Once a year, the fax machine returns to glory on National Signing Day.
Wednesday was the first at Miami in several years that was untainted by clouds of NCAA madness. In other words, the coaches were in total control.
“Man, that felt good” said Al Golden, meaning he could finally talk about all that the University of Miami has to offer without having to defend his program or explain his uncomfortable position.
When it was over, the Hurricanes had 26 official commitments, a recruiting class good enough for No. 10 in the official ESPN rankings.
The first signee of the day was St. Thomas Aquinas center Nick Linder, who sent in his National Letter of Intent at 7:01 a.m. The fax machine was hard at work until the 4 p.m. closing time, at which point running back Trayone Gray (Carol City High) officially joined the Canes.
Linder – brother of veteran Miami lineman Brandon – joined early enrollees Trevor Darling of Miami Central and Palm Beach Central’s KC McDermott on the offensive line.
With the added size, the Canes appear to have built a formidable front line.
“They’re gonna work, they’re gonna scrap, they’re gonna hit the weight room and put in the hours,” said Golden, excited about his new batch of linemen.
Like Linder, McDermott is “cut from the same cloth” carrying on the family legacy at the U. His brother Shane is entering his senior season.
Wednesday’s signees also include two wide receivers, Darrell Langham of Santaluces Community High in Lantana, Fla., and Tyre Brady of South Dade.
Two defensive tackles, Courtel Jenkins of DePaul Catholic High (Jersey City, N.J.) and Anthony Moten of St. Thomas Aquinas, plus three defensive ends (Mike Smith of Miami Northwestern, Chad Thomas and Demetrious Jackson – both from Miami’s Booker T. Washington High) highlighted the Canes’ recruits on defense.
Rounding out the class on defense were linebacker Terry McCray (Blanche Ely High, Pompano Beach, Fla.), defensive back Kiy Hester from New Jersey’s DePaul Catholic High, safety Marques Gayot of Park Vista Community High, and defensive tackle Michael Wyche, from Monterrey Park, Calif.
“Really excited about it … from explosiveness, size, maturity standpoints. I feel much better about our depth there now than I did at any point last year,” Golden said, assessing the additions.
Golden pointed to the advantage of signing more experienced junior college recruits Calvin Hertelou and the “highly coveted” Wyche (East L.A. College).
“Look for his impact and leadership on and off the field,” Golden said.
Early commit Trent Harris (Winter Park High) is another Florida product that Golden called a defensive “swingman” whose versatility made him a top priority for UM.
On offense, tight end Christopher Herndon of Norcross High (Norcross, Ga.), and a pair of bright, strong quarterbacks show a lot of promise. Brad Kaaya from West Hills, Calif., will compete for the starting quarterback job.
Malik Rosier (Faith Academy, Mobile, Ala.) got high praise from Golden, who tabbed him as a “heck of an athlete … can throw the ball in the pocket really well, can escape with his feet” .
Golden said both quarterbacks are “winners and smart players.”
Mosier will also play baseball at Miami.
Early enrollee Joseph Yearby, a running back out of Miami Central High, was the highest-rated recruit in the Hurricanes’ class (No. 23 in the ESPN300).
Enhancing the offensive versatility, Gray can move from running back to wide receiver or quarterback. David Njoku (Cedar Grove High, N.J.) is another flexible athlete.
“Njoku is a big athlete, ex-wide receiver … we’ll see where he goes with his body, but definitely a guy we can move around,” Golden said.