiting fence for 13 years in South Florida, the enemy is moving in and the battles aren't going to be so easy to win anymore. Consider it a warning.

> For those of you interested in watching some of the interviews we conducted, look for the Recruiting Report in our video section to pop up over the next couple of weeks.

BLOG NOTICE: I know many of you have been wondering why I haven't been posting many blogs lately and why I didn't participate in this Tuesday's Q&A. Here's the answer: The Herald moved me late last week onto the Marlins/Baseball beat. It's the result of the loss of four other sports writers following budget cuts last month.

For now, during the offseason, I'll focus more on the Marlins and local recruiting. I'm going to try and stay on the Canes beat as much as I can between those a.ssignments. But I've got to tell you expect a slow down in production until news happens or football resumes in August. As it stands, other than Canes baseball, it's going to be pretty quiet around UM for the next few month outside of recruits making early commitments. One thing I'd like to do, though, is welcome topical questions through my email as news happens. I'm still going to be talking to sources at UM every now and again to provide you with fresh stuff. But during the down period, I'll welcome topics you guys would like for me to address. It will at the very least keep the blog going.
 9 years ago '04        #4871
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Too early to sound Dade County alarm
> Posted by Shandel Richardson on April 13, 2009 04:31 PM

Last week the Florida Gators did something they hadn't in a few years.

They picked up a commitment from Dade County. When Ransom Everglades linebacker Gideon Ajagbe announced he planned to sign with the Gators, it marked the first time it had happened since 2005.

My reaction?

It had to happen sooner or later, but no way will this affect the success the Hurricanes have had recruiting their home turf. In fact, the ONLY things that will factor in this is UM having a poor 2009 season (and by poor, I mean really poor) or a coaching change.

Until then, the Hurricanes will remain king in Dade County. Always have been, always will be.

"The bottom line is there's so many kids down there this season," said Jamie Newberg, a recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. "No. 1, [Miami] is not going to get them all. There's only so many they can get. They're going to recruit Broward, Palm and other parts of the state. But having said that, the kids they target [in Dade], they are going to get nine out of 10."

Folks will argue the `Canes need to place a barrier around Dade County, and keep everyone. This is like thinking a poodle can keep burglars from breaking into homes. It's just not going to happen.

The fact Gideon (who by the way still has 10 months before his decision becomes final) chose the Gators is no surprise. Newberg said that's been his choice all along. He won't be the last to leave the area once the likes of USC, Ohio State, Michigan and West Virginia grab their share. It's unrealistic to say the Hurricanes can keep them all.

"People want (coach Randy Shannon) to put up the fence around [Dade] but there's too many players down there," Newberg said. "It's absurd to think that."

Shannon has surrounded himself with former area coaches who have strong local ties, including Michael Barrow, Tim Harris and Corey Bell. None are exactly involved in the recruiting process, but let's be honest, their presence plays a factor. That alone should help keep the Dade pipeline going. It's not like they have failed in terms of recruiting, save for a couple local departures.

Just look at the last two recruiting classes.

In Newberg's words, the Hurricanes have "killed" the competition.

And they will likely continue to do so.

A few thoughts:

-I posed the question to FSU writer Andrew "Tha" Carter and UF writer Jeremy Fowler, both of the Orlando Sentinel. Here are their responses:

Fowler -- "It will be difficult to say the Gators have truly penetrated Dade County unless they score at least three high-profile guys in a 24-month recruiting cycle. So far that hasn't happened despite Urban Meyer making a strong push in the area the last two years. It's been five years between Miami Coral Reef's Dorian Munroe signing in 2005 and the recent commitment of 2010 prospect Gideon Ajagbe of Coconut Grove. The Gators have no problem plucking players from Broward. But Dade still evades."

Carter --"All in all, though, I think the consensus among the FSU fanbase is that it should be doing a better job of recruiting South Florida, and Dade County in particular. It does seem like it's been a while since FSU signed a player from that area who went on to do big things. I think there once was a perception that FSU had a pipeline to South Florida, especially before Chuck Amato left to take the head job at N.C. State. Since Amato returned to FSU, though, I don't think that pipeline has been reestablished."

> Discuss this entry
 9 years ago '04        #4872
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Is there REALLY trouble on the recruiting front?
I want to start by saying I'm a fan of Manny Navarro's work. As far as University of Miami football coverage goes, this guy rolls up his sleeves and gets knee-deep in it. No local beat writer covers the Canes like Navarro. He's has my respect.

Whereas this blog is editorial-style, with long distance thoughts from a long-time, opinionated Cane, Manny's reporting helps fans keep better tabs on the day-to-day regarding all things The U. No one is pretending to be something they're not.

Being that this site is all about giving opinions, let's throw another out there for discussion -- Manny's Friday rant was off base, out of character and definitely jumped the gun.

What is the point of a mid-April piece about 'intruders' breaching UM's local recruiting wall - two months after Signing Day and ten months from the next one? Navarro claims that UM's hold over local talent "is beginning to disappear like the ozone" and says that he's hearing change in the voices of local players and their affinity for the Canes.

Ten months from now we'll find out the fate of Corey Lemonier, Jakhari Gore, Jose Jose and Ivan McCartney. All grew up Miami fans and according to Navarro, all could wind up elsewhere because all lack some cult-like adoration for the hometown program.

Godforbid some high school seniors want to explore and see something outside their beloved 305 or 954 area code.

I don't get the 'sky is falling' tone of Navarro's piece. Not now. Not when things at Miami are looking better than they have in half a decade. The Canes finally have a playmaker and leader at quarterback. A slew of talented wideouts. A stable of running backs. Depth on the defensive line. Talent at linebacker. Potential in the secondary. A veteran offensive playcaller and a capable defensive position coach that will work with a defensive minded head coach.

With an exciting season around the corner, why in God's name is Navarro sweating what some teenagers are saying regarding a decision they'll make almost a year from now?

Ten months is a lifetime to a high school senior; especially a big time football recruit. Opinions change like the weather and these kids are all about following trends, being easily influenced and even more so, talking a big game. They're kids. C'mon now, what did ANY of us really know when we were seventeen? Not a fraction as much as we thought.

Navarro asks why Booker T. Washington running back Eduardo Clements is favoring Georgia, despite the fact his former high school coach is now on UM's staff and three of his former teammates are at The U.

The Knowshon Moreno train has left Athens and the Bulldogs have both Caleb King and Richard Samuel waiting in the wings, as well as a few lesser known backs. King and Samuel come highly-touted, but rather inexperienced.

In Miami, it's the Graig Cooper and Javarris James show for at least one more year. Also waiting in the wings, Lee Chambers and newbies Mike James and Lamar Miller. Not to mention, out of nowhere safety-turned-running back Damien Berry, who tore up spring ball.

Two legit prospects at UGA versus a few proven entities and some new super freshman at UM? Might the depth chart have more to do with Clements' waning interest than some conspiracy theory that Miami's wall around South Florida is crumbling?

Same to be said for local receiver Quinton Dunbar, a recent Miami decommit from a few weeks back. Is this really an indictment on UM or simply another kid who reexamined the depth chart? Sounds more like Dunbar is trying to avoid an uncomfortable Bryce Brown-like moment and realizes an early commitment isn't the best call if he's truly looking elsewhere.

Leonard Hankerson, Aldarius Johnson, Travis Benjamin, Thearon Collier, LaRon Byrd and Davon Johnson all made a mark in 2008 and now Kendal Thompkins and Tommie Streeter are on healthy for 2009. That's eight receivers Dunbar is looking up at depth chart-wise if he signs with Miami in fall.

Definitely not the place if you're not in the mood to compete or expect the promise of immediate starting time.

Former wideout Jermaine McKenzie -- a four-star prospect a few years back -- recently left the program because of an influx of talent at Miami and inability to crack the depth chart. Others feel the depth at receiver sent Andre Dubose to Florida, instead of to Miami with high school teammates Dyron Dye and Ray Ray Armstrong.

When hearing that, is it a big deal of Dunbar, a three-star, also seemed to flinch when sizing up the current crop of talent and reopened up his recruitment? Furthermore, what's the point of committing early anyways? Word is hardly a bond when talking about athletes and their supposed "commitment" to a university. I don't know of many committed relationships where one party is allowed to keep their options open, while being wooed by other prospects.

The recruiting game is a joke and this double-talk from the mouths of babes means absolutely nada.

There's a lot of football to be played between now and February 2010. The entire schedule and bowl season, actually. I promise everyone that Lemonier, Gore, Jose and McCartney do their fair share of flip-flopping over the next ten months. Let's see how hot Clements stays on Georgia if their two new backs light it up this fall and clog up the depth chart. Let's also wait and see Clements' reaction if the hometown Canes have a breakout season. Same with Dunbar. Will these guys really want to look elsewhere and miss out at a shot at playing for the hometown team?

According to Manny, Miami isn't the s3xy pick right now. Some kids are fawning over the style and dare I say 'swagger' of former Cane Mario Cristobal over at FIU -- 1-11 two years ago and 5-7 last season.

Let's see how things play out for the Golden Panthers this year and let's measure the growth of both local programs after the season. February is a long way away and not only can a lot change between now and then, you can bet that it most certainly will.

Kids were loving on Greg Schiano and Rutgers after a big time run in 2006, but the tide quickly turned a year later and hasn't been the same since. Perception becomes reality, but as we know with high school kids, perception changes on a dime.

Let's discuss all these supposed zzzzzs in the recruiting armor after year three of the Randy Shannon era, not before. The present is too bright to 'worry' about what some high school phenoms might or might not do. The current crop of Canes are the ones who need to win games and ensure future players get on board and keep the tradition alive.

Focus on the kids who are here, not the game players who are stringing you along for the ride.
 9 years ago '04        #4873
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Has Randy Shannon's "seat" ever been cold?
> Posted by Shandel Richardson on April 7, 2009 12:51 PM

CORAL GABLES _ Last week Rivals.com compiled a list of coaches who were under the most pressure this season.

Among them was UM coach Randy Shannon.

Rivals.com analyst Mike Huguenin, a former Orlando Sentinel editor, writes, "There are numerous coaches on the hot seat, the hottest other than [Notre Dame's Charlie] Weis' is the one under Miami coach Randy Shannon."

The question I have is has Shannon's seat ever been not hot?

It just seems he's been sitting on a flammable chair since taking over for Larry Coker. Is it fair? Probably not. But the whispers were there before he even coached one game because most felt Shannon wasn't the school's first choice. If Shannon were passed over, he was likely headed elsewhere, perhaps to be an NFL a.ssistant or something. The hire was a way to keep around one of the country's most successful defensive coordinators.

That novelty quickly wore off, as the sounds of the critics only magnified after a 5-7 record his first season. Last year's 7-6 finish was hardly enough to satisfy a rabid fan base and an administration that fired Coker after going 59-15 six seasons.

Shannon has downplayed all the "hot seat" talk by giving a similar answer to anyone who has asked if he has concerns about job status.

"I'm fine with that," Shannon said before spring practices began. " I got a job. My job is to win here. Everybody's always worried about, `Well is he going to get fired?' I don’t look at being fired. … The next year we’ve got to be better. That’s the key.”

The fact the Hurricanes are still trying to turn things around is probably because the program was in worse shape than many figured, but Shannon's coaching will take most of the blame from the public (Outsiders fail to remember it took Butch Davis six seasons to return UM to the top of college football.)

And that public reaction, meaning from fans and boosters, is likely the reason Shannon is still awaiting a contract extension. Anyone who doesn't think this can affect an administration's decision is crazy. Because it does. Athletic director Kirby Hocutt has publicly supported Shannon, and said he expects him to be around for a while. I believe him.

Unfortunately, in this serious business of college athletics, words only go so far.
 9 years ago '04        #4874
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The Boys are Back in Town...And Offensive Line Recruiting

by Dan Stein

12 April 2009

Hello All,

The subject of today’s blog is offensive line recruiting. I know, I know, this excites you all very much.

However, before I continue, I need to tell you a story about my little brother, Billy Stein (consider him the latest addition to the cast of characters).

Billy goes to Ole Miss and is, how should I say this, Fratty.

Any way, Billy came down to visit this weekend and he and I did our typical thing: drink beer, wear shorts that are shorter than most, talk about baseball, visit the baseball stadium, annoy girls and play Tiger Woods Golf 2003 for Playstation 2 (I made him cry for Mom, of course).

Anyway, Billy was very excited when he showed up (that is, he was excited to make it in to town after being delayed 3 hours in Shreveport having to suffer through 2 Checkers Prime Rib burgers upon landing in Miami).

He was also happy about a new girl in his life, which lead to the following conversation:

Dan: “What are the chances this lasts longer than 2 weeks?”

Bill: “About as good as the chances of Miami playing for the ACC Title this year.”

D: “That bad, huh?”

B: “I am the MacGyver of not closing.”

The point of the story?

Miami football has gone through such a downturn that my brother, who was born and bred on the ‘Canes and whose school last celebrated a National Title in 1962 is able to make jokes at the program’s expense.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Larry Coker Era.

And now, on to the hog mollies (which are vital to recovering from the funk which allows the students at a second rate SEC school to kick us while we are down):

Miami actually has two linemen committed at this point, so we will first look at them.

Shane McDermott, Palm Beach Central High

McDermott (don't confuse him with the actor) is a nice center prospect that fires off the ball. He is a little underweight at 266 lbs. according to Rivals, but at 6’3” he can put on healthy weight. He is a smart player and could be an immediate contributor.

Shane

Johnathan Feliciano, Western High

Feliciano is a mauler in his videos, but his competition appears to be weak. Either way, at 6’4” and 283 lbs. with apparent athleticism, he is a good take for this class that projects at tackle. Also, the story of Feliciano waiting for the coaches at the team bus after the Spring Game to ensure that his tape would end up in their hands should endear him to ‘Canes fans and message boarders for years to come.

Feliciano

The following prospects are the kids who Miami is known to be recruiting or can be expected to target. Offensive line is the hardest position to recruit, and the one where the most “sleepers are found”, so keep in mind that this list compiled in May is nowhere close to complete or comprehensive.

Brandon Linder, St. Thomas Aquinas

Linder is a national recruit and has a top three of Florida, Notre Dame and Miami. He is in Miami’s backyard, but STA has not been the type of pipeline that Northwestern or Booker T. Washington has. This will be one of the biggest battles of the season for the ‘Canes. Linder projects at center, guard or tackle depending with whom you talk to and is a 4 star player according to Rivals.

Jose Jose, Booker T. Washington

The rotund one from down the road is being recruited by the ‘Canes at center according to many. He is 6’2” and 355 lbs. according to Rivals, so he has some work to do to get in shape. However, he is explosive off the line and could work his way in to a Miami uniform.

Chaz Green, Jacksonville

Green is a tackle prospect that the ‘Canes would love to steal from Gator country, but consider it a long shot at best.

Tavadis Glenn, Jacksonville,

The Rivals 4 Star recruit has stated that he loves the ‘Canes and is good friends with UM commit Louis Nix. He expects to play offensive line in college, although he plays both ways in high school.

Torrian Wilson, Miami Northwestern

Wilson is the latest in the Northwestern Pipeline that has supplied the ‘Canes with linemen such as Vernon Carey, Marcus Forston, Ben Jones and Brandon Washington. He is a 4 Star player at Rivals and one of Miami’s top targets.

Wilson

Perry Meiklejohn, Westminster Christian

He is a good sized prospect with good feet and a mean streak that coaches will see more of before deciding whether to offer or not.

Jonathan Ragoo, Monsignor Pace

Ragoo is huge at 6’7” and 360 lbs. He is also playing at another Miami pipeline. However, I am leery of guys this big after the Ian Symonnette Era.

That is it for today’s post. Stay classy, like this guy.

15 April 2009

After more than a year of telling my brother to check out my blog, he finally did when he heard tale that his name had come up as a main topic. He responded with the following e-mail (I told you he is Frat-tastic; I took the liberty of editing some of his work, as indicated):

Billy's Pet Peeves

Putting Bread in the Toaster and not Getting Toast:
I like my toast medium; that means I like it brown but not burnt. I wait for three minutes by a device made by a *edit* and all I get in return is a warm slice of bread when it pops back up. Then, of course, if you stick the bread back your toast burns like a California forest in July after just twenty seconds. Travesty!

Stepping in Dog *Edit*:
Hey who isn’t a fan of enhancing the already rank smell of your hundred dollar shoes by stepping in *edit*? Every part of this scenario is terrible. From the initial plop-and-slide of stepping, to the agony of the smell when you were thinking “it may just be a random mud mound in the middle of an asphalt parking lot”. The dog owner in the Beta house is somewhere giggling at the prospect of me stepping in the colossal log his Labrador left behind. But I know who you are man, and rest a.ssured I’m going to *edit* you in the heart.

The Ole Miss Hook Up:
* EDIT*

The Miami Hurricane Offense:
If I had a dollar for every time I said Brock Berlin was the man when I was fifteen, I would have had some bare pockets. However, that Cajun from northern Louisiana looks like a Greek God compared to Miami’s ensuing K-phase.
Watching Kyle Wright and Kirby Freeman try to read a defense was more painful than the *edit*. These two were some terrible offensive captains, and in being so, made me cry more times than an Emo reading an Edith Wharton novel.
Truthfully, this year was not much better. I gave Jacory Harris the benefit of the doubt every chance I had this year. But the last three minutes of the bowl game, whichever irrelevant one it was, said it all about the Miami offense. Harris did not make too much of an effort to move the ball down the field and put it in the end zone (this has not looked like much of an objective for the Miami offense since their last Orange Bowl win in 2004; and its messing up my universe).
Miami has a tradition unlike that of my school, Ole Miss. At Ole Miss we have the Grove (not to be confused with the Thursday night destination in Coral Gables) where we treat each game like the Kentucky Derby. Girls in pearls and dresses, and me in my baby blue slacks with a white shirt and pastel tie.
Miami has a history of winning championships; I don’t think I need to drop any one of the million names that seemingly played there. But who ever would have thought Ole Miss, whose last National Championship was won in 1962 when lynching was encouraged legally in Mississippi, would look to be in better shape than the Mighty U?

In closing, everything I just said makes my skin boil in rage.

And as to the question of Courtney Cox vs. Jennifer Aniston, I’m holding firm, no pun intended, on Maureen McCormick.

So, there you have it loyal readers: Billy Stein.

Also, time for a shameless self plug. I am the President of the Undergraduate Honor Council, which works on campus to promote the values of honesty, responsibility and integrity at the University of Miami. This week is Academic Integrity Week. This is a schedule of the events. I highly recommend those that are left to everyone.
 9 years ago '04        #4875
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Excerpts from CSS special on the canes April 12th.

Update

Randy Shannon interview quick notes:

Randy said that the offense will be much more creative than his other years at the U. He also said that the key to this offense this year is getting the playmakers the ball. In his words, "whoever is hot that game will get the ball. Its that simple.". The reporter then asked him about the rumors of him not being as up tight this season as he has been in the past. His response was that every coach is firm on rules, its just that he was more vocal to the public about his rules and punishments. He went on to say that because the team now knows what he expects from them, he dont have to be as stern because he now has there respect. When asked what attracted him to whipple, he said that he was impressed with the fact that at UMASS and Brown, whipple had an offense that produced 2 different 1000 yards rushers and a quaterback that through for 3000 yards in the same season. That is true balance. Whipple did this at Umass and at Brown.

Update

Jacory Harris interview quick notes:

The reporters first question to Jacory was how did the spring go this year and how does it feel knowing that he is the starting quaterback now. He said that things went very good and that he has more confidence now knowing that the position is his. He went on to say that he can now take more chances and just be free instead of having to watch over his shoulder about losing his position. He aslo reitterated the fact that the team has crowned him the leader of the team by saying that eveyone looks at him like a big brother, even the upper classman. His last answer of the interview was, " The nucleus of the team is coming back, defensive starter and offensive starters, so expect a good season." This answer came from the question, What should the fans expect for this season.

Update

John Lovett interview quick notes:

Reporter- What type of defense will you run? His response was, " What we are going to try to do is build on what they were already doing here. Every since Coach Shannon has been here, they have run a 4-3 scheme. We are going to develope that a little bit more and bring it up to speed with the new offenses that teams are now running. He said that he is going to keep the termanology the same and he will adjust to them. She asked him what was his main concerns, and he said that the depth at linebacker was his main concern. His other main concern is depth at safety. The reporter asked what do we need to do to get more big plays. His response, "We need to see the ball thrown better from the back. We are going to run alot of different combination coverages to get alot of pressure on the quaterback. We are also going to run things to force him to whole the ball longer. We will get alot of sacks."


Update

Mark Whipple interview quick notes:

Reporter: What can hurricane fans expect to see from a whipples offense.

Whipple: Touchdowns I hope, I guess we all hope. We will try to eliminate all of the turnovers. We will score touchdowns. We will be balanced and really focus on getting the ball in the endzone.

Reporter: Talk about Jacory Harris

Whipple- He has a lot of talent. He can definitely throw the ball, but he really has a great understanding of the game and has a good presence. He really has the chance to be a great one and one of the best to come out of the university of miami.

Reporter: What are you most excited about by being back in the college world?

Whipple- Being able to teach. Being with the kids. The goal here is to win national championships and thats what we intend to do. Its been done 5 times and thats what I am excited about. The vision is there, the goal is there, and the standard is set. There is no grey area about that. Thats what Im most excited about.
 9 years ago '04        #4876
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Update

Randy Phillips interview quick notes:

Reporter: This is your fourth defensive coordinator since you have been here at the U. Tell us about the system that coach Lovett is implimenting.

Phillips: Its going real good. Coach Lovett is very enthusiastic and he has a great scheme.

Reporter: How tough was it on you to have to sit out after being injured last year in the Texas A&M game?

Phillips: The toughest thing was having to sit out knowing that his teammates needed him out there on the field. The recovery part is long and humbling

Reporter: Talk about the secondary in particular on where you feel like your strength's and weaknesses are.

Phillips; I think that we very strong all through the secondary. We have a lot of veteran corners that are coming back and alot of young boys coming in at corner that can play. In the safety, we have myself and JoJo Nichols coming back and Vaughn who did real good in the spring. I think we are going to be solid back there.

Reporter: What should hurricane fans expect to see defensively on the field this year?

Phillips: You can expect to see a great defense with alot of hard hits, alot of turnovers, and the defense scoring plenty of touchdowns.

Update

Lyrone Byrd interview quick notes:

Reporter: A great group of wide receivers coming back this year. Talk about the talent that you guys have in that unit.

Byrd: Its so diverse. We can hit you in so many areas. You have Benjamin, a 4.2 guy, Collier, a shifty guy, Hankerson who is a big target, Tommy Streeter who is a serious deep threat.

Reporter: Talk about the playbook with coach Whipple.

Byrd: We we first got it, it was kind of hard and everyone was confused. He brought in alot from the NFL so it was kind of hard for us to pick up on it but once he broke everything down and started explaining the concepts, we began to understand it alot more.

Reporter: Talk about the stable of running backs that you guys have this year.

Byrd: You got Greg Cooper and Jarvaris James who have been doing their thing since they were freshman. And then you have Mike James who have been tearing things up. Everyday he breaks at least a 50 yard run.
 9 years ago '04        #4877
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Update

Jason Fox interview quick notes:

Reporter: How is the offensive line coming along?

Fox: Its coming along pretty well. We have improved alot. We still have some ways to go but we have all summer and the fall to get ready for the beginning of the season.

Reporter: How are the younger guys coming along?

Fox: It is like night and day from since the time that they got here up until now. Guys are doing a real good job.

Reporter: What are your goals for this year?

Fox: My goal is to win a national championship. Its my goal and everybody elses goal. And we are not going to change our standard. We want to win the ACC and then a National Championship.

Update

Sean Spence interview quick notes:

Reporter: How did things go particularly for the linebackers this spring?

Spence: I think we went out there and got alot done on the linebacker side. We had guys out there flying around and just making plays.

Reporter: You had a great freshman year here at miami. How do you build on that for your sophmore year?

Spence: I go back at look at film from last year and I just try to improve on things and just get better. Im working on the little things.

Reporter: Its going to be a challenge right away kicking off the season at Florida State. Is that a good thing?

Spence; Yeah! Its a very good thing. Guys like myself came to miami to play in big games like this on a huge stage in front of large capacities.

Part II of Randy Shannon interview quick notes:

Reporter: Lets move on to your side of the ball. Miami has been known throughout the years for having that swagger on the defensive side. What can fans expect? Are we going to have that back?

Shannon: Yeah. Yeah. We are going to have it (swagger) back. Coach Lovett has been doing a great job with the defense and he has been around alot of football. The players like what he is doing and he has that good sense of humor with the players. They joke around with him but when it is time for him to get stern, he's stern. The players really respond to him.
 9 years ago '04        #4878
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After arriving five minutes into the game and already staring down the barrel of a 4-0 Florida State lead, we turned our attention to making FSU Leftfielder/Pitcher Mike McGee’s life a living hell at the Friday night baseball game.

Let’s just say we were unsuccessful, as his two home runs and double were enough to silence his doubters.

However, what truly endeared McGee to us (take off your white wig) was during the eighth inning, when McGee made a play just in front of our seats. As he jogged back to his position we asked him a very simple question: “Jennifer Anniston or Courtney Cox?”

Expecting the typical straight ahead glare very common of baseball players who are trying to “stay in the game” and “be professional”, Scarpa and I were both surprised and charmed when McGee yelled back to us “Jennifer Anniston bro!”

Needless to say, Scarpa and I have a new, collective bromance.

While all this was fun, the point of this blog post is not to make you laugh. Obviously, we take our self much more seriously here at Stein on the Sidelines.

So we will continue with our breakdown of the 2010 recruiting class. Up today is the wide receiver position.

Quinton Dunbar, Booker T. Washington

Dunbar, at 6’3”, 170 lbs. according to Rivals, is a tall and lanky downfield threat. He already has committed to the ‘Canes and then rescinded that commitment, but most consider him a ‘Cane lock. Rivals has him as a 4 star player.

Dunbar

Ivan McCartney, Miramar

Chad Johnson’s cousin “Sticks” is in my opinion the top receiver in South Florida. He is the total package, and many think he is Miami’s to lose. He is 6’3”, 180 lbs. and a 4 star player according to Rivals.

Sticks

Michaelee Harris, Miami Northwestern

Northwestern’s latest wide receiver prospect is considered to be a solid but not spectacular player, they type that all teams need. He will naturally get compared to Aldarious Johnson, but he is not big enough for that. Rivals has him at 6’, 167 lbs.

De’Joshua Johnson, Pahokee

Johnson is “The Muck’s” annual smurf that does nothing but make plays, following in the footsteps of players like Travis Benjamin, Martvaious Odoms and Nu’Keese Richardson. He is considered a Florida State lock, but Miami is working hard on him. Rivals has him as a 4 star player and listed generously at 5’11”, 150 lbs.

Chris Dunkley, Royal Palm Beach

Dunkley is a battle between the Gators and ‘Canes, and may be the most electric player in Florida. Most a.ssumed he was heading away from home, but Miami is very much in the picture. Rivals has him at 4 stars and 5’10”, 164 lbs.

Joshua Reese, Miami Central

Reese, like Harris, is solid but not spectacular. He is the type of player that has typically ended up at USF or West Virginia, but Miami likes to take players from Central, so he may be a strong Plan B receiver if the ‘Canes miss out on Johnson and Dunkley. Rivals has him at 4 stars and 6’1”, 172 lbs.

Willis Wright, Miami Springs

Wright is a playmaker at both receiver and safety. He is down to UM and FIU, and many think he is headed to FIU to get a chance at receiver, while Miami wants him at safety. Rivals has him as 6’2”, 185 lbs.

Others to Keep an Eye On: Kenny Shaw, James Louis, Teddy Meline

That is the rundown for the receivers.
 9 years ago '04        #4879
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2010 Recruiting: Running Backs

by Dan Stein

1 April 2009

Hello All,

Today, we continue the introduction to the class of 2010 with a breakdown of the running back class, featuring a lot of South Florida studs.

Last season, the 'Canes took two running backs, Mike James and Lamar Miller. James has already showed that he has a bright future. Miller is expected to make an impact as a kick returner and possible out of the backfield upon arrival.

Given that the 'Canes have a solid stable in place and will lose only 1-2 to graduation means that Miami will get to be choosy with their scholarships at this position.

Eduardo Clements, Booker T Washington High School

Clements is regarded as the most complete back in South Florida and one of the tops in the nation as a 4 star player at Rivals. He has the combination of burst, size and speed that coaches love at 5'10" and 185 lbs. and can catch the ball out of the backfield. He has been rumored to be Florida State's to lose, but has declared Georgia his leader. With Miami in his backyard, nothing will be finalized until signing day.

Clements

Jakari Gore, Columbus High

Gore, the cousin of former Hurrican and current 49er superstar Frank Gore, is on the smallish side but is a beast with the ball in the open field. Many think he will be a scatback/slot receiver at the next level, in the mold of a Devin Hester type. He is the type of guy that you get the ball 10-12 times a game and let him do the rest. Rivals lists him as a 4 star player at 5'10", 170 lbs.

Gio Bernard, St. Thomas Aquinas

Bernard, who's older brother starred at Oregon State, is one of the top handful of backs in Florida this year. He is well coached at St. Thomas Aquinas and measures in at 5'9", 198 lbs. He has been rumored to be headed to the West Coast for college, but Miami is reportedly hard after him. Rivals has him at 4 stars.

Bernard

Brandon Gainer, Miami Central High

Gainer is listed at 6', 194 lbs. by Rivals and was one of Dade's top rushers as a junior last season. He will not blow anyone away with raw ability but is a grinder that will be productive. Is apparently a heavy lean to FSU, but again, he is in Miami's backyard.

Devon Wright, Taravella High

Wright is somewhat unknown at this point to the casual observer, but coaching staffs across the nation are taking notice. He is unlisted on Rivals, but other indications have him at 6'1" 195 lbs. and equally adept at running back as safety. Wright will blossom this year, and the 'Canes may take him as a bigger compliment to a scat back.

Other local players to take note of include Southwest Miami's Hosey Williams, Northwestern's Corvin Lamb, Pace's DeAndre Johnson and ArchBishop Carroll's Jeff Scott. Also, the 'Canes are after another runner out of Wichita, 4 Star Joseph Randle. However, the 'Canes have offered him as a defensive back, and may cut bait altogether after the Bryce Brown fiasco.
 9 years ago '04        #4880
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Recruiting: 2010 (Insert Law and Order Chime Here)

by Dan Stein


Hello All,

Now that the spring game is over, it is time to turn our attention to recruiting for the next month or so. This is shaping up to be a loaded year in South Florida, and this will probably be the most balanced of Randy Shannon’s recruiting classes to this point, with the emphasis most likely being on cornerbacks and offensive linemen.

I will begin a position by position summary of the prospects you should know at this point at the most important position of all, quarterback.

This year, Miami will certainly take one and probably two quarterbacks. After taking only A.J. Highsmith last season, Miami may not have to leave the state to take two this year.

This is also the position that we know the least about right now. There has not been much news about Miami and any of the prospects listed here aside from the players that have attended Miami camps and made statements publicly about the ‘Canes. However, this is a pretty good idea of where the ‘Canes stand on their recruiting board presently.

Jeffrey Godfrey, Miami Central High School

Godfrey seems to be the number one signal caller in South Florida this season, although he is at maximum 5’11”. Still, Godfrey has a cannon and will lead a loaded Central team this season with fellow Miami targets Josh Reece and Brandon Gainer. Godfrey is currently a 4 star player on Rivals despite his lack of height.

Godfrey

Christian Green, Tampa, FL

Green is a dynamic athlete at 6’2” with a listed 4.4 forty according to Rivals. Scout actually lists him as a receiver, but Green is regarded as one of the best recruits in Florida at any position. He is from Tampa, so one would naturally a.ssume that if UF wants him he is theirs. However, Green is high on several SEC schools as well as Miami, and the Gators already have stud QB recruit Trey Burton in the barn. Green could be a nice addition for Miami, and the pair of Green and Godfrey would give Miami two guys who can chuck it and run it with equal aplomb. Rivals ranks Green as a 4 star player at this point.

Turner Baty, St. Thomas Aquinas

Baty is a transfer from California who will take over the top high school team in the nation. He likes the ‘Canes, but Miami will probably wait and see how he performs in South Florida with so much talent around him before they make a decision one way or another on him. He is a solid 6’2” and 200 lbs. according to Rivals.

Michael Strauss, Gulliver Prep

Strauss is a scrappy competitor who I watched in the Gulliver’s state title game loss this past December. I thought he had a lot of work to do if he wants to be a Miami-caliber quarterback, but it would not surprise me if he worked his way to an offer. He is not the most physically gifted, but there is a bit of a nasty streak to him, which I like.

Others to keep an eye on: Brandon Doughty (Coconut Creek, FL), Brandon Hill (Audubon, NJ)

Tomorrow, I will take a look at the LOADED running back position.

Also, this is a debate that I have been having with my friends for a while now: Who is the most popular athlete on Earth?

I know that Tiger has all the money (and easily the best looking girl), but does that make him the most popular? Is Beckham really representative of soccer? What about Michael Schumacher? Formula 1 is popular everywhere but America, and he is the Michael Jordan of the sport. Or is it Kobe Bryant, the rockstar of the China Olympics? Maybe a Wild Card like Yao Ming or Michael Phelps?

More importantly, is this girl hot or not?

These are the questions I want answers to. Anyone that reads this (and there has to be someone out there reading this), please let me know what you think.

Until I have found my answer, I will continue to search, like Kentucky fans are still searching for an answer to this.
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