Canes Fam, Whats UP!
Canes Recruiting, that’s whats up.
The 2021 Cycle has, so far, been one for the ages and is shaping up to be one of the programs best in the Rankings Era. Not since the notorious Northwestern Class of 2008 has Miami create such a buzz in the recruiting world.
ESPN, the quietest of the ranking sites, checked in to notate Miami was on the rise with notable teams like, Alabama, LSU and Oklahoma.
Updated #ESPN Class Rankings— Gerry Hamilton (@HamiltonESPN) July 23, 2020
1 Ohio St
2 Alabama ⬆️ ⬆️⬆️⬆️
5 LSU ⬆️
11 Miami ⬆️
14 OU ⬆️
18 Tex A&M ⬆️
21 Penn St
Though rarely a friend to the Canes, Rivals had to admit following the commitment of James Williams that Miami is KILLING IT in South Florida.
Miami is killing it in South Florida, Alabama is back and more trends during this recruiting cycle from @RivalsMike, who also has a list of must-gets that includes several legacy prospects https://t.co/FmIinhtVFp— Mike Farrell (@rivalsmike) July 28, 2020
Even a rival FSU fan, hey Bud, along with 247’s Director of Recruiting, Barton Simmons, can do nothing but opine the job that Miami has done this cycle with its #21Savages Class.
So we see ALL of these results (Ahem, with even MORE to come) but one asks, what is it that Miami is doing this cycle that they weren’t in years past. Is there one thing that can be identified as the primary reason we are getting the players we are getting?
Usually the first thing people will say to diminish what Miami has been able to do for the 2021 class is highlight the MASSIVE elephant in the room, the Coronavirus pandemic. Since the shutdown of recruiting occurred in late March following the stoppage of sports, the Hurricanes have secured FOURTEEN commits. Of those commits, only two were out of state and only one outside of a manageable driving distance from the Canes. Once the NCAA implemented the current extended Dead Period, players who usually would take visits or attend camps and 7v7 tournaments have been relegated to staying put in the South Florida region for the majority of the spring and summer months. This definitely favors the Canes, who are able to get players normally with an incredibly busy schedule on campus MUCH easier than most schools can now.
BUT, is this THE reason? I say no. Though we are in a dead period which disallows recruiting off campus, schools can STILL have recruits come on unofficial and official visits to campuses, albeit at a slower clip due to obvious travel concerns. However, players such as James Williams undoubtedly were NOT swayed by this, as players like himself have still taken advantage of the ability to drive to schools within distance, inclusive of primary threat Georgia Bulldogs. Also, with the allowance of electronic communications and the explosion of Zoom calls, coaches have been able to continue recruiting at a decent enough clip to deter the obstacles from Covid.
Ok we get it. We wouldn’t have this class without an act from God.
Slow down player. No matter what the playing field.....
Coaches Have to Recruit
Whether we or others want to acknowledge or not, regardless of even the largest of advantages coaches STILL have to recruit. As has been said in some circles, players are not coming by default to the U. This is highlighted by what some saw as an emphatic close to the 2020 class, but seems to be more of a catalyst of sorts for what happen afterwards. When Safeties Coach Ephraim Banda secured the commitment of the 2020 Class’ top safety, Avantae Williams, the recruiting world and Canes faithful were set on fire. The shock was palpable and tears from Florida fans flowed like the River Jordan.
This however, was not a miracle, but the fruit of a relationship fostered from youth football through high school. This was what Coach Mark Richt created when he started holding free clinics in the community to foster good faith with the school. Say what you will but the coaches on staff that understand the game play it VERY well.
Not to be forgotten, this came on the heels of Ed Reed being hired as Chief of Staff for the Canes, surely influencing Williams decision in the end.
That hire, is the highlight of many, including:
Rhett Lashlee - Offensive Coordinator - His Offense Has Created Buzz for Recruits
Garin Justice - Offensive Line Coach - His personality and work ethic has charmed many players, parents and coaches alike
Rob Likens - Wide Receivers Coach - His recent history of 1st round receivers is a huge pin in recruiting
Yet the most unassuming hire and coach may be the most important of all, in newly announced Sr. Analyst Telly Lockette. Coach Lockette has nearly 20 years in the South Florida football scene and has undoubtedly been at work in multiple commitments through the spring and summer. Coach Lockette for years was a thorn in Miami’s side while with FSU, stealing multiple five and four star players from Miami’s grasp. Coach Lockette, along with Coach David “Pop” Cooney, Coach DeMarcus Van Dyke and Coach Stephen Field ALL have extensive histories in the South Florida communities and are showing to be a force to be reckoned with even while holding a crispy 6-7 season in their back pocket.
So it’s the coaches then right? Well.......
Players want to play with BALLERS
The Canes biggest recruit all off season may be another huge reason why the Canes have been torching the recruiting landscape. When Houston Cougar D’Eriq King put pen to paper to become the next UM signal caller, it caught the attention of just about everyone that had interest in the Miami Hurricanes. Prospective recruits, his former teammates and future transfers took note and stood at attention. That same day the top defensive transfer in potential future first rounder Quincy Roche followed King to Miami, a decision that surely the two had discussed. This caught the attention of players that Miami desperately needed in Issiah Walker, a former Gator signee and King’s former teammate Jarrid Williams. Both would transfer to UM to bolster the OL room this year.
The former mention of the two, Walker, has been a subtle yet consistent ambassador of sorts to the 2021 class, frequently commenting or notating happenings in the recruiting world, whether hints at a coming commitment or joining Canes fans in rejoicing after one. While Walker may be the subtle ambassador, Khalil Brantley has been the vastly seen and robustly outspoken one, seemingly screaming from the hill tops to announce the rise of his year’s class.
This all points to one thing, players want to play with players like THEM. Players that are about their business, have a proven pedigree, and that they know will lead to WINS. Each one of the named have contributed in some way to attracting more players of there ilk to the Hurricanes. That includes James Williams, who as the big fish, is doing the same as the others, recruiting more big fish like himself to join the Canes 2021 group.
Ok ok ok, its the PLAYERS! Got it, got it, article done.
Not so fast.
There’s Mo’. As in -
A book I read earlier this year, “The Tipping Point”, by Malcolm Gladwell. perfectly helps to wrap up this debate. We all want to know what the singular catalyst is for the reason behind a major occurrence or event. Gladwell points out that, while there may be some overt ideas to the “big bang” that look like “a would be” cause, it is the accumulation of multiple smaller occurrences that all contribute to that final “Tipping Point”. Maybe it was COVID that helped years of recruiting get recruits around people like D’Eriq, Pop Cooney and Issiah Walker to convince them that the Canes were it. Maybe it was the years of relationships that allowed COVID to have the impact it did on recruiting. It very well could be the excitement of new coaches and a Heisman hopeful that charged the players up enough to want to join a movement.
Yet, Gladwell does well to teach us that the momentum created by many little things into a larger catalyst of a “Tipping Point”, is truly is the reason for #CaneSzn.
No Matter what you feel is the reason, no one can deny that this is the biggest Hurricane Miami has seen in many, many years.