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Starting From Scratch: The 2011 Recruiting Class Part 3

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With Coach Golden heading into his first season at the helm and UM under NCAA Investigation the first recruiting class had every opportunity to get off to a rocky start. We've already reviewed the first two sets of the class, lets get to the final installment and look at how everything shook out.

Thurston Armbrister lays the smack down on a lowly UNC running back.
Thurston Armbrister lays the smack down on a lowly UNC running back.
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Opening Thoughts

We move to the final installment, the last chapter of the 2011 Recruiting Class for the University of Miami. The first two iterations analyzed a few players who have and will leave a lasting impression in the UM record books (namely Denzel Perryman.) There were also many who simply did not contribute when they got here or if they even stepped foot on the UM Campus period (i.e Kevin Grooms).

Lets take a gander at the bottom six of the eighteen in this recruiting class. Will they do better than the first 2/3s? We'll have to see!

Eddie Johnson, ?, #43 ILB, Atlanta Georgia, ***

The recruiting piece unfortunately gets off to a not so happy start when looking into the story of Eddie Johnson. The linebacker came to UM rated as a solid three star prospect and promptly redshirted his first year at UM. During his first year of playing he was a tackling machine once he was inserted into the starting lineup towards the middle part of the season. He never gave back the starting outside linebacker spot and finished with 59 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and one sack.

However, as you can see in the link above, his player information ends after that season in the UM record books. The reasons were numerous unfortunately. He started getting into trouble and at one point was suspended a few days before game day (that awful 41-40 loss to UVa a few years ago).

After his sophomore season ended however he left the team and it was believed he enrolled at Hinds Community College. The news after this event gets murky. From the best I can tell.. It looks like he played three games for HCC and then either left the school or didn't play the rest of the season. I couldn't find any information on what happened after his one season a HCC..

*Graphic Language in the Video Below


Taylor Gadbois, RS Soph., #160 OT, Dallas Georgia, ***

Before I get started.. Yes, I realize that says "Dallas Georgia" and no, it's not a typo. J

Gadbois actually spent his first season at a Post Graduate School, Fork Union Military Academy (FUMA). He honored his verbal a year later and was redshirted in 2012 at UM. Last season he contributed mainly on special teams as well as was used sparingly along the offensive line rotation, he never started.

This season he's looking to become a cog in the offensive tackle rotation and possibly start if called upon. UM has had an above average offensive line the last few seasons chalked full of upper classmen so look for him to slowly gain more and more PT. Per the last link, he seems raring to go which is always a good sign!

Corey King, RS Jr., #180 DT, Boca Raton Florida, No Star Rating

If only the weight room success translated to actual on the field success then King would have been the quintessential diamond in the rough recruit. However (seems like I'm writing that lately), it simply hasn't been the case. King made his first start against Notre Dame his redshirt freshman season but had very little impact the rest of the season tallying just 13 tackles. Last season King had even less of an impact. He played in three games and finished the season with one tackle which was recorded against Savannah State in mop up duty. Miami will need him this season as the likes of key backups Renfrow, Gilbert and Robinson were lost to graduation. If he can start to make an impact as a rotation type lineman then the staff would probably be mildly (and pleasantly) satisfied.

Thurston Armbrister, Sr., Not Rated as an ATH, Boca Raton Florida, No Star Rating

Fact: Thurston Armbrister came to Miami as a late arriving signee. Since he has been on campus he has transformed from a safety's physique (about 190 lbs.) to an outside linebacker for UM (up to 236 lbs). Another fact: ESPN's Recruiting Center knew so little about Armbrister they spelled his name wrong and didn't scout him.

When the great debate is made about if a player needs to redshirt or should play right away Armbrister's story is one seen unfortunately too often at UM over the last five years or so. Due to depth issues, specifically because of players being kicked off the team (Eddie Johnson, Gionni Paul, etc.) or injuries he's had to play sparingly too early on in his time at UM, specifically during his freshman season. Because of this he now is a senior when he should probably be a redshirt junior so that he could have another year of eligibility for his learning to continue at a steady pace.

During his sophomore and junior seasons he was used heavily in the linebacker rotation. This was in part to his stellar play on special teams and again due to attrition among the linebacking corp. This season it looks like he could be given the starting nod at outside linebacker again due to a select few players getting kicked off the team this offseason. He's had a productive career at UM totaling 73 tackles over the course of two seasons (freshman season he recorded no stats). Again, you just kind of wonder what he could be if he had yet another year to be seasoned in the defense instead of being thrown into the fire again this coming season.

Dalton Botts, GRADUATED., Not Rated as a Punter, Woodland Hills California, No Star Rating

Botts came to UM via the JUCO route and filled in nicely after the immortal Matt Bosher left for the Pro ranks. Some would say he had a good, if not above average run as the UM Punter. He never truly had one good year where he built on his previous success; both seasons had their bright spots. In his junior year he averaged 42.7 yards per punt (in 2012 he average 40.5) and a season long of 62 (in 2012 his long was 56) which were both his career bests. In his senior season though he had 23 downed inside the 20 yard line (2011 he had just 11). Each season he was asked to achieve different in game strategies and relatively speaking, he did quite well.

Post attending UM it doesn't look like he has gone on to be a pro kicker or punter. A practice squad visit with the Saints looks like the only call he got but he hasn't kicked in the pro's.


Ryan Williams, RS Sr., Not Rated as a QB, University of Memphis, No Star Rating

Williams had a long and winding road to the University of Miami. He starred at Miramar High School and in his senior won the State Championship. Even though he was Mr. All World in high school he wasn't setting the recruiting trail on fire due to being primarily a pocket passer and not having an elite arm when throwing the deep ball. Due to his short comings in the vertical passing game he decided to go to lowly Memphis where the opportunity for early playing time was available.

At Memphis he quickly won the starting QB position as a freshman and never gave it back, he started 10 of the 12 games in his one and only season for the Tigers. During his one season at Memphis they were a dumpster fire and finished the 2011 regular season 2-10 with wins against Austin Peay (1-AA) and Tulane (a notable doormat). With the atrocious performance that season coupled with the previous season going 1-11 a new coach was brought in who decided to run a spread-option offensive attack. Due to Williams' ability noted above, he decided to transfer because he believed at Miami he could run a prostyle attack which would suit his skill set better than languishing at Memphis.

Since coming to UM Williams has been a backup quarterback subbing in when Stephen Moris was injured or coming in when the games became laughers. He was looking forward to taking the reins of the offense this upcoming season but a torn ACL has delayed those plans, for now.

Antonio Kinard, So., POST GRAD OLB, Youngstown Ohio, ***

If Ryan Williams had a circuitous road to Miami, Kinard had what seemed like a gauntlet to even play football in college. Kinard was supposed to be a part of the Michigan 2010 recruiting class but he didn't have the grades to qualify. Due to that he decided to go to Hargrave Military Academy to get his grades up and be able to get into Ann Arbor the following season. However, in 2011 Coach Rich Rodriguez was fired and all of a sudden Kinard needed to look for another University to try and play for. Miami contacted him and he decided to join the 2011 class.

About this time four years ago Kinard was about to step onto the practice field at UM but his academic transcript wasn't portraying what UM thought it should have been. Due to the academic questions he was released from his scholarship. Kinard decided to head home and work for his Dad's Wine Store in South Carolina. What was thought to be a short term job turned into a several month period with Kinard working for his father.

Eventually he was able to find a home at Arizona Western College and due to the fact he took several years off he's still only a rising sophomore for the team. Last season he tallied over 100 tackles so he's showing well.. It's just... well.. Arizona Western..

Closing Remarks

After finishing this three part series I very much get an empty feeling. UM pulled a decent sized class at 18 players but the overall effectiveness of the class leaves me wanting more; very similar to the 2010 class. Just check out the breakdown below to see what I mean. Please note, this is just based on my personal opinion. Could someone like Armbrister "go off" this season and finish 3rd Team All-Conference? Sure it can happen and I hope it does. To this point though, there has been very little impact by this class over the course of the last three seasons at UM.

All Conference Player

-          Denzel Perryman (LB, ***)

Starters

-          Anthony Chickillo (DE,****)

-          Dallas Crawford (CB,RB,S, ****)

-          Phillip Dorsett (WR, ***)

-          Olsen Pierre (DT, ***)

-          Matt Goudis (K, ***)

-          Thurston Armbrister (S, NA)

Backups

-          Rashawn Scott (WR, ***)

-          Taylor Gadbois (OT, ***)

-          Corey King (DT, NA)

-          Ryan Williams (QB, NA)

Transferred/Kicked Off Team

-          Jalen Grimble (DE, ****) - Oregon State

-          Gionni Paul (OLB, ***) - Utah

-          Thomas Finnie (CB, ***) - Bethune-Cookman

-          Ricardo Williams (DE, ***) - Marshall

-          Eddie Johnson (OLB, ***) - Places unknown..

Did Not Make it to UM

-          Kevin Grooms (ATH, ****) - Marshall then kicked off team for breaking laws

-          Antonio Kinard (LB, NA) - Currently at Arizona Western College

Graduated

-          Dalton Botts (P, NA)