Each year at State of The U we take a look back at the recruiting class that was. The next installment in this series glances back in the rearview mirror, the recruiting class from the year 2013. Due to the fact that I like to give you all detailed updates we'll break these sessions up into chunks so you're not being given a 3,000 word breakdown. With no further ado, let's get started!
So, Coach Golden and his staff were still dealing with the NCAA sanctions and handling the negatives that went with it during this cycle. Needless to say, as it was seen throughout almost all of Al Golden's tenure, the recruiting at Miami was based on lots of commitments that had character issues and overall deficiencies in "Miami level" talent. Again, this was primarily due to the possible impeding sanctions but Golden and company did have to pull the trigger on each one of these kids when it came to scouting both their physical tools and their mental makeup. Am I being a little foreboding? Let's get to it..
****Derrick Griffin, #1 Tight End, Terry High School, Texas
When you think of a prototypical receiving tight end either flexed out in the slot or even further out on the boundary for jump ball situations in the red zone, you'd probably label that player Derrick Griffin. Coming out of Texas he was listed at 6 feet 6 inches and could run like a gazelle and was even a highly rated basketball player. Due to his freakish abilities everyone wanted him. His scholarship offers read like a "who's who" of all the big schools. Being from Texas he decided he wanted to stay home so he verballed to the Aggies of Texas A&M in January of his senior year.
How did he end up at Miami? Well, Signing Day came and went and there were rumblings he didn't have the grades needed to qualify. Coach Golden and his staff reached out after the first week of February came and went when a recruit can officially sign their national letter of intent to weigh Griffin's interest in Miami. On February 19th Griffin signed his national letter of intent with Miami and later on that week Griffin visited campus (on the 22nd to be specific).
However, after he signed with Miami it was later finalized that he was academically ineligible so he couldn't play in Coral Gables. Griffin enrolled at Texas Southern and took an entire year off of football to get his grades corrected. Once all necessary classes were complete, he balled out as a big fish in a really REALLY small pond at TSU. In 2015 the now 6'7, 230 pound receiver had 36 receptions for 709 yards and 11 Touchdowns. He also played basketball for the Tigers and averages 13.3 points and 11.1 rebounds.
****Stacy Coley, #4 Wide Receiver, Northeast High School, Florida
Miami is always known for pulling in great skill position athletes and Stacy Coley was yet another in a long line of Hurricanes wide receivers. Coley was from the local area and could have gone to any university he wanted to but chose to stay home. He immediately had success as a freshman hauling in 33 receptions for 591 yards and 7 touchdowns while starting roughly half the games his freshman season. Unfortunately, Coley had a sophomore slump and due to nagging injuries and not getting into a rhythm with newly entrenched quarterback Brad Kaaya, Coley's second season disappointed with him starting only 5 games and scoring no touchdowns to go along with only 184 yards. In his junior year, Coley had a solid resurgence back to what Miami fans thought he could play up to. With Kaaya distributing the ball evenly to his many tight end and receiving threats, Coley still came away with a good season at 689 yards and 4 touchdowns while starting 9 out of 11 contests.
In 2016 Coley could potentially benefit greatly from the talent that has graduated post last season. As of right now Miami has Coley, Berrios and a host of tight ends to haul in passes. Coley will be the number one target next season amongst the pass catchers and should be on the radar for NFL scouts as a possible mid to late round selection. Second or third team All-Conference is not out of the question.
****Al-Quadin Muhammad, #7 Defensive End, Don Bosco High School, New Jersey
Besides pulling stellar skill position players Miami has also been known to produce ravenous defensive linemen to the pro ranks. Muhammad signed with Miami over many of the other top programs and came to campus and immediately had the swagger the old Canes greats had often telling the media he was going to break all the legacy sack records at the school before he left the program.
His freshman season saw him play in known pass rushing situations as well as on special teams. He totaled a meager two sacks which were both against Savannah State and a handful of tackles, not the start he wanted. After the season ended he had to redshirt as a sophomore due to an off field incident that cost him the season. As a redshirt sophomore he was able to build upon his freshman season by starting seven games and tallying five sacks to go along with 54 tackles.
Heading into next season Muhammad is still talking a big game but is putting the emphasis on himself. He has challenged himself to be the best defensive end in the country and throughout the offseason the coaching staff has raved about his work ethic and his overall effort on every sequence of drills. With the new change in scheme and coaching staff Muhammad and his defensive line mates could be the biggest benefactors. Muhammad could have a chance to make good on his latest proclamations and be a top level player. He may not break the Canes historical records but 2016 maybe a big season for the defensive end out of New Jersey.
****Artie Burns, #10 Cornerback, Miami Northwestern High School, Florida
I guess when thinking about it, Miami has been successful at bringing any high level talent at any position. Burns is no exception out of Miami Northwestern. What made his recruitment interesting was that he wanted to play both football and run track in college. While at Miami he did both and succeeded at both sports.
During his time at Miami he went from "0 to 60" in really only one season. In 2013 and 2014 Burns had a total of 1 interception and was viewed as a solid boundary corner with good size and skill. In 2015 he proved to be a key cog in the Miami defense and totaled six interceptions while proving to also be a solid run defender as well. Due to his breakout season Burns was awarded with second team ACC honors.
After his junior season Burns decided to go pro. He didn't last long on the board as the Pittsburgh Steelers selected him with the 25th pick of the first round. Burns has the size and speed to translate well into the NFL, we'll have to see how he does when it comes to the technique intensive position at the next level.
****Kevin Olsen, #5 Pocket Passing Quarterback, Wayne Hills High School, New Jersey
There's always one guy in each class that I have my work cut out for me when it comes to research. Whether he's fallen off the map and no one has heard from him since signing day or he's been bouncing around college football via the transfer route, there's always one and for this class Kevin Olsen is that recruit. Olsen was a solid three to four start recruit but due to his older brother (Greg Olsen) many could argue he got a slight "bump" in recruiting recognition due to his name. Due to the family ties it was really a no brainer that Kevin would sign with Miami, once he gave his verbal things started to spiral out of control.
It was reported on May 25th of his senior year of high school that Olsen was sighted for hitting both a tree and parked car in a local New Jersey neighborhood. The police report stated that Olsen had a cut/blood on his face and may have "appeared to be under the influence of something." During Olsen's redshirt freshman season he was suspended (and sent back to campus) before the bowl game, it was widely believed to be due to a failed drug test. During the offseason of his then redshirt freshman season (so a few months later) the Miami police were called to a home and Olsen was sighted for having a breathalyzer test of .04 and also holding four illegal drivers licenses from other states. Due to the multiple infractions he was released from the Miami program after his third violation.
Olsen decided to transfer closer to home and decided on the FCS level ranks as maybe a better fit, he decided to enroll at Towson University outside of Baltimore, Maryland. However, before he was even able to start spring drills with his new teammates he was again kicked out of school for "violation of team rules." Even with the multiple setbacks Olsen still wanted to try and play football so he decided to go the JUCO route and again transferred, this time to a community college. He landed at Riverside City College located in California. After playing for one year there he's now ended up back in division one but at lowly Charlotte. Olsen looks to have an opportunity to start at quarterback for the 49ers. Here's to hoping he's been able to beat his demons and to staying on the straight and narrow!
****Standish Dobard, # 4 Tight End, Edna Karr High School, Louisiana
Dobard is a tough player to really put a "grade" on his overall success. The reason is because he's viewed more of as a run blocking tight end. So yes, over the last few seasons he's started 11 of 25 games but in that same span he only has a total of 15 catches for one touchdown. Heading into his senior season Dobard again will be looked to provide the best run blocking and pass blocking possible from the tight end unit. He may grab a few passes next season as a safety valve but look for Dobard to stay in the trenches and provide support not through the air. In the end, even though he won't "light up" the stat book he'll provide a valuable skill that any football team would covet on their roster.
Conclusion to Part 1:
Man.. That... Was rough. We had a few hits on the team which were Muhammad and Coley as well as Burns being stellar for one season then going pro. Dobard has fulfilled a much needed roll which may not have been well known to all but surely is relished by the team. Then there were Griffin and Olsen. Griffin didn't make it to UM after Golden and his staff tried to make the late effort to sign him and Olsen did make it to campus but after a year plus was kicked off the team due to numerous team violations.
The 2013 class hasn't started so well. We'll see if it gets better. Stay with State of the U as we bring up the rest of the class in later installments.
What did you think of the first six? Leave your thoughts below!