After finishing the 2015 cycle with the 26th ranked class, per 247Sports, the Hurricanes head into 2016 with the current No. 1 overall class; touting nine 4-star commits, including three top-10 in-state products.
If you ask ten in-tune Miami fans and experts to grade the 2015 class Al Golden put together, you'll get a myriad of answers. Some will tell you Golden made the best of a tough recruiting cycle, while others will tell you he needs to be fired, he's a disgrace, and how their respective God has forsaken them to a life of agony and pain.
Despite seeing many early commits flip to fellow in-state programs such as Florida State or Florida, Golden was able to secure some premiere players in 2015, including eight 4-star players, and the top overall player in his respective state of New Jersey, tight end Jerome Washington.
Golden failed to land a notable quarterback in 2015, and was harshly criticized for it, until Evan Shirreffs committed after signing day, and was able to alleviate some of the monumental pressure Golden was under.
If the 2016 recruiting cycle had a slogan for the Hurricanes, it would be "the year of opportunity".
There is so much opportunity within the upcoming recruiting cycle from so many angles, let’s take a look at some.
Needs To Fill
With only eight linebackers currently on the roster, and one (two-star) signed for the 2015 class, the Hurricanes are coming into the season light without star power in the middle of their defense.
Defensive captain, and easily the best overall player on the defensive side of the ball from a year ago, Denzel Perryman, has left for the NFL, leaving Raphael Kirby as the leader of the linebackers, a group surely to look to him for leadership.
As it stands right now, Golden has begun to address this need by earning a commit from the top-ranked inside linebacker in all of Florida in Shaquille Quarterman (4-Star, Orange Park, FL). Outside of Quarterman, the ‘Canes have also earned verbal commits from Lake Worth 4-star outside linebacker Zach McCloud, and Jacksonville 3-star inside linebacker Michael Pinckney.
Unlike the lack of depth at linebacker, the Hurricanes are looking for star power at wide receiver.
The loss of Phillip Dorsett isn’t monumental by any means, but it’s a hole that needs to be filled. Stacey Coley is going to begin to garner more serious double teams, and the loss of Clive Walford is only going to enforce that notion.
If all goes well, and the ‘Canes hang on to their premiere verbal commits from their trio of Florida 4-Stars in Sam Bruce, Dionte Mullins, and Ahmmon Richards, as well as develop 2015 commit Lawrence Cager, things will be looking up for Golden and true Sophomore quarterback Brad Kaaya.
Outside of Brad Kaaya, there isn’t a signal caller on this roster even worth mentioning.
Other than the last minute commit from Sherriffs, the Hurricanes failed to land a single quarterback in the entire 2015 cycle; that cannot happen again in 2016, or someone’s going to lose their job.
4-Star Palmetto, Fl. quarterback Jack Allison has already verbally committed to the ‘Canes for 2016, but it’s early… and that’s scary. Golden and staff would be smart to try and land two more premiere commits to build for the future after Kaaya.
What Lies Ahead
Miami has already landed 13 "hard commits" for the 2016 cycle, and have landed some eye-opening names to kick it off. As mentioned before, with signing day still nearly a year away, it’s worrisome to think what this class could look like when that time comes.
The slogan for the Hurricanes 2016 recruiting cycle is "opportunity", and Golden has one staring him in the face… now we wait.