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The Connect: So, About Latwan Anderson...

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(via mannynavarro614)

Well, it appears as if the Latwan Anderson saga has just begun. Barry Jackson is reporting that a source at UM told him that Anderson has left the football team, although he does remain on the track team. As Jackson notes, and as was discussed in the comments of our Duke post-game post, it seems curious that Anderson would be so resentful over a lack of playing time, considering how long it took him to get to UM. Personally, this doesn't come as a total surprise. UM wasn't one of Anderson's initial visits, and after he dragged his commitment out past Signing Day he narrowed his choices down to USC, Miami and West Virginia, which was his original commitment. His mother made him cancel a planned trip to USC because it was too far from his native Ohio and because they didn't have family in California. Anderson chose Miami over West Virgina in part because of football pedigree and because he preferred Miami to Morgantown (obviously), but there was always an undercurrent that this was an arranged marriage with potential for a Bryce Brown-esque fallout. Anderson's mother likely consented— if not outright pushed him— to Miami because they have family in the area. There's also the fact that aside from West Virginia, who was already holding a spot for him, UM was the only other major school offering him a spot on the football team, albeit through the back channel of having him come in on a track scholarship initially. (Ohio State— Anderson is from Glenville, OH— closed its doors to him after Signing Day.) Needless to say that this is about the last thing that Randy Shannon needs to deal with as he attempts to pretty much keep his team from outright collapsing this season, but we'll see how this plays out in the coming weeks and/or months.

Now onto matters involving players actually ON the team.

First, a small bit of good news, per Steve Gorten:

RG Brandon Washington was named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week on Monday and FS Vaughn Telemaque was named Defensive Back of the Week.

Washington graded out at 97 percent with seven pancake blocks and no sacks allowed in Saturday’s 28-13 win at Duke. The Hurricanes had a season-high 448 yards of offense.

Telemaque made two interceptions after his first career one the previous week against Florida State. It was the ninth time this season an ACC player has grabbed two picks in a game. Telemaque also made six tackles.

Manny has a post up with quotes from Washington, but not about his performance against Duke. Instead, he talks to Washington about Jacory, who he played with at Northwestern as well. Of Jacory's mood this season, Washington offers this:

"I just want him not to feel discouraged or feel like he's not wanted. When he doesn't make the plays he expects to make, you can see it in his face. He goes into a shell, breaks off and sits by himself on the sideline. That's not how he usually is. Usually, he'll be like 'Line, don't worry about it we got another drive. The defense is going to get the ball back. We're going to score.' He's just kind of discouraged right now."
He adds:

 "He just hasn't been having the season he thought he would,' Washington said. "That Ohio State game hurt him." 

The Herald's Susan Miller Degnan has a profile today on Asante(-Jabari) Cleveland, who seems like a really good kid. Cleveland has a chance to make a big impact in the coming weeks, as the other tight ends this year have, by my (very) rough estimation, more drops than catches, at least one-third as many penalty yards as receiving yards and more one-handed catches than touchdowns. To say that Jeremy Shockey isn't walking through that door would be, to say the least, an understatement— Chris Zellner isn't walking through that door. That said, Cleveland has a chance, along with Kelvin Cain, to be one of this season's real success stories. Cleveland was also two-star West Coast recruit, and he was originally committed to Washington State, which is in the midst of a run that would embarrass Temple circa 2001. Rivals' Matt Shodell relays the story of how Randy pretty much reeled in Cleveland:

It was the final week of January last year, and the 6-foot-5, 245-pounder had just returned from an official visit to Miami. A Washington State commitment, he remained torn between the programs. His father, former NFL draft pick Allen Cleveland, told Asante to follow his heart.

And so the test began.

Asante picked up the phone and called Hurricane coach Randy Shannon.

"Coach," he said. "I just wanted to let you know I'm still really thinking about going to Washington State."

"Okay," Shannon replied. "Washington State is a great school. If you go there, be sure to watch us on TV because we're going to have to play a freshman tight end, and that freshman could have been you."

Shodell also offers a personal opinion:

I remember seeing Asante's first practices at UM this fall. My first thought: "This guy looks a heck of a lot like Kellen Winslow when he first got to Miami." ... I've seen tight ends come and go at Miami since Greg Olsen left, and none have excited me as much as Cleveland. I think this guy could get Tight End U back on the map.

Cleveland also made probably the most impressive play during this summer's open practice, leaping above two defenders to grab a pass that he eventually ran for about thirty more yards into the end zone. I guess time will tell whether it's a really great thing or a really terrible thing that two of the four or five most important true freshmen on the team were lightly sought two-star recruits.

Lastly, many ex-players have called for increased accountability and leadership on the team after the fiasco against FSU. Manny reports that Vaughn Telemaque has taken that leadership role:

Several teammates said Telemaque has been a lot more vocal, talking trash to opposing receivers much more than he used to. "I told one of the Duke receivers tell your quarterback to stop throwing it this way," Telemaque said. "I wanted him to get mad and do it again."

VT (this guy needs a nickname that doesn't evoke Blacksburg, by the way) is personally one of my favorite players on the team, but it might not be a good sign that the leadership role has been assumed by a redshirt sophomore. But I'm probably being pessimistic.