From time to time, friends of mine have things they want to say about Miami Hurricanes football that I think would go well on the site.
So, today, I bring you an op-ed by my buddy JP, a notorious twitter instigator and passionately outspoken Canes fan. You can follow JP’s twitter account right here, and read his words below:
The Mark Richt era at Miami has only just begun. The Miami fan base is excited about the future of the program, and for very good reason. For the first time in many years, football at Miami is being taken seriously again. Richt is not only a proven winner, but he also has a fantastic coaching staff around him with the likes of Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz, top Defensive Line and now Assistant Head Coach Craig Kuligowski, Wide Receivers Coach Ron Dugans and plenty more.
In his first season at Miami, Richt lead an extremely young team full of true freshman contributors to a solid 9-4 season. This included the program’s first bowl win since 2006, something that Al Golden could not accomplish after 5 years with the program.
Now as a lot of Canes fans know, 9-4 is solid, but that is not the goal here. The goal at the University of Miami is getting back to winning national championships, which all starts with one thing; recruiting.
After reviewing Miami’s 2017 class, I would grade it a solid B+. Miami’s class ranked #13 overall on 247Sports, #11 overall on Rivals and #12 overall on ESPN, putting them just outside the top 10 on every major site. Miami hit the major needs in the 2017 cycle by landing some top flight WR’s, CB’s and Offensive Lineman. Now, had a few more things gone Miami’s way late in the process, they would have been looking at a top 10 finish on all major recruiting sites.
Maryland based running back Anthony McFarland, who had been a silent commit to Miami for months, ultimately elected to stay home and play for the Terps last minute, while South Florida based cornerbacks Chris Henderson and Brian Edwards decided against the Canes last minute in favor of a hashtag on twitter and a couple alligator emojis.
But forget all that, lets focus on the players the Canes did land; there are some very special players in the 2017 class. To get right into it, just to name a few guys who will have instant impact as freshman for the 2017 season; WR Jeff Thomas, WR Mike Harley, CB Jhavonte Dean (JUCO), QB N’Kosi Perry and OL Navaughn Donaldson. All are very special players who will help the team succeed immediately (and that’s just off the top of my head).
That being said, what really should excite Miami fans is the potential of how good the 2018 recruiting class can be. The Canes already have a top 3 recruiting class for 2018 with the likes of elite players like 4-star CB Josh Jobe, 5-star RB Lorenzo Lingard and 4-star CB Gilbert Frierson. What I see differently about this 2018 class is a lot of kids who WANT to be Hurricanes. No publicity stunts like “Miami is my dream school” then committing somewhere else as we’ve seen so often in the past; these 2018 kids truly want to be Canes. A couple more big time names for Miami fans to look out for is 4-star CB Al Blades Jr, 4-star Safety Gurvan Hall, 4-star WR Mark Pope, 4-star WR Elijah Moore, Las Vegas based 4-star TE Brevin Jordan, as well as plenty others that the Canes have a very legit shot at landing. [editorial note: pieces on offensive and defensive targets will be up early this week]
The cold truth is nowadays, in order to compete for national championships you must recruit at an ELITE level. I realize many Miami fans love the “Rankings and stars don’t matter” theory, and that is partly correct. Some of the best players on the team last year were former 3-star TE David Njoku (future 1st round NFL draft pick) and former 3-star linebacker Michael Pinckney (true freshman All-American), and unfortunately we have to credit Al Golden for that scouting.
While stars and rankings don’t ALWAYS matter, you are not always going to get lucky with 2 or 3-star players turning into super stars. If you look at why teams like Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, etc are always so good, it is because they recruit at that elite level. However, the key is not to land 2-3 elite kids every recruiting class, but to STACK up elite talent at every position. The good news is, this current Miami coaching staff understands that; they understand in order to compete for titles they need to land as much elite talent as possible, and I’d say that landing 5-star RB Lorenzo Lingard is a great start.
So, Miami fans should be very excited about the 2018 class, because I’d be willing to bet money it ends up easily as a top 10 class, with a high possibility to be top 5 come next February. With that said, recruiting can be a circus, so the key now is to hold onto guys like Jobe and Lingard for a whole year as well as build off of what they already have. It just feels good to see Miami caring about football again; building legit coaching staffs, making great hires, as well as a new state of the art indoor practice facility coming within a year or two.
I think the future at Miami is as bright as we have seen it since around 2003. So fire up the rig Canes fans, lets get ready for a great year and great future.
Thanks to JP for sharing his thoughts (and not cursing for the first time in his life!!!). Thanks, brethren.
Agree with his optimism? Still a bit gunshy? Hop in the comments and talk about it.