Head coach Larry Coker and his staff started the 2003 recruiting season by corralling in some of the best recruits in the country, and ended it by letting a fair amount of them slip away.
Despite the fact that the ‘Canes finished with a weak final month, their strong start gave them a good enough class to have many publications rate them among the top ten classes in the country.
The ‘Canes first big recruiting score came in September when the number one quarterback in the country, Kyle Wright, of Danville, CA decided to join the growing tradition of California quarterbacks coming to Miami.
“We looked at the quarterbacks around the country and there were about five guys in America that we said we’d take any one of these five and be satisfied that we’ve got an excellent player that we can win with.” Coker said in a press conference on Wednesday. “But there was one player that was above those five, that was a no-brainer. If we could get this guy, this is the person we wanted. That person was Kyle Wright.”
Wright along with five other recruits, have already enrolled at UM in order to take part in spring practices and workouts with the team. Two of those six come to Miami from Kilgor Junior College in Texas: Kevin Everett the top rated Junior College tight end in the country, and Alton Wright, an athletic defensive end, who Coker compared to former JUCO standouts Jerome McDougle and Andrew Williams.
Some of the other big name recruits that signed with Miami on Wednesday include Nate Robinson, of Irvington, NJ, rated the number one defensive tackle in the country by The Insiders.com and Tyrone Moss, Florida’s best running back, of Pompano Beach Ely, who joins teammates Andrew Bain and Cyrim Wimbs. Both Bain and Wimbs played offensive line and blocked for Moss on the offensive line of the state champion team at Ely.
“We felt like the best running back in America was from here at Ely. We were able to sign Tyrone and we’re very excited about that,” Coker said. “We hope he can continue the great tradition of running backs at the University of Miami, especially the situation with Willis [McGahee] going out early.
The greatest areas of need for the Hurricanes came in the trenches after the loss of the entire starting defensive line and three key offensive linemen to graduation. The ‘Canes went after a lot of lineman and ended up getting a good amount, despite the last second decision not to sign with Miami by defensive linemen Kevin Williams and Clifton Dickson on signing day. Those two signed with Auburn and Florida State respectively. Some of the lineman that did sign with the ‘Canes include defensive linemen Vegas Franklin from Louisiana and Bryan Pata from Central High School in Miami, along with offensive lineman Derrick Morse of New Jersey.
Several players reneged on their verbal commitment to Miami in the last couple of weeks including teammates Craig Davis a wide receiver and Daryl Johnson a safety from Louisiana who later signed with LSU. Louis Irizarry, a top ranked tight end, told Miami he would play here, but chose to commit to the Buckeyes.
Despite the fickleness of several players, the ‘Canes did convince a good amount of top quality players to come to Miami including wide receiver Devin Hester who originally signed with the ‘Canes last year but didn’t qualify, and linebacker Arlington Highsmith, who Coker compared to legendary Hurricane linebacker Ray Lewis.
The ‘Canes coaching staff recruited a good mix of in-state, out-of-state, and Junior College players in order to fill their needs and ensure success in the years to come.
You can reach Nate Johnson at NPJ44@aol.com.