As we transition into the bowl season and soon to be the impending offseason the word slipping off the tongues of all die hard college football fans will be the word "recruiting." Yes, it's that time when young 17-18 years old men (boys?) will decide where they believe they should try and play football over the course of their next 4-5 years. For almost all of them it will be a great day to reflect on what they've accomplished in high school and to see the fruits of their labor finally come to ripening. However, even though this sounds like a great time for these young individuals, and it is believe me, it doesn't signal the end of their development as men as well as college football players. Oh contraire good sir, it's actually just the beginning.
Let's start to take a focus on our 2009 Miami Hurricanes for example. Here we had a team coming off a bowl appearance in the Champs Sports Bowl and who many had pegged for a possible ten win team the following year. Coach Randy Shannon had the team trending in a positive arc and all seemed on the up and up for the Canes. All seemed great but a curious scenario was starting to take root in the Canes incoming recruiting class. Miami was taking a rather large class (30 total) and it wasn't the amount of students Coach Shannon was selecting but rather the overall talent of the group collectively as well as character questions from many of those "diamonds in the rough" type recruits that people started to ask questions. Coach Shannon scoffed at the notion during the press conference post signing day to analyze his class and said that he didn't need recruiting rankings to tell him who was a ‘ball player and who wasn't. Well, it's almost 5 years later, let's see how that class did!
(Sr.) Seantrel Henderson, #1 Tackle and an ESPN 150 Recruit (*****)
Coming out of high school this guy was going to be a cornerstone left tackle, no question. He was rated as a top 10 recruit overall by ESPN and many labeled him a "can't miss" type talent. During his time at Miami you can best describe his achievements as "meh." Don't get me wrong, it's really hard for offensive linemen to truly "standout" due to the fact that usually the only time they're getting recognized is during bad plays (sacks, holdings, false starts, etc.) but he just seemed to not dominate for this team over his four year career. He played as a true freshman and has contributed each year but whether it be injuries or family issues, Seantrel just never seemed to truly take over the left tackle position.
Even with the ho hum remarks noted, Henderson still picked up a few awards along the way. He was named a Freshman All American (by the NWAA), earned ACC Honorable Mention (Athlon Sports) as a Junior and lastly as a Senior was able to ascertain an ACC Third Teamer Award as well as the distinction of an ACC Honorable Mention again by Athlon Sports. Not too bad but when you look at the mountain of talent he could display (pardon the pun) it just seems like he didn't achieve his full potential with the Canes.
(RS Jr) Storm Johnson, #3 Running Back and an ESPN 150 Recruit (****)
When I was writing my weekly Florida Power Rankings I kept shaking my head when I looked up Storm Johnsons stats for the UCF Knights. I may be getting ahead of myself, I'll backup a tick. Storm Johnson was a bruising yet decisive runner coming out of the state of Georgia. He was rated highly and expected to play immediately upon his arrival in Miami. Due to a mix of his talent as well as his pestering of Coach Shannon throughout his first season, he eventual saw playing time towards and didn't disappoint when given the opportunity. However, in his first offseason program with the Canes he grew frustrated with his role in the backfield going forward and decided it was in his best interests to transfer to another program.
The program he decided to take his talents to, as noted previously, was UCF and since that decision he hasn't looked back and has actually thrived. After sitting out a season due to the transfer rules he rushed for 507 yards last year and currently he has 1,015 yards rushing as well as 11 touchdowns on the ground. Great numbers for a running back, the only issue is that he's not on the Canes anymore.. Yea guys, it's not going to get much better..
(RS Jr) David Perry, #12 Defensive End and an ESPN 150 Recruit (****)
Here's what I said in my last article about this class and about David Perry, specifically:
"Honestly, not much to say.. From what I was able to research, he was a kid who grew up in the Bahamas and later moved to the States in High School. "Scouts" saw his big frame and potential and rated him really high. Since stepping foot on campus he's redshirted and played sporadically on special teams. He has not recorded any stats."
Guess what guys, he played in one game this year (Savannah State) and registered 2 tackles. That was his season.
(Sr.) Brandon Linder, #2 Center and an ESPN 150 Recruit (****)
For the record, I want it to be known that I do wish this class would have turned out for the best. No one wants to see their team struggle; it just goes to show you though that these recruiting rankings really don't mean much. It matters mostly about what happens once a kid gets on campus and starts to practice with his new team mates.
With that said, we finally have our first good, to arguably great ball player from this class. Again, it's hard to quantify how awesome Brandon Linder was for this team due to him being a lineman but most guys that follow football know you need lynch pin type players along the offensive line. Guys that you know can play multiple positions and be good at everything when called on and Linder fit the bill. He has played in every game he's been on campus (that's 48 total) and was named a consensus 2nd Team All ACC player his senior year by both Athlon Sports and the ACSMA. In previous years he played left guard and right guard primarily but this season he was shifted to right tackle when asked to by the coaching staff and played very, very well at the foreign position. Both he and Seantrel look to be drafted next year. If it were me I'd take this guy. Not necessarily the higher ceiling compared to Seantrel has but he rarely makes mistakes and is super flexible along the offensive line.
(RS Jr.) Kevin Nelson, #3 Inside Linebacker and an ESPN 150 Recruit (****)
It's really a shame Kevin Nelson didn't get to play in this year's game verse Florida because he was sure ready for it, in 2010. Nelson was a big time recruit from the northern part of Florida and was thought of highly by all the recruiting services as he was a consensus 4 star. In his senior year he racked up 150 tackles and was seen as the next great linebacker for the ‘Canes. However, red flags started to pop up it seems as soon as he set foot on campus. Besides being brash with the media Kevin came in at about the 200 pound mark and for a linebacker, even in a four defensive linemen front with three linebackers, that's really small. Maybe it was his work ethic, or any number of reasons but Nelson seemed to find a home in the inescapable "dog house" of Randy Shannon and for his first season at Miami was redshirted. Now, this isn't awful, many players redshirt especially players who need to gain weight. Nelson however seemed to take offense to the demotion as he decided to leave the team before the bowl game against Notre Dame. When Golden was hired he extended an olive branch to the miffed linebacker and Nelson actually came back to the team and attempted the initial "U Tough Program." However, (there's going to be a lot of "howevers" so be prepared) he decided that the training wasn't for him and decided to transfer to FAMU. I searched high and low to find statistics for his time on the Rattlers but all it displays is that he's their second string linebacker.
(Sr.) Eduardo Clements, #14 Running Back (****)
Clements really hasn't caught on with the Canes and it's unfortunate. Whether it's being buried behind Mike James, Lamar Miller or Randy "Duke" Johnson can be tough to crack the lineup for any running back. He also had his fair share of injuries during his time here too so you feel for the kid. Hard to believe at one point this guy was the co-competitor (including Miller) to battle for playing time with Storm Johnson before his transfer.
His career numbers are pedestrian, as is his overall impact on the team but I will give him props for playing on the Special Teams Unit. The last few years UM has improved as a whole in coverage and he as well as a few others on this list are reasons for that improvement.
(N.A) Tavadis Glenn, #16 Tackle (****)
As I reported last time, Glenn never made it to UM. He was academically ineligible so he tried the next best route which was prep school. From some quick research online, I don't believe he actually made it to the prep school but rather finished up his high school studies in Virginia. Based on what I could find, he didn't play football post high school.
There goes one scholarship that could have gone to someone else... ANYONE ELSE.
(N.A) Latwan Anderson, #17 Safety (****)
Anderson's story is a little more roundabout compared to his would be teammate above, Glenn. Full disclosure, this gets pretty bizarre so keep track. Anderson at the Army All American game the January of his graduating year went on camera and verbally commit to West Virginia. The Mountaineers were ecstatic because they were supposed to be getting a ball hawk with track speed and a large frame that could lay the wood to receivers and tightends that were to venture over the middle. The key phrase in the sentence above was "supposed to." On signing day in February Anderson never faxed his paperwork to WVU and reopened his recruiting. Months later in the summer (!?!) he decided to attend Miami where he wasn't given a football scholarship but rather he decided to join the track team and then try out for football during summer practice. That was the plan, until he enrolled at Miami and then decided to leave the school that same summer. Yikes.
Currently there's not much on Anderson. A few resources had him at a JUCO University trying to crack the recruiting list of a few D1 schools. Others simply listed him as "Not Available." In the end he's not on the UM roster which is what we care about.
(Sr.) Tyrone Cornelius, #26 Outside Linebacker (***)
Cornelius was in the same boat as Kevin Nelson was in when he got to campus due to the fact the he was yet another undersized linebacker. Besides that though, their paths differ. Cornelius has been a solid special teams contributor for Miami and the occasional start would come his way due to injury or just lack of overall depth at the linebacker position. In the end however he has just been too much of a "tweener" in the sense that he's too small to take the pounding the linebacker position demands and he's just been too slow in coverage if asked to play safety. Golden has wrung about as much out of Cornelius as possible when it comes to both the defensive unit as well as special teams. He's been a solid player over his four year career but nothing of note.
(Sr.) Asante Cleveland, #15 Tight End (***)
I remember when Cleveland first got on campus and was able to contribute the last few games of his freshman year and many were tagging him the next great tightend to run through the program. During his four seasons at Miami he amassed the following stats: 19 receptions for 239 yards and 1 touchdown. Not the greatest career numbers.
Alright all, well there's going to be another section to this thread as we have 20 more players to go, yay! A few of the guys in the next piece will go on to do great things for the Canes. Whereas most of the players we discuss go on to do little to nothing for the Canes.
I hope you all know, I'm really not trying to bash our beloved team. I'm just trying to point out the sheer lunacy that seems to have transpired to this recruiting class. Shannon took a huge gamble and lost (probably a better term would be "cratered") with these players and Miami is just starting to resurrect the program and trend in the right direction. It's no coincidence that it's due in large part to this class being almost 5 years removed in my opinion.
What do you guys think?! Let me know!