On Wednesday, 22 players signed National Letters of Intent to play football for the University of Miami in the fall of 2010. UM signed an additional six players in the early signing period and they enrolled this semester to get accustomed to the playbook and participate in spring practice.
“We feel like we got one of the great classes that can get us to that next step in college football,” fourth year head coach Randy Shannon said. “A lot of these young men can come in and establish this program for a long period of time.”
Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, highly touted offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson was not one of the 28 newcomers. Rivals.com tabbed Henderson the No. 2 player overall regardless of position. Henderson visited Miami this past weekend and the Canes made a great late push but it was not enough to sway the Minnesota native past head coach Lane Kiffin and the USC Trojans.
The Canes also lost out on Miramar High School All-American wide receiver Ivan McCartney who announced he would play college football at West Virginia. Miami was a finalist but the thought of playing with his former high school quarterback swayed him to become a Mountaineer.
Despite the fact that Miami didn’t get a lot of highly regarded names and five star players, the coaching staff is still satisfied with the depth and talent.
“We won’t be ranked high because we don’t have the athletes in the class,” he said. “We had to fill our needs on this football team. You always have to find what your needs are and when you address those needs you become a better football team.”
Shannon said since former recruiting coordinator Clint Hurtt took a job with the University of Louisville, wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill has taken over duties as recruiting coordinator.
The Hurricanes needed to address three key issues: offensive line, linebackers and tight ends.
The Canes recruited six offensive lineman, five linebackers and four tight ends.
The best lineman is Brandon Linder, who was a U.S Army All-American. The Hurricanes needed depth at linebacker after losing co-MVP Darryl Sharpton to graduation and sophomore Arthur Brown has taken a leave of absence from UM and won’t participate in spring practice. He returned to Kansas to be back with his family.
Junior college transfer Chase Ford is the most polished tight end but the Hurricanes snagged Asante Cleveland, a 6-foot-5 240-pounder from Sacramento, California.
Shannon loves the idea that players can enroll early and arrive on campus in January instead of August.
“You get caught up to the football part with adjusting to the speed, contact and physical and mental phase of it. You get used to the school part too.”
The key for Shannon during the entire process was looking for versatile, competitive athletes.
“You’ve got to find guys that like to win,” he said. “Guys who like to play football. You can tell a lot on film. If we get big fast guys on this football team, then we’ll be a great football team.”
Justin Antweil may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Christina de Nicola contributed to this report.