Each year I take a look back at the senior class and see who did what over their four years on campus. Did the highly ranked players live up to their billing? Did Al Golden find a diamond in the rough? You’ll have to check out the breakdown below and make your own judgement. The player ratings are taken straight from ESPN so if you want to take a look-see at who we’ll be grading, you can go there.
Derrick Griffin, #1 Tight End, Rosenberg Texas
If you were to ask any coaching staff how they’d want a tight end prospect to look coming out of high school, they’d point to Derrick Griffin’s measurable. At the time of his high school graduation he measured 6’6’’, 228 pounds and was a star on the basketball court to boot. For the 2013 class he was a late snag for coach Golden and his staff (a few weeks after signing day) due to two caveats. The first was that he wanted to have a chance to play both football and basketball in college and many ego-maniac coaches balked at that request. The second point that loomed large was that his grades from high school might become a factor for if he would be able to qualify at Miami or any other division one program for that matter. Golden took the chance.
Griffin never made it to campus due to his grades and had to go an alternate route. The plan for players in this situation (if you’re not familiar with the process) is to play at the Junior College ranks for a year or two, get your grades up to passing standards and then reapply to division one programs with the qualifications needed to enter. Griffin could have done this but instead enrolled at local institution Texas Southern. During his first year on campus he took time away from sports to get his grades up and went to class full time. In his second year (redshirt freshman) he fit the phrase “big fish in a small pond” to a “t.” He played both football and basketball at Texas Southern and after his first season was awarded all-conference level honors on both the grid iron and the hardwood. Even though everything looked like it was turning up spades for Griffin he was dismissed in September of this year from the football team due to violations of team rules. He currently is only playing for the basketball team at this juncture.
Stacy Coley, #4 Wide Receiver, Oakland Park Florida
There are certain players that can be dubbed “lynch pins” of a recruiting class. Players that are not necessarily “must get” (don’t get Cam started on that phrase) but players that you look at in a recruiting class that you know will have to have a big impact for the team to be successful. Coley was that player for this class.
Coley’s had up and down success over his four-year career at Miami. Due to the fact that he’s played predominantly each year he’s chasing and passing many of the career totals for the all-time great pass catchers at the institution. During his freshman season he was a freshman All-American after starting seven games and accounting for seven touchdowns. During his sophomore season Coley disappeared from the offense due to injury. He was only able to start five games and only accounted for less than 200 receiving yards. Last season Coley had a nice bounce back year accounting for four touchdowns and close to 700 yards. This season Coley has put together yet another banner year in the redzone. Before the bowl game, Coley has nine touchdowns on the season as well as 703 yards receiving as well.
Due to his strong senior season Coley is trending up for the NFL draft. The last few seasons there have been lots of picks spent in the first few rounds on wide receiver so it’s very possible Coley, who is rated in the top 10 of the position group by draft pundits, could go anywhere in the second or third round come April.
Al-Quadin Muhammad, #7 Defensive End, Ramsey New Jersey
Coach Golden “kinda sorta” believed in picking many of his recruits from the local area and then cherry picking out of state players that were exceptional talents to fill team needs. The reason I use the phrase in quotes is because as we all know Golden seemed many times to overlook local talent for players from his home state of New Jersey or the North East region in general rather than a player he could find in his backyard. I digress..
Muhammad was one of those thought-to-be elite talents from out of state, in this instance Golden’s home state of New Jersey. After Muhammad enrolled and started spring ball with the Canes he boasted to reporters he had pass rushing moves “no one has ever seen” and that he’d leave the program as an all-time great. Unfortunately for Muhamad, his freshman season got off to a rough start at Miami. Muhammad played sparingly in pass rushing situations out of the gate and only recorded two sacks in his first season. In 2014 Muhammad looked to take more of a starring role as the pass rushing starter for the Canes but he was unfortunately suspended for the year from the team due to an off field incident. Muhammad worked diligently during the lost season to stay in shape on his own as well as in the offseason and so when he came back in 2015 he was again ready to taking a starring role. Even though Golden ran a conservative defense, now a redshirt sophomore, Muhammad flashed with 47 tackles and five sacks.
Heading into ’16 Muhammad looked to have his stock trending up, similar to Stacy Coley. He was having a tremendous offseason conditioning and during spring practices both the offensive and defensive coaching staffs were lauding his hustle and work ethic on every play. Add in the fact that he was honing his ability under one of the best position coaches in the country and you’re playing with gas.
Until he got in trouble again.
This indiscretion was the final straw with the current coaching staff and athletic administration. Muhammad was investigated by the Miami Compliance Office for taking impermissible benefits. It was later revealed that he and a few other teammates were driving rental luxury/exotic cars and either not paying for them or getting the rates at a discount. Once the findings were presented Muhammad and a few of his teammates were kicked off the squad permanently. As of the beginning of the 2016 season it looks like Muhammad has (had?) enrolled at Hampton University in Virginia but was not on the football roster yet. I haven’t found any stats to the contrary saying he has played in 2016.
Artie Burns, #10 Cornerback, Miami Florida
So far we’ve broken down two out of state players that were both misses and have had one Florida product in the brief list who’s been an above average producer over his career at Miami. Artie Burns is another local product out of Miami Northwestern and he also had great success at Miami, maybe we’re seeing a trend. Guess we’ll have to keep the breakdown going to see where we end up.
When Burns came to Miami he was a raw prospect that had athleticism that was off the charts. He starred on both the football field and also the track at Miami. His main events were the hurdles and he was an all-conference level runner. For Burns’ football career he saw varying levels of success his freshman and sophomore seasons but had a breakout campaign in his junior year.
For the 2015 season, Burns’ last season at Miami, he accounted for six interceptions and also chipped in with a modest 36 tackles. After being selected as a second team All-Conference level player he decided it was best for himself and his family that he go pro. In last April’s draft Burns was selected in the first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers and is having a solid rookie season. He’s started five games and has two interceptions.
Kevin Olsen, #5 Quarterback, Wayne New Jersey
I’m going to be real with you all, I’m dreading this recruit write up. It’s nothing really against Olsen, I’ve never met him but his journey the last few years and the events he’s been a part of has been long and… colorful... Makes my job harder. -_- Anyways, here we go:
Kevin, the younger brother of Canes great Greg Olsen, was a shoe-in for a Canes offer. Even though he was a “legacy Cane” he had solid skill coming out of the New England region as a four-star pro-style quarterback. However, there were many warning signs that Kevin may have needed some time to mature before he could play for the team. Before Olsen arrived on campus he had a hit and run incident in his hometown in New Jersey where he ran into a tree, reversed the vehicle and later hit a car. After the second impact he walked away from the accident but unwittingly left his driver’s license. Once the police found Olsen they reported that Olsen had a cut/blood on his face and may have “appeared to be under the influence of something.” The matter was later dealt with and Olsen arrived on campus to compete.
The next two seasons at Miami for Olsen were marred in more incidents. He was suspended for a few “detrimental to the team” violations and then received a DUI in the offseason of his redshirt freshman season that involved himself, a few others and lots of fake IDs. After the latest event Coach Golden dismissed Olsen from the program.
Olsen decided to attend an FCS school closer to home, Towson but was also later thrown off the football team just a few months later for yet another “violation(s) of team rules.” After being dismissed from Miami and then quickly by an FCS team Olsen decided to go the route of JUCO and enrolled at Riverside City Community College in California. In his lone season at Riverside he put up modest numbers of 1,080 yards and 13 touchdowns. Olsen decided to transfer back up to the division one level, this time with the newly created UNC-Charlotte 49ers.
In his first season at the helm of the UNC-Charlotte offense Olsen had a mixed bag of success. He was promoted to the first string quarterback position in the spring but was only able to hold down the title through the first five contests. Once Olsen was benched he played sparingly the rest of the season. Olsen finished the 2016 season with 842 yards through the air, six touchdowns and three interceptions. Charlotte went 4-8.
Conclusion to Part One:
Well… That was a bit rough... Of the five prospects we looked at all three from out of the state were “busts” and the two in-state players were great successes for the Canes. Is there a correlation to this? Maybe not. We’ll examine the next group of five net week!
What do you think about the above players? Post below!