COLUMN: Comin’ to U

Despite a 5-7 2007 season, a season that left the Hurricanes without a post-season bowl birth, the University of Miami football program did not miss a beat on the recruiting front, as Head Coach Randy Shannon and his staff roped in what experts say is a top-10 class. Here is a breakdown of the players who have signed to The U and how they project:

Travis Benjamin – Undersized speedster who was a playmaker throughout his high school career. Quick off the line, flexible and can reach top speed in a hurry.

Arthur Brown – Rated as the No. 1 linebacker by many recruiting websites, Brown is a hard-nosed, hard-hitting linebacker with great lateral movement and football intelligence. He is explosive and solid in coverage situations.

Ramon Buchanan – A top linebacker with great speed and quickness. He is an explosive hitter who possesses excellent closing speed, agility and athleticism.

LaRon Byrd – A wide receiver with a good frame, height and bulk. He has great concentration, arm extension and soft hands. He is a good stalk-blocker and can change gears in a hurry.

John Calhoun – A tough, hard-nosed fullback who is tall and physical. He has good size, straight-line speed and absorbs contact very well. Little known, could make a big impact.

Thearon Collier – A speedy wide receiver with the ability to turn a short yardage play into a touchdown. He is explosive, can change gears in a hurry and gets off the line with a quick initial burst. Could be a returner.

Taylor Cook – A prototypical dual-threat quarterback with amazing athleticism for his daunting physical stature. He possesses good arm strength, can put velocity on the ball and throw with accuracy.

Marcus Forston – Considered the No. 1 defensive tackle by multiple recruiting websites, Forston is a formidable task on the middle of the defensive line with his impressive size, speed and strength.

Jordan Futch – A linebacker is a great deal of upside. He is impressively athletic, plays great in space and has very good change-of-direction quickness, along with great reaction ability.

Gavin Hardin – Huge kid that projects at defensive end in college. Another building block in Miami’s new defensive line.

Antonio Harper – He is a defensive end with a ton of upside. He is tall and rangy, covers a lot of ground, possesses the ability to chase down opposing players and is a strong tackler.

Brandon Harris – A versatile and athletic cornerback who is a flat out athlete. He has good size, but he plays bigger and stronger than even his size. He possesses good top-end speed, great field awareness and good versatility. Likely to make immediate impact.

Jacory Harris – Tall and skinny; was Mr. Football for the State of Florida. Harris is a consistent quarterback with great accuracy, good decision-making abilities, poise and strong leadership skills. Enrolled in January in order to compete for the starting position.

Patrick Hill – A fullback who is a strong runner and blocker. He has great vision and in-line quickness, gets to full speed quickly and has great short-area power.

C.J. Holton – A safety that has a natural knack for anticipating the play. Possesses strong open field tackling ability and great football instincts. A top-rated recruit.

Aldarius Johnson – A top wide receiver whose power derives from his size (6-2.5), great strength, great hands and concentration.

Davon Johnson – A smooth and fluid wide receiver with great top-end speed and change-of-direction ability. He gets to top speed quickly and had soft, smooth hands. A possible returnman.

Ben Jones – An offensive tackle who has a great deal of upside. He has a good build and size. Could be a sleeper.

Zach Kane – An inside linebacker who plays extremely fast and physical. He is a great blitzer, has good run-down speed and explodes with a quick jump on the football.

Jeremey Lewis – A defensive tackle who is good size, a solid get-off and the ability to fire out of his stance. He has power, toughness and the ability penetrate. Big and wide.

Brandon Marti – Marti’s strengths are his attitude and aggressive style of play. He plays big and fast, and he has great football intelligence. Big hitter.

C.J. Odom – A safety who is big, fast and physical. He is aggressive, plays the run and pass well and seeks out contact and is a big time hitter.

Micanor Regis – A defensive tackle that has the ability to locate the ball, shed his block and penetrate. The has a good first step and solid lateral movement. Committed early and never waivered.

Marcus Robinson – An outside linebacker/defensive end that is very athletic, displays great speed and has good lateral movement. Freakish athletic skills.

Andrew Smith – A tall, athletic defensive end who has good foot and hand quickness. He has a good motor, solid range and adequate bend and flexibility. Likely to be a solid pass rusher.

Cannon Smith – He is a tough, scrappy quarterback who has the ability to locate receivers. He has good pocket presence, field awareness and accuracy.

Sean Spence – A top linebacker who has a small but solid build, great instincts and reactive-athleticism. His biggest strengths are his change-of-direction quickness and explosion between tackles.

Tommy Streeter – A big, tall wide receiver with a massive wing span and great hands. He explodes off the line, is a good route runner and has good quickness and acceleration.

Vaughn Telemaque – A top safety/wide receiver who has great instincts, solid tackling ability and good coverage awareness.

Kendall Thompkins – He is a quick wide receiver that is shifty and a handful in the open field. He plays bigger than he actually is and has the ability to get behind defenders. Probably the biggest playmaker on a Northwestern team full of playmakers.

Brandon Washington – An offensive guard with a great deal of upside, Washington has good size, is quick off the ball, the ability to deliver a strong initial pop and moves well for his position.

Jake Wieclaw – A solid kicker with good leg strength and accuracy. Likely to be the starter.

Joe Wylie – A tall, well-built safety that plays the pass and run equally well. He does a good job surveying the field and covers ground quite quickly. Played quarterback in high school.

Pravin Patel may be contacted at Dan Stein may be contacted at

February 7, 2008


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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