Thursday, August 7, 2014

The 2014 Miami Hurricanes for Dummies

Welcome back to Canes football, fellow sufferers.

As we embark on yet another season sure to end in heartbreak, disaster and depression, it is time to rekindle a little write-up I have done for the past couple of seasons: The Dummy’s Guide to the 2014 Miami Hurricanes (COMPLETE WITH NEW UNIFORMS!!!!!).

Now, for those of you who AREN’T gluttons for punishment, you could probably just watch the .gif of the guy getting hit in the balls during the World Cup every Saturday this fall and spare yourself the agony of what promises to be another “rebuilding” year. For those people…and I must say, we all SHOULD be those people…stop reading now. Because this is a black hole. You do not come out once you go in. Seriously. Saturdays in the fall are lovely. There are SO many awesome things to do that AREN’T sitting on your couch and watching 12 hours of college football.

Now that I have properly disclaimed, the only people left should be the ones that HAVE to keep re-ripping open that scab on your knee that you got from diving for that softball that you knew was out of your reach but you had to go for anyway. You poor, silly, brave bastards.

QUARTERBACKS

Who’s Gone?
Stephen Morris. Not really sure that is a bad thing.

Who’s the Starter?
Good question. You see, 5th year senior Ryan Williams was supposed to be the starter during the spring. However, he blew his ACL doing pretty much nothing. So now the competition is open. He is going to try to make it back for the Nebraska game, and he was never much of a runner anyway. However, something seems cruel and inhumane about sending a kid with a non-fully functional knee into Nebraska’s hell vortex of a stadium and asking him to win a football game.

That brings us to Jake Heaps, formerly of BYU and Kansas. He got beat out for his starting job at both schools. The list of QBs who transferred to 3 different FBS-programs and were even decent? Tom Savage. That’s it. So let me get this straight. Our backup plan is a kid who has failed at 2 different schools and whose BEST CASE SCENARIO is Tom Savage? Surely not, right?

Well, that seems to be the case. Redshirt Freshman Kevin Olsen, brother of Greg, was once labeled the “chosen one” but his suspension for last season’s bowl game, and now an indefinite suspension to start this season because of a failed drug test have pretty much sunk that boat, for the time being. Sidenote: Jameis Winston was charged with sexual assault and still played, Johnny Manziel was arrested his freshman year, Nick Marshall had weed in his car this offseason; this isn’t all over yet.
The wildcard here is Brad Kaaya, the best QB recruit we have brought in since Kyle Wright in terms of skillset…and yes, that just made me shiver a little bit. God damn it. Anyway, he is tall, smart, strong-armed, mature…and yet, he is still only 18. He would have to come in and absolutely shred it in fall camp to win the starting job. But hey, I’d be into it. He’s the guy I am rooting on.

The other freshman QB is named Malik Rosier. He is an athlete with a strong arm that I would like to see get a special set of plays near the goal line to make use of his legs. But other than that, not going to play this year.

What else should you know?
That about covers it. Not exactly the same sort of excitement as we had for Morris at this time last year. Which, ya know, is concerning, given the fact that this is the most important position on the field.

RUNNING BACKS

Who’s Gone?
Maurice Hagens, the fullback. This hurts more than you think. I loved that guy. Also, Eduardo Clements. Great utility guy, great teammate, but won’t hurt much to lose him. Walter Tucker is apparently being worked at linebacker…he could be a fullback.

Who’s the starter?
Duke. Effing. Johnson.

Who are his backups?
Gus Edwards is getting good reviews. He has apparently gotten stronger and lowered his pad level. We shall see. Joe Yearby is the freshman phenom, and he gets compared to Duke. However, he missed the spring injured and isn’t exactly huge, so we shall see. The major X-Factor? True freshman Trayone “Chocolate” Gray. No one thought he would get in, but he is practicing with the team and tearing it up. If he lives up to the considerable hype, he is a big (6’2”, 215 lbs) back that can also be moved around as a receiver and Wildcat QB.  Every year we seem to have a true freshman that emerges as a key piece of the offense. Two years ago it was Duke, last year it was Coley…this year it could be Gray.

That’s it?
Yeah, hasn’t been a great run of recruiting at the position. But help is apparently on the way!

It better be.
This was supposed to be a Q&A format.

Fine. What else?
Well, we pretty much know what we are getting from Duke. When healthy, he is the most explosive player in the country and the type of guy you can build an offense around. Unfortunately, he gets banged up a lot. He has added muscle to try and alleviate some of that, but what is really needed is a reliable side kick. Dallas Crawford was the closest thing we had last year, but he is a safety now. Edwards would be the ideal foil, given his hulking size, but he didn’t run confidently last season. Yearby could very easily assume the role with a strong fall, but again, size could be an issue. The battle for RB2 will be a storyline to follow in the fall.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Who left?
Allen Hurns, the team’s leading receiver and MVP last season. He had the 3rd best statistical season for any Canes wideout ever. That is a lot of production to replace.

Who are the starters?
Well, the obvious candidates are Stacey Coley – who pairs with Duke to give Miami one of the most explosive combos in the nation – and Phillip Dorsett. Herb Waters has played heavy minutes in his career and will factor in, as will Malcolm Lewis, who looks to finally be fully healthy, and Rashawn Scott.

Any newcomers to watch?
Braxton Berrios could play from Day 1 as a slot receiver and return specialist – think Davon Bess but more explosive and actually able to catch, Phins fans; CROSS RACIAL PLAYER COMPARISON, BOOM!—if his knee is healthy following spring surgery. Tyre Brady is a man child in terms of physique and has gotten rave reviews during the summer, but is very raw. David Njoku is super athletic but, again, probably kind of raw. I imagine one of these guys will be battling sophomore D’Mauri Jones for playing time.

What is the most terrifying thing you can think of?
Ryan Moore, Lance Leggett, Sam Shields, Aldarious Johnson, Laron Byrd.
Those are all guys that had strong freshman years and looked like future stars, only to either plateau or…and this is scary…regress.

Stacey Coley is SO FUN to watch. I fall asleep every night praying that this fate is not his.

TIGHT ENDS

Who left?
Asante Cleveland. Not losing sleep over this one.

Who is the starter?
Clive Walford. He’s not fast…but hey, at least he is SUPER slow!

Walford is the type that seems to just find a way to be super open all the time. Last season he got a little case of the dropsies, so what could have been a big year stalled out for him. Still, he was second on the team in receptions, and being able to get open in the passing game AND block in the running game is a nice skill set to have.

Any other names to know?

Yes! Beau Sandland did not have the type of impact many (including myself) thought he would, but he has been in the system for a year now and should make his presence known as the primary 2nd tight end, especially if Ryan Williams ends up playing. His main challenger will be Standish Dobard. Dobard is a bull in a china shop and he is an absolute mother f*cker…which is a compliment. The issue is his conditioning. Which means that the battle for snaps here will extend throughout the season.

Wait, their names are Beau, Clive and Standish?
Yes. On the weekends they play in a British Prog Rock band.

OFFENSIVE LINE

You actually expect me to read about the OLine?
Damn straight.

Whatever. Who left?
Brandon Linder, the leader of the unit, is now a Jacksonville Jaguar. Jared Wheeler and Seantrel Henderson also departed, for the Buffalo Bills.

So who do we have?
The best player is Erick Flowers, a potential first round pick at left tackle. Jon Feliciano at left guard is a mauler and will play in the NFL. Shane McDermott is the center and the leader of the unit. Danny Isidora figures to start at right guard and the staff has loved his toughness since he got on campus 2 years ago. Taylor Gadbois is huge and is making a move at right tackle. The 2 big wild cards here are freshman studs Trevor Darling and Kc Mcdermott. Both could work their way into starting jobs in the fall, and regardless both figure to be key pieces in the rotation.

So what does all this mean?
The top 7 on our OLine is tough and talented. After that, there is a drop off. So, we need everyone to stay healthy, OR we need someone unexpected to make a move in the fall. Best bet is Alex Gall, a sophomore who looked mean and nasty in spot duty last year and has the body type to play any of the OLine positions.

DEFENSIVE LINE

Wait, before we start, answer me this: are we going to suck again?
Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe f yourself for interrupting me.

Who left?
Starters Shayon Green and Curtis Porter, as well as top backups Luther Robinson and Justin Renfrow. Also, David Gilbert and Dwayne Hoilett, but they didn’t play much. All in all, this might be addition by subtraction. Getting rid of those guys will force a lot of talented younger players to pick up the slack.

Who are the starters?
Well, you can bank on Anthony Chickillo and Olsen Pierre being the two pillars of the line at the end spots. Ufomba Kamalu will rotate in with Pierre; he has apparently made strides. The nose guard, or 0 technique, will be manned by JUCO transfers Calvin Heurtelou and Mike Wyche. They both should represent an instant upgrade, with Wyche (who weighs 350 lbs) having the higher ceiling and Heurtelou figuring in as an “unmovable object”.

Now, this is where this position gets interesting (read: nerdy). The past two classes have seen an influx of players that can bring speed and athleticism to the line. For instance, true freshmen Chad Thomas and Anthony Moten could contribute from Day 1…Thomas as an every down end that can generate pass rush, even out of the 3-4 alignment (aka Chickillo except for fast), and Moten as a strongside end in the 3-4 that can stop the run and a 3 technique tackle in the 4-3 that can beat guards up the middle. Also, guys like Tyriq McCord, Al Quadin Muhammad, Trent Harris and Demetrious Jackson all figure to contribute at the “Jack” hybrid pass rush spot, as well as on the field all together in the nickel speed rush package.

Veterans looking to make a push up the depth chart include Earl Moore at tackle and Jelani Hamilton as an end. This position still isn’t back to where it needs to be, but finally we are starting to see talented depth 
accumulate.

LINEBACKERS

Who left?
Seniors Jimmy Gaines, Tyrone Cornelius (had a truly epic final play for the Canes, getting ejected against Louisville) and Kelvin Cain. For the record, in my 1st draft of this, I completely forgot these 3 guys. That sums up their careers pretty well!

Also, in what has become an annual tradition, Alex Figueroa (projected starter) and Jawand Blue were kicked off the team for sexual battery. I don’t really want to go into it but the police report was pretty f*cked up. They join Eddie Johnson, Gionni Paul and Gabe Terry as linebackers kicked off the team in the last year or so. Not great, Bob!

Who are the starters?
Well, the depth took a(nother) hit, but the starting group still looks solid.
Denzel Perryman is the best player on the defense and an absolute monster. He would fit in on any Hurricane team ever.

Raphael Kirby figures to fill one of the starting spots…he is incredibly talented but has to pull it all together.
Thurston Armbrister (he is in the same band as Beau, Standish and Clive) pretty much blows BUT he knows the playbook and his assignment and therefore will get reps. You don’t have to like it but you better get used to it.

Youngsters Jermaine Grace, Darrion Owens and Juwon Young have all gotten great reviews and will see time this season.

So who is going to step up after Perryman?
I really like Kirby and Grace’s potential for this season. Grace is really fast and instinctive…only issue is that he is a little light in the ass at 210 lbs. Same thing was said about guys like Sean Spence and Rohan Marley though, and they did juuuuust fine.

So this is a long way of saying we are screwed if Perryman gets hurt?
Pretty much.

(/knocks on ALL the wood)

SECONDARY

Who left?
The A.J. Highsmith / Kacy Rodger safety combination graduated. Both good kids from good families. Haaaaaaaving said that, they both were awful and this counts as addition by subtraction. Also leaving are Nate Dortch and Larry Hope; both were special teamers.

Who are the starters?
This is probably the deepest position group on the team.

At safety, Dallas Crawford moves back to defense. He will compete with Deon Bush…who was great as a freshman and injured as a sophomore… the talented but inconsistent Rayshawn Jenkins, and the spring’s breakout star, Jamal Carter, for the two starting jobs. Crawford and Bush are both very physical, while Jenkins is the classic centerfielder... Carter is the full package.

Freshmen Kiy Hester and Marques Gayot have also both impressed early and could make noise in the fall.
At corner, the presumed starters are Tracy Howard, who seems to have become the stud we all hoped he would be, and LaDarius Gunter, who showed flashes of brilliance last season. Also competing for the starting jobs will be ultra-talented track star Artie Burns and Antonio Crawford.

So that’s it. Your RENEWED 2014-15 Miami Hurricanes.

 I’m telling you, there’s still time to get out now.


Cheers.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

National Signing Day 2014



Hello All,

Another year, another set of high school heroes joining the program. Here are my thoughts.

I think this is the best class of the Golden Era. It has stars at the top, but is not top heavy. It has quality depth on the defensive front. It has potential franchise guys at QB, RB, LT, DE and MLB...more on that below.

I think this class has leadership, with kids like Joe Yearby, Braxton Berrios and Kiy Hester.


I think this staff gets an A for the first 11 months of this recruiting cycle, and an F for the last month. There are holes in the class at running back (lost Brandon Powell, did not close on Dalvin Cook, Sony Michel or Tavon Ross OR offer Madre London), OL (lost Reilly Gibbons at the last minute, did not have a Plan B ready to go) and in the secondary (did not close J.C. Jackson, let several local kids go without a fight, such as Juwon Dowels and Deatrich Nichols). 

I think the staff needed to close one of Kyle Rudolph, Ermon Lane and Johnnie Dixon at WR.

I think that closing Travonte Valentine at DT would have taken this class from a B+ to an A.

All that said, as usual, the Canes fan base has swung too far in a certain direction. Most of the die hards, including myself, have been very negative lately, and rightly so. However, that has clouded the judgement of many toward this class. There is a LOT of talent here. Whether it will be developed...we don't know. Whether it will be maximized...we don't know. But this is how a Canes class SHOULD look. 

National Signing Day was boring, because we did not add anyone to the class, but an early commitment does not diminish the talent. Recruiting is a fickle beast. Fans want great players to commit early, but then as soon as they do, the gleam comes off and all that matters is the next kid. I think that is regrettable.

Without further hesitation, my take on each of the guys that signed with Miami today, guys that all Miami fans should be very happy to have.

QB

Brady Kaaya (Mission Hills, CA)
Kaaya is a “leader” of this class. As soon as James Coley came over as offensive coordinator, Kaaya’s name jumped to the top of our recruiting list. Kaaya is a late bloomer, but all it took was one look at his tape to realize this was a player with the potential to be special; tall, with a frame to support more weight, and the ability to throw it with accuracy both in the medium and long passing games. He committed early on, choosing Miami over Oklahoma State. He then went to Elite 11 camps and proceeded to put on a show, rising to a Top 200 prospect and consensus 4 star almost overnight. Along the way he began recruiting his butt off for the Hurricanes, realizing that if he wants to win he needs weapon around him, on both sides of the ball…played a big part in the recruitment of Braxton Berrios over the summer.  Miami held off late surges from the hometown duo of USC and UCLA as Kaaya lead his team to a state championship and shined in the Semper Fi All American Game. Absolute stud that will square off with Kevin Olsen for the starting job in the future.

Malik Rosier (Mobile, AL)
Rosier is a developmental type at QB with nice athleticism. He is short, but that does not matter as much in James Coley’s open offense. He is a dual threat quarterback that also had a great tape at safety…I want to see him have his own package in the Red Zone from Day 1, similar to how Duke used that big white guy last season. Chose Miami over Tulane. Early enrollee.
RB

Joe Yearby (Miami Central)
Yearby, a local legend mentioned in the same breath as Duke Johnson since his days in Optimist ball, is an absolute stud. Comparison that I heard and liked was Warrick Dunn. He has been ultra productive for a long time, and has the ability to run physically between the tackles, use moves in the open field, and catch the ball out of the backfield. Broke his ankle late in his senior year and was unable to contribute to his team’s 2nd consecutive state title run, but if he is healthy and on campus he will be an absolute nightmare as a complement to Duke Johnson. Committed to FSU early but flipped to Miami when James Coley came over to the light side of the force. Early enrollee.

WR

Braxton Berrios (Raleigh, North Carolina)
Berrios is a small, incredibly quick slot receiver that could end up the best friend of Kaaya and Kevin Olsen. He played quarterback in high school but should be able to contribute right away at receiver and on special teams. He plays with a chip on his shoulder that will serve him well, as was on display in the Under Armor All American Game, where he made several big plays, including a touchdown after returning from a tweaked knee…which ended up being a torn ACL. Will most likely have to redshirt as he rehabs. Chose Miami over South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio State and Oregon. Early Enrollee.

Tyre Brady (South Dade)
Brady is a big, fast receiver (6’3”, 180 lbs) that is kind of an Urban Legend. He has been talked about for years, and yet no one has seen tape for the kid. Part of that is because he bounced around to a bunch of different schools (READ: CLEARINGHOUSE ISSUE) and at one point even moved to Texas. Apparently when he does play, he is compares favorably to Ermon Lane, the top rated receiver prospect in Florida for this class that is also from Homestead. He at one point committed to Kentucky and had reported offers from UiF and FSU, but no one really knows much about this kid to be honest. Coaches liken him to Allen Hurns, but slightly more explosive. 

Darrell Langham (Santaluces High)
Langham came into one of Al Golden’s summer camps as a little heard of prospect, and left as a Miami commit. Was also heavily chased by FSU, because at 6’5”, 200 lbs, with run after the catch ability and sure hands, what Langham lacks in name recognition he makes up for in potential. Watching his tape recalls images of Tommy Streeter almost immediately. Was a steal when the staff jumped on him, and very quickly rose to 3 star status after his commitment. Could be the most underrated player in the class when all is said and done.

TE

James Herndon (Norcross, GA)
Herndon is a big athlete at 6’4”, 230 lbs. He came into Al Golden’s summer camp with an offer from Mississippi State to his name and little else in the way of recognition, and left as a Miami commitment, and the ‘Canes staff continues to extend its reach in to Georgia. Is a big time athlete that was fast enough to get behind the National Champion Booker T Washington defense multiple times in their game; many consider him one of the biggest late risers in the nation. Could also play defensive end/JACK Backer.

David Njoku (Cedar Grove, NJ)
Njoku, another Jersey boy, is a hybrid big receiver/ Tight End that will probably grow into the same H-Back type as Herndon. Good looking athlete at 6’4”, 220 lbs, but very raw and will need a redshirt. Originally committed to Rutgers, but chose Miami over Ohio State and Penn State in the end. Hopefully turns into a Dedrick Epps – type.

OL

Trevor Darling (Miami Central)
Darling was Miami’s first commitment of the class and never wavered. He is a massive prospect who could be a mauler at guard or right tackle. Plays with absolute reckless abandon and tenacity…all the things you want in your offensive front. Dominated in practice at the Under Armor All American Game. Had offers from everyone. Early enrollee.

Nick Linder (St. Thomas Aquinas)
The younger brother of Brandon Linder, Nick is arguably the top center prospect in the state of Florida. Chose Miami early on and shut down his recruitment. Proved instrumental in landing Kc McDermott.

Kc McDermott (American Heritage)
Considered the top OL prospect in the state, McDermott is huge at 6’7”, 310 lbs and should compete for immediate playing time. The younger brother of current Cane center Shane (Who is best friends with Brandon Linder), McDermott looks to be the linchpin and leader of the future Canes offensive line. Was the best lineman at the Under Armor All American Game. Has been compared to Jake Mathews of Texas A&M, a player that will likely go in the Top 5 of the coming NFL Draft. Chose Miami over Notre Dame. Early enrollee.

DL

Trent Harris (Winter Park High)
Canes history is filled with stories like Lamar Thomas and Clinton Portis. Both men grew up in North Central Florida as fans of their hometown team, the Florida Gatas. Neither was wanted by the Gatas, so they came down to Miami and became legends. Harris is the next guy to attempt the feat. Harris is a compact (6’2”, 235 lbs) defensive end that is aggressive in getting after the ball. He is yet another player in this class that will just straight up get after the ball. Grew up a Gata fan, but committed to Miami when UiF took the commitment of Justus Reed in his place. His other finalist was Ohio State. Reminds quite a few people of Olivier Vernon coming out of high school. Early enrollee.

Calvin Heurtelou (Scottsdale C.C.)
This JUCO transfer was a surprise signee that could see immediate time as a strongside end, and possibly down the road at nose tackle. He will be a solid depth guy right away and probably step immediately into the 2 deep. Chose Miami over Mizzou and Tennessee. Early enrollee.

Demetrius Jackson (Booker T Washington)
Jackson is a super athletic defensive end prospect that had never played football before spring of his junior year of high school. After tape of his 5 sack spring game performance made the rounds, Jackson’s recruitment blew up, and kept getting bigger as he started impressing on the field, memorably dominating Georgia Norcross on national television. He committed to Randy Shannon at Arkansas before flipping to the hometown ‘Canes. His recruitment was all over the place, and several times it was rumored that he had decommitted, but the important thing is the Canes captured this high ceiling prospect. Will probably need a year to gain weight but could become a dynamic pass rushing outside linebacker. Unrelated, but had 35 rebounds in a high school basketball this season.

Courtel Jenkins (Wayne, NJ)
This was the best player at the Chesapeake Bowl All Star Game, and he has been a Cane for a long time. Jenkins is a nose tackle prospect that plays low to the ground and with good burst. Chose Miami over Ohio State, Penn State and Pitt; his production will most likely start 2-3 years down the road.

Anthony Moten (St. Thomas Aquinas)
Prototypical kid you bring in for a 3-4 look that can play end in the base package or slide inside and rush the passer on 3rd down. Much wider than I thought, and was double teamed the entire game at the Semper Fi All American Game…although that didn’t stop him from recording a sack. Was considered a Miami lean since his junior year of high school, then shocked everyone by committing to Florida. Backed off his commitment and then chose Miami over Florida State in November.  When all 3 schools in the Big 3 are on your tail, you bring something to the table. Stood next to him in line at a port-a-john after the UiF game and my buddy Trent said “can’t wait to watch you next year.” Pretty sure that’s what wrapped him up.

Chad Thomas (Booker T Washington High)
Thomas is one of the stars of this class and my favorite prospect. He is a lanky speed rusher with surprising strength, as evidenced by him pancaking Damien Papa, a 360 lb guard, at Nike’s The Opening camp. His best days are ahead of him, and he will certainly add a lot of muscle to his 6’5”, 245 lb build. The future of the pass rush is in good hands as Thomas joins Quan Muhammad and Tyriq McCord, among others, coming off the edge. Thomas is a true DE but has the versatility to play as a linebacker at times or slide inside to tackle on passing downs. Chose Miami over Louisville, FSU and Alabama; had offers from everyone. 

Michael Wyche (East Los Angeles C.C.)
Wyche is a huge nose tackle prospect that was originally committed to Ed Orgeron at USC, then flipped to Miami the day the NCAA sanctions were announced, then decommitted for 48 hours late in the process due to an ACC rule that said he hadn’t been at JUCO for long enough and needed another semester, and then decided to ride it out…this seems far from a done deal. If he makes it to campus, as 6’4”, 330 lbs he has the size to play immediately if he is in shape. Barry Jackson reported that Canes coaches feel he would have been the best lineman on the team LAST season, and therefore should figure in early. Former gang member who seems very grateful for his opportunity.

LB

Terry McCray (Pompano Beach Ely)
McCray was a productive high school player (13 sacks his senior year) whose skill set is similar to that of Mike Smith. McCray has projectable size (6’3”, 225 lbs) and will have to learn to play more in space if he hopes to become an everydown linebacker and not just a pass rush package / special teams player. Cousin of one of the great over achievers in the history of the program, Teraz McCray. Chose Miami over LSU.

Darrion Owens (Oakleaf High)
One of my favorite recruits in this class. He did 3 semesters worth of online course work in 6 weeks in order to enroll early, spending 12-15 hours a day at this computer, even sneaking in homework cram sessions during the practice week for the all star game he attended in California. This Jacksonville product has possibly  the highest ceiling of anyone in this class. He is a rangy, athletic linebacker that played safety until his senior year of high school, when he outgrew the positon. Miami fought off Georgia, Auburn and Ohio State for Owens’ services, and he should be devastating as a SAM linebacker, as his off the charts athleticism should remain intact even as Owens gets to the 240-250 lb range.  The easy comparison is Alec Ogletree but also possibly the most accurate for this type of prospect. Not ready to play right away, as he needs a lot of weight and to acclimate to the linebacker position, as was apparent at the Semper Fi All American Game, where he was unable to make much of an impact. Early enrollee.

Mike Smith (Miami Northwestern)
Smith was a pass rush specialist in high school. Miami sees him as a pass rusher whose athleticism may enable him to play middle linebacker down the road; for now, he will play the hybrid pass rush role occupied by Tyriq McCord. Smith is one of the good kind: a head nodder that wanted to be a Cane, committed early and then shut his mouth. Chose Miami over FSU, Clemson and West Virginia. The comparison most often made on the message boards is to Bruce Irvin or Vic Beasley.

Juwon Young (Albany, GA)
Young is a “southern savage”. He combines great athleticism with a hatred of ball carriers in his 6’1”, 230 lb frame. This is the type of middle linebacker that made Miami feared by all receivers going over the middle. Initial grade concerns lead to a slow start to his recruitment, but his ability was never in question. Maybe the most underrated prospect in the class. Chose Miami over UNC. Early enrollee.

DB

Marques Gayot (Park Vista High)
Gayot is a physical safety prospect from Palm Beach county. The one thing that jumps off his tape is his explosive hitting. He may be limited in his range down the road, but at worst is a solid backup that can be a core special teams guy and crack down on running backs. At safety, where depth is a MAJOR issue for this squad, that is a good thing. Chose Miami over Louisville.

Kiy Hester (Wayne, New Jersey)
Hester, a teammate of Courtel Jenkins and good friend of current ‘Cane Al – Quadin Muhammad, is one of the top safety prospects in the nation and could see early playing time. He is physical, but also very rangy…major ballhawk potential. Major upgrade, immediately, from the Kacy Rogers / AJ Highsmith duo, and will compete with Deon Bush, Reyshawn Jenkins and Jamal Carter for playing time. Decommitted from Rutgers and chose Miami over Michigan State (which is a GREAT sign).

Jimmy Mayes (Miami Northwestern)
Was a complete unknown until he came to Golden’s camp and won DB MVP for the day, making himself a 3 star prospect over night. Lanky athlete (6’1”, 170 lbs) and seems more like a glider than a sprinter, but Mayes shows playmaker ability and looks like the type that you redshirt and let develop for 2-3 years before throwing him in to live fire. Could be a corner or safety. Chose Miami over Syracuse, FIU and FAU. Early enrollee.

ATH

Trayone Gray (Carol City High)
99% sure this kid will end up in Prep school or JUCO. Gray is a sudden, explosive athlete with a ready-to-go body (6’2”, 205 lbs) that will play either receiver, running back or safety for Miami. Another player who emerged from off the radar to grab an offer, a look at his high school tape shows you an ultra athletic quarterback that has the physical abilities and frame to live up to the player he is most often compared to: Anquan Boldin. I like him best as a running back (he was a running quarterback and this is the closest thing to that), but there is no denying his potential impact at safety or receiver. Much like Darrion Owens, has incredibly high upside. Grades concern, which is probably why his offer sheet didn’t blow up.

SUPERLATIVES



5 Blocks of Granite

Kaaya – Potential franchise QB

Yearby – Leader and heir apparent to Duke Johnson

Darling – Leader, and a mauler

Mcdermott – Franchise tackle

Thomas – The Kracken, an elite pass rusher that can come from all angles

Sleepers

Gray – Comparisons heard frequently, depending on who you listen to: Anquan Boldin, Darren McFadden, Nick Marshall

Young – Just a beast of a middle linebacker who has flown below the radar

Herndon – Big, fast, athletic…all the traits you look for when you want to find your version of Eric Ebron; doesn’t hurt that he comes from a two time state championship program

Brady – Allen Hurns comparisons

Rosier – No one talks about him, but scouts seem quite enamored

Best Quotes

"The Urban Meyer thing was just funny to me. He came to my school a week after I told his assistant that I wasn't even interested in them. I told him no to his face, and it's got to be one of the top five reactions of someone ever. His facial expression was just so funny. My coach was tearing up and had to go in his office and laugh. It literally looked like a kid the first time you tell him ‘no, you can’t do something’. It looked like he was a baby about to cry. It was so funny." – Kc Mcdermott…even if he never pans out, he is a legend forever.

His tA
 “Congratulations to everyone that will officially become a Hurricane tomorrow and for those that aren’t *******” – Artie Burns …Note: Exactly 7 asterisks

“Canes haters need to cool it with that ish. Canes comin’ strong in 2014.” – Joe Yearby…you might not agree with him, but it is good to hear anyway.

“Blessed to be compared to the Miami greats, but no disrespect I’m tryna be the best DB to come out of Miami ever!! I’m working” – Kiy Hester…solid used of ‘blessed’, although more hash tag would have been nice.

“I will be attending the University of Florida State / Louisiana State University” – Too many to name…seems fitting, given their school selections.

“The bad boys of football are back. Like it or not, get ready for it.”  -Braxton Berrios…strong.

 “This ain’t a boy’s game, that’s why I made a Man’s decision. And being a Man I will always stand by my word. I’m a Cane.”  -Braxton Berrios… very strong.

“Never would have thought this growing up on 17th street…my people got something’ to be proud of…my family something’ to be proud of…UM stuck by me when I had no stars, they saw something in me, they saw the potential, and that showed out later in the season…it’s exciting man.” – Demetrius Jackson, through tears. Great moment.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2014 Schedule - A Preview



I recently saw the movie Her. The lesson in that movie...I think...is that letting go can be a beautiful thing. 

After the past decade, I think I have finally let go of my expectations of having a great football team. I just want one that is fun to watch. We can worry about being great after that.

In that vein, Miami came out with its schedule today. In years past that has been a momentous day for me.

Because of Al Golden’s recent round of bullshit, our complete meltdown in the second half of last season and the bitter, bitter aftertaste of that Louisville loss, here is my early breakdown of each game.

*Keep in mind that I am super cynical right now and by July will have drunk the Kool-Aid and come fully around to the light side again.* 

September 1st – at Louisville
We will lose this game. They won’t have Teddy Bridgewater anymore, but they will have Bobby Petrino. Petrino will be playing the role of Jed from Pulp Fiction in this one…Mark D’Onofrio will be playing The Gimp. The things Petrino will do will be, to borrow Al’s language, “multiple” and “varied”. This will get ugly, and Petrino WILL run the score up, with both middle fingers extended for everyone to see.
Thing That Will Piss You Off: Watching our best pass rusher give up a huge play in coverage because we had him lined up over a wide receiver 20 yards away from the ball.

September 6th – vs. FAMU
This will be sloppy, and they will probably give us a game into the 2nd Half, due to the very short break between games here. You will be hoping that we put this thing away early and get to play the freshmen. You will be disappointed.
Thing That Will Piss You Off: Golden’s “the schedule is too tough” excuse on Joe Rose on Monday morning. Because apparently “anybody anywhere anytime” doesn’t matter anymore.

September 13th – vs. Arkansas State
This sounds like a cakewalk, right? Wrong. Arkie State keeps reeling off nice seasons in the Sun Belt and losing their coach to a Big Boy school. They will be competitive and tough and we will probably sleep walk through this. I remember a game against Houston in the Orange Bowl in 2006 that we barely pulled out. This will be like that.
Thing That Will Piss You Off: Having to look in the mirror and realize that your beloved Miami Hurricanes just gave up 500+ yards to Arkansas State. I just threw up in my mouth a little.

September 20th – at Nebraska
This is a battle of two teams that used to be awesome and have fallen into a state of perpetual mediocrity. Bo Pelini and Al Golden should just sumo at midfield to determine the winner. These teams have squared off 4 times with national titles in the balance…how far we done fell. We will probably lose this.
Thing That Will Piss You Off: Having to watch Bo Pelini for 3 hours on a lovely late summer afternoon, and then realizing that Neanderthal is probably coaching his team to a win over the coach of your team.

September 27th – vs Duke
Do the following. Before every game, ask if the other team has a coach with a pulse. If so, they will probably exploit our defense like this is an episode of Dance Moms or Friday Night Tykes.  David Cutcliffe looks like Franklin the Turtle, but Ol’ Boy can COACH. Our only hope is that our guys are pissed off about last year’s loss to Duke. Which means hope is probably lost, because that would require our coaching staff to motivate somebody.
Thing That Will Piss You Off: Replaying last season’s disaster in your head over, and over, and over again.

October 4th – at Georgia Tech
This could go either way. One thing we know for sure is that we will be losing by double digits at some point. Luckily Paul Johnson not only looks like Jabba the Hutt’s personal assistant, but also coaches like a dude with a weird balloon fetish.
Thing That Will Piss You Off: That stupid Georgia Tech commercial. “You want to not get laid for 4 years? You’re at Georgia Tech, YOU CAN DO THAT!!!!!!!”

October 11th – vs Cincinatti
I know what you’re thinking. “There’s no way we can lose this one.” Wrong. Their coach is named Tommy Tuberville, and he is a pretty damned good one. In fact, when it comes to just coaching, he is probably better than our staff. Which means they will be fired up and play asymmetric football and force us to beat them. This will be either a close win or an embarrassing loss.
Thing That Will Piss You Off: Just…all of it.

October 18th – BYE
We will win this one. I’ve never even heard of this team.

October 23rd – at Virginia Tech
Our yearly Thursday night primetime game. We will probably lose this one. Frank Beamer and Bud Foster are awesome coaches and they beat us 2 of the last 3 with a freakin’ tight end playing quarterback.
Thing That Will Piss You Off: Their stupid turkey call.

November 1st – vs UNC
This team really hit its stride under Larry Fedora in the second half of the season. Their quarterback is big and fast…the exact type of quarterback we never stop. Well, we never stop any quarterback. Sigh.
Thing That Will Piss You Off: Their baby blue helmets. No team wearing that color should ever beat us in any way.

November 8th – BYE
We will win this one. Weird that we get to play the same team twice though.

November 15th – vs FSU
Well, they just won a national championship, lost less to the NFL than they thought, are bringing in another great recruiting class and return the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback. This will be as much fun a root canal.
Thing That Will Piss You Off: Low hanging fruit. Pass.

November 22nd – at Virginia
We should win this one. Virginia waits for the schedule to come out to make sure their program got renewed for another season. They are kind of like every show on NBC’s schedule. BOOM!
Thing That Will Piss You Off: Remembering the last game in the Orange Bowl and then remembering that we used to play there and then remembering where we currently play.

November 29th – vs Pitt
We should win this one. Pitt sucks. But they will be physical and depending how this season goes our team might have already quit on the coaching staff.
Thing That Will Piss You Off: Mark May