One of the perks for the University of Miami is that the school sits right in the middle of arguably the largest collection of high school football talent in the country with the combination of both Dade and Broward County.
In 2017, Saint Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) had more NFL players in the league than any high school in the country. More NFL players come from the city of Miami than any other city in America, with Ft. Lauderdale coming in third place.
Simply put, the Canes have the future of the game of football in high schools all around them. What started it all, was when legendary coach Howard Schnellenberger created “The State of Miami,” which basically meant that the Hurricanes would emphasize recruiting local kids in South Florida.
For years, UM’s ability to recruit players from both Dade and Broward helped them become a national force, as kids from Saint Thomas Aquinas, Northwestern and Miami Central and other local schools flocked to Coral Gables to wear the U in college. The result was, of course, four national championships from 1983 to 1991.
Hurricanes legends like Bennie Blades, Michael Irvin, Sean Taylor, Andre Johnson, Jonathan Vilma and many others, have all heralded from either the 305 or 954.
Of course Miami has been able to recruit players from outside the great state of Florida such as D.J. Williams, Greg Olsen, Reggie Wayne, Ken Dorsey and Clinton Portis. Even on today’s roster for UM, you’ll find non-Floridians like DeeJay Dallas, Brevin Jordan and Gerald Willis III.
And while Mark Richt will take all the recruits he can right now, claiming the best players in the South Florida area, and most notably Dade and Broward, will be something that will have to happen in 2019 in order for the Hurricanes to reestablish national dominance.
Still to this day, a Hurricane.
The 2018 class was definitely a step in the right direction, with the signing of 11 local players including Nesta Silvera, Mark Pope and Al Blades Jr.
"Miami is home, this is the crib. You know. So, what I can do here I could go to Tuscaloosa, I could go to Gainesville, I could go to Tallahassee and make those schools good, but why not make the crib great?"— GO ‘CANES! (@83_87_89_91_01) October 24, 2018
- Nesta Silvera pic.twitter.com/nIPgTQKPoT
Sadly, while the 2018 class was a step forward, this recruiting class has taken proven to be not as kind to Miami.
For instance, in their 2019 recruiting class so far, the Canes have 13 players signed so far, with just five coming from Dade/Broward. They’ve also had several local players decommit from Miami, such as Cornelius Nunn, Anthony Solomon and Jarvis Brownlee, just to name a few, and also missing out on John Dunmore and possibly Tyrique Stevenson.
Maybe the biggest punch to the gut was seeing a Miami legacy, Kenny McIntosh (University School, Broward), brother of former Cane R.J. McIntosh, committing to Georgia.
Miami Hurricanes Recruiting: top RB target (and #Canes legacy) Kenny McIntosh commits to Georgia. Another local recruiting loss for Miami. https://t.co/8mlveukz6T pic.twitter.com/26rZLoAo2w— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) November 14, 2018
Now, schools like Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Georgia, not even to mention FSU or Florida, have infiltrated these two counties that once upon a time belonged to the U. Players like Amari Cooper, Joey and Nick Bosa, Sony Michel, Brian Burns, Jerry Jeudy, Trevon Grimes and many many others, all products of either Dade or Broward who didn’t play for the Hurricanes.
Most recently, and maybe most painful, is that we had to suffer through three years watching Miami native Dalvin Cook shred the Canes to pieces.
Obviously, ultimately the signing of even more elite players from the home-front will boil down to Richt and his program winning more games, and contending for ACC titles and eventually national championships. Sorry to say it, but 7-5 isn’t bringing Frank Ladson or Jordan Battle to UM.
The issue of not being able to land some of the top local recruits has been an issue for sometime now, as the national standing of the Hurricanes continues to drop. Even so, the aura that the U has, the history, and the opportunity for these local kids to play in front of their hometown fans in Coral Gables still comes in to play.
“You don’t know how many kids’ first instinct is Miami in South Florida — a lot of them,” said SFHSSports senior writer Larry Bluestein back in 2015 in an interview on The Joe Rose Show.
Miami is “the crib,” and in order to bring the U back to where it has been and should be, Mark Richt must recruit South Florida better in the next year.