I have always tried to not over react to a recruiting class. Just because a school pulls in the #1 class does not translate into success (cough, 2004, cough 2008). Nothing bothers me more than hearing "(insert any past recruit here) is the next (insert famous alumni here)." For myself I compare college football recruiting to the Major League Baseball draft. Your favorite team gets a big name player, but there is a strong chance that player will not make an impact for two or three years, if at all. Yes, there are impact freshmen, but there is a reason no true freshman has won the Heisman, and most players take a couple years to fully develop.
Even though it seems like I am throwing a wet towel on recruiting, I am not here for that. Personally I enjoy looking at past classes and then crowning any player as the next (insert famous alumni here). I am going to tackle the past two recruiting classes in two segments. Up first, the 2014 class.
Brad Kaaya - Ummm, I am going to skip the breakdown here. If this is news to you then I am not sure why you would be reading this. Not comparing him to anyone. Nope, not jinxing anything.
KC McDermott - There are few times you see a young player and know immediately, that guy is going to be good. McDermott seemed that he was going to play a big role in the offensive lines rotation but unfortunately missed most the season with an injury. I expect him to come back and be an anchor for the offensive line for the next few years. I would even throw out Eric Winston comparisons.
About to be Studs
Joseph Yearby - By the end of the year he seemed to be the go-to second option behind the Duke. As Jerry wrote, Yearby seems to be the top-back to replace Duke's departure to the NFL.
Trevor Darling - Darling was pushed into play due to Ereck Flowers mid-season injuries. With him and McDermott seeing playing time, the Miami offensive line is about to be young with experience. That should excite any Miami fan. Call me old school but the game is still won at the line.
Nick Linder - See above and add to my "kid on Christmas morning" excitement about the team's offensive line.
Courtel Jenkins - He already made an impact and another player gaining experience in his first year. If the Canes are going to continue to run a 3-4 defense, this is the type of player you want. Currently listed at 6'1" and 315 lbs., Jenkins is going to clog up the line of scrimmage. Vince Wilfork has thrived in the same nose position for years with the Patriots. Jenkins finished with 14 total tackles, not bad for a two star recruit.
Darrion Owens - Owens had a solid start to his Miami career, being a good contributor in his first year. With the loss of Perryman, someone will have to step up in the line-backing core. I see Owens continuing to grow next year and really breaking out his junior year.
Jury is still out on their Studness
Chad Thomas / Trent Harris - Both played sparingly this past year. How Anthony Chickilo preformed in (and comments during) the East-West Shrine, do not expect gaudy stat numbers from the defensive end position for a while. Chad Thomas could be bumped into the "About to be Studs" but I am waiting for one more season. It was good for both to gain experience their first year and expect to see that pay off early next season.
Braxton Berrios - I want to make him a future breakout player, but the end of his season had a major drop off and I cannot get the FSU play out of my head (see above). A tough catch to make? Absolutely, but one the Canes needed to put that game away early. As Santana Moss said...
Michael Badgley - He filled in admirably when Matt Goudis had surgery. All season he looked like a kicker forced into action. He needs to improve his technique and continue to develop his leg strength. Overall, not bad for someone who was probably expecting to take a redshirt year.
Trayone Gray - This is a guy that would like to hit the refresh button on his UM career. What Yearby did this year, is what many expected out of Gray. He reported late and seemed to set him back all year. Even arriving to camp on time, most freshmen are still behind. Being late really hurts and it showed with Gray. While scoring against FAMU, he had a fumble against Cincinnati that was returned for a touchdown. Being at Miami for a full year and adjusting to college life will help Gray. I am disappointed the team decided to burn his redshirt year.
Too early to tell - These are players with only a couple game experiences, were redshirted, or were behind strong upperclassmen (ex. the outside WR position).
Christopher Herndon IV - I am pulling for him just so we can hear every announcer say "Herndorn the Fourth" and sound more like a Game of Thrones episode than a Miami football game. It's the little things that get me by.
No Longer on Roster
Kiy Hester - Transferred to be closer to home
I am not ruling any player as a "bust," especially after just one year. While this class produced Brad Kaaya and I cannot argue the impact at QB, when they graduate the offensive line will have had the largest impact. In two years, ESPN will be using the classic "Experienced Offensive Line" graphic when covering Miami games with how many total starts for every lineman. That my friend will become annoying every game but worth it.