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The Fruits Of His Labor: The Miami Recruiting Classes From '11-'15

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When now-fired Head Coach Al Golden took over Miami he had to rebuild the program and do it fast. He unfortunately tried to do a patch work job of it and now the holes are showing through.

Coach Golden left behind young talent for the Canes. Too bad it wasn't anyone over two years removed from highschool.
Coach Golden left behind young talent for the Canes. Too bad it wasn't anyone over two years removed from highschool.
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Well, so THAT HAPPENED yesterday (you know, the big yellow banner at the top of the page saying Coach Golden was relieved of his duties).

When the news broke that Golden was fired everyone will point to the easiest known issues with Golden, i.e his unyielding loyalty to his best friend and Defensive Coordinator Mark D'Onofrio, Golden's inability to win "the big game" and so on. During my time here with State of the U I've been lucky enough to run a segment every year to look back at "recruiting classes that were." Essentially, I review the crop of recruits who were signed by Miami four years ago and see how they've done on campus for the Canes.

With Golden going into his fifth season at Miami, all the recruits on the roster are his players, period. So, with that said, let's make a breakdown of the last five classes. Strap in this should be fun. All recruiting rankings I'm using are from ESPN so if you have a question, go check 'em out :

Number Of Recruits Signed:

2015: 22

2014: 26

2013: 19

2012: 33

2011: 17

Comments: It's important to note that the first three to four classes were greatly impacted by the Nevin Shapiro Scandal. Competitors for high level recruits used that issue to leverage the situation against the Canes. Miami tried for local highly skilled players but many were scared away by the possible sanctions. With that said, there were plenty of players Miami didn't recruit early on in the cycles that went elsewhere and had an impact so the blame can be spread to all parties.

Number of Players That Transferred/Were Kicked off the Team and the Total In  The Class

2015: 0/22

2014: 1/26

2013: 7/19

2012: 17/33

2011: 10/17

Comments: There are a few caveats with this list. First the two most recent classes have had better success on actually making it to campus and then staying in the program compared tot he first three. However, it must be noted, they're both only two years in. Over the next year or two, especially with a coaching change, we may see some transfers. With that said, I don't know if we will see a mass exodus come February. Many from these two classes are already seeing playing time and unless Miami suddenly finds all five star phenom's to dethrone them, I don't see playing time being lost to incoming recruits. Just my opinion, but I think these two classes may stick to the team relatively well post regime change.

Now.. the other three class... Just... damn. The best way to outline the cluster bomb that was '11, '12 and '13 is that during the scandal it seems that Golden and his staff gambled on a lot of talent. Those players had a myriad of issues that other staffs stayed away from. Whether it was questionable academic backgrounds or even multiple run ins with the law. Apparently the Canes were that desperate that they took fliers on these players. From the results, as you see, they missed and they missed badly.

I won't go into each and every player and what their flaws were but I will give you one position group where we're seeing an impact: linebackers. As you know, Miami has no depth at the position anymore. Zero. Heading into the season they couldn't afford injuries to the position as they had really only six college ready players to handle the entire seasons work load. Currently, at the halfway mark the team is down to just three. How'd we get here though? How do we currently have so little depth? Check out the reasons why below:

2011:

Gionni Paul - kicked off team, current starter for top 15 ranked Utah

Denzel Perryman - Three year starter, playing in the NFL

Antonio Kinard - Academic issues, didn't make it to spring camp

Eddie Johnson - kicked off team

Thurston Armbrister - rotational player who eventually started in his senior year, never redshirted

2012:

Raphael Kirby - starter, out for the year due to injury

Jawand Blue - kicked off team

Josh Witt - career ending injury (concussion), never played

Gabriel Terry - kicked off team

2013:

Jermaine Grace - starter

Alex Figueroa - kicked off team

Devante Bond - Academic issues, eventually admitted to Oklahoma where he is now a starter

2014:

Juwon Young - current start due to injury to Raphael Kirby

Terry McCray - rotational player due to injuries

Michael Smith - rotational player due to injuries

Marques Gayot - backup, out for the year due to injury

Darrion Owens - starter, out for the year due to injury

2015:

Charles Perry - redshirt candidate

James King - redshirt candidate

Comments: The most important part about the above players is that in the 2011 class, they would be redshirt seniors right now. Instead, all are gone. The 2012 class? The last member standing of the class was Kirby who made it passed year two and then of course, as you all know, injured his knee a few weeks ago and is now out for the year. Of the three in the 2013 class only Grace is left. This linebacker group as it currently stands is made up of only sophomores and freshmen!

Even if this defense wasn't running a scheme that wasn't complicated or fit the players available, it would be destined to fail simply due to roster attrition. What I've shown above is simply one example. Go take a look at the defensive line. Same song, different dance. Golden took a lot of fliers in 2011-13 and whiffed. We're seeing the fruits (garbage?) of his labor now.