~ The following article was contributed by beloved Eye of the Hurricane blogger, bg1906~
What’s up EOTH. It’s ya boy, bg1906, and it’s that time of year when recruiting takes center stage. Recruiting is the lifeblood of any program and this 2013 class, while small, will be a vital cog in the reconstruction The U. While Golden has said many times he expects to only take about 15 or so kids, I think there is no way to accomplish that based on the number of offers they have out, and the possibilities of who we have opportunities to land. So with that I believe the class will fall in the 17-19 range. I could be wrong, but as you read the article, I’m sure you’ll agree with me. With that said, let’s get right into it.
Current Commitments (10)
QB Kevin Olsen (Wayne, NJ)
The Canes got their QB some time ago and things haven’t changed between UM and Kevin Olsen. Olsen has a great relationship with Offensive Coordinator Jedd Fisch and desires to play in the type of pro-style offense the Canes run. Olsen, the son of a HS Head Coach, and brother of former Cane Greg Olsen (Carolina Panthers), is a student of the game with a great pedigree and is a great addition to the class.
TE Standish Dobard (Edna, LA)
Standish Dobard is one of the highest ranked prospects from the state of Louisiana. He is a die-hard Canes fan and has been committed to the Canes for some time. He recently led his team to a 15-0 record and a state championship. He has a skill set to become a contributor next season. He has good size and can make things happen after the catch. Dobard is an excellent pickup from a state that has been good to us in the past and he could also be a big key in helping UM to land DE Tim Williams.
TE Travis Johnson (Tampa, FL)
Travis Johnson, what a character! Known as @IamFeedMe on Twitter, Johnson is an oversized WR with great hands and is being recruited to UM as a TE. While it will take him some time to grow into a full-time TE, Johnson’s hands, body control, and did I say hands, will make a contributor in the passing game. Another great pick up by the staff as we desperately need quality TE prospects on the roster. Oh yeah and he’s from the new Canes hot bed, TAMPA!
TE/OL Jeremy Kerr (St Petersburg, FL)
Jeremy Kerr is a big TE/OL prospect from St. Petersburg, FL. He plays in a system that runs the Wing-T so he’s essentially an extra offensive lineman. It will be interesting to see if he’ll remain at the TE position as an in-line blocking specialist, or if he’ll be converted to an offensive tackle ala Jason Fox and Eric Winston. I’d bet on the latter as I see OL in his future as Art Kehoe has had GREAT success with converting these type of players into productive offensive tackle prospects.
OL Alex Gall (Cincinnati, OH)
Alex Gall is an OL prospect from Archbishop Moeller High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. Moeller is one of the premier high schools in the state of Ohio evidenced by their winning of a state championship this year. It was big for Miami to go in a pull a kid like Gall from Ohio and Gall is a solid prospect and commitment.
LB Alex Figueroa (Stafford, VA)
Figueroa is an interesting prospect with a very interesting story, and his recruitment and subsequent commitment caught many Canes fans by surprise. Figueroa hails from Stafford, VA and was lightly recruited last year due to academic problems, though he was named a member of the Washington Post All-Metropolitan (DC, MD, VA) 1st Team in 2011. He went to prep school this past year but was injured and didn’t play football. Instead he used the time to get focused on his academics and appears to have been able to qualify. With that, the Canes offered and he committed on the spot. He appears to be a 100% total steal for the Canes in terms of athletic ability. His best days are ahead of him and if he develops as anticipated, many will wonder, “Where did they find this kid?”
DB Artie Burns (Miami, FL)
Artie Burns is the #1 nationally rated hurdler at the prep level so it is apparent he has speed. What isn’t so apparent is how physical he is. He plays both CB and Safety in HS and I expect him to end up as a Safety much like Deon Bush, but he’s being recruited as a CB. If he remains at the CB position, he’ll be a bigger, more physical CB and big physical CBs are always a commodity. There has been a lot of chatter about him still looking at LSU (his dream school) but I think he remains with Miami, thanks in large part to his head coach being a former Cane GA while also moonlighting as Scout.com Hurricanes “insider” during the Shannon era.
DB Jamal Carter (Miami, FL)
Carter is a physical specimen with a very athletic skill set. His biggest knock is his maturity level and how serious he takes football. How quickly he’ll be able to contribute will depend on how quickly he acclimates and matures. But physically, Carter is off the charts and incredibly versatile as he plays safety, receiver, and also returns kicks. His strength coach in HS is none other than former Hurricane coaching great, Don Soldinger, who says the following about Carter, “..he can be pretty special if me and Lamont [Carter’s HS Coach at South Ridge] can kick his [expletive] into shape.”
ATH Ray Lewis III (Lake Mary, FL)
Ray Lewis III is the son of Hurricane and NFL great Ray Lewis. He has a unique skill set as he’s virtually EVERYTHING for his prep team. The knock on Lil Ray is that he plays small school football, but what’s often overlooked is the fact that he’s dominant at that level; his stats are out of the stratosphere. He is being recruited as an ATH and could very well start on the defensive side of the ball (secondary). Some have questioned his offer and commitment, but I agree with it, simply if not just to get Daddy Ray reconnected with UM; definitely worth the scholarship in my opinion.
OL Hunter Knighton (Princeton, NJ)
Knighton has been on the Canes’ recruiting radar for quite some time and his primary recruiter has been Art Kehoe. Knighton also has a class with Al Golden’s nephew who has also been a recruiter for his uncle. Knighton is an interesting prospect as he has offers from Boise State, West Virginia, and Purdue as a Defensive Lineman, while his offers from Miami and Boston College are as an Offensive Lineman. That shows Knighton’s versatility and at 6’6 and 265 lbs he has a great frame to add too. Of course he’ll need some time to develop and I expect him to redshirt. Lineman with his type of versatility is rare and we had great success in recruiting NJ in the past. Knighton will start at UM as an OL and looks to early enroll in January.
DE/OLB Devante Bond (Sacramento, CA)
Bond is a hybrid DE/OLB from the JUCO ranks. What immediately jumps out about Bond is his first step and his explosion off the ball. With the Canes’ problems rushing the passer, a player like Bond should immediately help in that area as his greatest asset is his ability to get after the QB. He plays with a great motor and a high level of aggression. He has been very open about wanting offers from Miami and Oklahoma for much of his recruitment and Miami recently came through. He officially visited December 7 and from all accounts enjoyed it immensely. He’s expecting an in-home visit from Coaches this week and if allowed to commit, I expect him to be Miami’s next commitment.
Decommitments – 2)
RB Alex Collins (Plantation, FL)
Alex Collins was a surprise commitment after a Canes’ Junior Day back in February. He has since had a fantastic spring evaluation period where he gained weight and is now up to 205 lbs. He also had a fantastic season and is now a legitimate 5-Star caliber RB recruit. Collins is ultra-athletic, and if you don’t believe me, YouTube his lacrosse footage. He also has excellent speed and quickness along with the size and toughness to be an inside runner as well. He can also catch the ball out of the backfield, is a homerun hitter, and would be an instant addition to the backfield along with Duke Johnson (the thoughts of that are scary). However, since committing to UM, Collins has been under a constant recruiting barrage from Wisconsin, Florida State, and Florida as well as Miami. His great relationship with FSU Assistant Coach Eddie Gran, along with FSU offering his best friend 2-Star QB recruit John Franklin, led Collins to decommit from UM and put FSU in the driver’s seat. Also, Wisconsin was another strong challenger due to the relationship between Wisconsin Assistant Coach Charlie Partridge and Collins’ HS Coach. Miami was still under consideration but rarely does a decommit recommit at Miami. Just never happens that way much for us; however, shake ups at Wisconsin and Florida State in the coaching staffs seem to have tilted the odds back in Miami’s favor. Wisconsin Head Coach Brett Bielema surprising left the Badgers for the job at Arkansas and is likely taking Partridge with him. Then in a surprise move, FSU’s Eddie Gran accepted a job as the Offensive Coordinator at Cincinnati with new Cincinnati Head Coach Tommy Tuberville, with whom he has a long standing relationship. I expect Collins will now become the target of FSU Assistant James Coley who is also a fantastic recruiter, especially in South Florida. In other words, Collins’ recruitment is FAR from over. However, Miami coaches recently spent time with Collins at a UM basketball game vs. Michigan State. During the game, it has been reported that Collins spent a lot of time with Coach Golden as well as with Duke Johnson (go get ‘em Duke). So the Canes have not and will not just let Collins’ go and are recruiting him very hard with hopes of getting him back in the fold. Florida has also emerged as a dark horse for Collins, and he is set to officially visit Florida soon, but he also plans to officially visit Miami in January, with Miami likely to be his last visit. Expect the Canes to put the full court press on Collins and try to get him back onboard. I like our odds as other than the NCAA cloud hanging over us; we have the best situation for him in terms of instant impact, academics, and pedigree. Also it has been stated that his Mom would like him close to home. While it will not be an easy fight, and while I wouldn’t be surprised to see him end up somewhere besides UM, I like the Canes’ chances here.
DT Keith Bryant (Delray Beach, FL)
Keith Bryant had been one of the Canes’ longest standing commitments. However, he is being nationally recruited and from Day 1 has sought the attention that comes with a national recruitment. He’s a bit cocky and a bit of an attention seeker, but he’s extremely talented at a position of dire need. Upon his decommitment, he named Florida State as his leader, with South Carolina second, and UM third. He “claims” to have grown up a die-hard UM fan, but based on the last few weeks you could’ve told me otherwise. I’m not going to sit here and bash Keith the player, but Keith the person is a bit immature. However, he’s young so I guess that should be expected. At any rate, coaches have continued to recruit him and with the changes that are continuing to happen at Florida State, I think in the end he still ends up a Cane, IF the coaches aren’t turned off by all of his antics from the past couple of weeks and halt their recruitment of him all together. Only time will tell.
Academic Casualty (1)
WR Angelo Jean-Louis (Wellington, FL)
AJL has been one of Miami’s most committed players and was UM’s highest rated WR signee from the 2012 class. However, academics were a problem for AJL and so he attended prep school with hopes of getting his academics in order this past season with hopes of attending UM in January. However, things have not gone according to plan and as it stands right now, AJL will not be a part of Miami’s class. He’s taking an official visit to Marshall this weekend and that appears his likely destination, much in the same vein of AJ Leggett.
Next Likely Commitment (1)
LB Jermaine Grace (Miramar, FL)
Early in his recruitment (during his junior year), Jermaine “Big Country” Grace stated that he was going to whatever school Tracy Howard goes too. That ended up being UM and Graces has been heavily recruited by UM for quite a while. Grace reminds me of a poor man’s Sean Spence, undersized but effective as he finished his senior season with 100+ tackles. He’s been a Miami lean for quite some time, but he also had legitimate interest in Tennessee. However, with the recent shakeups at Tennessee with Dooley being fired, Grace’s chances of being a Cane are even higher. He officially visited Miami on December 7th and after the visit stated that it was 70% likely he’d be a Hurricane. He may still take a few official visits but I fully expect him in this class and maybe sooner than later.