The power of knowledge is one that has been the desire of every generation dating back to Adam and eve. From the tales of Nostradamus to the rise of crytpocurrency, having knowledge and the opportunity to profit from it has been the drive of just about every person on the planet.
Presidents are chosen on what they know and what they don’t want us to know.
Songs become more and more legendary for every lip that knows the lyrics.
Journalists fight over every morsel of information that can set them apart from the rest, and make them the next Adrian Wojnarowksi or Steve Witlfong.
Knowledge IS power.
As fans, we search EVERYWHERE for knowledge when it comes to recruiting.
Who’s the plug?
Did he like that tweet?
How many visits did he take?!?!?
Add the Mecca of South Florida recruiting with the lineage of Miami Hurricanes football, and you have a thirst for recruiting knowledge with the fervor of an addict seeking a fix. The next hit is the best hit but still never enough.
This intensity creates harsh and unrelenting takes that create such a division among fans its sometimes hard to identify fans as pro Canes or not. We go at each other, coaches, philosophies, news outlets and just about any opinion that doesn’t follow our personal narrative.
Over the last year I’ve found that, thankfully, I’m not firmly entrenched in a given camp when it comes to recruiting info. I’ve found its healthier to just be happy for recruits getting scholarships rather than tying my joy to the whims of 17 year olds. Take your wins as they come and just have fun along the way. With that said I feel uniquely aware of how either side of narratives look and feel.
Below features some big fights, from cornerback recruiting, SEC recruiting, the role of recruiting outlets and other items. I beg you, bring your spiciest takes and guard your narratives with your lives.
The Stars Argument
If there is one thing the that the recruiting sector of sports journalism has given us that will live forever in the recruiting world, is the stars ranking system. From one star to five, with five being the best, recruits are ranked from best to worst. Over the years Miami’s relationship with the system has been a point of emphasis in nearly every debate.
Stars Don’t Matter Vs. Stacking Chips
Stars Don’t Matter
South Florida is THE premier place in the nation for the deepest talent pool of high school football players. Since longer than I can remember, every super bowl team, every national championship team, every first round draft in the NFL has featured a south Florida player. It is not only the sheer amount of talented players that contributes to these numbers by chance, but that play in south Florida is SOOO much harder than just about anywhere else in the country. Every team has a few star players. Every team has something special. That's why STARS DON’T MATTER. When you try to compare a 4 star from Broward or Dade county to most other places in the country, they are not the same! So many three stars down here would be high four stars in Pennsylvania, Michigan or any place not named California, Texas or Georgia. Every skill player is faster, every quarterback can throw and run, and every defender can tackle and get after the quarterback. We don’t need the Hurricanes to go national! Stay local and get the dawgs from the crib that want to be Canes and grew up that way.
Stars DO Matter
There is a reason when teams like Clemson, the University of Georgia and Alabama come down here, its almost ALWAYS for players, like, Tyrique Stevenson, Marcus Tate, Amari Cooper, Sony Michel, Jerry Juedy and so on. They understand that you can’t just depend on one part of the country to compete, you need the best players, period. In the days of advanced metrics and scouting, you just aren’t going to get many 2 star Ed Reeds or Ray Lewis’, 3 star Lamar Jacksons or even 2 star Stephen Morris’. The landscape has changed and you need to stack chips. Every player on your roster needs to push the guy next to him to compete harder just knowing that another 5 star will come take his spot. The blue chip ratio tells us you need at least 50% of your roster to be 4 and 5 star players. To win it all? Over 60%. Miss me with the local 2 star when there is a 4 star from Oklahoma who wants to make THIS crib great.
You have to mix it up. Even teams like Alabama and UGA aren’t getting every best player in a given year. You have to be able to evaluate players to the point that if a certain position group falls through the crack you are able to find the next Gregory Rousseau, or at least the next Trajan Bandy.
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Another big time argument is the value of going for players that seem to force the spotlight on them versus players that have the perception of being hardnosed team oriented workers. Often in the modern age of recruiting high school players have to be more polished than their predecessors as microphones, cameras and scouting firms are always ready to collect that nugget that pushes their predictions to the front page. Some people like the charismatic players that come with a “Don’t open till NSD label”. Others thrive on the thought of a team full of quiet assassins that want nothing to do with the lights but everything to do with the fights.
Drama Queens vs Dawgs
Lights, Camera, Action! If you want the best you have to understand that they will have a personality as big as their games. That’s a good thing! The fire they show off the field is what got them where they are on it. We have seen quiet player after quiet player show so much carelessness and nonchalant attitudes. Where’s the fire? Where’s the in your face, no holds barred attitudes that give teams the edge they need to overtake equal opponents and rub it in the faces of lesser opponents. A team full of choir boys is a quick way to get embarrassed by a team that has no business being in the same stadium let alone beating the Miami Hurricanes! Give me eleven Nest Silveras over eleven Lorenzo Lingards any day!
Anyone that that thinks all the me first attitudes is anything but bad for sports is an idiot. Football is a TEAM sport. It takes more than some sideline dancing and bling bling rings to beat Clemson! You’ll never get through the Alabamas let alone the UNCs if you think a cute pregame speech and a bunch of huffing and puffing is going to win you games in between the hashes. A team full of work first, hard nosed DAWGS is what wins champions. We can throw on a turnover chain shirt as fans but on the field, I want to see nothing but players looking at Microsoft surfaces trying to find out how he can shed blocks or staring at the field of play until their eyes bleed. This isn’t play time this is WAR!!!
You need balance! Too much of one personality tips the locker room in the wrong direction. Too many dram queens and me firsts creates a culture of cliques, stat padders and alot of snoring in the meeting rooms. Too many dawgs and your team will work itself into a coma. By the time Saturdays come half your team will be injured and the other half will be wiped by the second half. Understanding when to work, when to get hype, how these motivate each other and need each other is essential to understanding work dynamics.
You Need Them Both.
Which Do You Prefer
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High Energy Drama Queens
Main Event One:
The Best Way to Get the Players You Want
A Massive debate that may never be solved, recruiting aces versus wins is one that the casual onlooker may rationalize but that those closer to the action understand is rather nuanced, at least we want it to be.
Great Recruiters Versus Winning Games
To compete with the best teams, you need to be able to get the right players. You aren’t going to just start winning games out of nowhere, you need to get the right players first! So often we hear people use the phrase, “You have to win on the field before you can win in recruiting!!!”.
We, not necessarily. You need the right players in place to start winning games, and then to attract MORE players to come improve the current roster. In order to do that you need to have multiple ace recruiters on staff to fill out the roster. It is IMPOSSIBLE TO RECRUIT if you don’t have the best recruiters. You need the coaches in place that can properly sell the future of the program and turn roster deficiencies into opportunity. Coaches that can vibe with mom, dad and grandma and create trust that they will put your son in the best position to win. Most importantly they have to know wh at they’re doing!! Coaches like Rob Likens, Todd Stroud, and Stephen Field have histories of first rounders, elite recruiting and experience in development that makes recruits blush!
The greatest recruiter ever? An undefeated season. A national championship. Definitely not 7-6 seasons, 6-7 seasons and other signs of mediocrity. Players need to see the product on the field produce to feel comfortable about committing the next 4 years of their lives to a school. It shouldn’t matter that an offensive line is a work in progress, or that the quarterback position is failing, or even that the skill rooms are underperforming. The right coaches know how to coach them up, develop them and motivate them to overachieve. Every, single, one. No player should SEE the practice field if they aren’t here to compete for playing time. Practice squad players should be able to hold the first team to a higher standard than anything we will see on Saturday! Its not like talent pools have overflown and EVERY school has talent now. That's just an excuse! Win first, THEN the players will come.
Sigh, do I have to choose a winner?
Winner: Great Recruiters that Can Coach
Expecting teams to win X amount of games after being TERRIBLE and without major philosophical changes and roster reconstruction is like banging your head off a wall and expecting not to get a headache. Its just not rational. That’s the allure of coaching changes right? They bring fresh perspective, and hopefully better coaching chops. Even the best teachers need to be and should desire to be good recruiters, so they can coach the best of the best. Some coaches feel as though a blank slate that fits a set of criteria will be enough to win games. It will be, just not all of them. The best way to get the right recruits is having the right people in places to get them on the roster. Without Lashlee and King coming early, its hard to imagine Miami having as much recruiting success as they have had so far in 2020.
More Important For Recruiting
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Main Event Two:
The Right Players For the Job
Not a frequently heard debate, yet heavily important, is recruiting players that will fit versus the best players available. We have seen great players come into the U over the years like Anthony Chikillo and Lorenzo Lingard who then either were used incorrectly or who weren’t prepared for the challenge.
Best Schematic Fits Versus the Best Players
Best Schematic Fits
You know what stings? Getting the number 2 player in the nation who isn’t a fit for your scheme. Why? Possibly they have too hard of a time translating the playbook. Possibly they just don’t have the desire to add the power needed to play certain positions, or they were overrated from jump and not the player they were graded out to be. That’s why schematic fits make so much more sense. In a spread offense like Rhett Lashlee’,s lumbering offensive linemen like what one might see at Notre Dame aren’t always the best fit, when you need quick and decisive athletes that can take the play down field with them. Five star running backs that profile as between the tackle runners may not profile as well as the three star who has wild speed and would do excellent in the space of a spread offense. Better yet, going after the jumbo defensive ends that will be too slow off the corner for a Manny Diaz defense aren’t worth the effort when the lanky late bloomer can thrive in it. Schematic fits over everything.
Best Player Available
Is it nice having a niche player that can run your sets and give you little goosies in practice? Sure it is. It looks good, like you want it on Greentree, but what will it look like versus Clemson in Death Valley? What will it look like versus Alabama in Atlanta? Not enough, that's what. If we expect to beat the best we have to recruit the best. Players like James Williams who have positional ambiguity and Leonard Taylors who can do everything on a defensive line are the only way to go. If you aren’t pairing them with a Maason Smith or a Terrion Arnold, like what are you doing? From day one all these kids need to be identified, offered and given the full court press. Yeah, you might miss out on some guys that can REALLY help, but if you strike gold 10 times in a row its worth it, because that happens! 4 and 5 stars need only apply! For every Greg Rousseau there are plenty of Darrion Owens.
Winner: Scroll Up
What would make anyone think that if Alabamas, Clemsons and Ohio States of the world who only get so many 4 / 5 stars per class, we can pull anything better with our recent history? Pulling classes with 7-8 five stars and the rest high fours isn’t reality. Similarly, we have to be able to identify MULTIPLE players that will thrive in our systems, not just blow our cash on the first high stakes table we sit at. Play the cards your dealt and don’t play yourself.
Who Do You Prioritize?
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Best Scheme Fits
Best Players Available
Cornerback Recruiting with Mike Rumph
Lets Get Ready to Ruuuuuummmbbbbllleeee!!!!
Everyone’s FAVORITE recruiting topic, “What are we doing at corner?” Every year that the Canes miss out on the latest and greatest south Florida DB, the more fans question cornerback Coach Mike Rumph and Head Coach Manny Diaz. Whether its losing C.J. Henderson to UF, Stevenson to UGA or Patrick Surtain to Alabama, the cornerback recruiting always ends up the talk of Canes recruiting by December.
Pro Rumph vs No Rumph
Pro Cornerback Situation
So look, I get it. We have proximity and history with some guys that we should have a better shot at, but we haven’t gotten them. The thing is, why are we pretending we are really getting those types of players at any position? I mean we’ve done well at running back, but that’s usually a one player situation so its easier for coaches to key on one player and get their guy, and even still the only five star was Lingard and we know how that went. Linebacker has been super messy and on the defensive line we have been more successful in the portal when it comes to elite day ones. Even the safety position is only now coming around. To their credit Mike Rumph and the Canes are one of the only groups to pull in two four stars a year and is tied as the position group with the most drafted players since 2016. Coach Rumph turns good players to great players, Once we can compete in the win column we will on the recruiting trail too!
Against Cornerback Recruiting
Please. Stop. How can you defend something, really some ONE, who can’t even get two players he coached in high school TWO YEARS PRIOR. How can you defend someone that has to wait for other teams to drop a decent corner in the eleventh hour before we can get an above average cornerback class. There is no reason for us to only have FIVE scholarship cornerbacks on the roster! Bandy leaving early, Frierson changing positions, and transfers aren’t excuses! if anything that’s on him for not developing well enough in his room! Enough is enough!
Winner: I’m not touching that one with a seven foot poll.
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The truth, with anything, is usually somewhere in the middle. No matter the argument there will be room for the facts to attract the real answer to the median, rather than in extreme space of the other. Discuss amongst among yourselves, and please, no shots below the belt.