Opening Thoughts on Part I
Let's set the backdrop for the 2011 Class. UM was heading into their first season under new Head Coach Al Golden. With the regime came a sense of hope for the future and a new, hard nosed playing style that hadn't been seen in Coral Gables in about a decade. The more significant fact to note though was that they were beginning their journey under the specter of the Nevin Shapiro allegations. All signs pointed to UM being hammered by the NCAA with sanctions and possibly the death penalty (**looking at you Mark May**). Due to the "impending doom" UM was hamstrung when it came to recruiting. Many blue chip recruits shied away from the program due to the allegations so Golden had to pick up the pieces with whatever recruits he could find that wanted to go to UM and compete.
**I have a disdain for Mark May. It's pretty well known that he despises UM and anything to do with the program. If you want another reason please see this link HERE (good on you Rece Davis for reeling these two ignorant spokesmen in) .
One last note before we get into the piece.. The recruiting rankings are from ESPN and can be found HERE. The stats are from the UM Athletic Department.
Anthony Chickillo, Sr., #5 DE, Tampa Florida, ****
It's hard to really grade out Chickillo without feeling a little bit of a "wanting more" emotion. He came to campus as a highly rated prospect coming off an MVP award winning exhibition game that showcased other top recruits in the country. After his freshman season fans had reason to be excited too. He finished his inaugural campaign starting the last nine games and posting a respectable five sacks. Keep in mind he was starting as a true freshman at about 230 pounds at the defensive end position. Any fan and coach would begin to realize why there was so much optimism at this point going forward into his collegiate career.
However, even though he has matured mentally and physically since his freshman season on the field the stats haven't really jumped out at us. On the contrary, his sack numbers have regressed each season (5, 4, 3.5) and his overall tackle amounts have stagnated as well (38, 45, 46). Now, does this mean "Chick" has been a bust? No way. He's been a pillar of positive influence off the field for the team and in all likelihood will be named a team captain going into his Senior season.
Kevin Grooms, RS Jr. #11 Athlete (RB), Hollywood Florida, ****
If you're looking at this name and don't recall him ever playing for UM don't fret, you're correct. Grooms never made it to campus. He signed his letter of intent but as the spring and summer months passed it became apparent that he would either need to go the JUCO route to join the UM program or find another University. Grooms weighed his options and decided to head to Marshall.
His time at Marshall can best be described as a roller coaster of events. He redshirted his freshman season and when he finally hit the field his redshirt freshman season he lit the turf on fire with his blazing speed enroute to winning Conference USA Freshman of the Year. However, his second season was mired with two serious suspensions, the second almost resulting in his dismissal from the program. However, this offseason the team allowed him back and he's trying to reinvent himself.
Dallas Crawford, RS Jr. #8 CB, Fort Myers Florida, ****
Crawford was Mr. Everything in high school. He played QB throwing for 2,300 yards, rushed for 460 yards and had 40 total touchdowns his senior year. He also played DB and had nine interceptions to go along with his 70+ tackles. Yea, he never saw the bench.
When he got to campus he redshirted his first season but his impact was already showing on the program as he was named scout team defensive player of the year. After his freshman season he has moved all over the field. During his redshirt freshman season he played wide receiver a bit (primarily in the slot) and wildcat QB in certain packages. Last season he played specifically as a RB and had a solid if not pleasantly surprising season for the team as he tallied 500+ yards rushing and 12 touchdowns in Duke Johnson's absence the second half of the year.
This season Crawford has been asked to change back to the defensive side of the field as a safety. Early depth charts are showing him competing as a starting safety if not second string contributor. Besides on defense he plays special teams so his impact, just like in high school, is all over the field.
Jalen Grimble, RS. Jr., #25 DE, Las Vegas Nevada, ****
Grimble was a signing that kind of came out of left field on signing day but the UM program was thrilled with the result as he decided to come east from his home state of Nevada. As a freshman he played sparingly and didn't redshirt. The lack of a redshirt was not due to his overall effectiveness in practice, it was more out of a dire need for bodies (hence why Chickillo received ample playing time too) along the defensive line. However, even though Grimble played in seven games his freshman year he did not record a statistic. In his Sophomore season he played in eight games, started none and recorded 6 total tackles. During the offseason between his Sophormore year and Junior season Coach Golden and the staff decided they needed even more players along the defensive line so they brought in a few journeymen transfers that quickly jumped Grimble on the depth chart. Due to this and his desire to be closer to home, Grimble decided to transfer to Oregon State. This season he looks to contribute in the defensive line rotation for the Beavers.
Gionni Paul, RS. Jr., #22 LB, Lakeland Florida, ***
To put it mildly, the primary reason UM is experiencing a near crisis in their Linebacker Unit is due to this recruiting classes failures, period. Paul came to UM bordering on a three to four star prospect and made an instant impact in his freshman and sophomore season. Each season he got better and in his sophomore season he posted personal bests of 61 total tackles (good for third on the team), one fumble forced and started seven games. However, throughout his sophomore year he was suspended twice and from what it appears, before he was suspended a third time he decided to transfer.
His landing place was the University of Utah who welcomed him with open arms. The most recent update we can give is that he redshirted last year due to the transfer regulation and it looks like he could be a starter for the Utes this upcoming season.
Phillip Dorsett, Sr., #47 WR, Fort Lauderdale Florida, ***
When thinking about the current Wide Receiver Corp, Dorsett is kind of an afterthought in a sense because of his injury marred season in '14. During his freshman season he played in all 12 games and started once. However, he only registered one catch and played sparingly as a backup on the special teams unit. What can be seen as his shining season so far in his career was his magical sophomore year. He again played in all 12 games, this time starting 10 and posting 1,178 all-purpose yards on offense and special teams. As note previously though, Dorsett injured his knee when playing North Carolina and his season was effectively ended after that game. He tried coming back later in the season but really had no impact on the games as he was still recovering and getting into playing shape.
Moving into his Senior season Dorsett looks to get the lion's share of playing time in the crowded Wide Receiver unit. Look for him to play primarily in the slot and possibly get some looks on the outside in screen packages. Getting the ball into his hands is paramount as he has the skills to maneuver around in traffic.
Closing Thoughts on Part I
Just in my opinion, I don't think this class is nearly as disastrous as the class that preceded it. What's unfortunate about the first 6 recruits (there are 18 total) is that three of them are not on the team currently. Whether it be academics, rule breaking or playing time concerns.. guys that are your top five to ten recruits are really needed to give both an instant impact and are counted on having a long term effect to your football program over there 3-4 years on campus. This classes "effectiveness rate" if you will is off to an inauspicious start. As we research the rest of the class hopefully it churns out more positive results.