So, in case you missed it on Sunday, the University of Florida fired Head Coach Jim McElwain. The Gators will run former Miami Hurricanes player and coach Randy Shannon as interim-coach for the duration of the season. You can search google for more information on those moves.
Now, for our purposes here, I’m not going to evaluate the performance of UF, because who cares? But what I will talk about is the potential fallout, and advantages, on the recruiting trail.
I’ve written this in several Class Breakdowns, but it is no secret that Miami thinks highly of 3-star WR Tyquan Thornton. The Miami (FL) Booker T. Washington WR committed to Florida over Miami a while back, but he’s still coveted by the Hurricanes.
With McElwain’s firing, it is possible that Miami turns up the heat on this recruitment and pushes for a flip from Thornton. Several other recruiting writers have speculated on this point, but have also made the point that Miami will likely look to add a player with a higher ceiling than Thornton if they were adding a WR4 in this recruiting class.
One such player who fits that bill is fellow-UF commit 4-star WR Jamarr Chase. This Rummell (LA) native is a very highly thought of recruit, ranking in the top 100 by all major recruiting sites. Miami hasn’t been in contact with Chase during this recruiting cycle, but now is the time to make that contact, if it’s ever going to happen.
Miami has also been in hot pursuit of a couple 2019 UF commits. 4-star WR Frank Ladson and 4-star DB Tyrique Stevenson, teammates at Homestead (FL) South Dade, have been on a couple unofficial visits to Coral Gables, and have popped up at Hard Rock Stadium for games a well. I think these players are really where Miami will try to make moves on the Florida Commit list.
Recruiting should be slightly easier...for now
Say what you will, but Florida has made things moderately difficult for Miami in local recruiting recently. In the 2017 class, UF beat Miami for several players, such as CBs Chris Henderson and Brian Edwards. So, there’s a history there.
Now, with a vacuum of power at the top of the UF program, Miami (and others) will have the ability to really gain traction in both the 2018 and 2019 recruiting classes. Recruiting is a multi-year process now, ESPECIALLY for top level players. You rarely see teams strike up a late, short relationship with a player and it work out (Miami’s recruitment of Jeff Thomas being an outlier due to Thomas’ previous academic and behavioral issues). So, with nobody in the big seat in Gainesville, Miami and other teams should have an easier time building relationships and recruiting players for the next couple of cycles.
This won’t last forever — UF is going to hire a coach eventually — so it’s imperative that Miami (and others, but this is a Miami blog so I’m focused on the Canes) turn up the heat and make moves in recruiting now. And, for the record, “making moves” doesn’t mean flipping a commit or getting a new one. Getting kids to take unofficial visits. Increased communication with players (and parents when allowed). Setting up visits for next summer’s Paradise Camp. Sending mailers. Making phone calls. Sliding in those DMs. There’s a number of ways that Miami can, and should, be making moves right now and I hope this is exactly what they’re doing.
Increased positive recruiting
Miami has a great coaching staff, is getting great results on the field, is building depth and talent on the roster, and plays freshman early, in key spots no less.
Miami plays in a top-tied NFL stadium. The Carol Soffer Football Indoor Practice Facility is on track to be completed next summer. The UM campus is one of the nicest in America. The academics are top notch, and Miami has been the top rated University in the State of Florida for the past 5 (?) years.
To pretty much every one of those positive points for UM, there’s a conversely negative statement to be made about a rival school who could be recruiting a player. Even if you don’t like the idea of negative recruiting (pointing out deficiencies in the opposition to gain extra traction with a prospective recruit), Miami can hammer the positives of our situation when recruiting players.
That hasn’t really changed with UF’s firing of McElwain, other than the coaching staff will be new in Gainesville, and players don’t really know how that will affect them. If I’m Miami, I’m highlighting the fact that MY coaches have done such great things. That MY coaches are on a 12 game winning streak and nowhere near getting fired. That MY coaches are (doing all the things that McElwain and his staff didn’t, but without mentioning them). UF is bad and Miami is good and reminding recruits of the latter implicitly reinforces the former. And that should (hopefully) pay dividends for the Canes.
Those are my thoughts on where Miami goes in recruiting now that McElwain has been fired (what a shame that is, really). Agree? Disagree? Have other thoughts? Hop in the comments and let me know.