When you have the coaching chops of Al Golden and the amount of talent in South Florida at his disposal can he really fail? While he might not have been the sexiest hire, he might have been the smartest, even if the majority of Cane fans remain unimpressed.
Don't feel bad, Uncle Luke, you're in the same raft as Michigan and Florida fans. Starved for success, often times fan bases can only be satiated by the splash hire. But if you look at Notre Dame, is there any doubt that Brian Kelly has the Domers on the right path?
Looking at the other two squads that compose the Sunshine State Troika, I predict Muschamp will have Florida rapidly climbing the interstate totem pole, and it's up to Golden to make sure Ibis keeps pace with the Gators and a rejuvenated Seminole program. Ah yes, Florida St...
The Seminoles are back and killing it on the recruiting trail like it was Bobby Bowden's hay day. With Bowden off to graze, Jimbo Fisher has re-established a recruiting momentum that had seemingly been lost for decades. In Florida the only measure of success that matters besides National Championships is recruiting prowess. One begets the other.
It's on Golden's shoulders to get Miami's buzz back after the failed Randy Shannon era. While Shannon's tenure didn't go as planned, the cupboard isn't bare. Bringing bart Art Kehoe to square up the Canes' OL was a great hire. And luckily for Golden, Coral Gables is in South Florida where the talent on the sidelines is only eclipsed by the talent on the South Beach sidewalks. It's recruiting El Dorado whether you're doggy paddling the dating pool or seeking out the next NFL Pro Bowler.
As stated, Shannon didn't leave the cupboard bare, but the ingredients needed to make a seven course meal and reassert themselves among the college football hierarchy just aren't there. With that in mind, let's take a look at all things Miami Hurricane recruiting as we head into Signing Day.
To put it bluntly, save for one recruit, this isn't a Miami standard class. To emphasize this, I'll point out that they have two kickers signed. Two kickers? I'm guessing Miami bass music is back, but to verify, check with @realuncleluke.
Amongst a host of decent talent sits one gem. If you watched the Under Armour All American game you would know that it was the white guy opposite of Jadaveon Clowney. While he's not in the superhuman class that Clowney is, Anthony Chickillo is a disruptive force off the edge that will require more than just a tackle to slow him down. A guy as talented as Chickillo basically gives you a man advantage on defense.
Once you get past Chickillo, the class is pretty average. Golden has proven to be able to within conference with less than stellar talent but it's a big step up from the MAC to the ACC. Or is it?
Overall Class Rating: D
For a school like Miami with direct access to south Florida talent, this class has to be considered a huge disappointment. But with coaching staff flux and the resurgence of FSU, it's not all that surprising. With only 15 commits onboard and the bulk of them rated 3 stars by Rivals, the Canes have a lot of work to do in the next two days to be able to call this class a success.
Top 5 Commits
Anthony Chickillo - DE - #3 DE, #44 overall (Rivals)
Other than Jadaveon Clowney, Chickillo was the best defensive lineman in the Under Armour All American game. Chickillo blends an exceptional first step with high effort. Is this what Mike Mamula was supposed to be?
Bryant Dubose - DE
An excellent counterpart to Chickillo, Dubose has better size and a high ceiling . There's an outside chance that he plays tight end.
Phillip Dorsett - WR
A much-needed playmaker that can do damage after the catch, Dorsett continues the pipeline from St. Thomas Aquinas to the U.
Dallas Crawford - DB
Spurned the cross country move to USC in order to help restore that Canes’ swagger.
Kevin Grooms - ATH
Grooms is one of the few recruiting coups Miami pulled over interstate rivals Florida and Miami.
Chickillo has can't miss written all over him. Keep your TFL stat log handy.
Top Class Sleeper
I really like the long lean frames of DE Ricardo Williams and LB Antonio Kinard. With dedication and good tutelage, these guys could turn into monsters. With Jethro Franklin and Michael Barrow as position coaches, respectively, half of that battle is already won.
The One That Got Away
Heralded QB Teddy Bridgewater was committed to Miami but switched his commitment to Louisville soon after Randy Shannon was let go. Considering he's a hometown kid and the Canes' lack of depth and recent tradition at the position, losing Bridgewater is a major pox on this recruiting class.
Karlos Williams is a difference maker in the secondary from day one. He's one of the best safety prospects of the last decade and losing him to rival Wide Right is a bad beat. Williams has all the tools to become an FSU version of the late great Sean Taylor.
I'm From Mizzourah
It's not just a few guys, there are questions about the class as a whole. While Miami will be ranked low by the recruiting pundits, deservedly, there's still a lot of raw talent coming to the school. The true worth of a recruiting class isn't known for years later so with proper development, this class still has a chance to be good but it certainly lacks upfront star power. The 2011 class will be judged by Miami's onfield success and Coach Al Golden has his work cut out.
Strongest Position Group
DE is loaded with Chickillo, Dubose, Ricardo Williams, and Olsen Pierre. Look for the jumbo sized Pierre to swing down to tackle and provide some snaps there.
Weakest Position Group
For a school once known as Quarterback U, the Canes have yet to secure a verbal pledge with the decommitment of Bridgewater. Also, they have yet to acquire a pledge from a running back, another position rich with tradition.
What's It All Mean, Tom Lemming?
Golden has been put in a tough spot. Miami has lost virtually all of the clout and goodwill they had with recruits that had somehow carried over a full decade since the dominant run of the 2001 squad. While Miami is down, Florida is picking up steam with Muschamp and Florida State is on a recruiting tear not seen since the Bobby Bowden glory years. Fortunately for Cane fans, Golden has proven his coaching worth by routinely beating teams with more talent. But it's a big step up from Temple to Coral Gables and the fanbase certainly isn't jazzed about the hire. He'll have to continue that trend and work hard to restore momentum on the recruiting front. Stealing a coveted player from the Gators or Noles on Wednesday would certainly help get that process started.
Were Needs Addressed?
An emphatic NO, but with staff turnover that's to be expected. Golden has made good use of the little time he has had securing 11 pledges in the past month alone, but it's too little too late.
With the resurgence of Florida State on the recruiting landscape and rival Florida still enjoying goodwill from their recent championship run despite a subpar 2010 season, Miami is behind the eight ball and will have to rely on box score wins to get their swagger back.
Can it be done? Of course. Is Golden the man for the job? Time will tell.