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11/30/12 Recruiting Q&A

As promised, my 1st ever Question and Answer on Miami Hurricanes recruiting here at State of the U. There is still a long way to go until National Signing Day 2013 but hopefully I can shed a little light on where things stand heading into the Official Visit season that kicks off in earnest this weekend.

Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Q: Can Miami take Tim Williams with his grade concerns? LSU stopped recruiting due to concerns, does Miami have higher academic standards? -NDFister

A: Grade concerns tend to be the easy excuse to provide when State schools just completely stop recruiting big time local players. While there’s might be some truth to the matter, I don’t get the sense that Miami sees it as something that can’t be overcome despite its higher academic standards. The same would likely be true with FSU depending on how their defensive end board shakes out. My understanding that is LSU stopped recruiting him for a multitude of reasons, not simply grade concerns. Say, for example, the fact that they already have 6 linemen (4 of which are projected ends) already committed. I think the real concern on Miami’s end isn't the potential grade issues; it’s the fact that he has yet to ever visit and has cancelled trips in the past due to monetary concerns. It’s tough to sell a kid on picking a program that might be out of the range where his family could see him play on a regular basis.

Q: What current guys committed to do see not making it to camp this fall? -Patrick Grady

A: Not to dodge the question but, unfortunately, it’s simply too soon to know that answer. The Keith Bryant and Jeremy Kerr flirtations have been known for awhile. Reports today have brought out some questions about where Jamal Carter stands. I don’t know enough about that situation at the moment to comment about it specifically but I will say that Carter never struck me as a Golden type of player. 2012 signee Angelo Jean-Louis is said to still be having grade issues at Fork Union and that is never a good thing. December is just kicking off so we’ll know more after these kids go take their visits to various schools but I think a safe bet is that a least half of the 4 I named will likely be elsewhere. It’s just the nature of the beast this time of year.

Q: Thoughts on where Denver Kirkland and Mathew Thomas end up? -William Planas

A: I’ll start with Kirkland. Fresh off of his visit to Florida State there was plenty of buzz around his interest in them. However, actions speak louder than words and if you follow the tea leaves, you’ll see that Miami has a target list among the offensive line that has been virtually unchanged since this summer while FSU’s target list at the same spot seems to be in a little bit of a flux (Including their offer to Jeremy Kerr about a month back). That should give you a pretty solid indication about how each school feels with regards to their respective targets along the offensive line.

As far as Mathew Thomas goes, I've long felt that when push comes to shove, that he would ultimately sign with Miami. I feel even stronger about that today. Recruiting is about relationships. It’s what ultimately landed Tracy Howard down the stretch last year and I see the same thing happening with Thomas. The Booker T program has always been good to Miami and it’s no secret that his mother has always had a soft spot for them. Couple that with the fact Thomas’s best relationship with Florida State resides with James Coley (Who looks headed to Kentucky with former DC Mark Stoops) and you can see why I feel that things could trend into Miami’s direction very quickly. All that said, Thomas is one that will come down to the wire and a kid that Miami will have to fight over until he actually signs his papers.

Q: Collins, Thomas, Bryant, Liner, Coley. See us landing any of them? Big names. -sawyerhetrick

I’ve already touched on Thomas and Bryant so I’ll address the other 3. Of the 3, Liner is the longest of the long shots. He’s about as elite a D-Tackle as you will ever find but unfortunately for Miami, I just don’t see that one happening. The reports about his HS coach being a Miami fan are well documented and he will take a visit here in January but I just have a tough time seeing him leave Auburn when it’s all said and done.

Coley is a guy that Miami fans have been drooling over for awhile. He’s always been a kid that Miami has monitored because he’s so talented and if he does the right things, coaches would love to add a player of his caliber. That said, there have long been questions about motivation, attitude, and grades. Given that Miami got a real spark out of their young WR’s the past year and that 2014 is loaded with high end WR prospects, I think it’ll be tough to justify using a spot of such a tight class on a kid with so many questions.

Collins might be the single best talent on Miami’s board after Mathew Thomas. He recently de-committed from the Canes and in my personal experience, rarely do those situations work out well. How often do you see a recruit go back to a school that he previously de-committed from? It’s rare. The good news is that, Collins recently took a visit to Miami for the big basketball win over #13 ranked Michigan State and it’s clear that the interest is still there. From that standpoint, he does seem more open to the idea of going to Miami than kids who usually de-commit. Left to his own devices, I think Miami stands a fair chance to get him back but with so many distractions, pressures, and people pulling you in different directions, I get the sense that Miami is facing a tough task against rival FSU in this one.

Q: Do you think Miami will end up with a top 10 class? And if so, which players will have an instant impact? -Felipe Lima

A: Quality wise, I think that Miami has to potential to rival any other class in the country if they finish strong. That said, the quantity of this class is going to keep it from reaching the top 10 level on a majority of sites.

As far as instant impact, (Based strictly off of current commitments) I’d throw Travis Johnson, Standish Dobard, Artie Burns, Keith Bryant, and Angelo Jean-Louis out there as the ones that look like they can play early. Burns as a core special teamer who earns more time late (Similar to Rayshawn Jenkins this past season). Bryant should contribute too simply based off his ability to push a pocket inside which is something no other Cane D-Tackle can do well (outside of Curtis Porter). Johnson and Dobard should be special teamers and players that, especially in Johnson’s case, can add an element to the passing game that has sorely missed the tight end spot in recent years. Finally there’s Jean-Louis, who after a year of prep school should be physically ready to come in and make an impact because he’s simply such an outstanding pure athlete.

Q: Who do you expect to round out the Canes Class, particularly RB, DL, and JUCO players? Thinking about 5 people left to join? -Williams Watts

A: If Miami were to keep its current class intact, I think we’d be looking at roughly 5 more players. That said, I don’t expect this current class to be fully intact by the time signing day comes around.

Given that official visits have really yet to hit full swing, it’s nearly impossible for me to give you a firm class list with any sort of real confidence. With that said, I’ll try breaking some of our main targets down into tiers in order to give you guys a better feel for what I’m thinking.

Tier 1 (Recruits I feel good about projecting):

  1. Lavon Hooks
  2. Denver Kirkland
  3. Jaynard Bostwick
  4. Jermaine Grace

Tier 2 (Recruits that could go either way):

  1. Matthew Thomas
  2. Tim Williams
  3. Beau Sandland
  4. Devante Bond

Tier 3 (Recruits that we still have a shot with):

  1. Stacy Coley
  2. Alex Collins
  3. Derrick Green
  4. Hunter Knighton

Tier 4 (Extreme longshots):

  1. Rashard Robinson
  2. Dee Liner

I’m sure those groupings will have some changes to them as the official visits get underway but if I had to guess today, I’d figure on adding about 5-7 from there with 1-2 of the current group heading elsewhere. And as always, there are a slew of backup plans in place.

Q: Dalvin Cook (Clemson commit) is related to new CanesHoops signee Deandre Burnett, any shot our staff will play that angle? -Charlie Strauzer

A: Like I mentioned earlier, recruiting is about relationships. If the Staff has a recruit’s relative already on campus, they’d be remiss not to use it to their advantage. Funny you mention Cook though, I was speaking with a good friend about him just last week and he mentioned to me that Cook gave him a very strong impression that he was content to stay with Clemson.

Q: Does Eddie Gran really hold the keys to the Alex Collins sweepstakes? (I heard his decision depends on whether Gran stays or not) -Danny Acosta

A: Situations like Collins rarely come down to one single aspect like the one you mentioned. Collins recruitment looks like a complex one with a lot of moving parts and baring something extreme like Jimbo Fisher leaving, I’m not sure any one factor has that massive a sway in his decision. However, Eddie Gran heading elsewhere will almost surely help Miami in some capacity and from there, it’s up to the Miami staff to close the deal and overcome whatever other obstacles might be standing in their way of landing Collins.

Q: Really Random question people won’t think about. Kickers and Punters. Where are we? -ACD

A: As sad as it is to see, there’s some good options that are going to get left out in the cold for Miami this cycle for far as specialists go. That’s the price we are forced to pay for the incoming scholarship reductions that are sure to come down the pipe. I wouldn’t expect to see any in the class this year unless it’s of the preferred walk-on variety and Al Golden himself as said as much in recent interviews.

Q: I know there’s no such thing as locks when it comes to recruiting but who are some of the 2014 guys u would call close to it for UM? -Manny

A: At this stage, I wouldn’t call anyone close to a lock for Miami. Look no further than this 2013 class. Levonte Whitfield, Jayron Krease, Alex Collins, and Keith Bryant were Miami’s 1st 4 commitments for this cycle. As I currently stands, 3 are no longer committed and one is wavering. That should tell you everything you need to know about counting chickens this early in the game for 2014.

As far as players that look like they have some legitimate interest in Miami: Sony Michel, Dalvin Cook, Jacob McCrary, Ermon Lane, KC McDermott, Corey Martinez, Keyon Brown, Anthony Moten, Khairi Clark, Vincent Jackson, Adly Enoicy, Andre Roberts, Chad Thomas, and a slew of others are names to keep an eye on. Plus, Miami already has standouts like Travis Rudolph and Trevor Darling already committed.

Q: Tim Williams…what do you know? If we take 15 recruits this year, are we in a sense imposing a 10 scholarship band? -Michael Steel

A: See the top of this article to find the answer to your Tim Williams question. As far as the 10 year ban, it’s anyone’s guess what Miami or the NCAA ultimately decide to do. Only they know for sure. To answer your question though, taking 15 kids this year doesn’t necessarily mean that Miami is self imposing 10 scholarships. Miami had a very small graduating class for this cycle; thus they are fighting the 85 man roster limit instead of the 25 man yearly limit. From my understanding, Miami would have to trim their overall roster to 75 players in order to self impose a 10 scholarship reduction. While that is certainly possible, a class of 15 players would have them somewhere around the 80 range overall which means they would have to make some roster cuts in order to give up 10 scholarships.