NSD Lead In Part 2: Where The Current Canes Team Stands, Plus Recruits!

This is the work of Matthew Thomas. Want him on your team now? - SB Nation

As National Signing Day approaches, SOTU takes a look at the current state of the team, and how the incoming recruits and targets fit in.

Today, we continue our breakdown of the 2013 Hurricanes and how the team looks rolling into National Signing Day. Yesterday, we dissected the offense and the recruits on the horizon. Today, we finish with the defense, or as some people like to call it, the WHY DIDN'T THEY PLAY BETTER!

DEFENSIVE LINE

Current Roster:

94 Kelvin Cain DE 6-3 245 Sr. Clovis, Calif. (Buchanan HS)
87 Jacoby Briscoe DL 6-5 312 RFr. Lafayette, La. (Carencro High School)
71 Anthony Chickillo DL 6-4 265 Jr. Tampa, Fla. (Alonso HS)
51 Shayon Green DL 6-3 260 Sr. Tifton, Ga. (Tifton County HS)
92 Jalen Grimble DL 6-2 292 Jr. Las Vegas, Nev. (Bishop Gorman HS)
99 Jelani Hamilton DL 6-5 271 So. Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (St. Thomas Aquinas)
97 Dwayne Hoilett DL 6-3 247 RFr. Vero Beach, Fla. (Vero Beach)
66 Dequan Ivery DL 6-1 303 So. Lake City, Fla. (Florida Columbian)
67 Corey King DL 6-1 292 So. Boca Raton, Fla. (West Boca Raton HS)
17 Tyriq McCord DL 6-3 236 So. Tampa, Fla. (Jefferson HS)
72 Earl Moore DL 6-1 300 So. Tampa, Fla. (Hillsborough)
95 Jake O'Donnell DL 6-6 243 RFr. Doylestown, Pa. (Central Bucks East)
91 Olsen Pierre DL 6-4 296 Jr. Rahway, N.J. (Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy)
96 Curtis Porter DL 6-1 308 Sr. Charlotte, N.C. (Victory Christian HS)
93 Luther Robinson DL 6-3 290 Sr. Fort Pierce, Fla. (Westwood HS)
90 Ricardo Williams DL 6-5 251 So. Homestead, Fla. (Homestead Senior HS)

All those players, and yet, not so much production. Granted, there are a lot of perfectly good reasons for the lack of production, the first of which is that what you have here is a group of guys that were learning a new system while also trying to get their bodies back into shape. That sort of this will mess with your football no matter what. In my opinion, while being a huge position of need for talent going forward, I don't necessarily think it is as much a vital need as most. Golden isn't trying to replace any of these guys, he is simply trying to add depth, and if he can, get a few guys who can contribute early.

Incoming Recruits:

DE
6'4"/225
DE
6'5"/280

Muhammad is the best recruit at this position so far, and he will likely be more of a hybrid type player, since he had the ability to drop back into coverage. That could change, depending on the weight he adds, but that seems to be the course of action with him. Kamalu was a surprise commit, sort of like Odogwu, and has the makings of a diamond in the rough. He adds a lot of bulk to the line, yet shows quickness in his tape. WIth some refining, he could be a good one.

Remaining Targets:

DT
6'2"/305
DT
6'4"/275

At least one of these two are looked at as "must land" recruits, although I'm starting to not think that way. A lot of people have said they will be extremely disappointed if Bostwick does not end up a Cane, since he was virtually a lock a few months ago. It is always hard for me to put 100% of the blame on the coaches, because they can't force a kid to commit or look elsewhere. UF has come on strong with Bostwick as of late, and he will be taking an OV there this weekend. Getting that last crack at him is huge for them. Bryant is the king troll of the recruiting world. He was once committed to Miami, then left, then was going to wind up at FSU, then said that he was 99.9% sure he was a Cane, and now is back to apparently being a Nole lock/silent. However, Miami coaches are meeting with him before this weekend, and there's quite a bit of funny feelings out there that something weird could happen come signing day.

LINE BACKERS

Current roster:

34 Thurston Armbrister LB 6-3 222 Jr. Hollywood, Fla. (Hollywood Hills HS)
54 JaWand Blue LB 6-0 210 RFr. Boca Raton, Fla. (West Boca Raton)
31 Tyrone Cornileus LB 6-2 215 Sr. Stone Mountain, Ga. (Stephenson HS)
47 Akil Craig LB 6-1 226 RSr. Tampa, Fla. (Tampa Jesuit HS)
57 Nantambu-Akil Fentress LB 5-9 205 Jr. Nashville, Tenn. (Ensworth HS)
59 Jimmy Gaines LB 6-3 232 Sr. Getzville, N.Y. (Canisius HS)
44 Eddie Johnson LB 6-1 238 So. Selma, Ala. (North Atlanta (Ga.) HS)
56 Raphael Kirby LB 6-0 223 So. Stone Mountain, Ga. (Stephenson)
52 Denzel Perryman LB 6-0 230 Jr. Coral Gables, Fla. (Coral Gables HS)
58 Gabe Terry LB 6-3 215 So. Wellington, Fla. (Palm Beach Central)

The line backers were one of the pleasant surprises of 2012, along with the receivers. They were a mostly young bunch led by a guy (Buchanon) who couldn't seem to put together a single season without injury. Yet, they excelled. Perryman was an absolute monster, Eddie became a ridiculous player, and guys like Gaines, Armbrister, Cornileus, and Terry showed that they could play. The most comforting part of their production was the fact that they were all so young. They promised to only get better, and that went a long way in quelling some people's fear that Sean Spence would be the last great Miami LB for a little while.

Incoming Recruits:

OLB
6'3"/230
LB
6'3"/220

Bond is a very promising recruit from the west coast, like Sandland, and could provide an immediate impact in the LB corps, especially if random rumblings about Eddie Johnson are true. He is another one of those hybrid type players who can play LB but also line up as a DE, and his specialty by far is getting to the QB. That alone is a welcome sign no matter where he lines up, because that seemed to be one of Miami's glaring weaknesses in 2012. Figueroa was an unrated recruit when he committed, but has since gained at least a few stars. He is the type of line backer that Miami fan love: big, fast, and hits like a dump truck. He is definitely a raw player, but when you boil it down, it takes a bit of roughness around the edges to play the position, doesn't it?

Remaining targets:

OLB
6'4"/210
LB
6'2"/210

Grace and Thomas are similar in stature, but could not be further apart in terms of talent. Thomas is an immediate starter type of player, and a can't miss recruit. He is a hometown kid who's recruitment will come down to two main teams (FSU, Miami) and two outliers (Bama, Georgia). Most have him staying home and choosing the Canes, but until his name is on the LOI, no one really knows. Grace is a kid from Miramar HS, where Tracy Howard and Malcolm Lewis played. He is an impact guy in his own right, and has a very good chance to start right away as well. He has long been said to be a Miami lock, although Tennessee and Louisville have made a late push for his services.

SAFETIES/CORNER BACKS

Quick Note: I lumped these two in together, mainly because the rosters that I got the info from does the same thing, but also because it makes it easier.

Current roster:

2 Deon Bush DB 6-1 195 So. Miami, Fla. (Columbus HS)
21 Antonio Crawford DB 5-11 188 So. Tampa, Fla. (H.B. Plant)
35 Nate Dortch DB 5-11 175 RFr. Fort Myers, Fla. (South Fort Myers)
37 Ladarius Gunter DB 6-2 196 Jr. Montgomery, Ala. (Jefferson Davis)
30 AJ Highsmith DB 6-0 208 Sr. Missouri City, Texas (Hightower HS)
11 Larry Hope DB 6-0 183 RFr. Miami, Fla. (American Senior HS)
3 Tracy Howard DB 5-11 185 So. Miramar, Fla. (Miramar HS)
29 Rayshawn Jenkins DB 6-1 203 So. St. Petersburg, Fla. (Admiral Farragut Academy)
22 Kacy Rodgers II DB 6-2 212 Sr. Southlake, Texas (Southlake Carroll HS)
38 Jordan Tolson DB 6-1 192 Jr. Inglewood, Calif. (Harvard-Westlake School)

The defensive backfield in 2012 was actually very good, although the stats are a bit tough to use as a gauge since opposing teams were able to throw all day long. Tracy Howard, the big name CB recruit from last year, definitely displayed the learning curve, but came on strong towards the end of the season and will be in the top spot in 2013. As far as safeties go, what can you say about the play of Deon Bush. Most had him playing, but I doubt anyone saw him contributing in the manner that he did. He was, aside from Brandon McGee, the most consistent force in the defensive backfield when he was healthy. He battled injury late, but will be fine when this season rolls around. Guys like Jenkins and Gunter also came on strong, cementing their places on the 2013 depth chart.

Incoming recruits:

S
6'1"/190
S
6'1"/185

Quick Note: Ray Lewis III will likely end up playing either one of the positions in the defensive backfield, but since he is technically listed as an RB, I left him off this list.

Once Burns and Carter committed to Miami, the defensive backfield class was basically done. Carter is a physical freak of a safety, although he could use a bit of teaching. He loves to hit anyone that isn't wearing the same color jersey as him, and the prospect of him and Bush roaming the middle of the field should have Canes' fans drooling. Burns is sort of a tweener prospect who is almost equally as good at corner or safety. With the safeties currently on the roster, however, I don't see how the coaches would not move him to corner back across from Howard.

Remaining Targets:

CB
6'3"/170

Sort of a late addition to the board, Robinson is a current LSU commit who seems to be telling both the Tigers and Miami what they want to hear. He has taken at least 3 visits to Miami, has spoken with coaches on numerous occasions, and from the current recruits' perspective, is seriously interested in flipping. However, on the other side, he is telling LSU that he is 100% committed. He does have an announcement time set for NSD, however, so at this point anything could happen. He would definitely add depth to the CB position, and would battle Burns/Gunter for the starting job.


There you have it. A completed look at where the team currently stands, and what they might look like after National Signing Day has come and gone. With only about 45 days left until spring football starts, it's going to be an extremely fun ride. As usual, tell me what you think in the comments below, and don't forget to sign up for our text message feature!

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