It’s Monday, which means it’s time for another dive deep into the recesses of my mind for more Canes-related tidbits.....
1) Sometimes it’s tough to write these weekly pieces, where there’s little going in Miami sports.........and sometimes these things just write themselves. Today is the latter, with Paradise Camp taking place. Top-notch recruits from across the country came to Miami to showcase their skills among a slew of current and former Miami players. It’s become a truly special event that brings a ton of attention to the program.
2) The love for the U and the sense of pride that it brings for its alumni base is unparalleled. Seeing the level of talent that came home for the event was awe-inspiring back in 2019, and it was even more so Saturday. Pro Football Hall of Famers in Michael Irvin and Edgerrin James (and Ed Reed, although I wasn’t sure if he was there Saturday; he’s certainly involved in recruiting on staff though). Stars like Calais Campbell, Antrel Rolle, Jon Beason, Lamar Thomas, and so, so many more. It was an absolute visual feast to see those guys get together. I can only imagine what it was like for some of these young bucks to get hands on instruction from guys who have or are starting at the highest level of football.
When you see tweets like this, this is the kind of thing I’m talking about:
I mean....buddy, you have the starting defensive end for the Baltimore Ravens, the 2017 NFL defensive player of the year, instructing you. A household name and idol for all of these young guys. How unbelievably powerful is it to have that kind of presence? Jayden Wayne - a DL from Tacoma, WA who is the #25 overall player in the 2023 class per 247 - was also seen with Jaelan Phillips. Putting two NFL starting defensive ends/edge players in the mix (well, I suppose three when you include Greg Rousseau) with three top defensive line/edge recruits can only be a very good thing.
3) So, for that, I say THANK YOU to every single former player that came home to help with this camp. THAT is what it takes to help your alma mater be great. That’s showing a true love for your school. Of course, financial giving and scholarship endowments are also great ways, but this is as well. This is the kind of thing that makes the U feel more like a family environment than other places. Bravo to you all, and bravo to the Manny Diaz and staff for organizing the camp. Other schools laugh at it only because they’re jealous they can’t have something this nice.
4) It’s also special to see Campbell coaching up Rousseau at camp, with Campbell demonstrating to (and on) Rousseau how to execute a power rush move. That’s just U family being U family.
5) Shemar Stewart seen hanging out with Campbell, among others. Hopefully their influence is rubbing off on Stewart. The Monsignor Pace DE’s importance to this class cannot be overstated. This marks his fourth trip to Coral Gables this month, and this was the last weekend before a recruiting dead period, so that’s a heck of a final impression to leave on the young man.
6) Manny noted during a chat with the media that Keontra Smith will move down to Will LB, and Amari Carter will get some reps at striker and platoon at safety. Look, that works for me. Anything to improve the LB group at this point, I’m all for it. Miami has Bubba Bolden at one safety spot, and anything that gives Avantae Williams and James Williams the chance to see the field as much/quickly as possible? Yes, please. I’d call those moves a win/win all around.