No one will argue that the 2007 season was one of disappointment and frustration for the University of Miami football program. A 5-7 season, by any account, is a disappointing season, but a 5-7 season at The U holds a very different definition of unacceptable.
Despite the record, Head Coach Randy Shannon and his staff pulled out all the stops and did not miss a beat on the recruiting front. The Hurricanes had a number of areas where they needed to improve, as evidenced by their play last season, so they simply went out and locked up one of the nation’s top recruiting classes. As of 8 p.m. last night, the Hurricanes’ class was ranked No. 1 by ESPN, No. 3 by scout.com and No. 4 by rivals.com.
The team addressed a number of key needs, especially at the quarterback, wide receiver and linebacker positions. Some of the key signees for the Hurricanes include:
Quarterbacks – Roping in Taylor Cook and Jacory Harris was huge. The Hurricanes have greatly struggled at the quarterback position for the past three seasons. These guys are dual-threat quarterbacks with great accuracy and strong leadership skills. Between these two young men and redshirt freshman Robert Marve, the Hurricanes quarterback position looks secure for the next couple of years. One of these young guns will be the signal caller for the Hurricanes next season.
Wide Receivers – The Hurricanes gained size, athleticism, speed and game-changers all in one recruiting class. The additions of Laron Byrd, Travis Benjamin, Thearon Collier, Aldarius Johnson, Davon Johnson, Martavious Odoms, Tommy Streeter and Kendall Thompkins will give the Hurricanes big time play makers who could step in right away.
Linebacker – If you think the Hurricanes loaded up at wide receiver, wait until you see the list of linebackers for the 2008 class. The Hurricanes solidified much needed help at this position by roping in the nation’s top rated linebacker Arthur Brown. They also signed No. 2-rated and No. 3-rated outside linebackers Sean Spence and Ramon Buchanan, respectively, according to ESPN.com. Additionally, they gained big time linebacker recruits in Jordan Futch, Gavin Hardin, Zach Kane, Brandon Marti and Marcus Robinson. The Hurricanes secured huge players who fill the gaps well, are good tacklers and can play sideline-to-sideline.
Secondary – The Hurricanes roped in a good crop of players to bolster their secondary. The addition of ESPN.com’s No. 3-rated cornerback, Brandon Harris, was a huge deal. Harris is an athlete, who could be, when everything is said and done, the best cornerback of the 2008 class. Additionally, the Hurricanes loaded up at the safety position, gaining signatures from C.J. Holton, C.J. Odom, Vaughn Telemaque and Joseph Wylie. The Hurricanes recruited tacklers who can play the pass and the run and have solid anticipation and football instincts at this position.
With all of this said, it is easy to praise a recruiting class based on their high school laurels, but the only thing that really matters is what they do at the collegiate level. The 2008 recruiting class, for the Hurricanes, looks solid on paper, but only time will tell if this was as solid a class as the experts say it is.
This class, though, does accomplish one thing right off the bat. They give hope. Yes, hope. They give hope to all Hurricanes fans that Shannon and his staff will be able to quickly turn things around and get this team back atop the college football world. Shannon has proven that he can recruit. Now all that is left is to translate recruiting into wins on the field.
Pravin Patel may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org